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Forget modeling -- how do you like your JTV otherwise?

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I really love my JTV59, it is my go-to guitar for gigging, but if the modelling failed and it turned into a 'one trick pony' my 1977 Les Paul does the trick better. It would be an awesome standby guitar though!

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As for myself I am quite happy with the mags on my 59.  I chose it because I already have an old tele and a gibson ES-125 with real vintage P90s and I decided it was time to get a guitar with humbuckers.    I played a 69 in a music store and I have to say that I preferred the neck but that is not surprising as I have always been a member of "team Fender."  I am sure that folks who prefer LPs would like the 59 neck better.  As for myself it is fun to play a different style guitar.  Obviously we all have our own preferences but I think that anyone who loves guitars would be missing out if they didn't have both fender and gibson style guitars in their collection.  I was considering an LP but the 59 gives me all of that as well as all of the extras that the modeling provides.  If I had to find fault I would prefer lower less chunky frets.  But that is just nit picking.  And one of the unexpected bonuses is that after working out on my Varian when I switch back to the tele it feels like my fingers can really fly.    Fit and finish are excellent and it is a lovely instrument. So all in all I think it is a great guitar.

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Of course...it's called "having a functional guitar". The strings should never, under any circumstances be falling off the fretboard under normal use. Yes, sloppy playing can cause it, but I suspect that for most who had/have that problem, they probably aren't consistently falling off the edge of every other guitar they own. The JTVs that had that problem either had an improperly cut nut, or poorly dressed frets...or both. That's why they had to address the specs...

 

Yes, but even then, the string edge distance is still incredibly small compared to every other guitar I've played. It would help if the frets were very steep on the edges instead of having the slopes they have.

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Yes, but even then, the string edge distance is still incredibly small compared to every other guitar I've played. It would help if the frets were very steep on the edges instead of having the slopes they have.

 

Even then what? Either the nut is cut properly with string spacing appropriate to the neck's width, or it isn't. The frets are either properly dressed, or they're not. If your E strings are falling off the neck on a regular basis, then you have one, or both of the aforementioned problems. The necks are obviously still hit or miss, even after the early problems were supposedly addressed. You can either keep swapping guitars until the end of time, hoping that you get one where everything works, or fix this one. The neck issues are easily dealt with, just requires a little money...perhaps not the ideal scenario for you, but a solution nonetheless. Mighty mite necks are just a little over $100...it's pretty much a guaranteed improvement. I didn't want to spend any more money on my JTV 3 months after I got it, but the neck was a dog, so I bit the bullet and did what was necessary. Couldn't be happier.

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I have the JTV 59 and this is the first guitar I have owned that feels like it was made for my hands (I own about 25 electric guitars). I have a thing about electric guitars and I have not even looked at another guitar since I got the JTV 59. I will probably buy another one and start getting rid of some of other guitars that I just don't play.

 

-Max

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I love the feel of my Jtv 69. I got used to the feel of it very quickly. I have a 75 US made strat and I love the feel of that neck too!

 

As far as the mags go... My guitar is fairly new and I have had so much fun with the modelling I have not messed with the mags too

Much. They seem to be noisy and bright like most single coils I have used. I just use a noise gate if I have to.

 

Bottom line is ... Yes, I would use it as a regular non modelling guitar. I also love the tremolo bar.

 

In my opinion the quality of the instrument is in line with the cost.

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Okay, I just got my 89f, like 2 days ago, so my opinon might change over time as I get out and gig with it.  But right now, yea I would use it without the modelling, if I had to. I can't say I would have bought it without the modelling but I"m glad I did. The neck on this one feels like it was just made for me. It has a wider string spacing than my other guitars (Strat, Epi LP, Variax 500), but I have big hands and long fingers and that extra space suites me very well. The mag pickup, balance, fit and finish on the gutiar feel in line with a instrument at this price point as well. I will have to see when I get out on gig with it, but right now I can see myself actually using the Mags more often live and pulling in the modelling for certian songs and/or tunings.  And then the opposite next time I need to do some recording.

