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1st post here.  Just wanted to take a min to thank everyone here for a bunch of great ideas and insight over the past few months that I have been following.  I usually sit back and just absorb the info unless I have something to bring to the table.  Today is that day. I have had my 59 for about 9 months and absolutely love it.  The ONLY issue I have had has been the low E "plink" ....drove me nuts.  I did some research on here and through Graph Tech support and decided to take the plunge.  I can't get enough of this guitar now.   If there is interest, I'd be more than happy to share my experience with the swap as there were a few mods that I had to do....the Ghost is a bit wider (about .020") and obviously the wiring.  Thanks again for all the help on more than a few occasions. 

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1st post here.  Just wanted to take a min to thank everyone here for a bunch of great ideas and insight over the past few months that I have been following.  I usually sit back and just absorb the info unless I have something to bring to the table.  Today is that day. I have had my 59 for about 9 months and absolutely love it.  The ONLY issue I have had has been the low E "plink" ....drove me nuts.  I did some research on here and through Graph Tech support and decided to take the plunge.  I can't get enough of this guitar now.   If there is interest, I'd be more than happy to share my experience with the swap as there were a few mods that I had to do....the Ghost is a bit wider (about .020") and obviously the wiring.  Thanks again for all the help on more than a few occasions. 

 

Did it get rid of the low e plink completely? I swear it has to be the low e overloading the piezo. I'm pretty sure if they had different sensitivity piezos it wouldn't be a problem, or how about, I don't know, use strictly Graphtechs?

 

LR baggs aren't bad for acoustics but it's obviously a hit or miss with Variaxes.

 

 

Got any sound demos?

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Did it get rid of the low e plink completely? I swear it has to be the low e overloading the piezo. I'm pretty sure if they had different sensitivity piezos it wouldn't be a problem, or how about, I don't know, use strictly Graphtechs?

 

LR baggs aren't bad for acoustics but it's obviously a hit or miss with Variaxes.

 

 

Got any sound demos?

It did, it's been about a week now and I have not heard one plink.  

 

Yeah, I kept hoping I would see a replacement piezo come out from Graph Tech, but the other side of it is that I also like the look of the bridge better and the fact that the strings actually wrap around the bridge now.  Not that the baggs is bad by any means, but it was always a PIA changing strings....keeping that ball end in.  

 

I will try get some sounds clips up for you today/tomorrow with whatever patch info so that you can A/B

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I'm glad this is working for you. Please keep us informed and give us more details!

  • The guitar is a JTV-59 (Korean), right?
  • Exactly what model Graph Tech bridge did you use?
  • What steps, or other mods did you have to do to make this work?
  • What did it cost you?
  • How does this bridge change affect the acoustic models tone?
  • I'm not sure if you are aware of the "Ghost Notes" issue some JTV users have experienced, or if this has happened to you, but if so, did the bridge swap change anything for the better?

Anything you can clarify on any of these points would be appreciated! B)

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My experience with the Graph Tech Piezo pickups on my Variax 500 is that they are way hotter.  I had to cut the string volumes down to 50% to prevent overloading as compared to the standard piezos.  Once I did that the Graph Tech piezos worked well.  Two wires per unit instead of 1 so I had to figure out a way to connect the ground wires.  That is where they are much improved IMO.  I would say that the one thing I noticed is that they are not as bright as the originals.

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I'm glad this is working for you. Please keep us informed and give us more details!

  • The guitar is a JTV-59 (Korean), right?
  • Exactly what model Graph Tech bridge did you use?
  • What steps, or other mods did you have to do to make this work?
  • What did it cost you?
  • How does this bridge change affect the acoustic models tone?
  • I'm not sure if you are aware of the "Ghost Notes" issue some JTV users have experienced, or if this has happened to you, but if so, did the bridge swap change anything for the better?

Anything you can clarify on any of these points would be appreciated! B)

I will certainly keep you posted.

