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amsdenj

Ideas on next generation Variax

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There hasn’t been much new for us Variax users for quite some time. That’ a pity because there’s nothing on the marker that can do what a Variax does for a gigging musician. Variax is so close to being fantastic, its too bad it hasn’t gotten incremental improvements to push the technology over the top they way Helix did with the HD500 series of amp modelers.

 

So here’a a fiew ideas on what a next generation Variax might look like. Hopefully this will generate some discussion and customer demand that will help Line6 justify some new development in the Variax line.

 

  1. Miniaturization: Use HX Stomp engineering to significantly reduce the hardware footprint of the Variax while increasing its DSP capacity.
  2. Leverage this new hardware component to make it very easy to install Variax hardware in almost any existing guitar. This might require some routing and a new back plate, but I think we all prefer the flexibility of Variax in our own favorite instruments.
  3. Stick to the four knob layout of the Variax Standard to fit on guitars that typically have four knobs (volume, tone, model selector, tuning selector)
  4. On guitars with two knobs, use a mode switch on the knobs to change between volume/model selector and tone/tuning selector - this will take some engineering on the control, but would simplify functional layout on the guitar.
  5. Ensure VDI and 1/4” outputs sound the same and VDI faithfully reproduces the magnetic pickups into Helix
  6. Support option for VDI guitar impedance modeling and simulate treble rolloff for different lengths of cable and different cable capacitance.
  7. Support more customization slots, or better yet, just treat all blocks in the guitar the same way and use presets to load whatever block the user needs into whatever switch position they want.
  8. Allow Impulse Responses for guitar models. These can include IRs for body, pickup, acoustic bodies, mandolin, acoustic bass, etc. There’s a growing market for instrument IRs Variax should be able to leverage this.
  9. Include a model that provides access to the raw piezo pickups so that Variax can leverage IR blocks in the Helix line as well as other models for additional flexibility
  10. Support Line6 marketplace for purchasing guitar models and guitar IRs
  11. Expand the models available from Line6 (and maybe others from the marketplace) and let users choose which ones to load into their guitars. This allows the existing model to be retained for backward compatibility while opening up the possibility for new models. Its ok to have more models than what can fit into the guitar at one time. 
  12. Allow additional guitar models to be loaded as part of Helix presets (just like different blocks in Helix). This will require much faster model load time that is currently available from Workbench.
  13. And finally, and most important, improve the body, pickup and acoustic models to make them “HX” quality. Do this by expanding the models available in while retaining the current 1.9 and 2.0 models if anyone wants to use these. There’s no reason to not have the choice to retain what was while opening up new opportunities. These models should just be Variax “blocks” that can be loaded as presets from Helix or Workbench HX.
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Those are excellent well thought out suggestions. 

 

There's another one though that I think should be on the list.  The Variax, at least if it's the alternate tunings you most love, tends to only feel powerful when it's used in conjunction with a HELIX or some other VIDI machine.

 

What about when that isn't an option though?  Especially if you like changing tunings on the fly?  The method for doing it with just the Variax itself is pretty archaic. 

 

So allow future Variaxes to connect with a  phone app. In this app you could change the tuning on the fly, change the guitar models, change the location of pickups . . . all the junk that you have to hook up to a PC for now you could do in just a few seconds through the app.

 

I mean, everyone has different things that are important to them, but to me that's by far the most important improvement possible. 

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I have gotten several Variax's starting with the original technology to the current tech. Given how much I have spent on them and my recent Varaix 89F purchase, it would be nice if they would make the next one retroactive. i.e. make it so I can just swap out a board or two with my current Variax. If a Varaix with better tech comes out, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get it if I can't just stick it in my current Variax. I'm gonna have a hard time justifying that kind of purchase again.

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2 hours ago, brue58ski said:

I have gotten several Variax's starting with the original technology to the current tech. Given how much I have spent on my recent Varaix 89F purchase, it would be nice it they would make the next one retroactive. i.e. make it so I can just swap out a board or two with my current Variax. If a Varaix with better tech comes out, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get it if I can't just stick it in my current Variax. I'm gonna have a hard time justifying that kind of purchase again.