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I have a 69s (s s s) maple fretboard

 

LOVE IT

 

fwiw, it's obviously strat inspired and I am not a strat fan

I LOVE the neck and the mag pups

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My JTV-89F is a great guitar....without even talking about the modeling capabilities. The magnetics are crisp, clear, strong and reactive to playing style. The neck is perfect for someone with long fingers and long arms and the neck-joint access is organically ergonomic.....(yes, i just said those two words together). The intonation is easily adjusted at the bridge and not a single string fretted out, due to it's considerate design and construction.

 

All of my gear is Line 6 (amps, wireless, floorboards, POD....and now guitar) but this isn't a biased opinion.....this isn't about any weird brand-fixation.....it's about quality and although I've read plenty of dissatisfied reviews about various Line 6 products, I've never been able to complain at all about what my set-up has done for me and my music. I've been playing guitar for over 30 years and have known many musicians with many guitars....I won't be one of them as this one does all I expected and needed from it already. My Ibanez's and Fender's will be gathering some extra dust....but won't be forgotten.

 

I took a chance and bought this guitar to inspire some creativity.....plenty of ideas now.....and satisfaction.

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I was just out at Sweetwater, and I was looking at a Shoreline Gold 69S that was listed as "Scratch and Dent"...but it said "We have more on order"..

Who orders more scratch and dent anything?

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Sweetwater's concept of scratch and Dent is very minor. My 89f was listed as a scratch and dent, figured I'm a gigging musician it's gonna get those anyway. I can't find a scratch on the thing.

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I was just out at Sweetwater, and I was looking at a Shoreline Gold 69S that was listed as "Scracth and Dent"...but it said "We have more on order"..

 

Who orders more scratch and dent anything?

Lol..."Got any more f@&$?! up ones?"

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Sweetwater's concept of scratch and Dent is very minor. My 89f was listed as a scratch and dent, figured I'm a gigging musician it's gonna get those anyway. I can't find a scratch on the thing.

Mine was same way...still not sure what they thought was wrong with the thing.

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Mine was same way...still not sure what they thought was wrong with the thing.

Mine was S&D as well, but I know what was/is still wrong with mine -- fret leveling.  It's "liveable" but I need to just order some fretworking tools from StewMac and fix it.  I think "scratch and dent" means basically factory seconds....

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I like my Korean JTV-59, especially for rhythm. I would still play it if the Variax electronics died. The mag pickups actually have a really nice tone, IMHO. They don't sound like a Les Paul or whatever, but that's OK. They have their own voice, and I find it useful.

 

To me, the modeled tones in the 2.x firmware sound too compressed. They suck all of the energy out of the guitar part. I get much more dynamic range from the mags. With the rest of the band playing, the 2.x models all seem to disappear into the mix.

 

A few weeks ago, I realized that since I updated to FW 2.1 I have not used modeling at all. I try it in rehearsal, then go back to the mags by the first chorus.

 

I plan on reloading the 1.x firmware so I can use modeling again. I think the original models have a clearer, more distinct character and more dynamics.

 

The acoustic models suck out loud in all firmware versions, IMHO. The so-called "HD" acoustics sound like a $50 Walmart guitar played into a $5 plastic computer mic. I find them completely unusable.

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I've had my JTV-59 for 3 months.  That is a tough question (would I keep it if there was no modeling?).  I really got it for the modeling.  I'm not expert, but I know what sounds good to my ears and what plays nicely in my hands.  I love the sound and feel of my PRS SE Soapbar Singlecut better than the JTV-59, which cost twice as much. The 59 has a chunky neck and a heavy body, which is taking some time to get used to.  But that may just be typical of LP-style guitars. I can't fault the fit and finish. It's solid and nicely finished.  The veneer top looks great if you stand far enough away. The PRS SE just feels easier to play.  Interesting to know, both guitars were made by World Musical Instruments in Korea. 

 

I'm not a humbucker fan, but I do like the magnetic HBs in the 59.  They are expressive and have a depth of tone that I like.  But if the Variax modeling didn't work, I'd probably look for a guitar that sounded like a strat, but didn't look like one.  If there is such a thing.

