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pwhittles

Just received my 69s - impressions

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I received my 69s from Sweetwater this morning!  I opted for the maple neck/maple fretboard/SSS option.

 

First, the setup done by Sweetwater (and/or how it comes from Line 6) resulted in a guitar that is nearly perfectly setup to play out of the box.

 

I ordered a PRS from them a ways back and I ended up taking it to my luthier for a set-up.  The action was too high, the intonation was off, yada yada :(

 

As a contrast, the setup on the 69s is nearly perfect.  I think if the action was any lower, It'd be buzzing, the intonation is near perfect and with 2 hrs of pretty hard playing (no dive bombs with the tremolo but basic tremolo work and lots of hard playing) it was still in tune.

 

Feel: First of all, I have heard some wanking about the neck.  I LOVE the neck.  The unfinished maple back is incredible (I far prefer it to glossy mahogany etc.) and the frets, the maple fretboard etc. are wonderfully responsive.  The frets are well dressed, every note rings true, it sounds in tune all over the fretboard.  The weight and balance are good, the knobs etc. easy to use.

 

Sounds: the mags sound great.  I've never wanted a strat, and I'm not a Fender (or a Gibson) guy, but it definitely has the Strat quack going on and all 5 pickup settings sound good, no string sounds too loud or soft compared to the others, etc.

 

I played it mostly dry or with a little reverb.  I did some effects (playing through a HD500x into a small practice amp) as well, and they sounded great.  I have a HD500x and a 1986 Pro Co Rat2 and all the effects sounded great with the guitar.

 

As for the models, they were great as well.  There were a few acoustic ones that sounded a little harsh but I attribute that to being played through an amp vs. direct into a PA etc.  I bet when I plug my HD500X into my computer (which I have some nice speakers with) and fool around, the acoustic settings will sound great.  The tele wasn't AS twangy as I associate with "real" or good clone teles, but it was still excellent.  I'm not a Gibson guy, but the Lesters all sounded like what I heard when I played a friend's LP.

 

I have not dug into Workbench yet (very excited to create my own models) nor did I use the Variax cable yet (I used the basic guitar cable) into the HD.

 

The tunings worked well.  I especially liked playing a baritone banjo and doing slide etc. type stuff with the open D.

 

I wish it came stock with open G, but I will program that.

 

I have heard some complaints about the headstock.  I think that's partly due to everybody is used to the Fender headstock, so if it looks different it looks "off" automatically.  I like it.  No complaints there.  The tuning pegs are great.  The tremolo is great.  

 

I don't have really any critiques either of it as a "real" guitar or as a modeling guitar.

 

It sounds great, it feels great, and it looks great.

 

For reference, some of my other guitars - 

 

my main Axe is a 1980 AS200 Ibanez Artist model.  I prefer this to the ES-335 (it's similar in many respects to the ES-335 and was designed as an "ES-335 kiler."  Many respected guitarists prefer it to the ES-335, as do I.  I've had it since 1985

 

I also have a PRS SE Custom 24.  Great guitar.  Definitely the best action of any of the my guitars.

 

I have a cheap Chinese tele clone that i LOVE - SX Furian Ash (all ash with a natural wood finish).  I've had "real teles' before, and I'd easily compare this to any real tele I  have played.  It is not AS refined, but it sounds very good and has great fat frets and a nice neck.  it's neck is glossy and I definitely prefer the matte neck on the Variax.

 

I have some other guitars, but these are my main axes.

 

My next will probably be a Gretsch 6120 (the guitar that Townsend used on Who's Next and imo a MUST have.), and a custom Chinese Gibson'esque LP/ESP hybrid (probably with Bigsby) from DHGate (I can't use Ali Express since I am in WA state)  I will have built to my specs.

 

If I was currently playing in a band, the 69s would undoubtedly be my main axe.

 

When I did play in bands, my main axe was my Ibanez.

 

Imo, this is simply an awesome guitar.

