Jump to content
l6podman

Old Variax necks vs JTV necks

Recommended Posts

I've had a pair of Variax 300's for quite sometime now. They have served me well, but they can be a little............ temperamental?

I never liked the feel of the necks, so a few years back I put a Variax 500 neck (ebay) on one of them. Slight mod a neck joint, but it worked out great, Last year I found another 500 neck on ebay, got it changed the second one. My question, I want to get a JV series. I don't mind either style ( 59 vs 69 ), but would like to know which neck is closer to the 500 neck. If there is a significant weight difference, I may have to consider that as well.

 

Thanks for any info you can share.

 

Al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely the JTV-59 is closer to a Variax 500 Neck  - although compared to a 25.5" scale length Variax 500 neck, the JTV-59 feels and plays more like a Les Paul - owing to its shorter 24.34" scale length   - but I consider both Variax 500 and JTV-59 to be on the chunky side (Which is My own #1 preferred Neck Profile) - and nothing like the "too slim" Variax 300 neck 

 

The JTV-69 Neck profile is a totally different animal  - and suffers from extreme taper "by design" ( not sure  what they were smoking when they approved the JTV-69 neck profile - must have been a blind guy who needed the varying neck thickness to judge what fret he is playing based upon how thick the Neck is - the width and thickness both dramatically vary in dimension along the length of the JTV-69 neck.

 

Imagine slicing a baseball bat  in half lengthwise, installing a Nut at the skinny end and using that for a Guitar Neck  - thats what the JTV-69 Neck Profile feels like 

 

IMHO JTV-69 is too narrow at the Nut and too chunky at the 14th fret - and many JTV-69 fretboards  are too narrow at the 5th fret  - with resulting issues with strings falling right off the edge of the Frets if your try to play hammer-on  / tapping playing styles  

louisville-slugger-bat.jpg

 

 

By Contrast the JTV-59 (see my avator) plays like a dream! 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard similar from others regarding the 69. That's what I didn't like about the 300 - way too thin at the nut. Thanks for the input. I was a LP player for years, but switched to strats for versatility (didn't want to mod my Heritage 80). Had an old (late 70's) Mighty Mite Rosewood Strat replacement neck - has a little more meat to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 600 is the best playing guitar I have hands down. The only thing it needs is a fret job and I could get the action a little bit lower without buzzing.

There is no string slippage at all. 

 

The only problem was the crappy nut, which I swapped for a graphtech nut and now it stays in tune beautifully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll give my contrary opinion about the 69s neck.  LOVE it

 

and my main guitar before this has a wide thin neck 1980 Ibanez AS200

 

i chose the maple fretboard fwiw

 

Lobe the width and thickness

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my side of view,  the best neck I ever played with, was on my variax 700. Compare to the 69S that I own is day/night difference. Hell, eve my 300 is better than the 69..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have come to the conclusion that in general I'm much less picky about particular neck profiles than many players. It's rare that I pick up a guitar that has a neck that I just can't stand, and in all the guitars that I own, there's a bunch of different profiles represented. I do find the neck on my 69US to be quite comfortable, though. I like the feels of the satin finish, and overall it seems like it plays a bit faster than any other guitar I have. The funny thing is that when I had my Variax 300, I actually loved the neck on that, too. It was a bit wider and flatter than a typical Strat, so I always felt it was a little easier to play up at the higher frets.

 

Just me pontificating, but I think a lot of it comes down to how players position their thumb on their fretting hand. I think if you're a player tends to wrap his thumb around, that probably is more limiting as to what is comfortable. I've never really done that, and it seems to me that's probably why I don't necessarily feel drawn to one particular type.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have come to the conclusion that in general I'm much less picky about particular neck profiles than many players. It's rare that I pick up a guitar that has a neck that I just can't stand, and in all the guitars that I own, there's a bunch of different profiles represented. I do find the neck on my 69US to be quite comfortable, though. I like the feels of the satin finish, and overall it seems like it plays a bit faster than any other guitar I have. The funny thing is that when I had my Variax 300, I actually loved the neck on that, too. It was a bit wider and flatter than a typical Strat, so I always felt it was a little easier to play up at the higher frets.