 

On your points:

 

  • Yes, Korean
  • Graph Tech NW1 PN-8593-CO WH
  • The biggest one (scariest) was that I had to enlarge the insert holes on the body as the Graph Tech inserts have an outer diameter that is larger.  Basically I set it up on the drill press with a bit that fit the existing hole and just plunged it in (drill off) to make sure I was square. it was really close just lying on its back....just shimmed the body a touch on the low E side.   Now to overcome the slight width difference of the bridge, I mounted the bridge pins in a drill and with a file a removed  some of the inner section of both pins (the section that the bridge actually wraps around).  I also sanded the chrome off the inner "U" shape on the bridge (the part that wraps around the pin)...just folded some 400 grit in a U shape and ran in through.  You can't see this once it's mounted....it doesn't look modified.  Finally on the underside of the bridge (the section below the U shape) was filed...again just removing the chrome.  The last step there was done to give me enough wiggle room to have the action on the low E side higher (I have mine set 4/64 high E and 5/64 low E).  I know what your saying...he did all that to a new bridge??  Yes, I could have plugged the existing holes and re-drilled, but I wanted this reversible if need be.  I would rather play with a bridge than take a chance of ruining a good guitar.  Again, none of the chrome removal shows.  And as it is not steel, you aren't going to have any rust creeping up over time.  I will include some pics of the filed/sanded areas so that you can get a better idea of what I did.  As far as the wiring, again I think it will just be easier to take some pics for you, but I found an 8 pin connector that fit on the board and was able to just make a nice splice between the Ghost connectors and the board.
  • The bridge I got through Music123.com, about $180 with shipping and maybe another $20 miscellaneous....wire, connectors etc. 
  • The bridge effects all the tones...higher output, and warmer.  I prefer it
  • No ghost notes whatsoever.  I can't say that I had them prior to this either though

 

 

 

My experience with the Graph Tech Piezo pickups on my Variax 500 is that they are way hotter.  I had to cut the string volumes down to 50% to prevent overloading as compared to the standard piezos.  Once I did that the Graph Tech piezos worked well.  Two wires per unit instead of 1 so I had to figure out a way to connect the ground wires.  That is where they are much improved IMO.  I would say that the one thing I noticed is that they are not as bright as the originals.

I would agree 100%  I found I had to cut back on the acoustic volumes more than anything.  A warmer tone for sure.  I'll include some of the wiring pics too...as you stated there is a signal and ground wire for each peizo.  I found a way to keep the stock Graph tech connector intact as well as not disturb any Jtv wiring.  It could be switched back relatively easily.  I would just have to get new threaded inserts to match the new slightly larger holes in the body and metric threads to match the Baggs. 

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Keeping the ball ends in? Just stick a capo on?

If that were the only reason that I switched, then I would agree.  It certainly is a side benefit of the Graph Tech bridge however IMO

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I will admit that changing strings is a pain in the preverbial! Maybe some locking machines might help too?

 

The graphtec sounds like a great upgrade!

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Hey Slockrem,

 

   Thanks a lot for your detailed reply. Very interesting steps taken to make sure it's reversible. This is always an issue on guitars of any value, and nice to be able to undo the change down the road if you choose to or want to sell it later on.

 

   I love my JTV, but there are some little anomalies with the modeling and alternate tunings that sometimes are agrivating. Some of them may be due to the current bridge design, or the piezos. I was wondering about what options for changing or replacing the piezos were possible.

 

Thanks again, and keep us posted! B)

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I will admit that changing strings is a pain in the preverbial! Maybe some locking machines might help too?

 

The graphtec sounds like a great upgrade!

Funny enough I did that just prior to the bridge upgrade.  I went with the Planet Waves auto trim lockers.  Really happy with those too....no more giving blood samples LOL

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Hey Slockrem,

 

   Thanks a lot for your detailed reply. Very interesting steps taken to make sure it's reversible. This is always an issue on guitars of any value, and nice to be able to undo the change down the road if you choose to or want to sell it later on.