 

 

 

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You are right

 

They have the Reso G and Blues G

 

They are different from the way I tune it (I tune high E to 'g' not 'D' ) but you are correct. They ARE open G tunings

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I received my 69s from Sweetwater this morning!  I opted for the maple neck/maple fretboard/SSS option.

 

First, the setup done by Sweetwater (and/or how it comes from Line 6) resulted in a guitar that is nearly perfectly setup to play out of the box.

 

I ordered a PRS from them a ways back and I ended up taking it to my luthier for a set-up.  The action was too high, the intonation was off, yada yada :(

 

As a contrast, the setup on the 69s is nearly perfect.  I think if the action was any lower, It'd be buzzing, the intonation is near perfect and with 2 hrs of pretty hard playing (no dive bombs with the tremolo but basic tremolo work and lots of hard playing) it was still in tune.

 

Feel: First of all, I have heard some wanking about the neck.  I LOVE the neck.  The unfinished maple back is incredible (I far prefer it to glossy mahogany etc.) and the frets, the maple fretboard etc. are wonderfully responsive.  The frets are well dressed, every note rings true, it sounds in tune all over the fretboard.  The weight and balance are good, the knobs etc. easy to use.

 

Sounds: the mags sound great.  I've never wanted a strat, and I'm not a Fender (or a Gibson) guy, but it definitely has the Strat quack going on and all 5 pickup settings sound good, no string sounds too loud or soft compared to the others, etc.

 

I played it mostly dry or with a little reverb.  I did some effects (playing through a HD500x into a small practice amp) as well, and they sounded great.  I have a HD500x and a 1986 Pro Co Rat2 and all the effects sounded great with the guitar.

 

As for the models, they were great as well.  There were a few acoustic ones that sounded a little harsh but I attribute that to being played through an amp vs. direct into a PA etc.  I bet when I plug my HD500X into my computer (which I have some nice speakers with) and fool around, the acoustic settings will sound great.  The tele wasn't AS twangy as I associate with "real" or good clone teles, but it was still excellent.  I'm not a Gibson guy, but the Lesters all sounded like what I heard when I played a friend's LP.

 

I have not dug into Workbench yet (very excited to create my own models) nor did I use the Variax cable yet (I used the basic guitar cable) into the HD.

 

The tunings worked well.  I especially liked playing a baritone banjo and doing slide etc. type stuff with the open D.

 

I wish it came stock with open G, but I will program that.

 

I have heard some complaints about the headstock.  I think that's partly due to everybody is used to the Fender headstock, so if it looks different it looks "off" automatically.  I like it.  No complaints there.  The tuning pegs are great.  The tremolo is great.  

 

I don't have really any critiques either of it as a "real" guitar or as a modeling guitar.

 

It sounds great, it feels great, and it looks great.

 

For reference, some of my other guitars - 

 

my main Axe is a 1980 AS200 Ibanez Artist model.  I prefer this to the ES-335 (it's similar in many respects to the ES-335 and was designed as an "ES-335 kiler."  Many respected guitarists prefer it to the ES-335, as do I.  I've had it since 1985

 

I also have a PRS SE Custom 24.  Great guitar.  Definitely the best action of any of the my guitars.

 

I have a cheap Chinese tele clone that i LOVE - SX Furian Ash (all ash with a natural wood finish).  I've had "real teles' before, and I'd easily compare this to any real tele I  have played.  It is not AS refined, but it sounds very good and has great fat frets and a nice neck.  it's neck is glossy and I definitely prefer the matte neck on the Variax.

 

I have some other guitars, but these are my main axes.

 

My next will probably be a Gretsch 6120 (the guitar that Townsend used on Who's Next and imo a MUST have.), and a custom Chinese Gibson'esque LP/ESP hybrid (probably with Bigsby) from DHGate (I can't use Ali Express since I am in WA state)  I will have built to my specs.

 

If I was currently playing in a band, the 69s would undoubtedly be my main axe.

 

When I did play in bands, my main axe was my Ibanez.

 

Imo, this is simply an awesome guitar.