This ^ - it's unlikely I'll purchase another new instrument, I'm kinda-sorta retired from live work and would have a hard time justifying the purchase.  But give me a board I can slap into my existing JTV and/or Standard and I'm pretty sure I'm in.

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On 10/31/2018 at 9:50 AM, brue58ski said:

I have gotten several Variax's starting with the original technology to the current tech. Given how much I have spent on them and my recent Varaix 89F purchase, it would be nice if they would make the next one retroactive. i.e. make it so I can just swap out a board or two with my current Variax. If a Varaix with better tech comes out, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get it if I can't just stick it in my current Variax. I'm gonna have a hard time justifying that kind of purchase again.

Agree 100%

 

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I use my JTV-69, Helix, and Powercab 112 Plus in a few classic rock cover bands. I love how I can use Helix snapshots to select Variax models and tunings. Variax custom settings are a great way to quickly select a model and a tuning at the same time. The VDI connection for powering the guitar and allowing Helix to select Variax models and tunings is the greatest feature for me.

 

My ideas for the next-generation Variax are:

- Keep the VDI connection for powering the guitar and allowing Helix to select Variax models and tuning

- Better DSP, like Helix vs POD HD

- More models to choose from with each firmware update

- A nylon-string acoustic guitar model

- An upward-facing OLED display for model and tuning names

- Keep the rotary model knob and 5-position switch for picking models

- I'd prefer the JTV-59 knob for tunings over the JTV-69 roller control

- Keep the variety of physical bodies, necks, and bridges (I'd love a Variax RS820CR RevStar)

- Keep the workbench for creating custom body and pickup combinations, and for installing new downloadable models

- Magnetic pickups not required

 

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I'm pretty ambivalent to many of the suggestions made to this point, but this one really stands out:

  •  Keep the rotary model knob and 5-position switch for picking models

I have a JTV-59, as well as older Variax 500 and 600 models. The older ones have a 5-way switch, which is very intuitive for selecting models. The JTV-59 seems to be designed to retain a 'Les Paul'-like appearance, so they went with a 3-position switch for this function. This means that the 5 models in a given bank are distributed as 1-3-5 or 2-3-4 to the 3-way switch by activating yet ANOTHER switch. I find this cumbersome, non-intuitive and hard to remember which model is in which position...

 

Making matter worse, the blue illumination on my Model Selector switch is exceptionally difficult to see, even in subdued lighting. The 'white' light on the Alternate Tuning knob is better, but still very weak. IMO, this wasn't very well thought-out in the original design.

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Yeah, I get toggle/blade switch sentiment and it is a “conundrum” and complication for designers to accommodate the traditional LP 3 way toggle.  

 

Switching differences also complicates a situation for some of us who document settings for show players using either JTV59/69 models.  

59 obviously 1, 2, 3 toggle switch positions.  For 69/standard blade switch models we choose to convert those to 1, 3, 5, respectively.  

 

And due to early JTV59 intermittent push-push switching also programing model locations to avoid using “B” bank or blade switch positions 2, 4, altogether when offering specific model locations in music notes/charts.  

 

I dunno what “improvement” might actually be found though?  Depending on the ability to maintain the push-push switches used in JTV59 it is what it is, I suppose?  Don’t think I’d want a blade switch on a LP body...  

 

But if Line6 ever offered 3-pickup thin-line Tele/ASAT Variax I’d be an extremely happy user.  

 

PCB miniaturization always welcome .  Less footprint in guitar body the better.  

 

More flexible battery power would also be on my wish list.  Option of either Lipoly or AA’s.  

 

Definitely yes to Nylon acoustic and Mando would be useful for me as well.

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On 10/28/2018 at 11:09 PM, amsdenj said:

There hasn’t been much new for us Variax users for quite some time. That’ a pity because there’s nothing on the marker that can do what a Variax does for a gigging musician. Variax is so close to being fantastic, its too bad it hasn’t gotten incremental improvements to push the technology over the top they way Helix did with the HD500 series of amp modelers.

