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Inconsistent string volume of JTV models

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I've had a JTV59 for about 3 months, and I noticed that almost all the models have very quiet E, A, and D strings, while the G, B, and E are much louder.  The B is the loudest, but that is typical of many guitars I've played.  The problem is my higher treble notes drown out the deeper bass notes. 


Is this due to variations in the piezo pickup sensitivity in the bridge?  The magnetic humbuckers don't suffer from this problem. 


This is what I've tried to correct the problem, and it helps a lot.  In Workbench, I went through the models one by one and picked each string from low E to high E, listening for which strings were louder and by how much.  Then I turn the individual string volume of loud strings down to between 60 and 80, depending on what sounds good with each model.  Lastly, I raise the overall model volume by 2 to 5 db, to bring all the strings up to a good volume. 


The E, A, D strings still sound less expressive, less detail in the tone, but at least the volume is not completely drowned out by the treble strings.  If the problem is the piezo, I imagine a replacement is expensive. 


I also noticed that raising the the overall db level on the Spank models actually helped them sound better, to me at least.  

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Yes, the piezos can vary, and the point of global volume control is to tame this. USe this in workbench.


If you can't fix the problem in workbench, then it's best to address this with Line 6 via support ticket, as you could have an very overly sensitive piezo, which can result in issues with the sound of that string with the piezo.

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Unfortunately there is no way automatically calibrate the piezo volumes.  The only way to do it is by using your ears and adjusting the values in Workbench OR record the signals and look at the recorded track to look at the differences between string volumes and then try to level them out.  Of course you will have to do this for every guitar model you want to use.  You can adjust the GLOBAL STRING volumes for everything first and see if that works for all models - but you may well find that you still have to adjust individual models to taste.


I was happy with my JTV59 string volumes when I was on fw 1.9 or earlier but as soon as I moved up to fw 2.1 I noticed that the B and E strings were much quieter than the lower strings and it was very noticeable on certain models.  I rolled back to fw 1.9 to just to confirm it and found that strings were nicely balanced.  So in my case, the fw level on the guitar seemed to be making the difference - but I don't know if that is because fw 2.1 is highlighting the inconsistencies in my piezo's whereas v1.9 did not or whether there is an issue with the fw itself.  I tried reflashing several times and oddly the situation improved but I still had to tweak things in Workbench to fine tune the string volume differences.


It is probably worth reflashing back to v1.9 and seeing whether the string volume balances improves and then move forward to v2.1 to see if the difference comes back again.  It is also worth trying to reflash the variax at the v2.1 level just to see if that improves the situation.   I know it sounds nuts but over the years plenty of variax users have found that reflashing does fix all sorts of strange behaviour.  It may also make no difference - but it is always the first thing that TECH SUPPORT ask you to do when trouble shooting an issue, so I figure it is always worth a try. 


Good luck in resolving the string balance issue.

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Thanks for the replies. That's a lot of good info.  I think I can live with what I've got after tweaking and adjusting in Workbench HD. I had a lot of trouble with upgrading firmware to 2.1 (had to try several times just to get it to work) so I am reluctant to downgrade to an older firmware version, now that everything is working. But I have read this can solve problems. I may have to get over it and just do it. 


Again, after adjustments in Workbench, it's probably not bad enough to open a ticket.  But it's good to know my suspicions were true, and sensitivity can vary from piezo pickup to pickup. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had this problem on most of the electric models with Variax 300 (Workbench w/global control of string levels) and later with JTV 59 (WB HD ). I rejoiced when WB HD came out with indiv string level controls but the end result was disappointing. I found that it wasn't only the string-to-string balance (which I could never adjust to my satisfaction), but the fret-to-fret balance: a string would lose significant volume in different fret positions. I fiddle & fiddled with it but never got a result that approached realism. In the end I sold my JTV for this reason. I kept my V300 as I only use it for the National, acoustic 6-and 12-strings, and banjo models. These models don't seem to have the wild string balance variations that the electric models have, and I can control it with global control.

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I found that it wasn't only the string-to-string balance (which I could never adjust to my satisfaction), but the fret-to-fret balance: a string would lose significant volume in different fret positions.

Almost seems like that may have been a physical issue with the frets and/or the neck itself. I've had several guitars over the years that have had dead spots at certain frets. Sometimes the fret isn't seated properly, or it could be that the neck just has an odd resonance at that particular frequency. Fret issue could be dealt with, but if it's just the way that piece of wood vibrates, you're kinda stuck with it. I replaced the neck on one of my Strats for that reason...took care of the problem.

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