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Is Variax being discontinued?

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Is Variax being discontinued?  There are heavy discounts on the JVT-69s at Musician Friends and they say that model is going away.   Does any one know if Variax is dead, being revised, or if something new is coming?

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The only people who actually know are never gonna tell us ahead of time.

 

The "new" model (Variax Standard) has only been around for a year or so. I seriously doubt there's gonna be another one anytime soon. The market for these things is tiny.

 

Merchandise that's been sitting around too long gets blown out...and these guitars have a tendency to do that, so you can't really conclude anything from that, either. As for anything your local MegaloMusic might have told you about the model "going away"...in my experience, retailers divide their time fairly evenly between having no idea what they're talking about, or lying through their teeth. I doubt they actually know one way or the other.

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Sweetwater has a 69s with a serial number that starts out W16. So I am assuming that it was built this year if the serial number means 2016.

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I think they continue to buid the Yamaha ones and discontinue the James Tyler. Electronic is the same though.

I personally have the feeling that the variax doesn't get much attention. The last firmware update has been a loooong time ago.

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I tried the Standard (Yamaha guitar).  When I felt the metal fret ends as I moved my hand up and down the neck, I put it back on the wall hanger.  I hope the JTVs are better.

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Money says they're getting rid of specialty editions of the base 3 JTV guitars.

 

I believed they got rid of the 59P guitars, next up is the 69s, even though, I think the 69s has a way big appeal of being purchased, because an SSS strat is more popular than a P90 Les Paul, because of course, a SSS strat is the common base form of a strat in the first place.

 

I'm still waiting on that maple neck Standard.

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I don't see the 59P anymore, nor the 69, but do see the 69S. I got my 59 TSB right away, then got my gold 69S when it was first offered in the fall of 2012. Love them both. If 69's (hss) are still being made, I noticed the last ones I saw were the blue color - I never cared for that color. I would consider the sunburst of that model... Both colors of the 89F are still available, but not the 89 without the Floyd trem. Not my style of guitar, but thought it odd that one didn't have a Floyd to begin with, so there was some evolution going on.

 

I hope (and think) they aren't done with the JTV'S. To me, the Standard is the lower price point unit, like the 300 was (my first Variax in 2005). Just about the time I started considering a Gibson Traditional Pto, they came out with the JTV line...

 

Like I said, I think it'd be a shame at this point to drop the line, and hope they don't.

 

Dave

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I tried the Standard (Yamaha guitar). When I felt the metal fret ends as I moved my hand up and down the neck, I put it back on the wall hanger. I hope the JTVs are better.

Look, it's a Pacifica with Variax guts. From a quick glance on Amazon, the various Pacifica iterations range from $150 to about $600. The Standards are what, $800 give or take? Much of which is the fancy electronics. And thats with a retailer's mark-up...

 

So it's a safe assumption that they're using the lower end of the Pacifica spectrum as the platform. You ever seen a $150 guitar with stunning fretwork? Me neither.

 

Hell, a good G&P can cost that much...

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IMO Line6 thinks that the price point for JTV's was too high to get a significant sales volume so they came out with a bargain basement model.  I don't like it and I don't think too many guitar players will like it either.  Adding the electronics boosts the MFG costs significantly so if you want a decent quality guitar it's going to cost more than the Std.

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It's annoying. People were talking about wanting higher quality guitars with Variax guts, and now we're taking a step back and having crap guitars again for the Variax?

 

JTV line really shouldn't die off, but jesus christ, it's a tough call.

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Sorry but folks vote with their wallets.  I would love to see nice Variax guitars at a reasonable price point but the sales volumes probably don't support that or Line6 would do it.

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With Line 6's new flagship product, the Helix, they are really building out some amazing features for the Variax line. If you guys haven't seen what's going on in that space you are truly missing out.

 

I actually just purchased a JTV 59 simply so I could gain access to the integration. You have no idea how frigging cool it is to use a single footswitch to change your Amp, Cab, Mic, Effects, Delay, Room Reverb, Guitar model, tuning, volume, and tone knobs... All at once! It's just crazy!

 

For that reason alone, once people start really getting their hands on the Helix, more Variax guitars will sell. The JTV line isn't going anywhere. If anything, they are working on a new even-better batch.

