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Variax HX

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Please tell me Line6 is going to transform the Variax Standard into a Variax Pro the way they did the HD500X into the Helix. 

 

I'm not looking for any hate from Variax, JTV or Variax Standard lovers, but they all sound unrealistic to me. 

 

It seems more DSP and better build quality would be welcomed, even at double the price. USA versions for the same electronics seem overly priced but I have not played one. I did like the feel of the JTV59 I tried. I've read many complaints of folks getting a decent JTV69 concerning the fret work. I have not played a JTV89 either.

 

Only one JTV69 around here and that one was not even set up properly. Not a lot of love for Line6 guitars at my local GC. No 59s, 89s or Standards.

 

Posted Variax HX idea on ideascale:

 

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Variax-HX-Variax-Pro/727249-23508?submitted=1

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I have a Variax JTV-69 that I replaced the neck and pups and I really-really like it now... Could it be more realistic? Maybe, but don't forget besides the modeling it offers alternate tunings / HD500 parameter control / No-Noise pickups (if using the models) / Acoustic Sounds / long lossless cable runs with the digital cable.  

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Please tell me Line6 is going to transform the Variax Standard into a Variax Pro the way they did the HD500X into the Helix.

 

I'm not looking for any hate from Variax, JTV or Variax Standard lovers, but they all sound unrealistic to me.

 

It seems more DSP and better build quality would be welcomed, even at double the price. USA versions for the same electronics seem overly priced but I have not played one. I did like the feel of the JTV59 I tried. I've read many complaints of folks getting a decent JTV69 concerning the fret work. I have not played a JTV89 either.

 

Only one JTV69 around here and that one was not even set up properly. Not a lot of love for Line6 guitars at my local GC. No 59s, 89s or Standards.

 

Posted Variax HX idea on ideascale:

 

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Variax-HX-Variax-Pro/727249-23508?submitted=1

Well there are a few things relevant here. First, as has often been quoted around here, the JTV's $1400 MSRP is for a $700 guitar with $700 worth of fancy electronics. And frankly, for a sub-$1K guitar, fretwork tends to be lackluster. Just is. Yes, you might get lucky here and there, but by and large you get what you pay for. Don't care who's making them. I recently acquired a low-mid priced 7 string (just under $700)...needed fretwork right out of the box, and I knew it would. 2 high frets that you could eyeball. You could argue all day long that it shouldn't be that way, and you'd be right. But it is what it is. Mass-produced overseas guitars are exactly that. The guy on the assembly line is not a lifelong craftsman with meticulous attention to detail, no matter what the advertising blurbs say. He's got a production target of X # of necks to fret this week...because Monster Rifftorium, Inc. is waiting on a shipment.

 

As for the opinions of the average gear jockey at your local MegaloMusic...it's really not even worth discussing. And set-ups? Please. I've yet to pull anything off the wall that was set up properly, no matter what the price point. Most guitars hang there for weeks or months before you get your hands on them. I've picked up guitars that have been there so long, the corrosion on the strings had effectively turned them into razor wire...you practically need a tetanus shot afterwards. These places would have to employ someone who actually knows what they are doing, to do nothing all day but set up their stock, working from one end of the store to the other. Lather, rinse, repeat. What actually happens is some high school kid pulls a guitar from a box it and hangs it on a wall. If you're lucky he tunes it. Once. No stretching of strings, no intonating, no action adjustments.