 

Did you get the black body guitar? Is there any way to have a sunburst with a maple neck or is that not an option, because I saw someone have a JTV with a maple on a sunburst (If I remember correctly).

 

Either way, that sounds great. I'm thinking about getting this exact model myself.

 

Also, I personally didn't think it was twangy enough either, but surely, going into workbench and backing the pickups to the bridge a bit gave it more twang and it was perfect.

 

What firmware did you use?

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@pwhittles:

the 69s (black, maple neck/maple fretboard) is THE PERFECT instrument.

when VDI'ed 2 a HD500(X) it is THE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE BUNDLE.

welcome on board my friend !

 

ps

try attached demo patch (Townsend  Who's Next sound approximation).

DemoPatches.zip

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Jandrio I love your patches, and I love that whatever you are using is free to download! Great from you, and a big thanks for sharing! Φαινεται ο ΕλληναÏας.

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Yah, welcome aboard!  I got mine in the spring of last year - and I DO play out very regularly - and it's amazing how quickly it's become tied for first place for "go to" status among my axes.  (It's edged out slightly by my absolute sweetie, a Steinberger GM Pro)  Bur it certainly is a game changer - in my case it replaced the need to carry around a Roland VG8 system, and all the related cabling/hardware/mixing that entailed.  High quality versatile guitar modeling built in to the instrument - brilliant!

 

I wasn't/aren't quite as taken with the stock axe as you - have had an actual Fender Strat neck put on (and THAT'S what moved it into front runner status), and am currently exploring replacement mags (hum/sing/sing) as I find the stock pups to be a bit over bright for my tastes.  But the overall build quality, and obvious thought that went into its design, are exceptional.  (And of course, when I want a warmer sound - there's the models...)

 

IMO you're correct about "acoustic-thru-gtr amp" - never sounds quite right for me.  Only recently I settled on a patch on my 500x that uses the fx loop to send the unprocessed acoustic models straight to the board - day and nite difference!! 

 

And you hit upon the real mindset (to me) about this type of instrument - at no point do I expect it to sound exactly like my 68 Tele, or Paul.  But it gets sooo close that you have to really dig in to hear the difference.  And in a live situation, to be able to switch around like that at the touch of a button from the same axe, is worth the little detail gripes.  Beats the hell out of "two buckers and a toggle switch".....

 

A cautionary note - don't know where you live or in what environments you'd be playing in, but the batteries that run this thing are sensitive to high temperature.  There's a thread of mine around here from last summer, you should be able to search it - but I'm down in the desert, and learned the hard way that approaching 100 degrees the battery will shut down - a "safety" feature?  So keep that VDI cable handy and get familiar with it.  I prefer the 1/4" out thru a wireless, but now keep the VDI ready at all times.  FYI.

 

Have Fun! 

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@pwhittles:

the 69s (black, maple neck/maple fretboard) is THE PERFECT instrument.

when VDI'ed 2 a HD500(X) it is THE ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE BUNDLE.

welcome on board my friend !

 

ps

try attached demo patch (Townsend  Who's Next sound approximation).

Nice!

 

I am a huge Townsend fan.  In general, my favorite guitarists are rhythm or song oriented, not flashy technician soloists - Townsend, Marr, Giraldo, Ramone, Weller, Schon, etc.

 

Btw, Townsend used a Gretsch 6120 (a gift from Joe Walsh) on Who's Next (and the next album).  Most people don't realize this because he didn't play it live (said it wouldn't stay in tune long enough for a concert.  Considering the way Townsend played a guitar - this is not surprising

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Did you get the black body guitar? Is there any way to have a sunburst with a maple neck or is that not an option, because I saw someone have a JTV with a maple on a sunburst (If I remember correctly).

 

Either way, that sounds great. I'm thinking about getting this exact model myself.

 

Also, I personally didn't think it was twangy enough either, but surely, going into workbench and backing the pickups to the bridge a bit gave it more twang and it was perfect.

 

What firmware did you use?

