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Is there any way to get the Variax electronics installed in other guitars

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On 4/3/2019 at 3:04 PM, jerseyboy said:

I work with 2qty 59’s and they’re heavy but still lighter than a late 70’s Led Paul black beauty.  15lbs?  Is that verified on a scale?  

 

I do believe JTV59’s chambered (not sure - someone knows).  Gotta remember the beefy bridge, electronics and battery pack weigh something more than perhaps the wood removed to house all the electronics?  

 

Pretty sure the neck is Maple as my finish wears off reveals bright wood under there.  

 

Out of warranty thing to do of course but if you’re game, give it a go!  

 

Photos of the carnage and results please!  

When I wrote the post I guesstimated at 15 lbs but now it is verified at 11 lbs, while my 1980 LP custom is 10.4 lbs.  My Gibson 2010 LP standard weighs in at 8.8 lbs.

I can't imagine it's chambered at that weight but it is a very good point you're making about the hardware and electronics though.  Looking at the back of the JTV most of it is routed for the electronics so that could be the extra weight.  It might bump an Epiphone up into the same range or even heavier. 

 

I also don't like the fat neck and those speed bumps they call frets.  (My '80 LP has spoiled me on those low frets)

 

I bought my JTV on eBay so it's probably not under warrantee at this point anyway.  I'm not that worried about messing up the Epiphone - those are a dime a dozen.  I'm afraid of messing up the JTV electronics!.  But it's not like I'm planning on altering the electronics.  I'm just going to hopefully take out a bunch of screws to get it out.  My main concern is the bridge - stud spacing, etc.  If I use that wide Variax bridge then it might look weird with a tailpiece so close to it. 

 

Since I hate the neck the most, it might be less work to just rework the JTV and put in some wide, low frets and sand down the neck a bit for a better feel.  Thanks for the thoughtful response!

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IMG_3983.JPG

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1st Variax 500 I bought used and absolutely hated the neck. Felt like a ball bat where I prefer thinner boat V hulls.  And the finish fretwork was absolutely hideous.  

 

I proceeded to sand the neck more to my liking along with a nice level, dress & polish.  It’s now one of my old “faithful” playing guitars.  

 

Now I like tall frets saves my fingertips from contacting fretboard.  If I desired lower frets I’d merely level and dress JTV down more like LPs I’ve had over the decades.  

 

Later bought another used 500 (but newer) and that neck wasn’t anything like the 1st guitar.  Much thinner neck and slightly better fretwork.  Still better with a D&P.  

 

I snagged used 2013 JTV59 in 2017 and while it’s chunky I never felt compelled to break out the 80 grit.  However I’ve dulled and worn the finish off backside of neck and it appears to Maple.  Very bright looks nothing like Mahogany that’s for sure. 

 

My feeling if someone has the skills to rework an axe to their liking - go for it.  

 

That goofy slotted 59 bridge is much easier to change strings with locking tuner upgrade.  

 

Good luck!

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Hello, finally getting the variax bug after seeing the capabilities it has. However, I'm a big Floyd Rose guy. I know the 89F has a Floyd on it, but I really like the look of the 69 better. 

 

Since there is a Floyd Rose system available on the 89F, is it possible to get the ghost saddles used with that guitar and replace the standard trem on the 69 with a Floyd? I'm aware that represents a good amount of surgery, but I have a good luthier local to me, and I'm confident he'd be able to handle the conversion. 


If it's not feasible I guess I'll just go with the 89F, but I thought I'd ask here first. 

 

Thanks! 

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48 minutes ago, pir8matt said:

Hello, finally getting the variax bug after seeing the capabilities it has. However, I'm a big Floyd Rose guy. I know the 89F has a Floyd on it, but I really like the look of the 69 better. 

 

Since there is a Floyd Rose system available on the 89F, is it possible to get the ghost saddles used with that guitar and replace the standard trem on the 69 with a Floyd? I'm aware that represents a good amount of surgery, but I have a good luthier local to me, and I'm confident he'd be able to handle the conversion. 