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If you want better build quality, pony up the big bucks and get an American made JTV. You have to pay around $3000 more. But you'll (supposedly) get the quality you're looking for. As far as the quality of modeling. I kind of think this is it for at least a little wihle. I personally am happy with the modeling. It's definitely close enough for the needs it serves and besides. now that I have it, I have a different attitude towards it. It's not a guitar that simulates and sounds like such and such a guitar. It's a guitar that sounds like this...STRUM...when it's on this setting and this...STRUM...when I have it on this setiing. And then I have this really cool program that can change the sounds even more!!! When I had my SG it did not sound exactly like a Strat. I wanted that sound in my SG so I rewired, put in 6 throw 4 pole switches so each pickup could be single coil (either one) parallel, in or out of phase and in series, in or out of phase. Then those two pickups could be set 6 diffeent ways as well with another 6 throw 4 pole switch. 3, 6 throw 4 pole switches giving me (if my math is right) 216 possible combinations/sounds. Did it sound exactly like a strat? No. were all of the sounds good or even usable, no. But I got kind of close and alot of other sounds I liked. I think people get a little too wrapped up in it sounding exactly like the Gibson Explorer their friend has and since it doesn't it needs more processing power instead of just taking the sounds as they are and asking yourself not if it sounds exactly like my dad's '63 strat but just whether you like how it sounds or not. I mean even with my 216 different possible pickup wiring, I didn't have the versatility and sonic possibility's the Variax affords me. I'm not sure I articulated myself very well and kind of went off on a tangent. But I've already typed it so I'm posting it. I love my Variax and all the possibilities it affords me. Certainly exponentially more than the options I had in 1980. OK I've blathered enough.

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I'm not sure I articulated myself very well and kind of went off on a tangent. But I've already typed it so I'm posting it. I love my Variax and all the possibilities it affords me. Certainly exponentially more than the options I had in 1980.

Sure you did. And you're right. For Pete's sake, any two Strats you play won't sound identical...If they did nobody would ever bother owning more than one. So when someone gripes about the modeling not sounding "exactly" like a Strat, it's not unreasonable to reply "Which one doesn't it sound like"? That said, I'm in the camp of those who didn't particularly care for the latest Strat model. Just sounds anemic to me...so I made my own. Does it sound exactly like my "real" Strat? No, but it's damn close...and nearly indistinguishable from the JTV's single coils in positions 3,4, and 5, minus the noise.

 

It's amazing that we can do that.

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Well, I don't mean this be combative or come off as a fanboy, but I'm not sure how anyone can say the Variax models sound unrealistic. I mean, I have real versions of several of the guitars modeled, and it's to the place that I really can't hear a meaningful difference between the JTV and the real thing. I think the technology will continue to evolve, but it's hard for to imagine a huge leap from where it is now. If the real thing is the baseline, and you can fool people in an A/B test right now, where do you go from there? I guess you try to make the whole thing more streamlined, add more options, and make incremental improvements to the modeling.

 

I don't know what plan for the Variax line is.I don't know how big the demand is for a $2,000+ Variax. The US JTVs are made-to-order for a reason.

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Please tell me Line6 is going to transform the Variax Standard into a Variax Pro the way they did the HD500X into the Helix. 

 

I'm not looking for any hate from Variax, JTV or Variax Standard lovers, but they all sound unrealistic to me. 

 

It seems more DSP and better build quality would be welcomed, even at double the price. USA versions for the same electronics seem overly priced but I have not played one. I did like the feel of the JTV59 I tried. I've read many complaints of folks getting a decent JTV69 concerning the fret work. I have not played a JTV89 either.

 

Only one JTV69 around here and that one was not even set up properly. Not a lot of love for Line6 guitars at my local GC. No 59s, 89s or Standards.

 

Posted Variax HX idea on ideascale:

 

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Variax-HX-Variax-Pro/727249-23508?submitted=1

 

They just released the "Standard" so I doubt they would change or update it so soon after release. I guess they could release another new "Pro" model, but I hope there's some kind of upgrade path for those of us who already invested in current variax's.

 

I own a Korean JTV-59, and while I'm all for any improvement in guitar modeling and alternate tunings in the variax's, there's a limit to how much more I'd be willing to pay to get them. I'd have bought an American version if the modeled sounds were really better, but with everything else involved, it was really too much money.

 

   I'm hoping there are some small improvements in the guitar modelling of the current JTV's when using the Helix, without having to replace the JTV with a newer model. Maybe some king of upgrade kit to update the electronics currently in the existing JTV's someday.