 

So here’a a fiew ideas on what a next generation Variax might look like. Hopefully this will generate some discussion and customer demand that will help Line6 justify some new development in the Variax line.

 

  1. Miniaturization: Use HX Stomp engineering to significantly reduce the hardware footprint of the Variax while increasing its DSP capacity.
  2. Leverage this new hardware component to make it very easy to install Variax hardware in almost any existing guitar. This might require some routing and a new back plate, but I think we all prefer the flexibility of Variax in our own favorite instruments.
  3. Stick to the four knob layout of the Variax Standard to fit on guitars that typically have four knobs (volume, tone, model selector, tuning selector)
  4. On guitars with two knobs, use a mode switch on the knobs to change between volume/model selector and tone/tuning selector - this will take some engineering on the control, but would simplify functional layout on the guitar.
  5. Ensure VDI and 1/4” outputs sound the same and VDI faithfully reproduces the magnetic pickups into Helix
  6. Support option for VDI guitar impedance modeling and simulate treble rolloff for different lengths of cable and different cable capacitance.
  7. Support more customization slots, or better yet, just treat all blocks in the guitar the same way and use presets to load whatever block the user needs into whatever switch position they want.
  8. Allow Impulse Responses for guitar models. These can include IRs for body, pickup, acoustic bodies, mandolin, acoustic bass, etc. There’s a growing market for instrument IRs Variax should be able to leverage this.
  9. Include a model that provides access to the raw piezo pickups so that Variax can leverage IR blocks in the Helix line as well as other models for additional flexibility
  10. Support Line6 marketplace for purchasing guitar models and guitar IRs
  11. Expand the models available from Line6 (and maybe others from the marketplace) and let users choose which ones to load into their guitars. This allows the existing model to be retained for backward compatibility while opening up the possibility for new models. Its ok to have more models than what can fit into the guitar at one time. 
  12. Allow additional guitar models to be loaded as part of Helix presets (just like different blocks in Helix). This will require much faster model load time that is currently available from Workbench.
  13. And finally, and most important, improve the body, pickup and acoustic models to make them “HX” quality. Do this by expanding the models available in while retaining the current 1.9 and 2.0 models if anyone wants to use these. There’s no reason to not have the choice to retain what was while opening up new opportunities. These models should just be Variax “blocks” that can be loaded as presets from Helix or Workbench HX.

I would love to see any of these come to reality.

 

I think the easiest thing for them to do is probably number 10. If the now discontinued Variax acoustic and Variax bass models were made available for purchase it would cost them very little and expand the range of all the JTV and Variax standard sales out there. I think a lot of the users of the forums would buy them - come on Line 6, Variax is due a little love.

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Great list, but for me the priority would be improved tone modelling, particularly when playing through Helix/Headphones.

I notice when playing my JTV-89F through Helix/Stagesource it sounds really good, although for some sounds the magnetic pickups sound a bit better then the piezo.

But when playing through Helix/Headphones (Senheizer HD600), I find the piezo sounds terrible, whereas the magnetics sound fine.  Not sure if anyone else has noticed that.  By terrible, I mean artificial/digital/not warm.

 

Also I found when I bought my JTV-89F brand new, and went to get it set up, the tech needed to shim my nut because the action was too low, cost me $400 for the first setup.

So I think there are some build quality issues, would love to see Yamaha made guitars with Variax electronics, as they have a better reputation for build quality.

 

And finally, the dream would be if Yamaha licensed the Variax electronics to other guitar manufacturers so one could get any guitar with the modelling capabilities.

 

 

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On 1/12/2019 at 2:04 PM, BillyQuan said:

...the tech needed to shim my nut because the action was too low, cost me $400 for the first setup.

So I think there are some build quality issues, would love to see Yamaha made guitars with Variax electronics, as they have a better reputation for build quality.

