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JTV 69 Korean vs US


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I purchased a JTV 69S last year.   It is a really cool guitar.   Play it exclusively for electric needs. Very versatile.

 

Love to play acoustic and have a Alvarez Yairi.   Really nice look, feel, sound.   A friend bought a nice Alvarez but not a Yairi.  Huge difference in playability and sound.

 

Am hoping for a similar improvement in a US Custom version. Want a really nice guitar that is also cool.

 

We'll see.  I just ordered one.  Call me stupid.  Hope it works.

 

May have a JTV 69S to sell.  Or maybe keep for parts and just to have two.  The US will be a HSS.  What I have is a SSS, 3 tone burst.

 

Anyone own a US version that could comment?  Good or bad.

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I'll preface this by saying I've never seen any of the US Customs, so maybe they're the most wonderful guitars in the universe, I have no idea...and you'll know soon enough. What I do know is this...what is generally passed off as "custom", rarely is. Doesn't matter who's selling it. There are usually vague promises of more attention to detail, different/"better" cuts of wood, and a few more colors to choose from...and that's pretty much where it stops. And somehow this justifies charging 4x as much for an axe with the exact same specs as the "everyman" version.

 

Having spent a significant amount of money on a boutique instrument a while back, I know what can be had for that amount of money...and when you find the right luthier, you won't be stuck with whatever specs they throw at you. You'll pick the wood, the neck profile, hardware, pickups...it will be exactly what you want, and it will be unique. When it's one guy who's livelihood depends on satisfying the customer in front of him, you'll get a superior product...no, it won't have the fancy electronics (unless you find a guy willing to do a transplant), but you've got that already anyway.

 

Either way, good luck with it!

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The build quality on my Korean JTV69 is excellent, the setup is perfect and it has the same electronics as the U.S. version.  I personally can't see any benefit, for me, in upgrading.  But that's a personal decision.

 

I'm definitely looking forward to hearing your opinion after you receive the new guitar though.  I hope you find it to be incredible.  Please post back with your results.

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I own both the JTV-59 (Koren) and JTV59 US and have played both extensively on the road and in the studio. The K is a great guitar, but the USA custom shop version is just at another level. The Variax electronics are identical in both guitars, and at a quick glance they look pretty much the same. However, they not the same. I was an early adopter on the JTV guitars and have been very happy with both (I waited nearly a year to receive my US after ordering it and it was worth the wait). If I had to sell every guitar I own and keep just one to make a living with, it would be the JTV59US. It is just that great a guitar. Assuming money isn't a problem in your purchase, I would bet that you will be blown away with your new USA JTV. I have been. Congrats!!!

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I struggled with this decision last year.  I remember what Charlie above said and most other opinions were similar. While the Korean guitar is really nice I am not completely satisfied with the neck.  I understand the US version has improved neck, frets, pickups, tuners. Maybe not much but was able to get a fairly good deal so bought what I wanted to start with.  

 

Am hoping for something along what Gee Tah said. If it feels really good then it could be worth it. 

 

I will share my thoughts whenever I receive the new guitar.  Appreciate everyones comments.

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I struggled with this decision last year. I remember what Charlie above said and most other opinions were similar. While the Korean guitar is really nice I am not completely satisfied with the neck. I understand the US version has improved neck...

Well that will depend on what it is that you didn't like about the neck...because here's the rub; On the US version, maybe the frets aren't just pressed in by some guy on an assembly line, and maybe they're leveled, crowned, and dressed properly, the nut cut perfectly, etc etc....but the neck itself is still the same specs as the Korean one. So if you didn't like it because the profile is too chunky, or because of the hilariously narrow nut width, then it won't matter if the frets are polished by vestal virgins...you probably won't like this one either.

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I like the shape of the neck.   Did not like fretboard and frets when I first received it.   That has somewhat remedied itself.

cruisinon2 you may have hit on my worst complaint.  May be related to the nut.     My high E, first string has always been chunky and seems to be too close to the edge of the fretboard.  It has no sustain plugged in or not.

 

Possible bc of the nut?

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I like the shape of the neck. Did not like fretboard and frets when I first received it. That has somewhat remedied itself.

cruisinon2 you may have hit on my worst complaint. May be related to the nut. My high E, first string has always been chunky and seems to be too close to the edge of the fretboard. It has no sustain plugged in or not.

 

Possible bc of the nut?

There were lots of complaints early on about both E strings slipping off the fretboard. Imho, it's either an improperly cut nut, or an attempt to maintain a somewhat normal string spacing on the lower frets with what is a narrower nut width than on the majority of production guitars out there. I found it pretty close to unplayable for open position chords. It didn't last more than 2 months before I replaced it.

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samsgs,... your JTV has the current spec neck, replacing the neck as suggested

would not solve any hi-E slip,... in your case. String nut, and/or neck alignment, by

a tech (preferably an authorized tech) would be the recommendation. They could

also do general overall check outs while they are at it.

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samsgs,... your JTV has the current spec neck, replacing the neck as suggested

would not solve any hi-E slip,... in your case. String nut, and/or neck alignment, by

a tech (preferably an authorized tech) would be the recommendation. They could

also do general overall check outs while they are at it.

With all due respect, he never mentioned a serial number, only that it was less than a year old. Stock sometimes sits in warehouses, or forgotten on the wall of some out of the way music store for years...so who knows what specs it has? And even if it is from a production run with "current specs", that certainly doesn't preclude a nut that was not properly slotted, or shoddy fret dressing...just because something isn't "supposed" to happen, doesn't mean that it didn't. A new nut and/or a new neck might very well solve his problem.