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 That said, I'm in the camp of those who didn't particularly care for the latest Strat model. Just sounds anemic to me...so I made my own. Does it sound exactly like my "real" Strat? No, but it's damn close...and nearly indistinguishable from the JTV's single coils in positions 3,4, and 5, minus the noise.

 

It's amazing that we can do that.

 

I actually agree about the latest Strat model. Especially the neck middle out of phase position. Doesn't quite have that Mark Knopfler sound I love. But I have heard real Strats sound just as anemic. Usually older "vintage" Strats where I think the pickups just aren't as strong as other Strats. I often wonder if that's the kind of Strat that was modeled.

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I actually agree about the latest Strat model. Especially the neck middle out of phase position. Doesn't quite have that Mark Knopfler sound I love. But I have heard real Strats sound just as anemic. Usually older "vintage" Strats where I think the pickups just aren't as strong as other Strats. I often wonder if that's the kind of Strat that was modeled.

 

I think that's it exactly...it's a '59 Strat that they modeled, no? Assuming that it was the original pickups, they are probably not as hot as whatever Fender is putting in there these days.

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I actually agree about the latest Strat model. Especially the neck middle out of phase position. Doesn't quite have that Mark Knopfler sound I love.

 

It may not help, but Mark Knopfler mostly played with bridge-middle (position 2, not neck-middle) for his classic Sultans of Swing sound, so you could try that.

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I should have been more clear in my original post. When I said "but they all sound unrealistic to me.", I did not mean it should sound exactly like a specific guitar, but that it should sound more like the mags of a guitar. I received a Variax Standard about a week ago and there is a clear difference between the single coils and the Spank models. I don't know the proper terminology to use to explain what I hear, but it's like comparing 2D to 3D. Magnetic pickups sound fuller, richer, real, not as flat sounding. The models don't sound terrible, and when you combine their tone with amps and effects, etc., they are usable, but they don't sound like mags. When you start using alternate tuning, there are other audible anomalies that creep into the mix. 

When you listen to an impressionist like Rich Little, he sounds enough like the person he is impersonating to remind you of that celebrity. You think, wow, that sounds just like so and so. When you A/B Rich and the celebrity, the differences become obvious. There is nothing special about my hearing. In fact, being over 50 makes them worse than many, but if you can't hear the difference I am referring to, then we disagree. I get that it's subjective.

​The versatility of these guitars combined with the POD and DT amps and/or FRFRs is tremendous and has a number of additional benefits. The acoustics sound much better though my Altos and there is a punch from the DTs I don't get from the Altos. I love what can be done by pressing a single FS on the POD. I just want the guitar models to sound more like a real guitar. I would like to think that if you throw more processing power and genius coding into the mix, a better representation of mags could be achieved. If you are completely satisfied with the current iteration of the tones in the Variax, great. I'm not. It does not mean I can't use them. I just want more realism.

Only 15 people have voted for the ideascale I posted in my original post, so it looks like I am in the minority. That's ok. This is a place where we can express our thoughts and opinions and get feedback from others. I appreciate everyone's input.

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I'm with you no the models sounding flat compared to real pickups.

That's why I don't use any of the models except the acoustics.

NONE of them sound as full as the regular pickups on the guitar itself. They have more "bite", fullness, and lots more bottom to them. I even tried the ones that are supposed to sound like the pickups in my 89f...but they don't.

It's just hard to justify turning on the models and getting a decent sound, when I can simply switch to the mags and get a great sound.

Not sure that anything can be done about it. But the electronics have been disappointing to me on my JTV 89F.  The alt tunings are all discordant, the models are weak compared to the mags.
But the guitar itself is very playable and sounds good using the magnetic normal pickups. The acoustic is awesome to use in a live band.

Just wish I had known that the electronics weren't up to the level of my Brian Moore with GK pickups going through my VG7 Roland amp.

But then again...the VG7 doesn't even come close in tone to my current HD 500/DT 50 "dream rig" so I'm screwed either way. lol

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I received a Variax Standard about a week ago...