 

 

 

I'm not defending shoddy craftsmanship from a manufacturer, but anyone charging $400 for a set-up, even with shimming the nut, is a thief... and I pay NY prices for everything, so thievery is a familiar concept for me. ;) A complete re-fret  with stainless wire might cost you that much. Hell, you can buy an entire new Warmoth neck for less than that... and a high quality, exotic wood neck, at that. But it takes a set of stones to demand that much for a set-up...

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Well, NAMM is coming up in a little over a week. As much as I'm hoping to go see a new Variax at the L6 booth, I'm kind of doubting that it will happen. I guess I'd rather they take the time to make it great. 

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1 hour ago, specracer986 said:

Well, NAMM is coming up in a little over a week. As much as I'm hoping to go see a new Variax at the L6 booth, I'm kind of doubting that it will happen. I guess I'd rather they take the time to make it great. 

 

I definitely hope that they see it as a line worth advancing. The biggest obstacle I see is that . . . well . . . they're kind of alone in this market. Assuming they are profitable (which I think they are though I don't get the impression they're gangbusters) they have ZERO competition so there isn't really a huge need to keep pushing the edges of what can be done. That's sadly the downside of capitalism - lack of competition makes things stay largely the same.

 

I mean, the closest thing I can think to compare to are what, the Roland GR-55? Didn't that come out around the same time as the last Variax edition?  Did they ever update that? The Variax steam rolls that dinosaur in my opinion. The only other thing I see now are these dual electric/acoustic guitars which do a tiny portion of what the Variax did (though arguably the coolest part since I think the ability to have both an electric and acoustic in one instrument is a huge seller for why a lot of us jumped on board).

 

Until they see their market share as threatened, and assuming they're sales have always been pretty level, I don't know how much advancement we'll see.

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4 hours ago, Kilrahi said:

 

I[...] I don't get the impression they're gangbusters) they have ZERO competition [...]

And they have something like this, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent , I guess ;-)

I really do believe that L6 can't complain about competition - my impression so far,

they are competitive in a positive way...

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9 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

I'm not defending shoddy craftsmanship from a manufacturer, but anyone charging $400 for a set-up, even with shimming the nut, is a thief... and I pay NY prices for everything, so thievery is a familiar concept for me. ;) A complete re-fret  with stainless wire might cost you that much. Hell, you can buy an entire new Warmoth neck for less than that... and a high quality, exotic wood neck, at that. But it takes a set of stones to demand that much for a set-up...

 

I should point out that is Canadian, including HST tax.  So closer to $300 USD.  A typical setup by the same shop is $95 CAD ($70 USD), but for a Floyd Rose set up they typically charge around $300 CAD ($230 USD), because FR is very time consuming.  What's market for an FR setup where you live?

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As for Variax roadmap, thought this press release from March was interesting, also might explain why there has been no release activity on Variax, looks like Yamahaa and Line6 have been busy integrating they Guitar divisions into one.  Sounds to me like they are doubling down and investing, should be exciting to see what comes out of that?

 

pdf

 

 

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18 hours ago, BillyQuan said:

 

I should point out that is Canadian, including HST tax.  So closer to $300 USD.  A typical setup by the same shop is $95 CAD ($70 USD), but for a Floyd Rose set up they typically charge around $300 CAD ($230 USD), because FR is very time consuming.  What's market for an FR setup where you live?

 

Well no doubt that's the sales pitch, but the truth is, it ain't that time consuming... not by a longshot. The guy I take my guitars to charges $75 + strings for a set-up, no matter what it is. Off the top of my head, I'm not sure what the extra cost would be to shim a nut, but I'll bet the farm that it wouldn't triple the price.

