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Changing Variax Standard Neck?

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Hi, I have a Variax Standard. I like the sounds but I find the neck a bit wide for me and bit sharp at the edges. Would it be possible to have a guitar tech change the neck for something like an American Strat neck? I wouldn't want to try it myself as I'm not that technical. 

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The JTV69 has neck pocket dimensions identical to a Strat, lots of us have replaced them. But I don't think a Strat neck will fit the Standards...I seem to recall it being discussed here when the Standards were first released. Easy enough to test though, if you have a Strat neck handy. It's just 4 bolts, and it will either fit, or it won't. All you need is a screwdriver. If it's a no go, pop the stock one back on. No irreparable harm will be done unless you actually try to screw it up.

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Hi, I have a Variax Standard. I like the sounds but I find the neck a bit wide for me and bit sharp at the edges. Would it be possible to have a guitar tech change the neck for something like an American Strat neck? I wouldn't want to try it myself as I'm not that technical. 

 

You must have dainty hands - the Variax Standard has a narrow (vintage spec) 41.3mm neck. A standard modern Strat is wider at 42.9mm.

 

A guitar tech can easily clean up the sharp fret ends for you.

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Interesting that it's narrower than the Strat, I definitely found the Strat easier to play for some reason. 

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Interesting that it's narrower than the Strat, I definitely found the Strat easier to play for some reason.

If it's anything like the stock neck on the JTV69, then it's got the profile of a baseball bat. The profile, or the width and shape around the back of the neck (as opposed to nut width) is probably what's giving you grief.

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The Variax Standard actually has a MUCH smaller neck than the JTV69, which I agree is massive and very round.  The standard is pretty comfortable to me.

 

The Standard also has a flatter fingerboard radius, which some vintage players might not even notice as the reason it feels different to them.

 

The standard was designed with a generic square heel 4 bolt pocket to make it easier to swap necks.

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The standard was designed with a generic square heel 4 bolt pocket to make it easier to swap necks.

Lots of guitars have a square heel, 4 bolt neck pocket...but the precise dimensions of both the heel and pockets vary. It's not a given that any old neck will fit just because it looks "basically" the same as another guitar.

 

The JTV 69's neck pocket is exactly the same as a Strat, so anything that fits a Strat is a drop-in replacement...the bolts are off-set, but that's easily dealt with, I've done it. It's the dimensions that matter.

 

May or may not work with the Standards....until somebody posts some pics and says "this one fits", we're all just guessing.

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Sorry to assume.  I have a US Fender Highway series neck just sitting around.  Ill try to test the fit on the Variax Standard when I'm back home this coming week.  Ill post the results here when I can.

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Correct, the 69 neck won't fit the Variax Standard neck pocket.

You'll have to shop for the right neck as far a neck pocket fit and

length of fret-board/ fret scale.

 

Fret-board length and scale have to be correct, or you'll have

intonation problems.

 

Sharp fret ends are easy to deal with for a competent guitar tech

who can do it without over-beveling the ends.

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I checked this weekend.  The Variax standard does accept my US strat neck.  The issue is that when it is seated in the heel pocket, the position of the last fret is very different, so the nut and the rest of the frets would be very off from the original variax neck.  There's about a 1/4" difference so i don't think the bridge has enough room to try to compensate for intonation.  

 

Its the same number of frets, and same scale length as the variax standard neck.  It just seats into the pocket differently.

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I checked this weekend. The Variax standard does accept my US strat neck. The issue is that when it is seated in the heel pocket, the position of the last fret is very different, so the nut and the rest of the frets would be very off from the original variax neck. There's about a 1/4" difference so i don't think the bridge has enough room to try to compensate for intonation.

 

Its the same number of frets, and same scale length as the variax standard neck. It just seats into the pocket differently.

That's gonna be a mess, then...

 

Imho, I think the powers that be were not too happy with so many people swapping necks on the JTVs. Doesn't surprise me that the Standard is not Strat-replacement friendly.

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I doubt that anyone at Line6 cares if you swap necks.  Why would they?  To fix the difference, you can mod the neck pocket.

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"Imho, I think the powers that be were not too happy with so many people swapping necks on the

JTVs. Doesn't surprise me that the Standard is not Strat-replacement friendly"----

 

Sorry to kill the myth, but,... they don't take measurements of Warmoth (or any other neck) for such a

purpose. Though, it would be an interesting strategy.

 

Maybe it's the 3rd party parts and neck people who won't make their necks and parts fit Line 6 guitars,...

like they do for Fender or Gibson. Now there's a conspiracy theory for you.  ;)

 

But in all seriousness, we're like the other companies, we make our guitars to our specs, and it's up

to the 3rd party parts people make their components to fit that spec (like Gibson or Fender specs),...

... and not the other way around.

 

Yeah, I get it. After all, I'm a custom rebuild guitar tweaker myself.

Been an interesting read so far. Sorry to kill the conspiracy myth.

 

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"I doubt that anyone at Line6 cares if you swap necks. Why would they? To fix the difference,
you can mod the neck pocket"----

Yes. You can work the neck pocket side of it, or the neck side of it (as I sometimes do to fit a neck).
Just be sure to maintain the scale length, so there won't be problems with intonation of the guitar.
So for the newbies and uninitiated,.... please be aware of that.

 

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Sorry to kill the myth, but,... they don't take measurements of Warmoth (or any other neck) for such a

purpose. Though, it would be an interesting strategy.