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I've had a Korean JTV-59 for a little over 2 years now. Overall, I've been happy with the guitar itself. Like most Asian-made guitars, it can benefit greatly from a decent setup, some fretwork, and new tuning machines (I put in some locking ones and that really helped the tuning stability). With these enhancements, it is a really nice guitar. I like to take it to practice sessions, or to gigs where I might not want to take my expensive guitars (custom Strats, 335, etc), or gigs where I really need to do everything on one guitar (e.g. switch between acoustic and electric). 

 

My biggest disappointment with the Variax has been with how the modeling/software have been evolving. I thought it was decent enough when I purchased the guitar and it came with version 1.71. Since then, I feel like the 2.x HD models have taken a few steps forward (overall tuning stability and palm muting), but I agree with what RobDog03 said above that the modelled tones seem to have taken a step back in 2.x. I too find them compressed, and in particular some of the 2.x models like the 335 don't sound much like the real thing even with a lot of tinkering in the Workbench software.

 

Yes, I could go back to the old 1.x models and I have done this on occasion. But then I can't use Workbench on my Mac running Yosemite. And I lose the enhancements with tuning stability and palm muting that came with 2.x. In addition, I'd really like to see more choices of models available in Workbench. For example, a couple different models of Strat would be helpful - a 50's model and a 60's model with beefier sounding pickups. I'd also love to see a nylon model, a ukulele, a bouzouki, and a Selmer Maccafferi (gypsy) model. 

 

I only hope that L6/Yamaha is continuing to work on improvements to the Variax models and Workbench software as the concept has so much potential. I think we are coming up on almost a year since the last Variax update. I know a new Yamaha Variax guitar was introduced at NAMM. Was there any talk at NAMM about future development of the Variax software?

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I have had my JTV59 TSB since soon after the initial launch.  It is my go to guitar and is my gigging work horse.  I did have it professionally set up but it only needed some minor tweaks such as having the string slots lowered in the nut.  I also replaced the tuners for locking tuners - just because it was a real PITA to change strings because of the bridge design with no stop bar, so the strings would just pop out unless I use a capo to hold them in place whilst I threaded the string onto the tuning peg.

 

I use it with an HD500 and an L2M and sometimes a DT25.  I use modelling 100% of the time as I am in cover bands and we cover a wide range of material.  If the modelling failed I would still use it as it is an excellent and very playable LP style guitar.

 

I have an LP which is my favourite guitar, but the JTV59 does give it a good run for it's money, especially with the locking tuners.    It has a beautiful TSB finish with the flamed maple showing trhough.  I am very happy with it.

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The acoustic models suck out loud in all firmware versions, IMHO. The so-called "HD" acoustics sound like a $50 Walmart guitar played into a $5 plastic computer mic. I find them completely unusable.

 

Are you playing the Variax through an electric guitar amp, by chance? That description would be appropriate for any acoustic guitar plugged into an electric guitar amp, as opposed to an acoustic amp or PA speaker.

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Are you playing the Variax through an electric guitar amp, by chance? That description would be appropriate for any acoustic guitar plugged into an electric guitar amp, as opposed to an acoustic amp or PA speaker.

 

I really don't think that he uses an amp... It is true that the 2.0 acoustic is garbage and pretty useless. With the non HD acoustics you could play normally, as any guitar, with the HD you have to adjust your playing too much, to only avoid the guitar get distorted... 

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The setup on my new 69 is akin to, but not as good as, the setup on the Kay Speed Demon that I got for Christmas in 1965. The nut does not seem to be set up at all, just notched. The strings are so high that it is impossible to play chords, down on the neck, in tune due to the distance the strings have to travel to hit the frets. And, even though the strings are so high I still get major buzz on the G string. It looks like I am going to have to drive 60 miles to have my guy set it up and do the frets. With gas (60 miles x4) this will cost me $100 easy. I had a Variax 300 that played like a dream. I hear all this stuff about James Tyler fit and finish, which I agree with, but the set up on mine makes it impossible to play in tune and the buzz makes it useless on all acoustic recording.

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Are you playing the Variax through an electric guitar amp, by chance? That description would be appropriate for any acoustic guitar plugged into an electric guitar amp, as opposed to an acoustic amp or PA speaker.