 

Now the only thing I pay for anymore is fretwork, as I don't have the expertise...but set-ups I do myself. It's not hard. I'm in the shop often enough though, and there's a huge "menu" posted on the wall over his bench... the only thing north of $200 is a complete re-fret. I just paid $150+tax for a full grind and polish (regular nickle-silver frets), which I guarantee takes a hell of a lot longer than setting up a Floyd Rose. $230 US for a set-up is beyond ridiculous...I cannot fathom what the justification is for charging 3x as much. It does NOT take 3x longer to set-up a Floyd, compared to other guitars. I no longer own any myself, but I've had several over the years, and set them up countless times. It's a few extra turns with a hex wrench, and clipping the ball ends off the strings... I'd put the over/under at an extra 5 minutes, 10 if you're tired that day. That aside, it's no more difficult than setting up any other guitar with a floating bridge. I'd shop around, if I were you...

 

Better yet, learn to do it yourself. There are a thousand youtube videos to walk you through it, if you're not familiar with what to do... it ain't rocket science, and with the prices you're paying, it'll save you a small fortune in the long run. 

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As for me would be

1. Improved modeling

2. More custom banks

3. More models

4. More pickups

5. A tele body 

6. A V body

7. Transparent colour limited edition.

8. Onboard led screen displaying the guitar and tuning

9. Onboard workbench

 

MOST IMPORTANT. HAVE GRAPHTECH PIEZOS FROM THE START

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6 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Well no doubt that's the sales pitch, but the truth is, it ain't that time consuming... not by a longshot. The guy I take my guitars to charges $75 + strings for a set-up, no matter what it is. Off the top of my head, I'm not sure what the extra cost would be to shim a nut, but I'll bet the farm that it wouldn't triple the price.

 

Now the only thing I pay for anymore is fretwork, as I don't have the expertise...but set-ups I do myself. It's not hard. I'm in the shop often enough though, and there's a huge "menu" posted on the wall over his bench... the only thing north of $200 is a complete re-fret. I just paid $150+tax for a full grind and polish (regular nickle-silver frets), which I guarantee takes a hell of a lot longer than setting up a Floyd Rose. $230 US for a set-up is beyond ridiculous...I cannot fathom what the justification is for charging 3x as much. It does NOT take 3x longer to set-up a Floyd, compared to other guitars. I no longer own any myself, but I've had several over the years, and set them up countless times. It's a few extra turns with a hex wrench, and clipping the ball ends off the strings... I'd put the over/under at an extra 5 minutes, 10 if you're tired that day. That aside, it's no more difficult than setting up any other guitar with a floating bridge. I'd shop around, if I were you...

 

Better yet, learn to do it yourself. There are a thousand youtube videos to walk you through it, if you're not familiar with what to do... it ain't rocket science, and with the prices you're paying, it'll save you a small fortune in the long run. 

 

Hey thanks, I will definitely look around from now on.  I have learned to do a basic set up, but doing intonations on FR still seems like a big pain.

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24 minutes ago, BillyQuan said:

 

Hey thanks, I will definitely look around from now on.  I have learned to do a basic set up, but doing intonations on FR still seems like a big pain.

 

I'm kind of like you on that one.  I'm not one of those guys who has any interest in being a techie on a guitar (swapping pickups, setups, swapping out guitar necks). I can see the advantage in doing so, and MAYBE one day I'll take my interest in guitars to the next level, but for now I do my own string changes (that's nothing to brag about but there's a huge portion of the population that still pays for something that simple) and I'll do some very basic intonation and fret buzz tweaks, but if I can tell it's more than that, I'm sending it to a pro.

 

In my area there is a shop that charges $35 for a decent setup, and another that charges $75. I've tried them both.  There's nothing embarrassing or necessarily half assed about the $35, but these days I always go with the $75. Call it perception or seeing what you want to see, but the guy just comes across as a master of instrument care and whenever he's done with my guitar it feels like a dream. He also always takes the time to clean the instrument so it practically looks brand new. 

 

It's the little things sometimes.

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20 hours ago, BillyQuan said:

 

Hey thanks, I will definitely look around from now on.  I have learned to do a basic set up, but doing intonations on FR still seems like a big pain.