 

   I love my JTV, but there are some little anomalies with the modeling and alternate tunings that sometimes are agrivating. Some of them may be due to the current bridge design, or the piezos. I was wondering about what options for changing or replacing the piezos were possible.

 

Thanks again, and keep us posted! B)

You're very welcome.  I am sure I will come across something, let's face it, nothings perfect.  This does certainly seem to address one of the biggest complaints that I have seen though (plink) and honestly the only one that I experienced, so for me at this point it was well worth it.  I know in the FAQ questions on the Graph Tech site it states that they don't have replacement piezos for the baggs wrap around YET...whether that means they may be coming or not, or just the way that they worded it, who knows.  That would certainly be ideal as the circuit board under the bridge is already set up with ground pads (unused for the stock piezo) and would be a quick solder job to get it done.

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Funny enough I did that just prior to the bridge upgrade.  I went with the Planet Waves auto trim lockers.  Really happy with those too....no more giving blood samples LOL

 

Those things are awsome...I have them on my 69.  I just wish that the posts matched the rest of the machine. Gimme all chrome, or all black...not half and half.

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Those things are awsome...I have them on my 69.  I just wish that the posts matched the rest of the machine. Gimme all chrome, or all black...not half and half.

Exactly!  Short of that though, just thrilled with the tuning stability.  Now......what else can I do to this thing??  :rolleyes:

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You wouldn't have before and after recordings per chance?  I have both and 59 and 89F with the graphtechs in the 89F and to be honest I can't find any truly discernible difference between the two that could not be attributed to the guitar body itself (That's not saying you didn't)  But if you are happy well done!

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I have those Planet Waves Locking Tuners on my Variax 500.  I love them.  The locking tuners on my JTV 69S are ok but not as nice as the Planet Waves.

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You wouldn't have before and after recordings per chance?  I have both and 59 and 89F with the graphtechs in the 89F and to be honest I can't find any truly discernible difference between the two that could not be attributed to the guitar body itself (That's not saying you didn't)  But if you are happy well done!

Thanks, and I am! I am going to try to get some up in the next day or so.  It  wasn't that I was looking for a different sound tonally , it really was just that metallic plink on the 6th that was bugging me.  There was something in the documentation that the saddles have natural compression and won't overload the input which gives you the plink.   You could be absolutely right, is there really a warmer tone or am I just "hearing it" because something new is on the guitar?  I really wish I had done some recording ahead of time to really A/B them for myself.  Hopefully others can give some feedback on the tonal comparison with the stocks once I get something up here.  No question on them being much hotter output though....maybe the 89's are compensated for them already? 

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I have those Planet Waves Locking Tuners on my Variax 500.  I love them.  The locking tuners on my JTV 69S are ok but not as nice as the Planet Waves.

Makes life easy doesn't it?

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https://soundcloud.com/slockrem/ghost-rr-testwav

 

Here's an acoustic test.  J model to start, D 12 to finish.  Only Plate reverb added 40% decay, 4ms pre delay, 55% tone, 25% mix.  Recorded in Reaper

 

That sounds godly. I assume it's the HD firmware based on the tonality.

 

Does the E plonking go away on the Lester Model as well?

No more weird noises when hitting the strings hard?

 

Honestly, Line 6 are out of their minds for not choosing Graphtech for their piezos I'm sure the whole "LR-Baggs designing piezos to fight against piezo artifacts" thing was bunk and that Line 6 did the work. 

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https://soundcloud.com/slockrem/ghost-rr-testwav

 

Here's an acoustic test.  J model to start, D 12 to finish.  Only Plate reverb added 40% decay, 4ms pre delay, 55% tone, 25% mix.  Recorded in Reaper

That sounds really good! Nice playing as well! Did you have to turn down the string volume in workbench? Someone earlier posted that the graphtech piezo's were hotter & he had to lower the output to make them usable.

