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new Yamaha Variax and other NAMM news

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Ahh, good catch Rads! I figured there were some higher end Yamaha Pacificas, that makes sense. Probably a nicer base model than the lowest price model

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YEahhhhh.. Now you're talking! I was clearly looking at the low end of the Pacific spectrum..  That axe looks way nicer.

The big question is "when?".... :)

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I asked DI about which model Pacifica they used and he told me flat out that while it looks like one, it was designed by Line 6's industrial and product designers in conjunction with Yamaha's custom shop in Burbank, CA. He told me it's Line 6's pickup design, Line 6's neck design, Line 6's headstock and pickguard design, and the body style is Line 6's too (their industrial designer was obviously inspired by Pacifica, as they knew Yamaha was going to manufacture it). The Burbank Custom Shop created Line 6's initial prototypes and made some suggestions.  He also recalled a conversation where the product manager said it's definitely closer to the $500 Pacifica than the $300 one, build-wise.  Hope that helps! 

 

If they offered it with the black quilted finish and matching headstock I would be sorely tempted...

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Yeah; it's still got me all G.A.S.'d up :)

 

Musician's Friend still says Feb.13th; they show March 2 for the Firehawk.

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I am a pro.  I have worn out my HD500 with 3-6 gigs a week as a one-man band. (Before the HD500 I owned the XT Live, X3 Live, Flextone amp... I've played Line 6 exclusively for a decade.) I play a James Tyler Variax direct through the HD500 through a mixer out through my Line 6 L3T and/or L2T and L3S as needed for size of crowd & venue. 

I finally got my FIREHAWK FX today. So far I love it! The HD was too hard to edit without having it hooked up to my Mac, and it was near impossible to tweak at gigs. With the Firehawk I can have my iPad or iPhone next to me on my music stand and tweak ANY parameter, including Variax tunings, on the fly. PLUS, it will use my James Tyler Variax models OR magnetic pickups and save them in each patch! Great feature.

It is EASY to tweak tones, Easy to FIND online tones to start from, Easy to create your own tones from scratch... They sound great, have the same processing engine as the HD500 & 500X, The color-coded footswitches are great too, and you can have control of FIVE effects at a time.  I never used the looper, midi or spdif or L6 connector on the HD500 anyway.  If you're into all that, go HD500.  If you want the same great sounds, easy tweaking on the fly, an interface that makes easy sense... Go Firehawk FX

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Hey David-Payton, I'm also a pro, gigging several times a week as usually either a single or duo with my pod HD. I'm glad to hear the Firehalk is working for you. My 500hd is still going strong, although I have had to maintain it a bit. One thing I need is the dual paths, because of the way I design my patches to use the exp pedal to go from rhythm to lead tones, without having to push buttons. Does the Firehalk have dual paths?

 

I'm curious how you like the JTV for single gigs. I have almost bought one several times, but never liked the feel of the 69. Do you use the acoustics much? That would be the main selling point for me, as I get lots of great tones out of my custom built super strat with emgs.

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I'm curious how you like the JTV for single gigs. I have almost bought one several times, but never liked the feel of the 69.

 

Once you "Old Yeller" the stock neck and put it out of it's misery, the 69 becomes a much more usable instrument...unless you're just not a Strat guy, in which case you may not like it no matter what neck is on there.

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Once you "Old Yeller" the stock neck and put it out of it's misery, the 69 becomes a much more usable instrument...unless you're just not a Strat guy, in which case you may not like it no matter what neck is on there.

Yes, it's the baseball bat neck that most put me off. Can you get 24 frets on a 69? I would also have to thicken up the pick guard (mine is 1/4" of birds eye maple) and recess the neck pocket to get it a little lower - I started out on arch tops and guitars with floating pick guards and developed a technique where I rest the first joint of my pinky on the pick guard. Let's see... Oh yeah my custom strat is also scalloped on the top 10 frets, and I would prolly want to install EMG SAs with the mid boost pot, too. And I like some chambers in the body, although I could live without them I guess. I could live without the Floyd, too.

 

The problem for me with virtually any strat is that I had mine built custom for me with a bunch of specific adjustments for my style and sound, by a buddy of mine who is a world class luthier, and I have a lollipop of a time playing a regular strat, plus most of them feel kind of dead to me - mine sings. I'm hoping the new standard is a little more modern and I can start with it and mod it to what I want.

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Well, we were going in the right direction in the evolution of the Variax line. From the original Variax, though the Variax 600, up through the James Tyler models, we were progressing. Now, I get the funny feeling the progress has stopped.  

 

You left the Variax 300 out of that analysis.  If you put it back in the timeline this all makes better sense.  The Variax Standard is similar to the 300 in that it puts the current (JTV) technology in a platform whose price is accessible to more players.  And by the looks of it, the Standard is a much nicer guitar than the 300 was (not a tall order, granted) so IMO it's all good.  The Variax Standard is aimed at a specific demographic; at $800 street it's not meant to please everyone.

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Just a side-note, the new variax standard will be much more readily transplantable than the 69s, as you don't need rerouting for the top-hat knob. Yep, it looks like a pacifica, but a cheaper price-point if you want to transplant, and much easier to do so.

I've been doing transplants since almost the beginning of the Variax. I always included magnetic pickups. I did my best to keep the amount of knobs down but my electronics skills are in no way the level of the JT Variax where both systems seamlessly marry together. Since the start of the JT I've really cut back on my Variax conversions. I know I build a much better guitar still the cost of buying a JT import was way too high for me to make any money . With this new Standard it is just perfect as far asi can tell for making a Perfect Strat clone. I don't care about the quality of the new guitars but the quality of the electronics is important to me. And the layout as well. Hopefully there will be some used ones coming available . Then I'll produce some Swamp Ask Strat bodies for the Standard and possibly some "POWER TELE" bodies. I'm excited about it! I think the Yamaha take over will be a good thing! Mark@markscustomguitars.com

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If there is anyone willing to ship me their Variax Standard Body with Electronics I will make them a Strat body for 100.00 bucks. Sinister in clear Nitro 225.00 . This is a discounted price . www.markscustomguitars.com mark@markscustomguitars.com email me we can talk about the details. I want to get my hands on a Standard body to make a template from it. Thanks Mark

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My goal is to make a custom ultra playable American Strat clone. I'd replace the pickups with Lindy FRALIN pups. I will replace the crappy tremolo block with a bell brass block. I always level and polish the Frets. Although I'm more than qualified to make my own neck I think I'd purchase a USA Strat neck on eBay . Polish and level frets, then a nice clear lacquer finish. New custom pick guard. This will be an awesome guitar and except for the one extra pot, ( maybe I can figure out a concentric pot so we're back to 3) it would then look exactly like a normal USA custom shop Strat. Play better than anything bought from a music store. Plus the beauty of being totally standard magnetic pots or the Variax electronics. I'm really pumped about this ! Hope I get a bite soon ! Mark

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So does anyone know definitively if one can replace the neck on the Variax Standard with a stock Fender neck without major woodwork?

Thanks

Don 

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So does anyone know definitively if one can replace the neck on the Variax Standard with a stock Fender neck without major woodwork?

Thanks

Don

I can't offer definitive proof, but I believe the answer is no. It was discussed a while back, but I couldn't find the thread. Neck pocket has different dimensions.

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