Jump to content
bpapina

Fixed quiet E & B strings and difficult bends on the JTV-69 with one change

Recommended Posts

[Hopefully this info will help others]

 

I purchased a JTV-69 approx 2 months ago and had it set up. The guitar sounded great but I was experiencing two problems:

 

  1. The action was great but the strings were very difficult to bend. I have been playing for over 30 years and have pretty tough fingers so the tension even surprised me. I had the guitar setup with D'Addario EXL110 10-46 (which I have been using on all of my guitars for years) and tuned to Eb. I like my trems to have the same feel and play like Brad Gillis. Sadly, this trem was way off the mark.
  2. The high E & B string volume were very low compared to the other strings on the Spank and T models.

 

I have always been a two spring guy with trem systems and I always direct the springs towards the center of the claw at an angle. Today I decided to move the springs when I was making some adjustments to the setup. I set them up so that they are on the far sides of the claw and straight...HOLY CRAP!!! This guitar plays SO much better. Honestly, better tone, playability, ease of bends, pinch harmonics were easier to hit...on and on. The other GREAT thing was when I plugged it in and went through a few of the models the E & B strings that had previously been very low in volume and crappy sounding were perfect (I'm using the latest firmware 2.1) on the Spank and T Models. I did have a slight negative issue associated with this change...the high frequency 'ringing' that others have mentioned reared it's ugly head. I fixed mine with a shoe lace around the headstock but have seen others remedy this problem with Velcro and other neck wraps. To me this was not a problem and easily corrected. 

 

Anyway...not sure if this will work for everyone but it has made my life SO much better. Can't wait to get the latest 2.6 firmware and new model packs for my HD500...my JTV is ready SON!!!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why?  It does not make sense to me that this change would do anything for the string tension which is mostly responsible for how hard they are to bend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It didn't make any sense to me either Charlie but the playability is so much better. The difference was significant. I've been setting up and working on guitars for years and I've never had this happen. The guitar plays like my PRS now.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why? It does not make sense to me that this change would do anything for the string tension which is mostly responsible for how hard they are to bend.

Not getting it either. Makes even less sense that it would have any effect at all on the volume of the E and B strings, relative to the rest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The high e was so tight with the springs the other way that it felt like an 11 or 12. Now it bends like a 10 should. All I can imagine is that the extra tension on the E & B were messing with the piezo or how the JTV reacted to the imbalance in the tension. The other big change was how pinch harmonics are so much easier to pull off on the G string where they were a struggle before. Worked wonders for me...that's all I've got to say. Hopefully if someone else has the same issue they can at least try this change and see if it helps them out.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

String tension is the same when it's tuned to the same pitch no mater what you do with the Trem springs.  String height is the only thing that will affect the playability and your changes should not have changed the action.  I am a technical guy and I don't like mysteries!  I'm glad it's playing better for you but I still don't understand why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Charlie - It's not a mystery...maybe I didn't word my findings correctly but I wasn't talking about the action. The action did not change. The problem was that the E, B & G strings were very difficult to bend when the springs were connected at an angle. With the springs moved to the outside positions and straight bending was a breeze. As far as I can tell (although it could be a little different) the action did not change.

 

When I was talking about the E & B strings being 'low' I meant the volume of the two strings (I will edit the original post to clarify). From what I have read on this forum and others this has been a widely reported issue that many have experienced with the Spank and T models on the JTV when the firmware change from 1.9 to 2.0. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

When I was talking about the E & B strings being 'low' I meant the volume of the two strings (I will edit the original post to clarify). From what I have read on this forum and others this has been a widely reported issue that many have experienced with the Spank and T models on the JTV when the firmware change from 1.9 to 2.0. 

 

That's true...and generally attributed to varying piezo sensitivity, which is fixed. Whether you had 1 or 5 springs back there, won't change the piezo's output. It's just weird...then again, these guitars are a little strange. If it works, it works. File it under "odd"...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the reason for the significant difference in 'performance' of the piezos on the E, B and G strings was because of the excessive tension on those strings (at least in my case). The benefit that I am realizing at this moment is that the sustain of those strings is much better than it had been when I could barely bend them. The harmonics are another piece that is better which would also attribute to the way the guitar was reacting to the angled springs. My fingers know where to go to elicit pinch harmonics and they were not working and if I was able to get one it would not ring out properly. Since the strings were not reacting as they should have, I can only imagine that the piezo, and in turn the variax software was confused by the result and reacted appropriately (in a bad way).