 

There's really nothing magical about it... if you can turn a screw and use a tuner, you are eminently qualified. The saddles on a Floyd move the same as they do on countless other guitars...loosen the screw, move the saddle, check the pitch, tighten screw. Done. Some "techs" like to make it seem like they're doing the Lord's work, or repairing the Hubble telescope...and it obviously pay$ to do so. It's a guitar...a couple of pieces of wood and some strings.

 

It just bugs me when places overcharge...for anything. This is no different than the mechanic who tells you that you need to replace the 3rd Fetzer valve in your car, or you risk bursting into flames on your way to work....so you fork over $1800, and he puts air in your tires, changes the oil, and hands you the keys...

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4 hours ago, Kilrahi said:

 

I'm kind of like you on that one.  I'm not one of those guys who has any interest in being a techie on a guitar (swapping pickups, setups, swapping out guitar necks). I can see the advantage in doing so, and MAYBE one day I'll take my interest in guitars to the next level, but for now I do my own string changes (that's nothing to brag about but there's a huge portion of the population that still pays for something that simple) and I'll do some very basic intonation and fret buzz tweaks, but if I can tell it's more than that, I'm sending it to a pro.

 

In my area there is a shop that charges $35 for a decent setup, and another that charges $75. I've tried them both.  There's nothing embarrassing or necessarily half assed about the $35, but these days I always go with the $75. Call it perception or seeing what you want to see, but the guy just comes across as a master of instrument care and whenever he's done with my guitar it feels like a dream. He also always takes the time to clean the instrument so it practically looks brand new. 

 

It's the little things sometimes.

 

$75 is perfectly reasonable, probably about average I'd say...and I'm certainly not advocating searching high and low for the cheapest guy in town. Eventually that won't end well. And I certainly understand that not everybody has the time or the inclination to do all their own set-ups... but that doesn't mean they should get fleeced in the process. If I were ever quoted $230 for a set-up, I seriously doubt I'd be able to stop laughing at the guy. Nobody's that good... he's fixing a guitar, not raising the dead. 

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1) Ability to go wireless yet change models through foot switches/Helix/whatever (but not Alexa/Siri - now that could be an interesting gig)?.

2) Embedded Artificial Intelligence that takes my approximation of what I am trying to play and makes me sound like my selected guitar hero model.

3) Guitar body that changes shape and color to match selected model

4) Self-playing guitar I can leave on stage and go to the bar instead

 

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On 1/15/2019 at 5:29 PM, cruisinon2 said:

The saddles on a Floyd move the same as they do on countless other guitars...loosen the screw, move the saddle, check the pitch, tighten screw.

Has the design changed in the last 15 years or so?  When I was doing setups the FR was the biggest pain ever - you loosen that screw and the whole saddle piece slams forward.  You can loosen the string, then the screw, move and tighten, then retension the string - repeat until correct.  Royal time-sucker.

 

Prior to posting this I googled and checked - sure enough Stew Mac is still (or once again) selling a special tool for just this purpose, braces the saddle assembly screw against the frame and lets you incrementally screw the saddle back and forth.  Had one on my bench at the time - not my shop so it stayed behind when I left.  Highly recommended when working with FR's.

 

Again, I'm willing to stand corrected if the basic FR design has changed - but that quirk is why I've been a Kahler guy.

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1 hour ago, ricstudioc said:

Has the design changed in the last 15 years or so?  When I was doing setups the FR was the biggest pain ever - you loosen that screw and the whole saddle piece slams forward.  You can loosen the string, then the screw, move and tighten, then retension the string - repeat until correct.  Royal time-sucker.

 

Prior to posting this I googled and checked - sure enough Stew Mac is still (or once again) selling a special tool for just this purpose, braces the saddle assembly screw against the frame and lets you incrementally screw the saddle back and forth.  Had one on my bench at the time - not my shop so it stayed behind when I left.  Highly recommended when working with FR's.

 

Again, I'm willing to stand corrected if the basic FR design has changed - but that quirk is why I've been a Kahler guy.