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 You have no idea how frigging cool it is to use a single footswitch to change your Amp, Cab, Mic, Effects, Delay, Room Reverb, Guitar model, tuning, volume, and tone knobs...

 

this is old hd500 stuff :)

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this is old hd500 stuff :)

My point is if they are taking the time to build out the Variax integration in their flagship product, I highly doubt they are going to be discontinued.

 

I'm telling you man... Helix snapshots... That feature is straight-up amazing.

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You have no idea how frigging cool it is to use a single footswitch to change your Amp, Cab, Mic, Effects, Delay, Room Reverb, Guitar model, tuning, volume, and tone knobs... All at once! It's just crazy!

 

Not for nothing, but I've been doing all of that with the POD for years. If that were enough to get people clamoring for a Variax, it would have happened already. It's always gonna be a niche product. A modeling guitar is a much tougher sell than an amp modeler...and I like my JTV. But, they're not for everybody.

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this is old hd500 stuff :)

 

Yes and No - HD500 did allow you to do that but only when switching Patches and loosing all trails.

 

Helix 2.0 allows you to do all of that in a single patch:

 

Controllers to Variax Parameters — Controllers (including Snapshots) can now control/recall Variax parameters, so you can do cool stuff like toggle between two guitar models with a footswitch, control Variax’s tone knob with an expression pedal, assign a momentary footswitch to drop D, recall completely different tunings with each snapshot, and more. There’s nothing special to do; just assign a controller to Variax parameters like you would any other parameter

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....and it still looks like a crap shoot when you buy a variax guitar. The more hours I put into investigating the variaxes from the last few years the more skeptical and less enthused I get. When I bought the Helix I really thought I was going to follow up with a JTV purchase. Buying a used one really seems to be asking for a hand me down problem and I've seen many horror stories about people having to return multiple "new" guitars to the place of purchase or deal directly with Line 6 support. On that note, many people have reported not so good results from that adventure. I agree that the Helix should integrate with WB if you own a variax. Also, I watched many video reviews and rep's Sean Halley and Paul Hindmarsh were not exactly forthcoming with any comments about the complete interaction between the variax and the Helix. "There is even a dedicated Variax input", yet they seem to conveniently forget to mention that it won't work with WB. I like both of them but that info would be good to have ahead of a purchase.     Would anybody who has bought a variax guitar, knowing what is known about them today, still purchase one today? Should they even be continued? ---Those are honest questions.  Thanks. :mellow:

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They did mention that Helix doesn't have WB support yet.  I think you get a very skewed viewpoint when you read the Variax forum.  Many happy owners never visit here.  Grumpy ones do - asking about problems they are having.  Most of us have had a great experience with Variax.  Mail order guitars are always a crap shoot because you don't get to play it before hand.  When I have gone to a guitar store I usually try out several of the model I am buying and choose the one I like best personally.  It's hard to do with Variax because not many guitar stores carry them and the ones that do often don't have them even set up with a charged up battery. 

  I bought my JTV from Sweetwater.  I looked over the pictures at least and had their tech look the one I picked over - and flash it with the latest FW.  It arrived in perfect condition and the fit and finish is as good as any other high end guitar that I own.  If you mail order, go with somebody like Sweetwater that will let you return it if you don't like it.  More likely than not you will love it.

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 Buying a used one really seems to be asking for a hand me down problem

 

This is exactly why I bought new instead of getting a used one on Ebay.

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Charlie - I get it - for the most part, people who are happy with their purchase don't say much (they aren't having problems so they aren't here looking for solutions). These forums tend to be negative or problem solving at best but you can't get anything close to objective in ads, searches or YouTube reviews. The only thing you are left with is questionable "I love it" reviews by people who have something vested in the product or aren't even aware that they have a problem. The other side of the coin is what we have been discussing - the problems and how hard are they to get resolved. I also realize that some of the disgruntled appraisals are from lets say the "not so sharp pencils in the drawer". I appreciate your input. Did you have any of the problems (ghost notes, miss shaped necks, non-functioning switches, uncooperative software/firmware, US vs Korean made, etc) that I have read about? There is so much technology built into these things that I don't think I could test it all live even if it were easy to get to a brick & mortar store. I'm pretty much stuck with mail order. For this one, I might have to invest some time/$ traveling to complete the research. People like you that are willing to discuss it at least tell me what to look out for beyond the normal attributes of any guitar purchase.  Thanks TW