 

Another thought that I had is that the trem was not floating as it should. I assumed that the wires attached to the circuit board screwed into the trem block were causing the trem to bind and not float like a normal trem. After the spring change, I don't feel the lag or binding in the trem like before as it floats now like a proper trem.

 

I did move the springs back last night to see if I was confused in my experience and it went right back to playing like crap. My springs will remain straight from now on. 

 

I am all about filing this under 'odd' but definitely wanted to post this if it can help anyone else. As I said before, my enjoyment of this guitar has increased immensely based on how it plays now.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the bridge was not floating before, when you bent the strings, there was likely no give as the springs were very tight. Now that you have adjusted spring tension, and the bridge floats, the bridge most likely "gives" when you bend, allowing you to bend them easier. However, the pitch will also change in this circumstance, so you would have to bend the strings a bit more to get the same amount of pitch change.

 

If you look at the bridge now when you bend, I suspect that it is reacting to you bends in the slightest way as if you have lightly used the

Trem.

 

Have you always played a trem equipped guitar or have you played hard tails before?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Scott - I completely agree with your analysis. I have been playing trems for 30+ years and I have never experienced one that would not work with angled springs. In fact, Michael Casswell sets almost all of his guitars up with this approach and he is a fantastic trem player (Jeff Beck Style). That is why I didn't even think that I would have to move my springs from the angled style since I have 8-9 other guitars set up in this manner and they play incredibly (both floyd rose, fender, wilkinson and fender traditional bridges). I don't even own a hard tail.

 

Hi Jandrio - I don't have my camera with me but this pic (which I robbed from the internet) is how the springs are setup now

 

43dadada-4396-11e2-a8e3-fe9585a9b98b.jpg

 

This is how I did have them set (and how all of my other guitars are setup

 

53570a42-4396-11e2-a8e3-fe9585a9b98b.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see how if the trem is now floating and it wasn't before that it would feel easier to bend the strings.  Keep in mind if that is the case, you will detune the other strings when you bend one string.  The actual string tension when you are not bending has to be the same as it was before our the string would be out of tune.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well boys I know nothing about spring trems... But, the picture shows you can hook the springs on either way. My new Jtv 69 is like

The second picture. ( the springs are on an angle not parallel. )

 

There must be a reason for being able to hook the springs on either way right? This is my first guitar with tremolo so I have nothing to compare it to. The guitar plays and feels similar to my strat. I have the factory strings which are 10 to 46 I think.

 

I am not gonna monkey with mine. Feels ok to me as is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

........

There must be a reason for being able to hook the springs on either way right?  ..............

 

The trem claw and block is designed so that it can take a maximum of 5 springs all aligned parallel to each other.

 

The number of springs used is determined by the player and how they like their floating trem to operate.

 

The more springs the more tension exerted on the strings and the "harder" the trem is to operate.

Less springs mean less tension and therefore the trem is easier to operate.

 

The other adjustments (apart from number of springs and type of springs) that can be made which also affect spring tension are:

 

-  the distance the claw is from the block and this is typically adjusted if a player changes string gauge - say they move from 9's to 10's then they will have to move the claw further away to increase the spring tension to counter act the extra string tension from the heavier strings.  The claw distance is also used to adjust where the trem floats in relation to the body and how much up and down movement a player wants to dorp or raise notes with the trem.

 

- whether the springs are fitted parallel or at an angle.  Putting them at an angle means they stretch further and are under more tension. It can be thought of as a fine tune tension adjustment, but the same effect can be had by leaving them parallel and tightening the claw screw so the claw moves further away from the block and increase the spring tension

 

I can't see how the positioning of the springs does anything other than increase or decrease the tension exerted on the trem block.  Once the strings are tuned to pitch the only thing that affects the playabilty or feel will be the trem tension set by the spring positions and stretch.

 

However, I know that Variaxes and JTVs can behave oddly so it could be that the OP's experience for his particular JTV does rely on the spring positioning, or it's something else that is happening at the same time as a result of the springs being repositioned but it is not at all obvious.  Just hypothesizing.    :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't see how the positioning of the springs does anything other than increase or decrease the tension exerted on the trem block.  Once the strings are tuned to pitch the only thing that affects the playabilty or feel will be the trem tension set by the spring positions and stretch.