If it's not feasible I guess I'll just go with the 89F, but I thought I'd ask here first. 

 

Thanks! 

 

Routing for a Floyd removes a lot of wood... on the back of the 69, directly behind the bridge cavity, is a big plastic box where all the "brains" live. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it will be difficult.... and you may end up with a $1000 donation to the toothpick factory. Save yourself a whole lot of grief, not to mention money, and just go with the 89.

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4 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Routing for a Floyd removes a lot of wood... on the back of the 69, directly behind the bridge cavity, is a big plastic box where all the "brains" live. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it might be. You'll save yourself a whole lot of grief, not to mention money, if you just go with the 89.

Thanks, I was actually just coming back to post this: 

 

http://www.graphtech.com/products/product-detail/pn-0080-c0-ghost-lb63-floyd-rose-style-bridge---chrome?id=d38d9e98-0c8a-44db-93ee-19ef29cd030a

 

The 89 uses a graphtech licensed FR, so Im thinking this is the same bridge, and thats what I would probably try to replace it with. 

 

A bandmate of mine has a 69, and Im gonna borrow it to have my luthier check it out. I hadn't considered the cavity on the 69 though, so the trem on that guitar is strictly top mounted? No springs through the body? 

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5 minutes ago, pir8matt said:

Thanks, I was actually just coming back to post this: 

 

http://www.graphtech.com/products/product-detail/pn-0080-c0-ghost-lb63-floyd-rose-style-bridge---chrome?id=d38d9e98-0c8a-44db-93ee-19ef29cd030a

 

The 89 uses a graphtech licensed FR, so Im thinking this is the same bridge, and thats what I would probably try to replace it with. 

 

A bandmate of mine has a 69, and Im gonna borrow it to have my luthier check it out. I hadn't considered the cavity on the 69 though, so the trem on that guitar is strictly top mounted? No springs through the body? 

 

No, the are springs... same as any  Strat style 2-point floating bridge. Like Wilkinson, etc...

 

And that bridge in the pic is definitely not the same bridge that's on the 89...

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13 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

No, the are springs... same as any  Strat style 2-point floating bridge. Like Wilkinson, etc...

 

And that bridge in the pic is definitely not the same bridge that's on the 89...

 

The one on the 89 is black, for sure, but graphtech offers that bridge in chrome and gold as well. I'm not saying I know for sure thats the right bridge, but from what I can see of the spec for the 89, its a graphtech FR with string saver saddles and piezos, which is what the LB63 is. Unless graphtech makes a specific unit exclusive to Line 6, I would think that's it. I've been wrong before, though. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

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6 minutes ago, pir8matt said:

 

The one on the 89 is black, for sure, but graphtech offers that bridge in chrome and gold as well. I'm not saying I know for sure thats the right bridge, but from what I can see of the spec for the 89, its a graphtech FR with string saver saddles and piezos, which is what the LB63 is. Unless graphtech makes a specific unit exclusive to Line 6, I would think that's it. I've been wrong before, though. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

 

I actually asked Graphtech about this and this was their response

 

1) Yes, the bridge on your JTV 89F is one of our PN-0080-B0 ghost bridges
2) Yes, the saddles on this bridge are of the PN-0080-B6 variety
3) You can purchase the entire saddle (the price would be pro-rated) or simply the inserts themselves. 
4) We don't have printed instructions for this process but I can spell them out very easily. 
 
If an order interests you, please provide a complete shipping address and I will generate a sales quote for your evaluation.

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5 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

 

I actually asked Graphtech about this and this was their response

 

1) Yes, the bridge on your JTV 89F is one of our PN-0080-B0 ghost bridges
2) Yes, the saddles on this bridge are of the PN-0080-B6 variety
3) You can purchase the entire saddle (the price would be pro-rated) or simply the inserts themselves. 
4) We don't have printed instructions for this process but I can spell them out very easily. 
 
