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Hello Folks...

 

Last October I received my Helix and then caught the Variax Bug... I found a used mint JTV-69 on craigslist and I am very happy with the guitar...

 

But, just like many of you, I replaced the neck with a Mighty-Mite neck and did some aesthetic mods as well like a Graphtech Black TUSQ XL Nut, Fender Locking Tuners, Greasy-Groove Tortoise Pickguard, Black Single Coil Pickup Covers, a Black Chrome Humbucker Pick-Up Ring and a custom decal for the headstock.

 

Here are some pix of my new-old guitar...

 

21.jpg22.jpg23.jpg24.jpg

 

I am planning to swap the Piezos with Graphtech saddles, but, since the hardware in my JTV does not have a subsonic filter, there will be a lot of handling noise that will make the Variax unusable.

 

The way that I will fix this is by installing a small filter circuit board between the bridge saddles and the JTV circuitry to filter all of the subsonic noise. (work in progress)

 

Let me know if I can help with any questions

 

seeya

 

Joe

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Hello Folks...

 

Last October I received my Helix and then caught the Variax Bug... I found a used mint JTV-69 on craigslist and I am very happy with the guitar...

 

But, just like many of you, I replaced the neck with a Mighty-Mite neck and did some aesthetic mods as well like a Graphtech Black TUSQ XL Nut, Fender Locking Tuners, Greasy-Groove Tortoise Pickguard, Black Single Coil Pickup Covers, a Black Chrome Humbucker Pick-Up Ring and a custom decal for the headstock.

 

Here are some pix of my new-old guitar...

 

21.jpg22.jpg23.jpg24.jpg

 

I am planning to swap the Piezos with Graphtech saddles, but, since the hardware in my JTV does not have a subsonic filter, there will be a lot of handling noise that will make the Variax unusable.

 

The way that I will fix this is by installing a small filter circuit board between the bridge saddles and the JTV circuitry to filter all of the subsonic noise. (work in progress)

 

Let me know if I can help with any questions

 

seeya

 

Joe

You lost me at "subsonic filters", but it looks great, and if it works, it works!

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Why would the Graphtec transducers have more handling noise than the stock LR Baggs units?

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Why would the Graphtec transducers have more handling noise than the stock LR Baggs units?

 

Hey Sn

 

I did install the Graphtech saddles, but since the piezo is embedded in the saddle (which is made completely of the special Graphtech material), just rubbing your palm across the saddles would create a whoosh/ scratchy sound. 

 

Here's some pix before I reverted back to the LR Baggs Piezos...

 

1.jpg2.jpg3.jpg

 

I still want to install the Graphtech saddles with the sub-sonic filter... I will report back on the results.

 

 

seeya

 

Joe

 

P.S. My guitar is from 2011, Line 6 may have integrated filtering in later revisions (can anyone verify this?)

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Hey CW, 

 

The stock piezos are excellent, no problem whatsoever...

 

I believe that the stock piezos are ok because the piezo element is a small part of the whole saddle; with less chance for noise transmission from the saddle to the piezo

 

The JTV-89 uses a Graphtech/Floyd bridge, but, the piezo element is mounted in the metal saddle like the LR Baggs

 

gtfloyd.jpg

 

The sub-filter may help this ... only time will tell... I will have the board in a few weeks

 

Let me know if you have any other questions :)

 

Seeya

 

Joe

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Quote from another forum:

 

 

 

...the piezos used in the Line6 guitars have a lower output than most commercially available piezo bridges. This *can* (depending on pick attack) overdrive the op amps ahead of the A-D converter - this manifests itself as horrid square wave clipping (not nice smooth overdrive on an analogue/valve circuit).

...Line6 had to find a work around for the 89F which features standard Graphtec saddles on a Floyd. As a result there is a little daughter board plugged into the bridge cable input with some attenuators. It works but isn't foolproof.