I haven't checked the firmware, since I plugged it in and played as soon as I got it.

 

I'm not sure but I think Sweetwater probably updated it, but not sure.  I will plug it in soon!

 

I have only seen the maple fretboard version with the black body. If there is a sunburst with maple fretboard out there I amnot aware of it.

 

Im not a huge sunburst fan, but it would be nice to have the choice

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Yah, welcome aboard!  I got mine in the spring of last year - and I DO play out very regularly - and it's amazing how quickly it's become tied for first place for "go to" status among my axes.  (It's edged out slightly by my absolute sweetie, a Steinberger GM Pro)  Bur it certainly is a game changer - in my case it replaced the need to carry around a Roland VG8 system, and all the related cabling/hardware/mixing that entailed.  High quality versatile guitar modeling built in to the instrument - brilliant!

 

I wasn't/aren't quite as taken with the stock axe as you - have had an actual Fender Strat neck put on (and THAT'S what moved it into front runner status), and am currently exploring replacement mags (hum/sing/sing) as I find the stock pups to be a bit over bright for my tastes.  But the overall build quality, and obvious thought that went into its design, are exceptional.  (And of course, when I want a warmer sound - there's the models...)

 

IMO you're correct about "acoustic-thru-gtr amp" - never sounds quite right for me.  Only recently I settled on a patch on my 500x that uses the fx loop to send the unprocessed acoustic models straight to the board - day and nite difference!! 

 

And you hit upon the real mindset (to me) about this type of instrument - at no point do I expect it to sound exactly like my 68 Tele, or Paul.  But it gets sooo close that you have to really dig in to hear the difference.  And in a live situation, to be able to switch around like that at the touch of a button from the same axe, is worth the little detail gripes.  Beats the hell out of "two buckers and a toggle switch".....

 

A cautionary note - don't know where you live or in what environments you'd be playing in, but the batteries that run this thing are sensitive to high temperature.  There's a thread of mine around here from last summer, you should be able to search it - but I'm down in the desert, and learned the hard way that approaching 100 degrees the battery will shut down - a "safety" feature?  So keep that VDI cable handy and get familiar with it.  I prefer the 1/4" out thru a wireless, but now keep the VDI ready at all times.  FYI.

 

Have Fun! 

I am in Seattle, so my biggest threat is rain or moss - not heat!!! :)

 

As a person who is not a strat fan myself, it's not surprising I like this neck more than many strat lovers.  It's DIFFERENT than a strat (most of them - different radii etc.).  Personally, I might like it a LITTLE fatter back to front (although I love wide skinny's too, like my Artist model has - with ebony fretboard).

 

What I love is the profile, the radius, the frets (I love jumbo frets, too.  But these are more understated), the maple fretboard and ESPECIALLY the flat matte finish to the back of the neck.  This is the first guitar I have had with this flat finish (vs. the glossy necks on my PRS, Ibanez, SX, and all the others I've had - Fenders etc.).

 

It's a dream to play.

 

I was surprised at how much harder high E bends are on this guitar vs. ALL my others.  I guess the length is a major reason for this.  I think the strings are 10's, and those are hardly thick.  But that's ok.  Put more effort in and get more reward out!!!

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Aris, thanks, ευχαÏιστω :)
glad 2 hear u like the patches.
the hd+jtv gear is ...simply the best.

let us hope L6 will not dump them in favor of other more-trendy(?) but less-hd-sounding ...gadgets.
rgds
john

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... Townsend used a Gretsch 6120 (a gift from Joe Walsh) on Who's Next (and the next album)...

true, that's why one of the demo patches i posted abv is using the Gretsch 6120 model (rbilly-1).

this patch (WontGetFooledAgain2) is also using the tweed-bman (in parallel with the blackfac2bl, in order 2 simulate Pete's 1959 Fender Bandmaster) as per foll link:

 

http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/guitar/fenderbandmaster.html :

 

Pete Townshend used a 1959 Fender Bandmaster amplifier with his Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body to create the rich feedback-laden sound heard on virtually all studio recordings beginning with Who’s Next in 1971. The entire rig was a gift from Joe Walsh in 1970, and consisted of a 1959 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins ‘Hollow Body’ guitar, the 1959 Fender Bandmaster 3x10 combo, a Whirlwind cable and the Edwards Light Beam volume pedal.

enjoy...