 

I tried them direct to mixers, through acoustic amps, and through electric amps. I tried graphic EQ, parametric EQ, and amp tone controls.

 

The HD acoustics just sound terrible to me. The highs are grating, the midrange is harsh and "barky", and the lows are either comically exaggerated (pos 1, pos 5) or non-existent (pos 3). They're just unpleasant to listen to.

 

The model at position 3 is particularly bad. I can't imagine how that was ever released.

 

My opinion. Maybe the HD acoustics sound good with other playing styles, but I don't care for them.

 

The 1.7x acoustic tones sound like an acoustic-electric with a piezo pickup. They can at least be improved with some EQ.

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The setup on my new 69 is akin to, but not as good as, the setup on the Kay Speed Demon that I got for Christmas in 1965. The nut does not seem to be set up at all, just notched. The strings are so high that it is impossible to play chords, down on the neck, in tune due to the distance the strings have to travel to hit the frets. And, even though the strings are so high I still get major buzz on the G string. It looks like I am going to have to drive 60 miles to have my guy set it up and do the frets. With gas (60 miles x4) this will cost me $100 easy. I had a Variax 300 that played like a dream. I hear all this stuff about James Tyler fit and finish, which I agree with, but the set up on mine makes it impossible to play in tune and the buzz makes it useless on all acoustic recording.

 

There are lots of good articles and videos about electric guitar setup. With some basic tools, you can do a pretty good setup at home.

 

Adjusting a truss rod is just a matter of measurement and patience. Once that's dialed in, the bridge is pretty easy. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

 

High frets are also pretty easy to find and fix, once you know how to do it.

 

Setup is a useful skill to learn. You can save a lot of money, and if something gets out of whack on gig day you can just fix it yourself.

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The setup on my new 69 is akin to, but not as good as, the setup on the Kay Speed Demon that I got for Christmas in 1965. The nut does not seem to be set up at all, just notched. The strings are so high that it is impossible to play chords, down on the neck, in tune due to the distance the strings have to travel to hit the frets. And, even though the strings are so high I still get major buzz on the G string. It looks like I am going to have to drive 60 miles to have my guy set it up and do the frets. With gas (60 miles x4) this will cost me $100 easy. I had a Variax 300 that played like a dream. I hear all this stuff about James Tyler fit and finish, which I agree with, but the set up on mine makes it impossible to play in tune and the buzz makes it useless on all acoustic recording.

 

I got a JTV69 at one of the bargain prices and it was fine except for the strings being so high - and it was down to the nut slots not being deep enough - I took it to a guitar luthier who cut the nut slots to the correct depth and then I could adjust the saddles for intonation and tweak truss rod to ensure no buzzing.  It made the world of difference - plays just as nicely as my Fender strats now.  So I recommend you get the nut slots cut correctly - it will make all the difference to the playability!   

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I tried them direct to mixers, through acoustic amps, and through electric amps. I tried graphic EQ, parametric EQ, and amp tone controls.

 

The HD acoustics just sound terrible to me. The highs are grating, the midrange is harsh and "barky", and the lows are either comically exaggerated (pos 1, pos 5) or non-existent (pos 3). They're just unpleasant to listen to.

 

The model at position 3 is particularly bad. I can't imagine how that was ever released.

 

My opinion. Maybe the HD acoustics sound good with other playing styles, but I don't care for them.

 

The 1.7x acoustic tones sound like an acoustic-electric with a piezo pickup. They can at least be improved with some EQ.

 

Sean Haley doesn't appear to have many problems with them, which is possibly part of how they got released - check out this video from 3:05 where he demonstrates the new 1.8 Acoustic models:

 

 

Not saying that you and others are not having problems with this - for example this thread http://line6.com/support/topic/5049-lousy-acoustic-sounds-how-to-improve/ includes quite a few others who can't get them to work, but you might want to check out this blog: 

 

http://blog.line6.com/2013/2061/

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The setup on my new 69 is akin to, but not as good as, the setup on the Kay Speed Demon that I got for Christmas in 1965. The nut does not seem to be set up at all, just notched. The strings are so high that it is impossible to play chords, down on the neck, in tune due to the distance the strings have to travel to hit the frets. And, even though the strings are so high I still get major buzz on the G string. It looks like I am going to have to drive 60 miles to have my guy set it up and do the frets. With gas (60 miles x4) this will cost me $100 easy. I had a Variax 300 that played like a dream. I hear all this stuff about James Tyler fit and finish, which I agree with, but the set up on mine makes it impossible to play in tune and the buzz makes it useless on all acoustic recording.