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Quote from another forum:

 

Quote

 

 

...the piezos used in the Line6 guitars have a lower output than most commercially available piezo bridges. This *can* (depending on pick attack) overdrive the op amps ahead of the A-D converter - this manifests itself as horrid square wave clipping (not nice smooth overdrive on an analogue/valve circuit).

...Line6 had to find a work around for the 89F which features standard Graphtec saddles on a Floyd. As a result there is a little daughter board plugged into the bridge cable input with some attenuators. It works but isn't foolproof.
 

 

 

Hey U-O-D

 

I turned the volume level of all of the strings down to to 33 % in Workbench HD...didn't make a difference...

 

(It looks like the Workbench string volume doesn't adjust the gain of the first Variax Gain Stage where the initial overload may occur...)

 

EDIT: I had broken a wire on one of the piezos that was making all of the noise... also I was adjusting the patch string volumes and  should have been adjusting the Global String Volumes

 

 

What I am trying to do with the Subsonic filter is reduce the low-band noise right after the piezos which might reduce the overload to the first Variax Gain Stage.

 

The addition of an attenuator for each string after the subsonic filter might help further.

 

Stay Tuned :)

 

Seeya

 

Joe

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Quote from another forum:

 

Quote

 

 

 

Hey U-O-D

 

I turned the volume level of all of the strings down to to 33 % in Workbench HD...didn't make a difference...

 

(It looks like the Workbench string volume doesn't adjust the gain of the first Variax Gain Stage where the initial overload may occur...)

 

 

What I am trying to do with the Subsonic filter is reduce the low-band noise right after the piezos which might reduce the overload to the first Variax Gain Stage.

 

The addition of an attenuator for each string after the subsonic filter might help further.

 

Stay Tuned :)

 

Seeya

 

Joe

 

 

This thread is what I have been waiting for. Thanks for starting it. Great pictures too. I have been contemplating the move to Graphtechs for my JTV-69 as well. Could you filter the low band out with a low cut filter/eq in the Helix or other pedal? That should at least tell you what the crossover point and Q value need to be.

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Hey Guys

 

I went back to my experiment to replace the Stock Saddles on my JTV-69 with Graphtech saddles...

 

Previously, the extraneous noise that I was experiencing was due to a saddle wire that had broken making the Graphtech system unusable.... 

 

When I went to give a second gallant effort, the wire on the 6th saddle just came off... after ordering a replacement saddle, re-installing the bridge on the guitar, and setting the global string levels in Workbench, I was very happy with the results!!

 

Here are the Workbench Volume settings...

 

saddle5.jpg

 

 

 

I also had to trim the saddles to allow easy string changes and so that the saddle was not making contact with the bridge plate directly...

 

saddle4.jpg

 

 

 

Here are some more pix...

 

21b.jpg

saddle6.jpg

 

 

saddle2.jpg

 

 

 

 

I also glued a small permanent magnet near the piezo wire access hole to catch broken string ends from getting to the electronics cavity

 

saddle3.jpg

 

 

Another thing that I found after extensive testing was that the "plink" has disappeared on the 6th string...

 

Previously I was able to create the "plink" very easily with palm muting... now, nothing!. That made me very happy.

 

Good luck to those who are trying to make the Variax as powerful as it can be!!

 

Seeya

 

Joe

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Nice Job!  Your trimming to prevent the saddle touching in the rear is critical!  Saddles also can't touch each other or there will be way more crosstalk.  Crosstalk kills alternate tunings.

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Nice Job!  Your trimming to prevent the saddle touching in the rear is critical!  Saddles also can't touch each other or there will be way more crosstalk.  Crosstalk kills alternate tunings.

 

 

Hi Charlie, Thanks for the kind comments...

 

I have around 0.007" clearance between saddles... I had to file the sides of a few saddles to get this clearance.

 

seeya

 

Joe

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Do you notice much difference in the model tones?  When I put these on my Variax 500, it seemed that the tones were not quite as bright. (at the time a good thing)  I did have to lower the string volumes like you did to prevent distortion.

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Do the setscrews line up properly with the little grooves on the bridge plate?  I think I remember someone on this forum mentioning a problem with getting the bridge pieces to lie flat because of a small difference in screw spacing.

