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Everything sounds like a Banjo....

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I have submitted a ticket with Line 6 Support; but I thought I would ask if anybody was familiar with this issue.

 

I was playing in RESO mode, Banjo, and when I went to other Models, it seems like everything sounds like a banjo now.  real 

 

twangy.

 

Is this possible?  I just got the guitar last week (Variax Standard), and am a bedroom player, so I haven't used it that much

 

since it arrived.  Anyway, has anyone else experienced this?

 

I did remove the battery for a few minutes and replace it; same thing.

 

I left it off overnight too; same thing.

 

Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.

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...it seems like everything sounds like a banjo now.

Are you on a canoe trip in West Virginia? If so, paddle faster....;)

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You're not alone, others including myself have also noticed this sort of banjo tone on all the Variax Standard models. I suspect its a resonance resulting from how Line6 captured and combined the impulse responses of the Variax piezo pickups, the modeled guitar's magnetic pickups and the models of the guitar bodies. This tends to sound exaggerated  after listening to a model that actually has those resonances. There are however a few things you can do about it.

 

1. Using Workbench and your DAW as a metering system, level the volume of the modeled pickups for each string. You will likely find a huge variation in string volume for every pickup of every model. These all have to be adjusted as the typical setup for magnetic pickups should give pretty uniform volume on all strings and all pickup setting. The reason for this variation is likely variation in the piezo pickups, and variation caused by the different pressures from the heavy wound vs. light plain strings. So your guitar might be quite different than anyone else's. You'll find that once you do a few pickups, there'll be a volume pattern on the strings that will be pretty consistent across all the pickup models. Write these numbers down and apply them to all the other models. Leveling the pickup volumes will make a huge difference in the tone of the guitar, providing more balance and allowing the higher harmonics to come through.

 

2. Try experimenting with different guitar bodies. Experience from my old Variax 300 seemed to apply equally to the Variax Standard models. The Masonic Plank body sounds a lot better to me on most guitar models. Its brighter, richer, has more sustain and sounds more natural, with less banjo resonance. I use it on the Tele, Strat and Les Paul models. To me it really made my Variax Standard a lot more useful.

 

3. Try different picks. I found that heavier picks seem to have more impact on the pressure sensitive piezo pickups, causing that odd banjo sound as well as a somewhat unnatural fast decay of the pick attack tone. Lighter, softer, rounder picks sound better to me. I prefer VPick Tradition picks, they're thick, hard, and easy to control. But these picks don't work well at all on acoustic guitars, or the Variax Standard and those piezo pickups. However the VPick Euro sounds fantastic. Picking a little lighter can help too.

 

4. Of course how you set the tone and EQ on your amp can also make a difference. It can't get rid of the banjo tone as that sounds like a 2nd order resonance. But certain mid boosts can accentuate it and make it worse. Use a 9dB boost at high-Q and sweep around to find the bad banjo frequency. Then cut a little there with a wider Q.

 

5. Use heavier strings, or the heaviest strings you can get away with and still play the way you want to play. Heavier strings will sound better, last longer, have better sustain, and are less prone to being over bent causing notes to go sharp or out of tune on chords. Heavier strings will couple better with pressure sensitive piezo pickups.

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Rather than repeat for all pickup positions, you should start by changing the Global String Volumes (on the menu).  This applies pre-modelling (because it is global) and is intended to adjust for the variations in piezo pickup and string combinations.

 

If you think about it (Line 6 won't say) the variax processing has to cope with all sorts of variations in string, piezo and playing style without sounding disastrously bad, so to first thing that has to happen is a compression/limiting stage to get the signal for each string down to a safe level. The Global String Volume adjustment should allow you to reduce the amount of compression and limiting that is required - if the strings are consistently at maximum level then any body resonances will similarly be at maximum level all the time.

 

You should find that there is little change in output level as you initially reduce the volume for each string - find the rough point where you can actually hear a volume difference as you play harder & softer then adjust to give an even volume across the strings.

 

All of the above is supposition - it would be nice if Line 6 could confirm it or otherwise, and if it is true provide an official set-up guide. I might just be contributing to internet myths and disinformation. It could be that in fact the JTV automatically trims each string every time you start it... but I doubt that is the case.

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You're not alone, others including myself have also noticed this sort of banjo tone on all the Variax Standard models. I suspect its a resonance resulting from how Line6 captured and combined the impulse responses of the Variax piezo pickups, the modeled guitar's magnetic pickups and the models of the guitar bodies. This tends to sound exaggerated  after listening to a model that actually has those resonances. There are however a few things you can do about it.

 

1. Using Workbench and your DAW as a metering system, level the volume of the modeled pickups for each string. You will likely find a huge variation in string volume for every pickup of every model. These all have to be adjusted as the typical setup for magnetic pickups should give pretty uniform volume on all strings and all pickup setting. The reason for this variation is likely variation in the piezo pickups, and variation caused by the different pressures from the heavy wound vs. light plain strings. So your guitar might be quite different than anyone else's. You'll find that once you do a few pickups, there'll be a volume pattern on the strings that will be pretty consistent across all the pickup models. Write these numbers down and apply them to all the other models. Leveling the pickup volumes will make a huge difference in the tone of the guitar, providing more balance and allowing the higher harmonics to come through.

 

2. Try experimenting with different guitar bodies. Experience from my old Variax 300 seemed to apply equally to the Variax Standard models. The Masonic Plank body sounds a lot better to me on most guitar models. Its brighter, richer, has more sustain and sounds more natural, with less banjo resonance. I use it on the Tele, Strat and Les Paul models. To me it really made my Variax Standard a lot more useful.

 

3. Try different picks. I found that heavier picks seem to have more impact on the pressure sensitive piezo pickups, causing that odd banjo sound as well as a somewhat unnatural fast decay of the pick attack tone. Lighter, softer, rounder picks sound better to me. I prefer VPick Tradition picks, they're thick, hard, and easy to control. But these picks don't work well at all on acoustic guitars, or the Variax Standard and those piezo pickups. However the VPick Euro sounds fantastic. Picking a little lighter can help too.

 

4. Of course how you set the tone and EQ on your amp can also make a difference. It can't get rid of the banjo tone as that sounds like a 2nd order resonance. But certain mid boosts can accentuate it and make it worse. Use a 9dB boost at high-Q and sweep around to find the bad banjo frequency. Then cut a little there with a wider Q.

 

5. Use heavier strings, or the heaviest strings you can get away with and still play the way you want to play. Heavier strings will sound better, last longer, have better sustain, and are less prone to being over bent causing notes to go sharp or out of tune on chords. Heavier strings will couple better with pressure sensitive piezo pickups.

 

do you know how to move the 335 simi setting from my 300 variax to a JTV 89F?

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There is no way to move Variax 300 patches to JVT or Variax Standard guitars. You'll have to write down the changes you made and try making similar changes in your JVT using Workbench HD. That may or may not produce similar tones. Could be better.

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Are you on a canoe trip in West Virginia? If so, paddle faster.... ;)

Actually - that movie was set in Georgia!

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And Ronnie Cox actually plays that kind of guitar music,... one of the reasons he got

the part was so he could the guitar and banjo scene with the guy on the porch. He really

plays that way, he's really good.

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