This is just one of the many reasons that I've decided to buy all of my guitars from Sweetwater.  I bought my JTV69 and a PRS SE Custom 24 from them and both guitars arrived set up perfectly.  They were even almost in tune.  I made an impulse purchase of an Ibanez RGIR27FE 7-string at a guitar shop in Reno and I wouldn't complete the sale until they spent 1/2 an hour knocking the sharp edges off the frets.  Then I did a complete setup on it once I got it home; the truss rod needed 1 full turn total but now it plays great.

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My 69S was perfect at the nut when I received it from Sweetwater.  I'm sure they did not touch the nut setup either.  No high frets either.  I had to adjust the Low E and A strings up a little at the bridge to reduce fret buzz on those strings.  It's the easiest guitar to play that I own. (And I really like the acoustic models)

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Not saying that you and others are not having problems with this - for example this thread http://line6.com/support/topic/5049-lousy-acoustic-sounds-how-to-improve/ includes quite a few others who can't get them to work, but you might want to check out this blog: 

 

http://blog.line6.com/2013/2061/

 

The acoustic tones clearly work for some people. Which is great. I'm glad they do. I wish they did for me. All I get from them is midrange, jangle, and mud.

 

One thing is clear from the forum and blog posts: you have to adapt your right-hand technique a lot to avoid overdriving the acoustic models.

 

I tend to play acoustic with a lot of energy, so I'm not willing to make that adjustment. I'd rather switch to my acoustic when I need to, so I can play as I prefer with the sound that I like.

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The acoustics sound superb. They no longer sound like piezo electric acoustic guitars, and sound more like microphone recorded acoustics. I love it. 

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why not reduce the string volume a bit on the acoustics....

another trick if the main 6 string models don't work for you....

turn off the octave strings on the 12 stringers=2 new 6 stringers....

 

The acoustic tones clearly work for some people. Which is great. I'm glad they do. I wish they did for me. All I get from them is midrange, jangle, and mud.

 

One thing is clear from the forum and blog posts: you have to adapt your right-hand technique a lot to avoid overdriving the acoustic models.

 

I tend to play acoustic with a lot of energy, so I'm not willing to make that adjustment. I'd rather switch to my acoustic when I need to, so I can play as I prefer with the sound that I like.

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I find the acoustic models are very sensitive to fret buzz. I just finished adjusting my setup again (done seasonally to account for changes in humidity levels). I noticed a significant improvement in the acoustics after the small amount of fret buzz that had crept in was completely removed.

 

But still, really aggressive playing ends up muddy because it's hard to play aggressively without creating some fret buzz.

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why not reduce the string volume a bit on the acoustics....

another trick if the main 6 string models don't work for you....

turn off the octave strings on the 12 stringers=2 new 6 stringers....

 

Last time I turned off the 12 string guitars like that it sounded a bit brighter than the other guitars, and maybe a bit of a hybrid between the new HD model acoustics and old piezo sounding acoustics, so yes, give it a try.

 

I understand that the new acoustics can be muddy in a mix, but you can always work on it with EQ.

You can get the HD models to stand out more with EQ, but you can't get the old piezo models to sound as realistic as the new models with EQ, something I've tried a lot but it never sounded as nice as micing up even my low end Rogue dreadnought. Just didn't sound as real.

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The acoustic tones clearly work for some people. Which is great. I'm glad they do. I wish they did for me. All I get from them is midrange, jangle, and mud.

 

One thing is clear from the forum and blog posts: you have to adapt your right-hand technique a lot to avoid overdriving the acoustic models.