 

Thanks for posting the clip! B)

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That sounds godly. I assume it's the HD firmware based on the tonality.

 

Does the E plonking go away on the Lester Model as well?

No more weird noises when hitting the strings hard?

 

Honestly, Line 6 are out of their minds for not choosing Graphtech for their piezos I'm sure the whole "LR-Baggs designing piezos to fight against piezo artifacts" thing was bunk and that Line 6 did the work. 

Well first off, thanks....one take...yeah right, I finally gave up and said good enough to hear.  My kids are screaming at me to play something else LOL.  

 

Sorry, I should have added that...yes 2.10 firmware.  

 

Are you using the stock lester model?  I can set something up similar to what you use Amp/Effects wise if you want to get a comparison.  I have not come across any noises other than the sweet sound of the strings in any combination thus far.....here's hoping!!

 

I think you are right on the Graph Techs, I am really happy with how this turned out

Edited by slockrem

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That sounds really good! Nice playing as well! Did you have to turn down the string volume in workbench? Someone earlier posted that the graphtech piezo's were hotter & he had to lower the output to make them usable.

 

Thanks for posting the clip! B)

Thanks, much appreciated.  Yes, I did turn them down....both at 50%.  Now to be honest, do they have to be that low?  I don't know....I just started there. They are definitely hotter though.  Much experimenting to  do  :D  

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Here's the wiring/bridge filing pics.

 

In the circuit board pic, just in case someone wants tho know, top to bottom the wiring is Ground, Low E, A, D, G, B, High E, Ground.  

 

In the wiring pic, what you have on the piezos are 2 wires going to a small plug.  I soldered a pin on some wires and plugged the pins into the piezo plugs and then used heat shrink to seal.  Then it was just a matte of splicing/solder/heat shrink the wires to the wires coming off of the connector on the circuit board. All the splices are contained below the battery.  I am sure I could streamline this a bit now knowing that everything is working....BUT...it works and now I just want to play.   ;)

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Well first off, thanks....one take...yeah right, I finally gave up and said good enough to hear.  My kids are screaming at me to play something else LOL.  

 

Sorry, I should have added that...yes 2.10 firmware.  

 

Are you using the stock lester model?  I can set something up similar to what you use Amp/Effects wise if you want to get a comparison.  I have not come across any noises other than the sweet sound of the strings in any combination thus far.....here's hoping!!

 

I think you are right on the Graph Techs, I am really happy with how this turned out

 

Well, you complained about plonking noises when picking. That mostly happens on the low E on the Lester model in most people's cases.

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Well, you complained about plonking noises when picking. That mostly happens on the low E on the Lester model in most people's cases

True, but it was across most models in my case, or I should say all the ones that I used.  I misunderstood and thought you were looking for something a bit more exact to your case.  I'll be sure to include the Lester in the electric test though

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True, but it was across most models in my case, or I should say all the ones that I used.  I misunderstood and thought you were looking for something a bit more exact to your case.  I'll be sure to include the Lester in the electric test though

 

It's mostly pronounce in Lester and the single coil models. I must have just gotten use to using my "SG" patch which eliminates the plonky noises. 

 

I knew it had something to do with overloading the piezos. Line 6 might be right about the E string being dense and overloading the E piezo, but that's why they should of went with Graphtech, or at least designed the piezos more carefully. A less sensitive E string piezo could probably fix it. 

 

It's obvious that LR bagg's piezos are a bit inconsistent which is why people get this problem sometimes, some more pronounced than others.

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It's mostly pronounce in Lester and the single coil models. I must have just gotten use to using my "SG" patch which eliminates the plonky noises. 

 

I knew it had something to do with overloading the piezos. Line 6 might be right about the E string being dense and overloading the E piezo, but that's why they should of went with Graphtech, or at least designed the piezos more carefully. A less sensitive E string piezo could probably fix it. 

