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specracer986

Miscommunication between Variax and Helix

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My band does a couple of songs in Eb. Rather than retune I use the tuning knob on my Variax JTV69. I decided to program Eb tuning into a Helix patch. Last night after finishing that Eb song, I switched patches and started playing the next song, and I was still in Eb. I switched patches back and forth on the Helix, and I was still in Eb. I checked the tuning knob on the Variax and it was set to Standard. I had to turn the tuning knob from Standard to Model, then back to Standard before I got back to E Standard tuning. So it seems the Helix managed to get the Variax stuck in Eb tuning. Not earthshattering, but not the kind of thing I want to happen at a gig. 

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That has happened to me also. I think I recall that when I checked my Helix preset settings for Variax the Tuning setting was Don't Force. I had to edit the preset to set the Tuning to Custom and the string offsets all to zero. My understanding is that in both cases Helix did what it was told - in the former setting it did not change the tuning, leaving it in Eb. In the latter case it changed the setting to a custom tuning with a standard tuning setting.

 

.... but my memory may be faulty, and I know you are an experienced Helix/Variax user so you may have already checked into this.......

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I don't know if this is the case for your situation, but Helix keeps whatever tuning it was in if the "Variax Custom Tuning" parameter doesn't have "Custom" selected. If it has "Don't Force" selected it keeps whatever tuning the Variax was in for the last patch. That doesn't make sense to me. I wish if it was in "Don't Force" it would automatically go to whatever tuning is programmed into the model in the Varaix. But I get why it's that way. If I'm switching patches, I may want to keep the same tuning. But in my opinion, the patch you switch to should also have that tuning programmed into it. At the very least have a third option of "Model" which would mean it uses the tuning programmed into the Variax. I have the Banjo tuned to banjo tuning in my Variax. If I switch to a banjo patch that's on "Don't Force" it keeps the last tuning it was in and doesn't switch to the tuning programmed into the Variax. That pretty much defeats the purpose of having a tuning programmed in any models in the Variax since if it's on "Don't Force" it keeps the tuning it had on the last patch and if I switch it to "Custom" it doesn't use the tuning programmed into the Variax. Either way, setting up a tuning in your Variax while using the current version of Helix is just a waste of time. I think if you switch patches and then go to a model with a tuning while staying on the patch it will use the Varaix's internal tuning. Otherwise you always have to have "Custom" selected. Which is not what it's normalized to. "Don't Force" is the parameter that shows up every time you create a new patch. This makes one more parameter I HAVE to change in EVERY patch. And let's not forget that when you select input in the HD Editor, it starts out on the input parameters tab, which, after I've selected to turn on the noise gate or not, I rarely use again in that patch. What I do change a lot is the Variax model and to a lesser extent, tuning. So there's one more click I HAVE to do EVERY TIME I want to see what a different guitar sound like in a patch. It seems minor but after constantly going back and forth between blocks and then going back to switch Variax model only to find I gotta click ONE MORE TIME on the Varaix tab, it get's a little irritating. I guess I need to put these things in idea scale but I never get around to it.

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I got busy at work today and had to forgo play. I'll check the setting in my Helix patch tomorrow. I'm not sure what it's set to. It does give me Eb tuning when I switch into the preset without changing anything on the Variax. If I can't get it to release and return to standard tuning as I leave the preset I'll probably go back to just switching the tuning knob on the Variax. I'm so happy with the Variax as it is, I can live with that hardship. I'll let you know after I investigate some more.

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I got busy at work today and had to forgo play. I'll check the setting in my Helix patch tomorrow. I'm not sure what it's set to. It does give me Eb tuning when I switch into the preset without changing anything on the Variax. If I can't get it to release and return to standard tuning as I leave the preset I'll probably go back to just switching the tuning knob on the Variax. I'm so happy with the Variax as it is, I can live with that hardship. I'll let you know after I investigate some more.

 

It will go to standard tuning but "Custom" has to be selected and then just make the "custom tuning" standard tuning. Essentially you have to decide what tuning you want for each patch, even if it's standard, and keep every patch in Custom tuning. Kind of a PITA.

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Well, Custom Tuning was selected in my patch, with all the strings tuned down 1/2 step. So what you're saying is I need to have my Variax set to Custom on the tuning knob, and have that setting programmed to Standard Tuning? I may experiment with this to see how big of a pain it is. I'm really hoping that Gen 3 Variax will make Helix integration a little smoother. 

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Well, Custom Tuning was selected in my patch, with all the strings tuned down 1/2 step. So what you're saying is I need to have my Variax set to Custom on the tuning knob, and have that setting programmed to Standard Tuning? I may experiment with this to see how big of a pain it is. I'm really hoping that Gen 3 Variax will make Helix integration a little smoother. 

Leave the physical Tuning knob on your guitar set to Standard. In each Helix preset set the Variax Tuning parameter to Custom (not Don't Force) and define the 'Custom' tuning that you want for each preset. For standard tuning define all string offsets = 0.

 

The only time you would set the Tuning knob on your Variax to Custom is when you have used Workbench to define a custom tuning that is embedded in the model. And in that case the Helix preset should be set to standard tuning.

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Leave the physical Tuning knob on your guitar set to Standard. In each Helix preset set the Variax Tuning parameter to Custom (not Don't Force) and define the 'Custom' tuning that you want for each preset. For standard tuning define all string offsets = 0.

 

The only time you would set the Tuning knob on your Variax to Custom is when you have used Workbench to define a custom tuning that is embedded in the model. And in that case the Helix preset should be set to standard tuning.

 

Interesting. I thought if you left the Variax in Standard it would always remain in standard tuning and ignore any commands to change it. Looks like that's not the case. I know it's to ignore any tunings programmed into the Variax itself and just assumed it meant any command to change the tuning from anything. I wish Line 6 would fix/reorganize, whatever you want to call it, the way Helix talks to the Variax so it behaves a bit more like how people expect. I always have a fantasy of Helix edit having a kind of internal Workbench so you could program a guitar per patch that doesn't come from the Variax's memory. Body, pickups, etc. Basically everything Workbench does but the guitar model is stored in the patch, not in the Variax.

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