 

Just me pontificating, but I think a lot of it comes down to how players position their thumb on their fretting hand. I think if you're a player tends to wrap his thumb around, that probably is more limiting as to what is comfortable. I've never really done that, and it seems to me that's probably why I don't necessarily feel drawn to one particular type.

 

Always was, and always shall be 100% subjective. I can't stand anything with a shorter scale...feels like trying to stuff myself into shoes that are 2 sizes too small. But that's just me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was playing my 69s the neck was definitely a bit smaller, but I wasn't having any problem with chords. There was maybe 1 chord progression that was a bit strange to play, but after practicing it for a minute it was totally fine.

 

The only problem I have is not that the string spacing might be small, but that the edge of the E strings might be too close to the edge design wise. I don't know if I got a guitar with too much sloping going on at the frets, but it might just be a design I'm not used to yet.

 

My 600 and my SG both have pretty good space between the slopes and the E strings and I never had any problems with slippage. 

I've noticed changing the angles of my fingers coming down on the strings helps to prevent pushing the strings off the fretboard, but it does take a bit more focus. One fingered pull offs on the thin e strings are susceptible to slippage but it's not as audible when it happens. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I loved the C profile neck on my 300 and don't like the 1957ísh, Les Paul profile on my new JTs 69, although it id quite playable. But then,  the set up makes italmost unusable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I loved the C profile neck on my 300 and don't like the 1957ísh, Les Paul profile on my new JTs 69, although it id quite playable. But then,  the set up makes italmost unusable.

 

I got my JTV 69 replacement in last week. The setup was awfully high for my taste so I knocked the action down a bit with the hex set they gave me and it feels a lot better now. There's slight fret buzz but nothing that hurts the tone or sustain of the guitar. Setting up the intonation was extremely annoying though.

 

The 69 neck isn't that bad, it just could use more edge space on the E strings, but that's something I'll just have to adjust my playing to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's all very personal. Before any Variax was around I was exclusively a Les Paul player so I was used to that neck profile. When I bought a Variax 300 I found the neck so slim that it was causing me pain in my hand to play. I swapped the neck (and body) for a Warmoth Variax build and it remains the most comfortable and playable neck for me. I then chose a JTV-59 rather than another model because of its LP-like neck. Although it is very comfortable and playable for me I still prefer my Warmoth neck. But the technical advantages of the JTV make it my #1 guitar.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it took a while, but I got a Red JTV-69. Waited to long to get a new one, so had to settle for used. Like to use Sweetwater, but was told they're not in production. Only other dealer I would have used that had one was located in my State (Sales tax on top of price...... over $ 1,100.00)

It's clean, has 2 batteries, case, etc.....   (Had to get the tremolo bar from Full Compass - get al my Variax parts from them)

But as I suspected, I don't like the neck. Too narrow at nut.

I still need to set it up, the previous owner must have had issues, it plays terribly. Hi E string rattles in the nut - open chords must have been a nightmare with the modeling.

The spacing of the string in the nut don't appear even. (I was a guitar tech back in the day. Do all my own work.)

The bridge set up is way off. E-A-D string saddles way to far back.

Strings don't come close to the curve of the neck.

Would like to put my Variax 500 neck on it (the one I have on my 300 in the profile pic), but if not I'll get the Mighty Mite neck I hear so much about on the Forum.

 

Any input would be appreciated.

 

Al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it took a while, but I got a Red JTV-69. Waited to long to get a new one, so had to settle for used. Like to use Sweetwater, but was told they're not in production. Only other dealer I would have used that had one was located in my State (Sales tax on top of price...... over $ 1,100.00)

It's clean, has 2 batteries, case, etc..... (Had to get the tremolo bar from Full Compass - get al my Variax parts from them)

But as I suspected, I don't like the neck. Too narrow at nut.