 

However, I know that Variaxes and JTVs can behave oddly so it could be that the OP's experience for his particular JTV does rely on the spring positioning, or it's something else that is happening at the same time as a result of the springs being repositioned but it is not at all obvious.  Just hypothesizing.    :)

 

I agree that for basic playability only the trem tension should change... but changing the spring positions will change the tension on the individual springs and therefore its resonant frequency, and consequently the resonance of the whole trem block which could affect the signal from the peizos. It is possible that certain spring tensions could cause the trem block to vibrate in sympathy with the B + E thus countering or reinforcing the signal from the pickups which rely on mechanical pressure rather than magnetic induction that we are more used to. Having notes that seem to sustain for longer may make it appear to be easier to play.

 

The trem block on the JTV 69 I think generally vibrates naturally at a much higher frequency than I would like - I certainly can't do trem warbles (flick the arm - like Vai or Stach does sometimes) like I used to be able to do on my Wilkinson trem guitars. I haven't worked out how to slow it down, but theoretically it would require making the mechanism heavier somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that for basic playability only the trem tension should change... but changing the spring positions will change the tension on the individual springs and therefore its resonant frequency, and consequently the resonance of the whole trem block which could affect the signal from the peizos. It is possible that certain spring tensions could cause the trem block to vibrate in sympathy with the B + E thus countering or reinforcing the signal from the pickups which rely on mechanical pressure rather than magnetic induction that we are more used to. Having notes that seem to sustain for longer may make it appear to be easier to play.

 

......

 

I agree with you - my oversight  Of course the spring tension will affect it's resonant frequency.  So perhaps the OP by moving the springs parallel and lowering their respective resonant frequencies has inadvertently increased the relative volumes of the B+E strings.

 

If this is the case then the same effect could be achieved by leaving the springs hooked at an angle and then unscrewing the screw for the claw slightly to reduce the spring tension.  Or the reverse effect could be achieved by tightening the screw for the claw in the current parallel spring position - increasing the spring tension should revert the guitar back to the non-resonant springs and the lower volume in B+E and make it feel more difficult to play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The trem claw and block is designed so that it can take a maximum of 5 springs all aligned parallel to each other.

 

The number of springs used is determined by the player and how they like their floating trem to operate.

 

The more springs the more tension exerted on the strings and the "harder" the trem is to operate.

Less springs mean less tension and therefore the trem is easier to operate.

 

The other adjustments (apart from number of springs and type of springs) that can be made which also affect spring tension are:

 

 

-  the distance the claw is from the block and this is typically adjusted if a player changes string gauge - say they move from 9's to 10's then they will have to move the claw further away to increase the spring tension to counter act the extra string tension from the heavier strings.  The claw distance is also used to adjust where the trem floats in relation to the body and how much up and down movement a player wants to dorp or raise notes with the trem.

 

- whether the springs are fitted parallel or at an angle.  Putting them at an angle means they stretch further and are under more tension. It can be thought of as a fine tune tension adjustment, but the same effect can be had by leaving them parallel and tightening the claw screw so the claw moves further away from the block and increase the spring tension

 

I can't see how the positioning of the springs does anything other than increase or decrease the tension exerted on the trem block.  Once the strings are tuned to pitch the only thing that affects the playabilty or feel will be the trem tension set by the spring positions and stretch.

 

However, I know that Variaxes and JTVs can behave oddly so it could be that the OP's experience for his particular JTV does rely on the spring positioning, or it's something else that is happening at the same time as a result of the springs being repositioned but it is not at all obvious.  Just hypothesizing.    :)

Thanks a lot for the great post Edstar, very informative and well written.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think standard (factory) 69 configuration is 3 parallel strings...

but may b i am wrong....

 

http://s412.photobucket.com/user/elantric/media/JTV%20Variax/P1020106.jpg.html

You guys are right, there are three springs, I never noticed the third spring down the centre till I looked at it on an angle thru the plastic cover piece. Lol!
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never seen a trem that didn't come with 3 springs...seen plenty of guys add or remove one, but 3 is pretty standard across the board.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Springs are different and must be balanced as well.The springs used on a high end Floyd Rose are different from what is used on a strat tremolo . I guess they are gauged in a way. I think the OPs guitar has a mismatch of tremolo springs somehow . I know I have accidentally used a different spring when reassembling a Floyd and it was screwed up until I put the original one back.They also wear out after years of heavy use and should be replaced with all new ones as a set.More stuff for guitar players to be worried about lol!

 

Very glad you got your JTV working well.I do not have one but am considering one and whether it would be useful to me.

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

×