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I get why crusinon2 would think that. I'm part of Line 6 repair, and the guy

who services JTV's here, it's part of my job to know these things. So I know

that samsgs' guitar has the current spec neck and any replacement 69 neck

will have the same spec. It's part of my job to know these things.

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I get why crusinon2 would think that. I'm part of Line 6 repair, and the guy

who services JTV's here, it's part of my job to know these things. So I know

that samsgs' guitar has the current spec neck and any replacement 69 neck

will have the same spec. It's part of my job to know these things.

OK, you know what he has. I don't, and never claimed otherwise. For the record, neither myself, nor anyone else who participated in the discussion was suggesting the OP solve his problem by replacing the neck with another identical one...that would make absolutely no sense at all. He asked a question, said he wasn't terribly fond of the neck, and at least two of us offered the same viable alternative that many have managed without incident.

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Yeah, there are alternatives out there. Some work better than others. Be aware

of what you are all getting into. Go to someone who has experience with JTV's.

Like Charlie said, get a Luthier to do the job,... if you are going the modification route.

 

There's maybe five people in the Americas and three or four in the UK, that I trust

to do a custom mod on JTV,... and not mess it up.

 

I've done my share of custom rebuilds on guitar over the last four decades (or more),

so I get the desire to want to modify stuff.

 

These JTV's are a different kind of cat, you have to cuddle it under the chin a little differently.

 

 

And a reminder that, Line 6 doesn't support mods on our product. Just so you all

have the heads up on that and are aware.

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Yeah, there are alternatives out there. Some work better than others. Be aware

of what you are all getting into. Go to someone who has experience with JTV's.

Like Charlie said, get a Luthier to do the job,... if you are going the modification route.

 

There's maybe five people in the Americas and three or four in the UK, that I trust

to do a custom mod on JTV,... and not mess it up.

Everyone needs to learn the difference between a professional luthier with a love for their craft, and their friend who "likes to work on guitars".

 

Would I leave the electronics in the hands of anybody within 6 feet of a workbench and tools? No. But installing a neck is well within the wheelhouse of any competent luthier..."competent" being the operative term. Lord knows there are guys out there who can't be trusted to tie their own shoes, let alone fix guitars properly. However, the guy who did mine is very good at what he does, yet had never been in the same room with a JTV before. It didn't bother me in the least, because I've seen his work...and nothing caught fire. Same guy did a g&p and set-up a year later, same result.

 

Caveat emptor...

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I have a US JTV69, and also had a Korean 69.(sold it since I only used the US) It's a difference. The US have another detail level, difficult to describe but its feels a lot more quality.

To give a example: where my potmeters on the Korean had a looseness and felt light, the US feels heavy duty and firm. Like it is bolted to the darn guitar itself.

It's difficult to be more specific, but the US (for me) do have that feel which you can't describe. The Korean also plays good, I'd probably go for a well set up Korean and change the neck tuners and some other things and it would be perfect.

For me (I got the US second hand for a great price) I'm super happy for the US and would have serious problem with parting with it.

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  • 3 months later...

Got my US guys!  Three months after ordering but better than some seem to have experienced.

 

Out of the box - Wood looked nicer.  High E (1st) string had better sustain, less clunkiness. Tuners were obviously upgraded. Was switching between both US and Korean unplugged looking for differences. (Cool to actually be able to do this!).  

 

I was not blown away at all. Can't say I was distraught bc I knew I was taking a chance.  But I could hear everyone laughing (along with me) that I paid for just this. Had already entered my mind that it wouldn't last and I would replace the neck on my Korean and call it good.  Get what I could for the US.

 

Then I plugged it in.   Holy cow what a difference.   Fretted notes on all strings up and down the fretboard were much crisper.   I did not expect  the sound to be what I heard.  All of the models sounded much better, more authentic.  Upgraded pickups must be a huge part.  Everyone says that the electronics are the same but man it sounds soooo much better.  

 

Agree totally with what GeeTah and doffe have said. 

 

And to make it even better, it plays well as an electric, but when in acoustic modeling you can actually play it like an acoustic.  Play a little more aggressive and it comes through in the sound, and the feel.  Very cool since I really love playing acoustic.

 

The Korean would need more than a new neck.  Pickups that would pair well with the modeling are needed to even come close to the US.  It is much more than just the neck.  Seems it is more than pickups as well. 

 

I think I got exactly what I was hoping for.  Really better than I expected. It is just a different guitar. I have been blown away. 

 

Very happy.  

 

Now, anyone need a JTV 69S Korean? 

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Lovely :) I can tell you are a sunburst-kind-of guy :lol:

 

Regarding the sound of the magnetic pickups - a lot of the sound would also be in the wood of the guitar not only the pickups.

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  • 10 months later...

Yeah. I didn't pay $4K either! Nowhere near $4K! It was the color combo of this particular guitar and the maple neck that sold me!

 

My guitar will be delivered sometime early next week. Cant wait! 

 

Question: What made your purchase a "no brainer" aside from the good deal you got on the price? Were you able to play it prior to purchase? 

 

I have NEVER in my life purchased a guitar without playing it first. My thought is that it should feel as good as my Korean but better. Is that too much to expect?

 

 

I think its great - for me it was a no-brainer (but I did not pay 4k$ for it)

 

I would rather have a white one though, mine is red. But I can live with that :D

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Nice video. I really like the white and maple US that you bought. I put a really nice Warmouth neck on my Korean JTV69 and it's now my #1 for gigging. Since I set all of my Helix patches up for the Variax, I'm concerned that if something happens to mine, I'll be in a panic for the next gig. So, I'm thinking of getting a backup. But since I still only have about $1,200 in mine and have a neck with SS frets which I love, I'll probably go Korean again and change the neck. But for home use, I would consider a US version. I'm sure a lot of guys will find your video useful when trying to make that decision for themselves.

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