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7 easy steps to convert your JTV-69 to a left handed version ala Hendrix :)

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Hi there,


I have always wanted a Variax, but because I am left handed I could never get the newer ones. I see the older Variax 500 was in lefty, but they are pretty rare and go for high prices. So I decided to buy a brand new one and do it myself. It's not that hard, I promise and I am no luthier. You will probably void your warranty so do this at your own risk!


1.  Remove all the strings.


2. Remove old nut by using a small block of square wood and gently tap (and I mean gently) the block of wood with a mallet. Tap in the direction of the bridge or neck to loosen the glue. And then tap it on the side to slide with a blunt screwdriver,  out of the slot. Mine came out really easy and only had a drop of glue in two spots. 


3. Replace old nut with the Graphtech TUSQ-XL nut, PQL-5000-L0. This is a lefty nut and is pretty close to the original. Graphtech actually supply the nut for the JTV-69 as standard, but they don't have an exact lefty copy. I sanded mine for about 10 seconds with fine paper to reduce the thickness ever so slightly and then pressed in the new nut. Sand a little, then test. It was a snug fit and didn't bother glueing. 


4. Measure the saddles on the bridge (from the rear most straight edge of the bridge to the leading edge of the saddle) and write down each length according to the right handed string setup. You will then reverse all the saddle lengths by screwing them in or out according to what you have written down, with the left handed string layout. 


5. Remove the cover on the back of the JTV-69 closest to the bottom. This houses the Variax motherboard. Locate the two grey wires with single white connector attached. This goes back to the bridge piezo pickups. Remove the connector. You will now need to flip the connector around so as to flip the piezos for the lefty string layout. When you plug it back you will notice that the connector doesnt quite align and fit. You will need to cut off a bit of the plastic on the motherboard part of the connector to make it fit. Its not as bad as it sounds. I then secured the plug with a bit of tape.


6. Restring the guitar as lefty, adjust the saddle heights if necessary and re-intonate. But you should be pretty close with the saddle lengths from the previous measurement.


7. Profit $$$!


Only downside to this is that its a "Jimi'd" guitar and a bit difficult to reach past the 20th fret. But it plays just like a normal guitar. I dont use a tremelo so have tightened up the springs to make it as hard tail as possible. 





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Just be aware that this would void any warranty, being an unsupported modification.


If one of these were to come across my repair bench, chances are I would have to send it back untouched.

Since it is an unsupported modification, the same might be the case for our authorized service centers.


This would be a,... proceed at your own risk.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Lophin

Good for you for having a go.  As is mentioned, it's a warranty buster and if you fry the MB you will struggle to find spares.

How do you find life with the controls on the top and the lead in the wrong place? I'm working on making a lefty JTV-59. Which I think might be less hassle than the JTV-89 or the standard.

I have already done a Standard which plays beautifully.



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  • 2 months later...

I've begun to think that Line 6 get a bit miffed when we do our own thing! Very quick to point out warranty issues. I would think that most of us that attempt these things are aware it's at our own risk.

Nice job on the "leftie"!

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Not miffed,... concerned. Don't want to see anyone get in over their heads, then come to me

looking for an assist. My ability to help would be limited at that point, there is only so much I'm

allowed to do.


I've done my share of these mods for specific endorser clients (like left hander Carlos Rios) as

favours for the top people here, and consulted on a couple of others (Flying V with JTV guts for

a former service tech in Canada), so I know the pitfalls involved. I've also seen and had a couple

of customer failed attempts come across my bench. So please be careful.


If you can pull it off, great. If not, there won't be a whole lot I can do, especially if there's non-Line 6

device attachments involved.


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  • 11 months later...

Hello. I am posting on this thread to direct people to a specific Ideascale Idea to suggest to Shuriken to make a left handed variant.


If they can get a list of 50 south paws willing to make a pre-order commitment, then there is a chance that they will consider it.


If you are interested in this, please up vote the following idea, and also leave a post with your declaration of interest on it.


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  • 1 year later...

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