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I haven't checked the firmware, since I plugged it in and played as soon as I got it.

 

I'm not sure but I think Sweetwater probably updated it, but not sure.  I will plug it in soon!

 

I have only seen the maple fretboard version with the black body. If there is a sunburst with maple fretboard out there I amnot aware of it.

 

Im not a huge sunburst fan, but it would be nice to have the choice

 

Ah. Well like I said, I highly suggest:

 

1) checking out the HD firmware to see if you like it better or not. You can roll back if you don't.

 

2) If the tele isn't twangy enough still, like I said, plug your guitar to the computer and open workbench. Open the Telecaster models and move the pickups ever so slightly to the bridge a few notches until you have the desired twangyness out of it. 

 

I wanted the tele more distinguishable and twangier than the strat so I did that and I was very happy with the results.

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 The unfinished maple back is incredible (I far prefer it to glossy mahogany etc.) fully responsive.  The frets are well dressed, every note rings true, it sounds in tune all over the fretboard.  The weight and balance are good, the knobs etc. easy to use.

 

Don't get too used to that...unless you don't perspire at all, that satin finish is gonna get nicely polished in no time. Be prepared to take some 0000 steel wool to it every so often if you really want to keep the "raw" feel it's got now.

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pwhittles, on 23 Jan 2015 - 4:53 PM, said:snapback.png

 The unfinished maple back is incredible (I far prefer it to glossy mahogany etc.) fully responsive.  The frets are well dressed, every note rings true, it sounds in tune all over the fretboard.  The weight and balance are good, the knobs etc. easy to use.

 

Don't get too used to that...unless you don't perspire at all, that satin finish is gonna get nicely polished in no time. Be prepared to take some 0000 steel wool to it every so often if you really want to keep the "raw" feel it's got now.

__________________

 

 

 

So what do you have - 59? Or is there a gloss neck option in 69?

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pwhittles, on 23 Jan 2015 - 4:53 PM, said:snapback.png

Don't get too used to that...unless you don't perspire at all, that satin finish is gonna get nicely polished in no time. Be prepared to take some 0000 steel wool to it every so often if you really want to keep the "raw" feel it's got now.

__________________

 

 

 

So what do you have - 59? Or is there a gloss neck option in 69?

I have a 69, and theres no glossy option that I know of...but satin finish necks never keep that nice raw feel they have on day 1. Oils and perspiration from your hands, plus the constant friction are gonna polish it up in time. Varies depending on how much you play, and I suppose one's body chemistry, but its pretty much inevitable. A little #0000 fine grade steel wool and it'll bring it back to a more "raw" feel.

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I stil have not run workbench, or even plugged it in to get updates etc!

 

That's partly out of fear. once I open workbench it might turn into an epically long play COMPUTER SESSION

 

I love gadgets and I am totally stoked

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They have the Reso G and Blues G

 

They are different from the way I tune it (I tune high E to 'g' not 'D' ) but you are correct. They ARE open G tunings 

 

Get that Workbench open... you can redefine what the alternate tuning definitions are, so you can easily change your guitar to have your preferred version of the tuning.

 

Or just do the patch specific alternative tuning using the HD500

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I stil have not run workbench, or even plugged it in to get updates etc!

 

That's partly out of fear. once I open workbench it might turn into an epically long play COMPUTER SESSION

 

I love gadgets and I am totally stoked

 

It's fair to be concerned about updating the firmware, but try it. Use the dongle, I've realized it's a lot faster than using a POD. Workbench is a lot of fun though. I really suggest getting into it, it's a real game changer.