 

clay-man - I have read several of your comments on the various threads, thanks for comment here. I respect your philosophy on buying new but I noticed you have been involved in some lengthy conversations about getting it right with brand new equipment and I don't think all of them concluded in a positive way. More confusion than anything else and I don't see Line 6 making much effort to inform us past the usual company rhetoric. As I said, as much as I'd like to work with and love this guitar, this has all led me to be very suspicious about the quality. And now they look like they are dropping the JTV line and I don't see anything (including the new format of the guitar by Yamaha) that is telling me to invest in one. I am willing to pay for a "new" guitar but I don't think there should be such a seemingly high chance that I would have to start the "return/defective" scenario that I have been reading about. I'm not looking for anyone to defend or trash this product, just enough feedback to make an informed decision. Your input is appreciated as well. Believe me - I would really prefer to see an overwhelming positive response on this forum about this guitar - especially the JTV-69 (HSS or SSS) Thanks, TW   (I will stick with this forum for a while - maybe they will resurrect the JTV as some have alluded to)

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TW: "... maybe they will resurrect the JTV as some have alluded to"---

Not gone yet. There's a run of 2016's out there.

 

Regarding buying,... I play it. If I like it, that's the one I buy,... not the one fresh out

of the box from the back, but the one I'm playing that I like.

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TW: "... maybe they will resurrect the JTV as some have alluded to"---

Not gone yet. There's a run of 2016's out there.

 

Regarding buying,... I play it. If I like it, that's the one I buy,... not the one fresh out

of the box from the back, but the one I'm playing that I like.

 

After all is said and done - that's really the only way to buy. Thanks for the comment. TW

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Did you have any of the problems (ghost notes, miss shaped necks, non-functioning switches, uncooperative software/firmware, US vs Korean made, etc) that I have read about? There is so much technology built into these things that I don't think I could test it all live even if it were easy to get to a brick & mortar store. I'm pretty much stuck with mail order.

Here's my 2 cents:

 

Overall, I like my 69. No busted switches, but flashing the firmware can be an iffy process. Works better connecting through the POD than using the goofy USB dongle that comes with it. My neck had no "defects" per se, but I hated it. Very narrow nut width, and too fat a profile for my taste. Remedied it with a Strat replacement from Warmoth. But that's just me ...I also don't understand those ridiculous gladiator sandals that women are now wearing, but they all seem to have a pair, so what do I know? Ymmv...

 

My only real gripe otherwise is with some of the alt tunings. Piezo crosstalk is a problem with certain tunings and playing techniques, such as Drop D and lots of palm muting. I find that the low E saddle "hears" the A string as well, and detunes it, so you get whatever note you play on the A string, plus a tone one step below...not exactly a pleasing harmony. If I'm very careful about avoiding the low E string with my picking hand, you can get around this, but that's easier said than done while palm muting. I see this as more a limitation of the technology than a defect with this particular guitar.

 

On the other hand, tunings that are changing all the strings by by the same interval work quite well. Crosstalk doesn't matter then, as even if one saddle picks up vibrations from an adjacent string, the pitch shifting is the same across the board, so there's no dissonance. I use 1/2 step down tuning regularly, and it works quite well.

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That is one of my main concerns - cross talk from the piezo pick ups. I have read that it is possible that the cross talk is coming from the mag pick ups. It sounds like you don't agree. If alternate tunings are unusable, that is discouraging. I want to do more than just "capo" the tunings. Does this happen on the acoustic and electric models? Do you think it happens on all the guitars or just some of them?

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Crosstalk is a problem from string to string on the piezo pickups when you are using alternate tuning.  Crosstalk from the mags is not an issue.  It only happens if you blend the mags output with the modeling output inn WB.

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I am still wondering why a JTVUS, where the neck and body are made by Wildwood manufacturing in Northern California (not James Tyler) shipped to some place in Southern California for paint (not James Tyler) and then shipped to be assembled and set up by some dude who used to work for Jackson guitars (Not James Tyler) with the exact same pups and the exact same modeling capability as the Korean made counterpart, should cost $4000.