 

It's obvious that LR bagg's piezos are a bit inconsistent which is why people get this problem sometimes, some more pronounced than others.

I was never able to get rid of it.  Sometimes it was less pronounced depending on the model and patch.  I always wondered too if it had something to do with the piezos just sitting inside of the saddle holder (for lack of a better word).  There is a tiny bit of play in there, and obviously that is how they are getting grounded.  Maybe a combo of that and just being easily over driven.  I tried a set of 9's once to see if that made a difference....I had seen a thread once on it being more pronounced with heavier gauges.  Maybe I should have tried a set of Billy Gibbons 7's LOL.

 

I think you hit it on the head.  It's the inconsistency here that is frustrating for those of us having the issues. 

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 I tried a set of 9's once to see if that made a difference....I had seen a thread once on it being more pronounced with heavier gauges.  Maybe I should have tried a set of Billy Gibbons 7's LOL.

 

I think you hit it on the head.  It's the inconsistency here that is frustrating for those of us having the issues. 

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I don't think anybody really knows (inlcuding L6) why it happens to some guitars and not others. Otherwise, after 4-ish years on the market, this problem would have been dealt with, provided that there was one or more universal causes.

 

Likewise, the solutions that some have come up with are just as variable as the problem...works for some, and not others. I've got 11's on my 69, and no "plink"...so much for fatter strings making it worse. It's all a grand and glorious mystery...glad you found a work-around though.

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I found around 85% worked for me.  And oddly enough the patches that created the most havoc or seemed to clip were the acoustics.  Nice playi9ng and great sound by the way.

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I've said it before and I'll say it again...I don't think anybody really knows (inlcuding L6) why it happens to some guitars and not others. Otherwise, after 4-ish years on the market, this problem would have been dealt with, provided that there was one or more universal causes.

 

Likewise, the solutions that some have come up with are just as variable as the problem...works for some, and not others. I've got 11's on my 69, and no "plink"...so much for fatter strings making it worse. It's all a grand and glorious mystery...glad you found a work-around though.

A mystery indeed.  Glad you found your solution too.  

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I found around 85% worked for me.  And oddly enough the patches that created the most havoc or seemed to clip were the acoustics.  Nice playi9ng and great sound by the way.

Thanks!  You keep everything around that 85% or just the acoustics?  That's on your 89 right?  I still need to go through patch by patch, model by model to really see where things are at now and adjust to taste.  I should have a few electric samples up tonight

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https://soundcloud.com/slockrem/lester-neck-test

 

Here's an electric test.  Lester/neck/Neal Schon type custom tone.  I hit the A and Low E strings really hard during the chorus section.

 

It's mostly pronounce in Lester and the single coil models. I must have just gotten use to using my "SG" patch which eliminates the plonky noises. 

 

I knew it had something to do with overloading the piezos. Line 6 might be right about the E string being dense and overloading the E piezo, but that's why they should of went with Graphtech, or at least designed the piezos more carefully. A less sensitive E string piezo could probably fix it. 

 

It's obvious that LR bagg's piezos are a bit inconsistent which is why people get this problem sometimes, some more pronounced than others.

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Actually both Variax's I lowered the Acoustic levels.

I am finding (so far) that the acoustics are the only thing I am having to lower

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You're a champ, dude.

Your Variax sounds great!

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I don't think anybody really knows (inlcuding L6) why it happens to some guitars and not others. Otherwise, after 4-ish years on the market, this problem would have been dealt with, provided that there was one or more universal causes.

 

Likewise, the solutions that some have come up with are just as variable as the problem...works for some, and not others. I've got 11's on my 69, and no "plink"...so much for fatter strings making it worse. It's all a grand and glorious mystery...glad you found a work-around though.

 

Well, slockrem replaced his pickups and he said it got rid of the plonk.