 

Honestly, I have no idea if the design has changed or not... haven't owned a guitar with a Floyd in more years than I'd care to think about. However, even if it's still the same as the old days, it still takes balls to look a customer in the eye and tell them that their set-up will cost 3x as much, merely because they have to loosen each string once or twice to adjust the intonation...it's not exactly a kidney transplant. At the prices he was quoting, after 3 or 4 set-ups, he'll have spent the price of the guitar again, which is insane. And depending on the degree of seasonal changes wherever he is, it might require a set-up a couple of times a year. Would you shell out upwards of $450-$500 a year to keep one guitar in playing order? Me neither...

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23 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Honestly, I have no idea if the design has changed or not... haven't owned a guitar with a Floyd in more years than I'd care to think about. However, even if it's still the same as the old days, it still takes balls to look a customer in the eye and tell them that their set-up will cost 3x as much, merely because they have to loosen each string once or twice to adjust the intonation...it's not exactly a kidney transplant. At the prices he was quoting, after 3 or 4 set-ups, he'll have spent the price of the guitar again, which is insane. And depending on the degree of seasonal changes wherever he is, it might require a set-up a couple of times a year. Would you shell out upwards of $450-$500 a year to keep one guitar in playing order? Me neither...

Oh, agreed - I never charged more for FR's, just cursed a lot while doing it.  The tool I mentioned was a game changer, suddenly I could work the bridge while tuned to pitch.  And for $20 - $25 bucks not exactly a major capital expense. 

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On 1/15/2019 at 1:13 PM, BillyQuan said:

 

Hey thanks, I will definitely look around from now on.  I have learned to do a basic set up, but doing intonations on FR still seems like a big pain.

 

If you’re interested, there are a whole whack of howto videos on Youtube. I especially recommend “Dave’s World of Fun Stuff”. He does a new video about every two or three days and has been at it for at least ten years. Needless to say there are *lots* of them. (Warning: Dave has a tendency to rant sometimes, which I think makes it more interesting. Look for his opinion on Rickenbacker basses).

 

I got interested in guitar maintenance (and some repairs) as my collection grew. I could never afford to have a setup done on each instrument and now that I’ve retired it’s kind of grown into a hobby. I’ve even done a couple of tweaks on other guitar player’s instruments.

 

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On 10/31/2018 at 12:32 PM, ricstudioc said:

This ^ - it's unlikely I'll purchase another new instrument, I'm kinda-sorta retired from live work and would have a hard time justifying the purchase.  But give me a board I can slap into my existing JTV and/or Standard and I'm pretty sure I'm in.

 

I understand the sentiment, and I'd like it too...but I'm not holding my breath. This is the same company that doesn't even trust us to adjust the height of the mag pickups, for fear that we'll screw up the instrument beyond repair and/or destroy the ionosphere. There'll be a foot of snow in Miami before they sell guts with new tech to retrofit an old guitar....

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On 1/12/2019 at 2:04 PM, BillyQuan said:

Great list, but for me the priority would be improved tone modelling, particularly when playing through Helix/Headphones.

I notice when playing my JTV-89F through Helix/Stagesource it sounds really good, although for some sounds the magnetic pickups sound a bit better then the piezo.

But when playing through Helix/Headphones (Senheizer HD600), I find the piezo sounds terrible, whereas the magnetics sound fine.  Not sure if anyone else has noticed that.  By terrible, I mean artificial/digital/not warm.

 

Also I found when I bought my JTV-89F brand new, and went to get it set up, the tech needed to shim my nut because the action was too low, cost me $400 for the first setup.

So I think there are some build quality issues, would love to see Yamaha made guitars with Variax electronics, as they have a better reputation for build quality.

 

And finally, the dream would be if Yamaha licensed the Variax electronics to other guitar manufacturers so one could get any guitar with the modelling capabilities.

 

 

Yes, when playing through an external amp, the models seem to have the same "fidelity" as the magnetic pickups. However - when I listened using a pair of decent headphones (Shure SRH940) I immediately heard the difference. Some models were better than others - the single coils seemed to suffer the most for sound quality but the 12 string "anomalies" stood out more as well. 

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