 

I tend to play acoustic with a lot of energy, so I'm not willing to make that adjustment. I'd rather switch to my acoustic when I need to, so I can play as I prefer with the sound that I like.

 

As The Realzap has already mentioned - why not try lowering the string volumes for the acoustic models in Workbench HD ?

Also - try lowering the VOLUME control on the JTV.  

 

Backing off the volume will give you more head room and allow you to put more energy into the strings without over driving the models.

 

I have found that lowering the volume for the acoustics in either way does allow you to play more naturally and IMO the lower volume seems to make them sound more authentic.

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Or I could just play my acoustic guitar. That's not a hardship. It's a really nice guitar, and I like it a lot.

 

I didn't mean to hijack the thread with the acoustic model thing. Honest.

 

The  OP asked: "If the modeling on your JTV blew apart tomorrow, would you still use your guitar, or is it useless to you with[out] the built-in models?"

 

My answer was (and is) yes. I like the feel of the guitar, and I like the sound of the Tyler humbuckers. I bought it for the modeling, but discovered that it's a really nice guitar in its own right. (Even with all the extra innards, it still weighs less than my Les Paul...)

 

The onboard mags are a huge advantage of the JTVs over the original Variaxes, IMHO. I don't bring a backup electric, because I know I can still get good sounds from the JTV-59 if the electronics fail.

 

If the Variax super powers are working, I'm perfectly happy with being able to dial up a couple of usable single-coil modeled sounds from a humbucker guitar. It's nice to have that palette available.

 

I don't care if the model sounds just like Stevie's or Jimi's (or whoever's) guitar -- I wouldn't sound like them if I had their actual gear. All I want is to find a tone that suits the song and sits well in a live mix.

 

It's perfectly OK that some of the models are not useful to me. That's true of all modeling devices (POD, Boss GT, keyboards, etc.). Some tones suit, some don't.

 

I might like some tones that other players don't, and vice-versa. That's OK, too. It's not a zero-sum game; we can all be right.

 

So it's all good, as far as I'm concerned.

 

-Rob

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Or I could just play my acoustic guitar. That's not a hardship. It's a really nice guitar, and I like it a lot.

 

I didn't mean to hijack the thread with the acoustic model thing. Honest.

 

The  OP asked: "If the modeling on your JTV blew apart tomorrow, would you still use your guitar, or is it useless to you with[out] the built-in models?"

 

My answer was (and is) yes. I like the feel of the guitar, and I like the sound of the Tyler humbuckers. I bought it for the modeling, but discovered that it's a really nice guitar in its own right. (Even with all the extra innards, it still weighs less than my Les Paul...)

 

The onboard mags are a huge advantage of the JTVs over the original Variaxes, IMHO. I don't bring a backup electric, because I know I can still get good sounds from the JTV-59 if the electronics fail.

 

If the Variax super powers are working, I'm perfectly happy with being able to dial up a couple of usable single-coil modeled sounds from a humbucker guitar. It's nice to have that palette available.

 

I don't care if the model sounds just like Stevie's or Jimi's (or whoever's) guitar -- I wouldn't sound like them if I had their actual gear. All I want is to find a tone that suits the song and sits well in a live mix.

 

It's perfectly OK that some of the models are not useful to me. That's true of all modeling devices (POD, Boss GT, keyboards, etc.). Some tones suit, some don't.

 

I might like some tones that other players don't, and vice-versa. That's OK, too. It's not a zero-sum game; we can all be right.

 

So it's all good, as far as I'm concerned.

 

-Rob

Nice post with some great points man.

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Does turning down the volume really work with getting rid of "piezo overload"?

I remember the global string volumes acting like a pre-amp for the piezos before the modeling stage, but is that still true with the HD Variax?

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Does turning down the volume really work with getting rid of "piezo overload"?

I remember the global string volumes acting like a pre-amp for the piezos before the modeling stage, but is that still true with the HD Variax?

 

They certainly don't act at the analog input level and I'm not sure that anyone besides Line 6 knows where they lie in the virtual signal chain.  Why a detail this fundamental is considered proprietary is beyond my understanding.

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My JTV 69 looks great, sounds great, feels great, my only complaint is I have nothing to complain about.

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