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Use of Variax Alt Tuning switch set to Model

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On a JVT or Variax Standard, I don't recall having to set the Alt Tuning switch to Model in order for to control the alt tunings from Helix. But that seems to be the case now. Has something changed, or am I just not remembering?

 

Summary:

Setting Helix Variax Input block to Custom tunings and setting the alt tuning for a string has no impact unless the Variax Alt Tuning selector knob is set to Model.

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On a JVT or Variax Standard, I don't recall having to set the Alt Tuning switch to Model in order for to control the alt tunings from Helix. But that seems to be the case now. Has something changed, or am I just not remembering?

 

Summary:

Setting Helix Variax Input block to Custom tunings and setting the alt tuning for a string has no impact unless the Variax Alt Tuning selector knob is set to Model.

 

Was wondering if you are also setting the "Global Variax Tuning" parameter to "Custom" on the second page of the input block? This is required for the Helix to respect the alternate string tunings on the Helix, otherwise it defaults to the tuning on the Variax.  You may be aware of this as well and possibly unrelated but I though I would mention it. As usual after a firmware upgrade and global reset you have to set the "Variax Settings" parameter to "Per Preset" (also on the second page on the input block).

 

And to answer your initial question, I don't remember having to switch to Model on the selector knob.

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Yes, Input block is set for Variax Per Preset and Global Variax Tuning set to Custom in Helix as always.

 

It makes sense I suppose that the guitar tuning knob should be set to Model for the Helix model to change the tuning, and for the tuning to always be standard when the tuning knob is set to standard. I just don't remember having to do that in the past. I seem to remember that Helix would set the tuning no matter where the tuning knob was set. But maybe I'm not remembering correctly.

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@psarkissian, can you explain the use of the JVT/Standard Model alt tuning setting with respect to custom tuning setup in the Helix Variax (or Multi) input block? My understanding of the alt tuning Model setting is that it switched to the tuning stored with the Variax model if any, and had nothing to do with custom tunings in Helix.

 

I use snapshots to switch to different tuning in the same Helix patch. In the past I don't remember ever using the JVT alt tuning knob set to Model - I always left it at Standard (unless of course I was using a tuning on the guitar) and let Helix snapshots control the tuning.

 

Last weekend my Open-G snapshot stopped working - a bit of a surprise when I started a song thinking I was in open-G but wasn't. At first I though something had happened to the patch since I've had trouble with Helix patches that use Variax setting on the input block before, or that somehow the snapshot controller went missing on the string tunings. But that was not the case, everything was fine in Helix.

 

The only way I could get Helix snapshots or even just the Variax custom tuning parameters in the Variax input block to work was to set the JVT alt tuning knob to Model. Then it worked fine - switching to whatever tuning I had in the Helix snapshot.

 

That's fine, now I know what to do. But I don't remember having to set the alt tuning knob to Model before and don't remember anything changing in 2.20 or 2.21 that would effect this.

 

So I'm confused.

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Found this blurb in the JTV Pilot's Handbook:

If all this alternate tuning mess is too much for you, simply set the Alternate Tuning knob to STANDARD to bypass this feature. In Standard mode, every Variax model will play in standard tuning, including any alt-tuned models like the ones in the Custom 2 bank.

 

I am wondering if the Helix is trying to "honor" the default behavior of the Variax. When the Variax is in 'Standard' tuning mode it overrides any model with alternate tuning. Maybe the Helix's input block setting should be able to supersede the Variax and force its own setting but I can't remember whether it used to or not. 

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There is a "Force Mode" in the Edit Pages in many of the floor effects products, where

the floor effects determines the guitar Model brought up as a preset. There is a Force/Don't Force

setting in those edit pages. I don't recall off-hand where that is in the Helix.

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Now here's an odd thing - last night custom Variax tunings on Helix input blocks started working like they did before - if alt tuning is set to Custom on the Helix input block, Helix controls the tuning regardless of the setting of the Alt Tuning knob on the Variax. I made no changes to any patches.

 

Now we have a bug. This isn't something that should change between one power on and another. It is not unique to the JVT, as when I had to set the Alt Tuning Knob to Model, I had do do the same thing on my Variax Standard.

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Sorry I had not gotten around to testing this until now. I don't know if I see the same bug as you but I definitely see some behavior Variax/Helix users need to be aware of. Here is what I am experiencing.

 

Firmware: 2.21

Guitar: Variax JTV 69s

 

  1. Set up Helix preset with an alternate tuning. Input block set to "Variax". The parameters are 'Variax Settings'="Per Preset",  'Preset Variax Tuning'="Custom" and 'Preset Variax String 6'="-2".  This should give you a Drop D tuning when you bring up this preset and it does. 
  2. The preset comes up properly with a Drop-D tuning for me regardless of how the Variax guitar tuning knob is set or how many times I restart the Helix. However, once you select the preset, turning the tuning knob on the Variax guitar to any other tuning (excepting Drop D of course), seems to lose the custom tuning dialed up in the preset and the preset now defaults to whatever tuning the Variax guitar is set to. You cannot get back to your custom tuning via the Helix without switching away from your current preset and then returning. This may well be as designed as it makes a lot of sense to do it this way but I was not aware of this behavior until you posted.

Is this what you are seeing? It sounds like you were seeing some more inconsistent behavior than this.  I suppose if the Variax input block had a "Tuning Knob" option under the 'Preset Variax Lock Control' to lock the tuning knob this could be prevented and turning the tuning knob on the Variax guitar would not change the alternate tuning designated in the Helix preset.

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No, this is not what I'm seeing. What you described is essentially a patch edit, just like any other edit and is working as intended. A similar thing happens if you change the guitar model.