Not to derail the thread, but just quickly, how do you find the Variax Standard as a guitar? I'm considering getting one, and want to get a feel for how people are feeling about the guitar itself, not the electronics (which I already have in my JTV59).

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Not to derail the thread, but just quickly, how do you find the Variax Standard as a guitar? I'm considering getting one, and want to get a feel for how people are feeling about the guitar itself, not the electronics (which I already have in my JTV59).

 

I have played 3 different types of Variax guitars after I did a setup on them (300, JTV-59TS and this white Standard). The 59 felt and played the best of the three, which coincides with cost. Unfortunately, it had some electronic and cosmetic problems. 

 

To me, it feels similar to a Yamaha EG 112C I bought used to "experiment" with. The Standard has a much better bridge and nut and it holds tuning quite a bit better when using the vibrato arm. It does not hold tuning as well as other guitars even without using the vibrato, but in all fairness, it ended up about half the price of my Mira, Strat or LP. I got a blemished Standard for $625. It also has a rumble like vibration that seems to come from under the pick guard that I noticed when restringing. I don't know what that is yet.

 

Hammer-ons and pull-offs take a lot more effort to accomplish then on my other guitars, especially above the 12th fret. The string height measures the same as my Strat at the 12th fret, but feels farther away. The neck is not as wide as the Strat at the nut. A little less room than I'm used to. It measures the same width at the 22nd fret.

 

If you have any specific questions, I'll try to answer them for you.

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Thanks for the reply Cipher. Just wanted to get a quick initial overall impression, and not derail the thread, so thanks for replying.

 

Now, back to Variax HX speculation...

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The neck is not as wide as the Strat at the nut. A little less room than I'm used to.

 

Well that's disappointing. I don't understand the fascination with these narrow nuts. Are everyone's hands shrinking?

 

Next question is what are dimensions of the heel pocket? Wondering if a Strat neck replacement will fit...seems to be the only way to escape Narrow Nut Syndrome.

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It may not help, but Mark Knopfler mostly played with bridge-middle (position 2, not neck-middle) for his classic Sultans of Swing sound, so you could try that.

 

Oooooooo thank you. I will try that.

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Well that's disappointing. I don't understand the fascination with these narrow nuts. Are everyone's hands shrinking?

 

Next question is what are dimensions of the heel pocket? Wondering if a Strat neck replacement will fit...seems to be the only way to escape Narrow Nut Syndrome.

 

I spoke with Stewmac and Warmoth just now. After I gave them the dimensions, they both said their necks are not compatible with the Variax Standard.  :(

 

For those of you who just want to know, here are my measurements:

 

Depth = 22 mm (0.866142 in) including pick guard, 19 mm (0.748031 in) without pick guard

 

Width = 56 mm (2.20472 in)

 

Length = 74 mm (2.91339 in)

 

Distance to the center of the bridge side screw holes from the bridge side of neck pocket = 14.5 mm (0.5708661 in)

 

Distance between the center of the screw holes lengthwise is 47.5 mm (1.870079 in)

 

Distance between the center of the screw holes widthwise is 33.5 mm. (1.318898 in)

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I spoke with Stewmac and Warmoth just now. After I gave them the dimensions, they both said their necks are not compatible with the Variax Standard. :(

 

For those of you who just want to know, here are my measurements:

 

Depth = 22 mm (0.866142 in) including pick guard, 19 mm (0.748031 in) without pick guard

 

Width = 56 mm (2.20472 in)

 

Length = 74 mm (2.91339 in)

 

Distance to the center of the bridge side screw holes from the bridge side of neck pocket = 14.5 mm (0.5708661 in)

 

Distance between the center of the screw holes lengthwise is 47.5 mm (1.870079 in)

 

Distance between the center of the screw holes widthwise is 33.5 mm. (1.318898 in)

Equally disappointing, though not surprising. I'm only guessing, but I suspect that too many of us replaced necks on the 69's for their comfort level. It screams "problem", and "customers not happy". Not good for branding if there's a boatload of JTV's out there that no longer say "James Tyler" on the headstock 17 times.