If an order interests you, please provide a complete shipping address and I will generate a sales quote for your evaluation.

 

Well thats neat, so yeah it looks like the part number for the chrome one just varies from B to C (black vs chrome). 

 

That's good to know. I'll let my luthier get eyes on an actual 69 to see if its feasible. I know it probably seems kind of pointless to some, but I don't mind doing a little extra work to get what I want. I'll probably buy an 89 anyway just to get up and running on the Variax thing. I always need two guitars for gigging anyway (full-time cover band guy). 

 

Thanks for the responses! 

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32 minutes ago, pir8matt said:

 

The one on the 89 is black, for sure, but graphtech offers that bridge in chrome and gold as well. I'm not saying I know for sure thats the right bridge, but from what I can see of the spec for the 89, its a graphtech FR with string saver saddles and piezos, which is what the LB63 is. Unless graphtech makes a specific unit exclusive to Line 6, I would think that's it. I've been wrong before, though. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

 

OK, maybe it is then...I played one some time ago, and thought it looked like a slightly different design, but who knows? 

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On 4/3/2019 at 4:23 PM, burningyen said:

I have a Variax Standard transplant project in the works. I have the cavities designed, but Fusion360-to-SVG file conversion issues are stopping me from loading them into my CNC at the moment. I'll let you know if I ever get to the finish line successfully.

 

vx-battery-cavity.png

vx-pcb-cavity.png

The intended recipient guitar:

 

2015112301.jpg

 

After months of programming and file import errors, finally got this going again. First, a test cut to make sure I have a good handle on the Shaper Origin. Workspace mapped and the PCB cavity placed on a piece of scrap pine:

img_0014.jpg
img_0015.jpg

A few passes to get the deepest layer roughed out:

img_0019.jpg
img_0020.jpg
img_0021.jpg
img_0022.jpg

And a pass for the outer perimeter:

img_0023.jpg

Testing the PCB fit:

img_0024.jpg

Next two layers:

img_0025.jpg
img_0026.jpg

Testing the cavity cover fit:

img_0027.jpg

The test cuts worked, so now for the real deal:

img_0035.jpg

Point of no return. Engraved the cavity cover outline so I don't have to worry about the finish chipping:

img_0036.jpg

Many passes later:

img_0038.jpg

I don't have quite the right touch with this thing yet. You can see burn marks where I was too slow and some jitter in the lip outline where I was too fast:

img_0039.jpg

Testing the fit:

img_0041.jpg
img_0042.jpg

Hope I have another update before another 11 months pass.

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Perhaps this is stupid question... but what's with the domino strips all over everything?

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29 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

Perhaps this is stupid question... but what's with the domino strips all over everything?

Not stupid question. I'm using a Shaper Origin, which is a handheld CNC machine that sees where it is on the workspace based on the domino strips and moves the cutter accordingly. So I slide the Origin around the piece and it drops, lifts or moves the cutter sideways to autocorrect for my movements.

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2 hours ago, burningyen said:

Not stupid question. I'm using a Shaper Origin, which is a handheld CNC machine that sees where it is on the workspace based on the domino strips and moves the cutter accordingly. So I slide the Origin around the piece and it drops, lifts or moves the cutter sideways to autocorrect for my movements.

 

Ahh...interesting. Learn something new every day, lol. Good luck with the project!

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Yay, less than a month between updates! Widened the output cavity for the VDI and 1/4" jacks the caveman way, with a drill, hammer and chisel:

 

img_0046.jpg
img_0047.jpg
img_0073.jpg

 

Rather than spend hours designing the top cavity expansion on my Mac I actually drew it freehand right on the Shaper Origin screen, just a polygon with a couple of round corners.

 

img_0100.jpg
img_0098.jpg
img_0101.jpg
img_0104.jpg

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I’m so glad I’m not alone in making a JTV transplant guitar.

 

This work is amazing!
 

I’m taking the easy way with a 335 body using the JTV 59 as the donor.

 

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