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It's fair to be concerned about updating the firmware, but try it. Use the dongle, I've realized it's a lot faster than using a POD. Workbench is a lot of fun though. I really suggest getting into it, it's a real game changer.

No concerns, I was just being sarcastic.

 

Downloading Workbench now and ill update it if it's not current

 

This instrument inspires a lot of creativity.  I find that changing tunings and guitars opens my fingers, ears, and soul to new music

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It's fair to be concerned about updating the firmware, but try it. Use the dongle, I've realized it's a lot faster than using a POD. Workbench is a lot of fun though. I really suggest getting into it, it's a real game changer.

Omg, did I need the update!

 

it had ver. 1.82

 

now I have 2.1 !

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Omg, did I need the update!

 

it had ver. 1.82

 

now I have 2.1 !

 

What do you think of the new modeling? Better or worse?

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What do you think of the new modeling? Better or worse?

I will let you know.  I am using Workbench to make some custom guitars, then I will go check out the difference!

 

Good call, btw.  I (wrongly) assumed Sweetwater would update the patches, although certainly not a big deal

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I will let you know.  I am using Workbench to make some custom guitars, then I will go check out the difference!

 

Good call, btw.  I (wrongly) assumed Sweetwater would update the patches, although certainly not a big deal

 

That would require extra work on their hands, and it's not like it's impossible. I'm surprised the factory doesn't install the latest firmware though on the guitars.

 

Either way, let us know what you think. Some complain about the strat and the 335 sounding too thin. 

The HD models do have a lot more high end clarity though, instead of sounding like a high cut filter is on all the guitars.

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When I bought my 69S from Sweetwater, I asked them to update it and make sure it worked properly and it arrived updated and working properly.  You can tell the build date from the serial number.  Many "New" guitars are actually built in 2012.

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I'm surprised the factory doesn't install the latest firmware though on the guitars.

 

I'm sure they do..."the latest firmware" being whatever is current on the day the guitar is boxed up and shipped out. If it then sits in some distributor's warehouse for 2 years however, its still a "new" guitar, but likely to have old firmware. Most places won't bother to update anything before selling it to you. Got mine in 12/2013, had a build bate of 4/12. Came with 1.7 installed, so I update d right out of the box.

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Just to clarify here since I did mention it in another thread and it seems that some assumptions are being made... I bought a dented and scratched in other words it was either used as a demo or actually shipped and sold to somebody who shipped back. Presumably it's at least reasonable to suspect that the firmware version in place when I received the guitar was current at the time it was a demo or a purchased instrument but again that's just a reasonable assumption not a clear fact

 

Prior to purchase I made sure that had the newer round tremolo opening versus the oval one based upon at least a dozen threads I had bread in this forum and others about the newer tremolo system being superior

 

I was actually pleasantly surprised with its condition since in the pictures it look like there was a couple of couches in the pick guard but once I receive that I realize that they were in fact just tears in the thin plastic covering that covers the pick guard and pick ups and that you peel off upon receipt

 

Again just speculating but this makes me suspect that it was a demo and not actually shipped out to a customer since tearing off the plastic over the Picard to pick ups would be the first thing you do when you get a guitar s although again I don't know if they would reapply that covering but probably not especially because there were those tears in it so again I think it's reasonable to assume that it was a demo and not shipped to a customer

 

REGARDLESS of its provenance, it was setup flawlessly and LOOKS brand new.

 

I am very pleased

 

It was set up so perfectly that all I had to do was some very minor tuning peg adjustment and even after playing simple straight hours it was still in perfect tune and perfectly intonated

 

The only thing I could fault the veriaxes for is the lack of a nylon string setting but based upon my understanding of how PAs those work and from what I've read here that would not be an easy thing to do

 

I will be playing it today with the new firmware 2.1 and I'm happy that I already recorded some of the stuff I did with the preinstalled firmware so will be interesting to hear the difference although I used a pretty low-fi

Tuy up just sticking my iPhone voice recorder app in front of my amp not exactly the kind of high tech set up I do use to make a real comparison

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