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Please tell me Line6 is going to transform the Variax Standard into a Variax Pro the way they did the HD500X into the Helix. 

 

 

 

That would be sweet! I am guessing you won't know until they do a big press release, shortly before a future NAMM...

 

I've been thinking that the PRS S2 guitars are a good model for reasonably priced, (mostly) made in the USA equipment.

I'd love to hear the next gen of Line6 Variax modeling embedded in a few different levels of PRS guitars. So as to cover the full spectrum of GUITAR BUILD QUALITY variations; since they all have the same modeling, in essence, something like

 

1.) First up, the lowest price: made in Korea (sim to JTV) ala PRS SE Variax:

 

hero_large.jpg

main3.jpg

 

 

2.) Next, middle price: made in Stevensville, MD (similar to PRS S2 guitars) ala PRS S2 Variax:

 

straight1.png

 

standards.jpg

 

hero_large.jpg

 

 

3.) And last, highest price : made in Stevensville, MD (similar to PRS Custom 24, semi hollow, etc. - the good stuff) ala PRS C24 Variax

Not the binding on the edge; the ten top, the nicer hardware. The $4k+ price tag! :)

 

hero_large.jpg

 

straight1.png

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never met a PRS i bonded with... no thanks. 

 

+1....I don't get the pricetag. Yes, they're pretty...but $4K for their Cadillac models? Two thousand of that is the PRS name. I suspect that most people have no idea how much guitar $4K can buy from a serious craftsman. One who presents you with a dozen blocks of cut and sanded figured woods from which to choose what will become the top of your guitar, has you come to the shop when he's ready to shape the neck so you end up with exactly what you want before the final finish is applied...these guys are out there. They have booths at your local guitar shows. They might not be famous, and Alex Lifeson hasn't been waving one of their instruments around onstage for the last 40 years, but dollar for dollar, when the guy building it knows who's hands it will end up in at the end, and his livelihood depends on your satisfaction, you will get a superior product.

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Feel like I'm piling on, but I'm not necessarily a fan of the PRS design aesthetic either. I really dislike the headstock. It's funny because I know some people have commented on the JTV headstock over the years, but imo, I'll take it over a PRS any day. I actually did have a Mira for a little while. It played pretty well, and I actually liked the feel of the neck. I was never a huge fan of the pickups, though.

 

This also may be somewhat heretical, but I really have never liked quilt-top or overly striped tops on guitars. It just does nothing for me. I've never really understood the drooling over it. I do like seeing some nice grain, but I like the look of unadorned ash or alder a lot more than a fancy maple or whatever top. Don't get me started on gold hardware... :ph34r:

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Feel like I'm piling on, but I'm not necessarily a fan of the PRS design aesthetic either. I really dislike the headstock. It's funny because I know some people have commented on the JTV headstock over the years, but imo, I'll take it over a PRS any day. I actually did have a Mira for a little while. It played pretty well, and I actually liked the feel of the neck. I was never a huge fan of the pickups, though.

 

This also may be somewhat heretical, but I really have never liked quilt-top or overly striped tops on guitars. It just does nothing for me. I've never really understood the drooling over it. I do like seeing some nice grain, but I like the look of unadorned ash or alder a lot more than a fancy maple or whatever top. Don't get me started on gold hardware... :ph34r:

 

LOL...hey, you like what you like. I have but one axe with gold tuning machines, and it's on a custom piece such as what I described above. Just happens to work for that particular instrument. I seriously doubt I'd ever put it on anything else...most of the time it really does end up looking like hubcaps on a tractor ;) ...especially gold bridge saddles. There's just no reason for that...and the plating is often so thin that it's gonna wear off anyway.

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never met a PRS i bonded with... no thanks.

I always hit the volume knob while picking and turn myself down on accident.
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I had to sit down with my Mira for a little while after reading all the posts in this thread. What a pleasure to play her. She is a quality instrument, from conception to design to manufacture to delivery. She inspires creativity in my playing.

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I love gold hardware! Chrome doesn't go with my gold George Benson Playboy Bunny medallion!

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