 

What I saw is that the patch would not change the Variax tuning unless the tuning knob was on Model. Then later on, that issue went away. So there's a bug somewhere.

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No, this is not what I'm seeing. What you described is essentially a patch edit, just like any other edit and is working as intended. A similar thing happens if you change the guitar model.

 

What I saw is that the patch would not change the Variax tuning unless the tuning knob was on Model. Then later on, that issue went away. So there's a bug somewhere.

Not surprised, seemed like normal behavior. Sorry I have not been able to recreate the bug you are seeing yet.

 

A little off topic but I wanted to point out this observation which I made while trying to recreate your bug. You may have already noticed this but If you assign an alternate tuning for the Variax on the Helix it is only invoked when you switch to that preset. If you change the tuning knob on the Variax, changing snapshots will not retrieve your alternate tuning setting on the Helix. However, if you assign the alternate tuning settings parameter to a snapshot , e.g. 'Preset Variax String 6 '= [-2(D)] then when you switch snapshots it will invoke your alternate tuning setting from the Helix again. This actually makes a lot of sense and seems like it would be the preferred behavior. To sum up, default behavior is that the alternate tuning setting on the Helix is only invoked on a preset switch unless the tuning is assigned to a snapshot in which case it will invoke it when you switch to the preset and also every time the snapshot is changed.

 

This means that if you assign the tuning to a snapshot you can change the tuning knob on the Variax in between snapshots and still get back to the alternate tuning setting on the Helix preset by switching to another snapshot or even just stomping on the current snapshot again. You don't have to switch away and back to the preset. I suppose this behavior might be useful for some songs. Seems well thought out and I like the way it works. The described switching behavior may seem like belaboring the obvious but it is unique to using the Variax with the Helix and seemed worth mentioning. Of course, as you would expect, it generally would make more sense to just assign different tunings to your snapshots and never change the Variax tuning knob manually.

 

I will post back if I run into the issue you are seeing.

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This is exactly how I use Variax alt tunings. I have my usual amp setup and I use snapshots to quickly switch between regular electric, open-G and acoustic tones in the same patch. Its really very convenient. No, the tones aren't what you would get with a real guitar amp, multiple guitars, some preset to specific open tunings, and a specific acoustic setup. But for club gigging, there's nothing else even close.

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I found my issue. It was the cable connection at the guitar. If the cable isn't seated just right, it appears there are MIDI errors and the alt tunings are lost. If I unplug the VDI cable at the guitar and plug it back in, the alt tunings from Helix seem to work.

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There is a "Force Mode" in the Edit Pages in many of the floor effects products, where

the floor effects determines the guitar Model brought up as a preset. There is a Force/Don't Force

setting in those edit pages. I don't recall off-hand where that is in the Helix.

 

It's in the Variax menu

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I have a similar but slightly different issue. If I set a custom tuning in one patch in the Helix it works fine when I select it, but if I then select another patch it keeps the custom tuning even though Im on standard on the Variax. As my patches are essentially song setups it meant last night I started a song in the wrong key because the song previous to it had been setup a whole tone down. Surely it shouldn't do this? 

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Check your setting for Variax Tuning in the preset. Set it to Custom rather than Don't Force. If you set it to Don't Force then the Variax does exactly that - it doesn't force a new tuning but retains its current alt-tuned setting. To restore standard tuning set the parameter to Custom and set all string offsets to zero.

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Well I did wonder that but its a bit unintuitive as the default seems to be Don't Force. As my set list gets moved around and I only have one song with a detuning I might forget to update a patch to 'custom standard' and get the same problem. The only solution, if thats the way it works, is not to set up an alt tuning in Helix but set it on the Variax for the song you need it on ?

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Well, that's one solution. But the better solution I think is to use the Helix alt tuning capabilities and get in the habit of avoiding the Don't Force setting in all presets. Yes, you will need to systematically or ad hoc change the existing presets that currently have this setting but henceforth it will be much simpler to use Helix for alt tunings rather than have to fire up Workbench.

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Yes I suppose I could make it part of my template going forward. Thanks

 

but then if I go cordless I’ll have to get used to setting the variax 

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On 5/14/2017 at 10:31 PM, HonestOpinion said:

Sorry I had not gotten around to testing this until now. I don't know if I see the same bug as you but I definitely see some behavior Variax/Helix users need to be aware of. Here is what I am experiencing.

 

Firmware: 2.21

Guitar: Variax JTV 69s

 

  1. Set up Helix preset with an alternate tuning. Input block set to "Variax". The parameters are 'Variax Settings'="Per Preset",  'Preset Variax Tuning'="Custom" and 'Preset Variax String 6'="-2".  This should give you a Drop D tuning when you bring up this preset and it does. 
  2. The preset comes up properly with a Drop-D tuning for me regardless of how the Variax guitar tuning knob is set or how many times I restart the Helix. However, once you select the preset, turning the tuning knob on the Variax guitar to any other tuning (excepting Drop D of course), seems to lose the custom tuning dialed up in the preset and the preset now defaults to whatever tuning the Variax guitar is set to. You cannot get back to your custom tuning via the Helix without switching away from your current preset and then returning. This may well be as designed as it makes a lot of sense to do it this way but I was not aware of this behavior until you posted.

Is this what you are seeing? It sounds like you were seeing some more inconsistent behavior than this.  I suppose if the Variax input block had a "Tuning Knob" option under the 'Preset Variax Lock Control' to lock the tuning knob this could be prevented and turning the tuning knob on the Variax guitar would not change the alternate tuning designated in the Helix preset.

 

This should be in the spelled out in the manual. It is a very important point, thank you!

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