 

Talk about paying extra for shipping and handling! Sheesh!

 

You can get a guitar made by James Tyler himself for that kind of money.

 

I hope they don't discontinue the Variax. I hope that the partnership with Yamaha will produce a Top tier Variax for serious players Not this glorified entry level Pacifica. I played one....it was horrible.

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Crosstalk is what happens when vibrations from another string transfer to another string's piezo.

It only happens on an alternate tuning when all the pitch notes are not the same.

 

It's more prominent on say, palm muting on a Drop tuning. Your hand makes a bridge for the vibrations to travel from a string to a piezo, and since the other string is pitch shifted 2 notes further down than the other, you get another sound that is the A string but 2 notes down.

 

Best way to deal with it is mute the strings your note playing.

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That is one of my main concerns - cross talk from the piezo pick ups. I have read that it is possible that the cross talk is coming from the mag pick ups. It sounds like you don't agree. If alternate tunings are unusable, that is discouraging. I want to do more than just "capo" the tunings. Does this happen on the acoustic and electric models? Do you think it happens on all the guitars or just some of them?

Crosstalk has nothing to do with the mag pickups...it's a mechanical problem, the unavoidable result of the fact that piezos are in direct contact with lots of things that vibrate. Until some tech wizard discovers a workaround, it's always gonna be a problem.

 

And as I said, the alt tunings are not all unusable. Some of it is influenced by the way you play, and the tone you're using. High gain makes it worse. Palm muting makes it worse. Also, it really only affects those tunings where some strings are being pitch-shifted, but not others, or tunings where different strings are being shifted by different intervals. Virtual capo tunings where the algorithm is doing the same thing to all the strings should function better than Drop D, "open" tunings, DADGAD, etc. I was primarily interested in Drop D, Drop Db, and 1/2 step down...so the drop tunings were a disappointment for me. But 1/2 step down works quite well, and I use it often.

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I am still wondering why a JTVUS, where the neck and body are made by Wildwood manufacturing in Northern California (not James Tyler) shipped to some place in Southern California for paint (not James Tyler) and then shipped to be assembled and set up by some dude who used to work for Jackson guitars (Not James Tyler) with the exact same pups and the exact same modeling capability as the Korean made counterpart, should cost $4000.

 

Talk about paying extra for shipping and handling! Sheesh!

 

You can get a guitar made by James Tyler himself for that kind of money.

 

I hope they don't discontinue the Variax. I hope that the partnership with Yamaha will produce a Top tier Variax for serious players Not this glorified entry level Pacifica. I played one....it was horrible.

Lol. Advertising has rendered the word "custom" essentially meaningless. There's absolutely nothing "custom" about most guitars that are labeled as such...doesn't matter who's making it. Factory produced anything is not "custom". "Made to order" is not "custom". When the specs don't change from one unit to the next, they're not "custom". The promise of a quarter-sawn neck and 3 extra colors to choose from doesn't make it "custom". That $4K price tag is insane.

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Lol. Advertising has rendered the word "custom" essentially meaningless. There's absolutely nothing "custom" about most guitars that are labeled as such...doesn't matter who's making it. Factory produced anything is not "custom". "Made to order" is not "custom". When the specs don't change from one unit to the next, they're not "custom". The promise of a quarter-sawn neck and 3 extra colors to choose from doesn't make it "custom". That $4K price tag is insane.

Completely Insane! I purchased a Fender Select Strat. Supposedly a "bridge" instrument between the American Deluxe Strat and the custom shop.

 

American made and beautiful. Birds eye maple neck with a channeled rosewood fretboard. The most beautiful flame maple top. Select pups that are only found on these Select guitars. Locking tuners and a Select Badge embedded in the back of the headstock. Came with a classic tweed case with one of a kind maroon velvet interior and a Select badge inside the case. The only con that Premire Guitar could find when reviewing the guitar was the hefty price tag of $2000. I got mine for $1500.

 

My point here is this....$4000 gets you no fancy pickups, no fancy models, no fancy birds eye maple, no fancy flame maple top no fancy branded case, no fancy badges. Nothing! It doesn't even get you a guitar made by the person whose name is on the frikkin head stock!

And it is no more "custom" than my Select Strat.