Like I said, it has to be the piezo pickups. There has to be inconsistencies with the LR Baggs, which is why Line 6 either need to go with Graphtech or have piezos with different sensitivity so the E string doesn't cause so much plonking noise.

 

LR Baggs are good guys, but let's face it, it's probably not the best option for the Variax, as shown time and time again with people replacing them, on both generations of Variaxes. 

 

 

Even though the Graphtechs are "hotter", there seems to be some weird attributes that even the E string kind of overloads when picking the string.  

the LR baggs is capturing an unwanted sound before it goes into any preamp in the Variax because of a design flaw. The Graphtechs are hot but do not reproduce this problem.

 

I love Line 6 but they need to figure that out. I can live with a little off sounding palm mutes, but I can't deal with the E string giving a gross honking tone on the nut to the 1st or 2nt fret.

 

I don't want to deal with that when I finally get my JTV 69

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You're a champ, dude.

Your Variax sounds great!

 

 

Well, slockrem replaced his pickups and he said it got rid of the plonk.

Like I said, it has to be the piezo pickups. There has to be inconsistencies with the LR Baggs, which is why Line 6 either need to go with Graphtech or have piezos with different sensitivity so the E string doesn't cause so much plonking noise.

 

LR Baggs are good guys, but let's face it, it's probably not the best option for the Variax, as shown time and time again with people replacing them, on both generations of Variaxes. 

 

 

Even though the Graphtechs are "hotter", there seems to be some weird attributes that even the E string kind of overloads when picking the string.  

the LR baggs is capturing an unwanted sound before it goes into any preamp in the Variax because of a design flaw. The Graphtechs are hot but do not reproduce this problem.

 

I love Line 6 but they need to figure that out. I can live with a little off sounding palm mutes, but I can't deal with the E string giving a gross honking tone on the nut to the 1st or 2nt fret.

 

I don't want to deal with that when I finally get my JTV 69

Thanks clay-man, and well put!  I can't say enough good things about Line 6, I am on my third product (XT, HD 500 and the 59), and likewise I have been thrilled with Graph Tech (previously used a resomax bridge on my Schecter).  You're already using the Tusq nuts....let's complete the package.  There are always going to be things that some will like and others won't, but this issue seems to be one that can be solved.  Just out of curiosity....anyone with and 89F of those that have replace the saddles on their 69's having any issues piezo wise?? 

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Here's the wiring/bridge filing pics.

 

In the circuit board pic, just in case someone wants tho know, top to bottom the wiring is Ground, Low E, A, D, G, B, High E, Ground.  

 

In the wiring pic, what you have on the piezos are 2 wires going to a small plug.  I soldered a pin on some wires and plugged the pins into the piezo plugs and then used heat shrink to seal.  Then it was just a matte of splicing/solder/heat shrink the wires to the wires coming off of the connector on the circuit board. All the splices are contained below the battery.  I am sure I could streamline this a bit now knowing that everything is working....BUT...it works and now I just want to play.   ;)

Thanks slockrem for the wiring info. I'm getting ready to do a transplant useing a GraphTech Ghost, and was trying to figure out how to wire it to the Variax board.

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Thanks slockrem for the wiring info. I'm getting ready to do a transplant useing a GraphTech Ghost, and was trying to figure out how to wire it to the Variax board.

Glad to help!  Unless they have changed it, be careful with the Graphtec color code observing the polarity (sliver/white is the signal, blue ground). The Blue and silver wires were a bit translucent and because they are so small (or maybe because I won't admit that I could use some glasses) could get reversed.  Use a good light close by, made it much easier to keep things straight.

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It's ironic. I'd say that Line 6 should honestly went exclusively with ghost tech piezos since they're better quality than LR baggs for the Variax's application, but I've heard that there's been a batch of 89's that have the plink problem (They use ghost tech piezos).

 

I don't get it. Piezos are really annoying to deal with.

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