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Do the setscrews line up properly with the little grooves on the bridge plate?  I think I remember someone on this forum mentioning a problem with getting the bridge pieces to lie flat because of a small difference in screw spacing.

 

Hey S.H.

 

The L.R. Baggs Piezos have a pointy set-screw and the Graphtech Piezos have a flat set-screw

 

setscrew.jpg

 

The spacing difference is minimal  (0.240" for the L.R. Baggs versus 0.237" for the Graphtech)

 

Once the guitar is strung-up everything works fine!

 

seeya

 

Joe

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Nice Mods!!! love the scratch plate! may have to do the same :)  heres mine (mighty mite neck)

 

 

post-134327-0-80328700-1454932614_thumb.jpg

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I'm curious about the neck itself...which Mighty Mite model did you choose?

 

Mighty Mite Fender Licenced Neck from StewMac (# 5713 Compound Radius)

 

neck.jpg

 

http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supplies/Bodies_and_Necks_and_Wood/Electric_Guitar_Bodies_and_Necks_and_Wood/Electric_Guitar_Necks/Replacement_Neck_for_Strat_Guitar.html

 

I hope this helps

 

Seeya

 

Joe

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Sweet, thanks! No issues with fit?

Anything that fits a Strat neck pocket should do just fine. Depending on your budget, Warmoth is another way to go. I have Warmoth necks on several guitars, including my 69. Never been disappointed with any of them, though they will typically set you back a few more shekels...

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Can you post a recording of the guitar using the Graphtecs?

 

Here's a quick recording I did on the JTV with Graphtech saddles...all of the Acoustic Models through the Helix AUX IN and the Lester model through different Helix amps.... comments welcomed.

 

I recorded with some Helix hi-gain patches to show the lack-of-plink sound that I had previously with the stock Low E piezo

 

EDIT: the below is a new link with the Helix Global EQ turned off on the Acoustic models  :D

 

https://soundcloud.com/dirty-hurricane/line-6-jtv-69-with-graphtech-piezos

 

seeya

 

Joe

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The 6-string acoustic models sound like an electric instrument.  I'm wondering if it's the settings you are using on the Helix?  An acoustic model really wants to be run "straight-through" with possibly a bit of equalization and compression. 

 

Also, hard to make a call on the Lester bits with that amount of overdrive. 

 

I'm particularly interested in what Spank position 2 sounds like through, e.g. a clean Fender Twin emulation.

 

FYI: I have that same Mighty-Mite neck on my JTV-69 and really like the way it plays.

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The 6-string acoustic models sound like an electric instrument.  I'm wondering if it's the settings you are using on the Helix?  An acoustic model really wants to be run "straight-through" with possibly a bit of equalization and compression. 

 

Also, hard to make a call on the Lester bits with that amount of overdrive. 

 

I'm particularly interested in what Spank position 2 sounds like through, e.g. a clean Fender Twin emulation.

 

FYI: I have that same Mighty-Mite neck on my JTV-69 and really like the way it plays.

 

The acoustic sounds are JTV 1/4" output to Helix AUX IN with slight compression and slight Plate reverb.... I forgot to turn off the Global EQ !!!!.. I re-recorded the acoustic parts... I mainly wanted to show the lack-of-plink sound that I had previously with the stock Low E piezo

 

https://soundcloud.com/dirty-hurricane/line-6-jtv-69-with-graphtech-piezos

 

seeya

 

Joe

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I know this is an old thread, but what a great and timely one for me!  I just picked up a stock JTV 69, and even tobacco burst.  I never was into Variax before Helix.  I had a JTV 59 with HD500x, but didn't like the sound of those two together so got rid of both.

 

I am still getting used to the guitar, so not set on any upgrades yet.  But this thread is a great reference.  Thanks!

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Shows a 2011 guitar, so warranty is not an issue. But for those who want to do mods during your warranty

period, be aware that any mods that affect the function of the guitar, will void the warranty. So be aware of that.

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