Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Jtv 59 Pickup Specs

Recommended Posts

Just recently acquired my new Cherry Sunburst JTV 59. Had previous variax's (300, 500, 700) but could never quite settle with them in the absence of real pickups. Very happy so far with my new variax. However, I'm not happy with the unavailability of clear specific information about the stock pickups. I have searched high and low without luck. This prompted me to try to circumnavigate the information 'black hole' and successfully get to the other side. How far do you think I've got (see below)? Comments and contributions gratefully received, especially from Line 6.


The JTV 59 Stock Humbuckers


The JTV 59 official specification describes the above as “Vintage-voiced alnico neck and bridge humbuckers wound to Tyler's specs.â€


More detailed specifications from official (manufacturer) sources or elsewhere do not seem to be available.

It is the very absence of such information which fuels questions and speculation from those (i.e. JTV 59 owners and potential owners) who justifiably feel the need to know more about the product they have purchased or plan to purchase. For many it is understandably not enough to be content with the fact that, in quality terms, the pickups are “good†(which most agree they are). There is a desire to know more about them both in quantitative and qualitative terms. How else can objective judgement be made about their relative quality versus other pickups that owners may wish to consider as alternatives? Consequently, a number of questions arise.


Are they James Tyler (own brand) pickups?


There is lots of information online regarding ‘James Tyler (own brand)’ pickups. The humbucker range includes (from low to high resistance specs) Retro, Studebaker, Hot Retro, Supercharged Studebaker, Secret, Shark and Super. Whilst it is interesting to attempt to ‘spot’ which one of these best fits the above description it is probably a futile exercise anyway as it is highly unlikely that the JTV 59 is fitted with any of these, given that their retail price is no less than $150 (£100) a pair.


Are they a specially designed version of a James Tyler (own brand) pickup?


The JTV 59 spec. implies at least an element of this i.e. “.........wound to Tyler's specs†although it is such a loosely stated criterion. The following section “Under the Bonnet Evidence†is not intended to make any comment on the veracity of this description since no definition of “Tyler’s specs†is readily available against which the actual pickups can be measured. However, it does suggest that whoever manufactures these pickups must be satisfying a product standard that complies with whatever “Tyler’s specs†are, otherwise Line 6 would be open to accusations of misrepresentation which is unlikely to be the case.


What is the ‘Under the Bonnet’ evidence?


N.B. It is to be hoped that all JTV 59 models have the same specification pickups otherwise something is distinctly awry. Therefore the evidence from one JTV 59 should be sufficient for all.


The relatively simple job of unscrewing the pickup retaining screws, lifting the pickups from their sockets and turning the pickups to view their underside reveals the following:


Brand Name – G & B Pickup Co. (Neck pup is labelled “BONES Nâ€; Bridge is labelled “BONES Bâ€)



Who are G& B?


G & B seem to be part of a Korean Corporation – KHL Corporation. From their website - “ KHL Corporation, established in 1997, is a specialized manufacturer in electric guitars and classic guitars and acoustic guitars and musical instrument parts and accessories. We have been producing several world-famous branded guitars by OEM basis and also selling our brand ‘Wolf’ guitars over the world.†Interestingly, their website also refers to “[Trev] Wilkinson†products in their portfolio.


From the KHL website - G & B produce an extensive range of single coil, humbuckers and other types.


On examination of the G & B ‘Open Coil humbucker’ category only one candidate seems to ‘fit the bill’:


Set - G109 C (neck); G109 1C (bridge) Open Screw CR (Chrome) with the following spec:


Black with chrome coils

Resistance – G109 C (neck) 14.8k ohms; G109 1C (bridge) 15k ohms

Inductance – G109 C (neck) 6.62H; G109 1C (bridge) 6.65H

Magnets – Ferrite & Alnico V


NECK - Centre pole (6th) to Centre pole (1st) 50 mm

BRIDGE - Centre pole (6th) to Centre pole (1st) 52 mm

(These measurements match standard Gibson spaced pickups)


The G109/G109 1C set described must be assumed to be a ‘standard’ set leaving the question of what the labelling “BONES†on the JTV 59 means. Perhaps it is a ‘special’ spec. based on the ‘standard’ set, designed (with James Tyler input) for the JTV 59, in which case the JTV 59 publicity can be confirmed. If this is indeed the case owners would still like to know the full specification relative to the ‘standard’ set described above.


In terms of pricing, Axesrus.co.uk sell a G &B standard Stratocaster set for £34. A humbucker set is likely to be around the same price level (£30-40).


Contributions towards discovering the ‘full’ JTV 59 pickup specs. are most welcome, especially from Line 6.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Bones" refers to a goofy "code name" for the JTV guitar pickups while they were in development -- the 59, 69, and 89 pickups were each of different design developed by the JTV design team. they were designated "Kirk" for the 69, "Bones" for the 59, and "Spock" for the 89. So they were specifically designed byTyler, and wound to his specs for production of these specific guitars. The production people hung on to those designations to keep the pickups straight for their people to get the right pickups in the right guitars. I think it's amusing, myself... I got this in a discussion with Rich Renken over a year ago.


I have the 59 -- I got it in 2011, then in 2012 -- last fall they released the 69S that has 3 single-coil pups in the classic strat SSS configuration rather than the HSS of the regular 69 -- I preferred the regular SSS strat layout, so I got my second JTV at that point. I found that even though I had been a Fender guy for many years (over 30), the silence of the Variax 300, then the JTV-59 with the Humbuckers had spoiled me and I changed the 69S single coils to some DiMarzio noiseless single coils. When I removed the 69S's single coils, I noted the "Kirk" stickers on the underside of the pups, and got a chuckle out of it. Those pickups sounded fine, but I wanted noiseless instead, and opted for the DiMarzio pups.



  • Upvote 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that quick reply Dave, much appreciated.  That is an amusing background story. Being from someone authoritative the story reassures me that these pickups are indeed made to "Tyler specs", which gets me beyond my first 2 questions above.


To get me to a point which fully satisfies my thirst for detail do you (or another member) know anything further about the actual spec of these "Bones" pups in relation to the published G & B 'standard' pup specs. I quoted. 





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

No I don't know the specifics of the resistances and such. There was a lot of discussion prior to the release of the JTV's on this, and when people got them in their hands finally -- I was one -- I ordered my 59 in October 2010, and finally received it in may of 2011.... Anyway, you see several lines of response from the people when they got their guitars -- some didn't care for the sound of the 59's HB's, and switched them out to hotter or less hot pups, some just wanted their favorites and switched them out. I found mine to be fine, sounded good, had enough output, etc. etc, so I never had the urge to swap pups on the 59, but did swap out the pups on the 69S as I described above, not because of the sound, but because I wanted noisless, and a bit hotter output. It comes down to personal preference.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...