I still need to set it up, the previous owner must have had issues, it plays terribly. Hi E string rattles in the nut - open chords must have been a nightmare with the modeling.

The spacing of the string in the nut don't appear even. (I was a guitar tech back in the day. Do all my own work.)

The bridge set up is way off. E-A-D string saddles way to far back.

Strings don't come close to the curve of the neck.

Would like to put my Variax 500 neck on it (the one I have on my 300 in the profile pic), but if not I'll get the Mighty Mite neck I hear so much about on the Forum.

 

Any input would be appreciated.

 

Al

Don't know if that one will fit or not...even if the heel fits OK in the pocket, you may still have scale-length issues. Only way to tell is to bolt it on and see if the intonation is wildly off or not.

 

Or skip the experimentation and just get a Strat neck. If you're picky about the profile and nut width, Warmoth has several shapes and nut sizes to choose from...don't think Mighty Mite offers much in the way of options, aside from compound radius vs. straight 9.5" radius all the way up the neck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely the JTV-59 is closer to a Variax 500 Neck  - although compared to a 25.5" scale length Variax 500 neck, the JTV-59 feels and plays more like a Les Paul - owing to its shorter 24.34" scale length   - but I consider both Variax 500 and JTV-59 to be on the chunky side (Which is My own #1 preferred Neck Profile) - and nothing like the "too slim" Variax 300 neck 

 

The JTV-69 Neck profile is a totally different animal  - and suffers from extreme taper "by design" ( not sure  what they were smoking when they approved the JTV-69 neck profile - must have been a blind guy who needed the varying neck thickness to judge what fret he is playing based upon how thick the Neck is - the width and thickness both dramatically vary in dimension along the length of the JTV-69 neck.

 

Imagine slicing a baseball bat  in half lengthwise, installing a Nut at the skinny end and using that for a Guitar Neck  - thats what the JTV-69 Neck Profile feels like 

 

IMHO JTV-69 is too narrow at the Nut and too chunky at the 14th fret - and many JTV-69 fretboards  are too narrow at the 5th fret  - with resulting issues with strings falling right off the edge of the Frets if your try to play hammer-on  / tapping playing styles  

louisville-slugger-bat.jpg

 

 

By Contrast the JTV-59 (see my avator) plays like a dream! 

 

 

Totally agree. Absolute pain in the lollipop to do any guitar work that will push the E strings off from center of their default position, which is going to happen with hammer-ons and pull-offs unless you're somehow unhumanly anal precise about finding a good balance of hammering on and pulling off without sliding the string off too far.

 

Even with the "fix/addressing" of the E string slippage, I still think even though they apparently beveled the frets narrower, it still isn't enough room for respectable hammer ons and pull offs. Doing 3rd Chords on the E and A string are also a pain in the lollipop, which I like to do a lot, and you kind of have to push your chord upwards so the E doesn't slip off.

 

If the neck was like a normal Strat neck instead of this "Oh this appeals to people who have tiny baby midget hands" crap, it would of been the perfect guitar.

That reminds me, my warranty is running out really soon, I might as well swap the neck soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That reminds me, my warranty is running out really soon, I might as well swap the neck soon.

You could have done that on day 1 instead of suffering for a year, and simply kept the stock neck in case you needed warranty work. All you'd have needed is a Philips head screwdriver and an IQ bigger than your shoe size, and not a soul would have ever known that that it had been removed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm planning on putting a Warmouth neck on my JTV69. Possibly their rosewood neck with an ebony FB. But I think my 69 has a real nice acoustic sound when not plugged in, and I figure the chunky neck might have something to do with that. Plus, even though it's chunkier than I like, it's very playable for me. I just want the 69 to be a first grab guitar, and it'll need a new neck for that. Actually a neck that will cost almost what I paid for the guitar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could have done that on day 1 instead of suffering for a year, and simply kept the stock neck in case you needed warranty work. All you'd have needed is a Philips head screwdriver and an IQ bigger than your shoe size, and not a soul would have ever known that that it had been removed.

 

I know, but I'm always paranoid about stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×