 

Maybe it's the 3rd party parts and neck people who won't make their necks and parts fit Line 6 guitars,...

like they do for Fender or Gibson. Now there's a conspiracy theory for you. ;)

 

But in all seriousness, we're like the other companies, we make our guitars to our specs, and it's up

to the 3rd party parts people make their components to fit that spec (like Gibson or Fender specs),...

... and not the other way around.

 

Yeah, I get it. After all, I'm a custom rebuild guitar tweaker myself.

Been an interesting read so far. Sorry to kill the conspiracy myth.

"Conspiracy" implies dark forces with a sinister agenda. This hardly qualifies...not even on the slowest of news days.

 

Nonetheless, we are repeatedly reminded that L6 does not support the modification of their products, and consistently warned of all the dangers in so doing...but OK, I'll play along.

 

So the 69's heel and pocket dimensions "just happened" to be identical to a 60 yr old design...but nobody measures these things. Bunch of people turn out to have issues with said neck, and replace them. Next version incompatible with readily available replacements.

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I think a good test of this would be to get input from a Yamaha Pacifica owner on whether a strat neck would be usable as a swap on a Pacifica. I'm kinda doubtful on that... Seeing as how that guitar was the design basis for the Standard, that replacement necks for that line might be more likely to fit. Don't really see it as a hot ticket on warmouth or other vendors, though. Probably don't see a lot of special necks for the PRS bolt on necks, and I doubt a strat neck would fit on that either...

 

Dave

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I doubt that anyone at Line6 cares if you swap necks. Why would they?

Because that would mean admitting that a lot of customers found the neck uncomfortable and/or poorly constructed...not exactly the kind of thing that you'd want for ad copy.

 

Not to mention the fact that they're constantly reminding everyone how much they do not support the modification of their products. If they didn't care, and the guitar was intended to be an "erector set" design, they wouldn't bother telling you not to do it.

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I checked this weekend.  The Variax standard does accept my US strat neck.  The issue is that when it is seated in the heel pocket, the position of the last fret is very different, so the nut and the rest of the frets would be very off from the original variax neck.  There's about a 1/4" difference so i don't think the bridge has enough room to try to compensate for intonation.  

 

Its the same number of frets, and same scale length as the variax standard neck.  It just seats into the pocket differently.

Do you happen to have any pics of that? 

 

Had you tried to tune the guitar and play to check if that's a problem? What about changing the Variax Tuning knob? Do it work properly with that 1/4" difference? 

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Do you happen to have any pics of that? 

 

Had you tried to tune the guitar and play to check if that's a problem? What about changing the Variax Tuning knob? Do it work properly with that 1/4" difference? 

 

I do not have any pictures of it, and I didn't bother to string it up.  It was off by a pretty significant amount, and that pretty much dictates that it wouldn't intonate properly without some serious modification to the neck, pocket, and/or the bridge position.  

 

If the guitar is unable to intonate, the variax tuning knob would probably not function properly either.

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Alt Tune will function in a limited way, as there are limits to what it can pitch track.

And if the fundamental pitch is off, the Alt Tune may have a time staying stable.

 

I get back guitars from other parts of the country, sometimes tuned down for travel.

Sometimes they don't track well until I tune it up.

 

If you have tuning or intonation problems due to scaling of a 3rd party neck, then that

can exacerbate the problem when you add Modeling and Alt Tune to it all.

 

And Charlie is right, with a 69, 1 to 2mm,... might be able to tweak it and find a

sweet spot. 1/4" is much too much.

 

I do caution people about being care about this sort of thing. Hybrid technology like

this is seldom forgiving of modifications. Hope it it's fixable and comes out okay.

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If the neck isn't properly positioned relative to the bridge, the intonation will be off and that is not acceptable at all!  You would have to mod the pocket or the neck to get the scale length within the adjustment range of the bridge saddles.  The adjustment range is there to dial in a properly installed neck.  And you actually use a lot of the range to handle the difference between the strings.

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"If the neck isn't properly positioned relative to the bridge, the intonation will be off and that is not acceptable at all"---

Yes, very much so.

 

"The adjustment range is there to dial in a properly installed neck"---

Yes,... and it will take some work to get it right. Not easy, but can be done by someone with the right tools

and experienced at this sort of thing.

 

So yes, what Charlie said,....

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Looked at the heel and measured and looks like  you can't replace with a Strat neck, but... you can probably replace with a telecaster neck because of how the heel is shaped.

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"I doubt that anyone at Line6 cares if you swap necks. Why would they?"---

To be a bit more accurate, we don't want you to void your warranty. Do a mod

that has an affect on the functionality of the product is what voids the warranty.

Hate to see someone do that.

 

Also we don't support mods, especially if it means messing with someone else's

product that's mounted onto ours, like a Strymon retro-fit to one of our amp products.

Their retro-fit, and it voided the guy's warranty, and Strymon didn't want to deal with it.

That was a long time ago.

 

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The difference in the variax 22 fret neck and say a tele 22 fret is the 22nd fret on a tele neck over hangs the heel of the neck where the variax’s 22nd fret does not.  So I would say a 22 fret tele neck would work if you used a spacer at the neck heal joint the same size as the overhang on the tele neck. Probably would have to fill and redrill the neck mounting holes . Could be done and if done right you probably wouldn’t be able to tell it . The fingerboard overhang would cover up the spacer.

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