 

Sure, a badge embedded in the back of the headstock does'nt mean squat. But at least Fender gave me a decent head fake and a guitar that shares absolutely nothing with their Korean made guitars.

 

Line 6 says " Give me $4000 and we will paint it Orange if you want!"

 

Pitiful!

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Is Variax being discontinued?

 

Well now - back to the subject at hand. I have a feeling that the majority of people that are happy with the variax weren't counting on using the alternate tuning feature very much or just don't care that it really hasn't been perfected. Is this guitar being discontinued? Maybe the question is - should it be? For the most part, the rest of the guitar seems to be a pretty good buy if you check out the unit you are buying first. To me it boils down to the company (Line 6) not being honest about the ability of this guitar to do everything they say it will do. Why model alternate tunings that the electronics can't produce properly? Install only  the ones that work and leave it at that until you can do it right. I am getting real curious about using different tunings on the piezo that could be blended with other non-standard tunings on the mags that compliment each other but I'm afraid that this "crosstalk" thing will ruin that effort. I suppose if I only blend different tunings (doubling or harmonic notes) that have no conflicts on the piezos it might work? Now we are talking about music theory I haven't thought about in a very long time. The challenge might be fun. I'm sure I will be looking for advice on that one. I'd like to pick the brain of someone who has taken full advantage of the Helix/Variax platform (Workbench or not). The possibilities already seem endless but if the WB and Helix can communicate with each other it increases expontially. I'm sure POD 500 guys would have a lot to contribute here.

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American made and beautiful. Birds eye maple neck with a channeled rosewood fretboard. The most beautiful flame maple top. Select pups that are only found on these Select guitars. Locking tuners and a Select Badge embedded in the back of the headstock. Came with a classic tweed case with one of a kind maroon velvet interior and a Select badge inside the case. The only con that Premire Guitar could find when reviewing the guitar was the hefty price tag of $2000. I got mine for $1500.

 

My point here is this....$4000 gets you no fancy pickups, no fancy models, no fancy birds eye maple, no fancy flame maple top no fancy branded case, no fancy badges. Nothing! It doesn't even get you a guitar made by the person whose name is on the frikkin head stock!

And it is no more "custom" than my Select Strat.

Exactly my point....there's nothing "custom" about the Fender Custom Shop either. And I'm a Strat guy, I have 4 of them. I would have no problem with them saying: "You're going to pay through the nose for this one because we made it pretty". I get that...figured woods are not as common, thus they're expensive. Fine. But a Strat is a Strat...there are millions of them. "Select pickups", "custom colors", it's all just advertising crapola. I've replaced pickups in countless guitars...it didn't magically transform then into "custom instruments".

 

Custom should mean unique...as in, there isn't another one that's identical. Those are hard to come by. And you'll pay for them too, but at least you know where your money went.

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Is Variax being discontinued?

 

Well now - back to the subject at hand. I have a feeling that the majority of people that are happy with the variax weren't counting on using the alternate tuning feature very much or just don't care that it really hasn't been perfected. Is this guitar being discontinued? Maybe the question is - should it be? For the most part, the rest of the guitar seems to be a pretty good buy if you check out the unit you are buying first. To me it boils down to the company (Line 6) not being honest about the ability of this guitar to do everything they say it will do. Why model alternate tunings that the electronics can't produce properly? Install only the ones that work and leave it at that until you can do it right. I am getting real curious about using different tunings on the piezo that could be blended with other non-standard tunings on the mags that compliment each other but I'm afraid that this "crosstalk" thing will ruin that effort. I suppose if I only blend different tunings (doubling or harmonic notes) that have no conflicts on the piezos it might work? Now we are talking about music theory I haven't thought about in a very long time. The challenge might be fun. I'm sure I will be looking for advice on that one. I'd like to pick the brain of someone who has taken full advantage of the Helix/Variax platform (Workbench or not). The possibilities already seem endless but if the WB and Helix can communicate with each other it increases expontially. I'm sure POD 500 guys would have a lot to contribute here.

It's a good buy, provided that you get one that works. The modeling is quite good for the most part. I love the fact that I can get convincing acoustic tones with a solid body electric...I can't play actual acoustics to save my life. It's worth the price of admission just to get single coil tones without the 60 cycle hum. When you're using the modeling, theses guitars are utterly silent. It's priceless for recording.

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Exactly my point....there's nothing "custom" about the Fender Custom Shop either. And I'm a Strat guy, I have 4 of them. I would have no problem with them saying: "You're going to pay through the nose for this one because we made it pretty". I get that...figured woods are not as common, thus they're expensive. Fine. But a Strat is a Strat...there are millions of them. "Select pickups", "custom colors", it's all just advertising crapola. I've replaced pickups in countless guitars...it didn't magically transform then into "custom instruments".

Custom should mean unique...as in, there isn't another one that's identical. Those are hard to come by. And you'll pay for them too, but at least you know where your money went.

Amen!

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Is Variax being discontinued?

 

Well now - back to the subject at hand. I have a feeling that the majority of people that are happy with the variax weren't counting on using the alternate tuning feature very much or just don't care that it really hasn't been perfected. Is this guitar being discontinued? Maybe the question is - should it be? For the most part, the rest of the guitar seems to be a pretty good buy if you check out the unit you are buying first. To me it boils down to the company (Line 6) not being honest about the ability of this guitar to do everything they say it will do. Why model alternate tunings that the electronics can't produce properly? Install only  the ones that work and leave it at that until you can do it right. I am getting real curious about using different tunings on the piezo that could be blended with other non-standard tunings on the mags that compliment each other but I'm afraid that this "crosstalk" thing will ruin that effort. I suppose if I only blend different tunings (doubling or harmonic notes) that have no conflicts on the piezos it might work? Now we are talking about music theory I haven't thought about in a very long time. The challenge might be fun. I'm sure I will be looking for advice on that one. I'd like to pick the brain of someone who has taken full advantage of the Helix/Variax platform (Workbench or not). The possibilities already seem endless but if the WB and Helix can communicate with each other it increases expontially. I'm sure POD 500 guys would have a lot to contribute here.

I hope they don't discontinue the guitar! I hope they continue to innovate. I don't have an issue with crosstalk. That's not to say that it doesn't exist. It's just not a problem for me. I primarily use the models for alt turnings and as a part of a "sound scape" that is to say a patch that may have a lot of processing going on to create more ethereal tones.

 

The guitar does a great job for me in that regard. I'm sure the modeling could be improved upon and I hope they do but if they don't, I'm still glad I have one.

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Is Variax being discontinued?

 

Well now - back to the subject at hand. I have a feeling that the majority of people that are happy with the variax weren't counting on using the alternate tuning feature very much or just don't care that it really hasn't been perfected. Is this guitar being discontinued? Maybe the question is - should it be? For the most part, the rest of the guitar seems to be a pretty good buy if you check out the unit you are buying first. To me it boils down to the company (Line 6) not being honest about the ability of this guitar to do everything they say it will do. Why model alternate tunings that the electronics can't produce properly? Install only  the ones that work and leave it at that until you can do it right. I am getting real curious about using different tunings on the piezo that could be blended with other non-standard tunings on the mags that compliment each other but I'm afraid that this "crosstalk" thing will ruin that effort. I suppose if I only blend different tunings (doubling or harmonic notes) that have no conflicts on the piezos it might work? Now we are talking about music theory I haven't thought about in a very long time. The challenge might be fun. I'm sure I will be looking for advice on that one. I'd like to pick the brain of someone who has taken full advantage of the Helix/Variax platform (Workbench or not). The possibilities already seem endless but if the WB and Helix can communicate with each other it increases expontially. I'm sure POD 500 guys would have a lot to contribute here.

 

 

Really??? When did 1 person's post become a huge determining factor of what holds back the Variax?

I mean, yes, it does technically hold it back, but in a huge array of applications, the alternate tuning is superb.

 

I've said this over and over, the alternate tuning tone-wise is far superior than any pitch shifter pedal out on the market for guitars.

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I've said this over and over, the alternate tuning tone-wise is far superior than any pitch shifter pedal out on the market for guitars.

 

If you spent time with an Antares ATG-1 you might change your mind.

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..... I have a feeling that the majority of people that are happy with the variax weren't counting on using the alternate tuning feature very much or just don't care that it really hasn't been perfected. .....

.... and I have a feeling that they did, and feel that it works just fine in most circumstances........

 

Is it perfect? No. Does that make it unusable? No.

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