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Is variax dead?


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Hi,

 

After a year quite happy with my helix, I decided to take it one step further and buy a variax. I was eyeing the jtv-89f red a couple of months ago, and I was ready to make the purchase at the end of this month. To my surprise I checked the guitar today and it’s not available in any major European store, in Thomann is delisted.

 

Not just this one, but it seems that every variax model (except for the shuriken) is going away.

 

Does anyone know what’s gonna happen to the variax guitars?

 

thank you.

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On 8/8/2019 at 7:48 AM, TheRealZap said:

No, But the floyd rose version was always a limited run.

the variax standard and shuriken models are the new ones... i wouldn't be surprised to learn all the JTV models are going to get harder to find.

 

 

Seems to me it was the stop-tail 89 that they only made a handful of, no? I've always seen more of the Floyd's floating around (pun intended ;) )

 

Anyway,  to the OP... there's a new "Are the JTV's being discontinued?" thread every couple of weeks it seems... and this has been going on for years now. You can't believe much of what anybody at some retail chain tells you, because all they're doing is parroting what their inventory program spits out...9 times out of 10, they don't actually "know" anything... and a month or two from now, the same guy, staring at the same computer, could just as easily report "Looks like we're getting some in on the 15th". Bottom line is, nobody knows except Line 6, and they don't talk much.

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I ordered a JTV69 a couple of months ago on a Line 6 special financing offer. All JTV models were out of stock at the time and my order was put in the backorder queue. Later I found out that the supplier hadn't had this model since Nov. 2018. My backordered guitar is not supposed to arrive until sometime in October, 2019. I understand they had to switch from rosewood fingerboards to ebony; maybe that's the delay. I would think that most of the next shipment of this model and the Les Paul model will be sold out. I wish Line 6 would let the world know what the status of these guitars is and is going to be in the future, and the reason for such a long delay.

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20 hours ago, eray said:

I ordered a JTV69 a couple of months ago on a Line 6 special financing offer. All JTV models were out of stock at the time and my order was put in the backorder queue. Later I found out that the supplier hadn't had this model since Nov. 2018. My backordered guitar is not supposed to arrive until sometime in October, 2019. I understand they had to switch from rosewood fingerboards to ebony; maybe that's the delay. I would think that most of the next shipment of this model and the Les Paul model will be sold out. I wish Line 6 would let the world know what the status of these guitars is and is going to be in the future, and the reason for such a long delay.

Interesting. I really thought they were done producing the JTV's. If you actually get the guitar, let us know. Having an ebony FB will make it pretty unique.

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4 hours ago, specracer986 said:

Interesting. I really thought they were done producing the JTV's. If you actually get the guitar, let us know. Having an ebony FB will make it pretty unique.

 

Not really...mine's had an ebony fretboard for years now...;)

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5 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Not really...mine's had an ebony fretboard for years now...;)

Ok, I didn't fully think that statement out. I guess my JTV with a Bubinga fb could be the rarest yet. But I don't think I've heard of any stock JTV necks coming with ebony, unless I missed that.

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  • 1 month later...
2 hours ago, pvandorp said:

I ordered a JTV-89F last month on Andertons. The order was confirmed by Line6, but they cannot provide Andertons/me with an estimated delivery date. I'll keep you posted when I receive it.

Funny thing, I was able to grab a jtv59 a month ago from a local store. It was the last one, forgotten in a corner of the warehouse, and got a nice discount :)

 

I’m not sure what has happened with the jtv line, but they have completely disappeared from stores. Even musicstore, which I asked about the jtv-89f and they told me they were getting a shipment in November, has removed them from their website.

 

Since line 6 has confirmed it I guess they will be back in stores at some point.

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On 10/2/2019 at 5:09 PM, will_19 said:

Since line 6 has confirmed it I guess they will be back in stores at some point.

 

Yes, I still see them in the catalogs of online stores, but they are marked 'unavailable for order'. I just think the retailer do not want to burn themselves on long waiting periods (which can not be estimated). But if they were discontinued they would have been deleted altogether.

 

On 10/2/2019 at 5:53 PM, psarkissian said:

There was a bottleneck in shipping, it's been cleared up, so things are flowing again.

 

Good to know. I hope I can rock my JTV-89F with my Helix soon ;-)

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The folks at Sweetwater just told me that Line 6 expects guitars to arrive in November, meaning they pushed back the arrival date another month. It looks like they're also selling a three-single coil pickup model - labeled "New" on the Sweetwater website. I hope I get mine by Thanksgiving this year. Hope springs eternal.

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10 minutes ago, eray said:

It looks like they're also selling a three-single coil pickup model - labeled "New" on the Sweetwater website. I hope I get mine by Thanksgiving this year. Hope springs eternal.

 

Lol... gotta love advertising. That's just the Variax Standard... while it is the most recent model, calling it "new" is a bit of a stretch. The modeling is exactly the same as the JTV's, and it's been around for several years now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Guys,  It's here!!  I ordered a JTV59 over 9 months ago and I picked it up today at the local store.  There have been no changes to the design (except for the ebony fingerboard).  It has a very high action, and high at the nut too.  Am going to attempt to lower the bridge tomorrow.  What do I need to be aware of?  What possible problems will I encounter?  Is there any info on any website about setting up the action on a Variax?  Is there an authorised Line 6 service centre in Sydney (Australia) that does set-ups?

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The JTV59 comes with 'jumbo' frets. I found them very high/large, accounting for the high action and also an out-of-tune behaviour when playing with a heavy hand. Depressing any string so that it touches the fretboard (not just the high fret) added enough tension to the string that the resulting note was sharp.  I ended up replacing the frets with a standard size set and I also replaced the nut; both issues were resolved. I used a local guitar tech for this, not a Line 6 service center.

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1 hour ago, devgop said:

Hi Guys,  It's here!!  I ordered a JTV59 over 9 months ago and I picked it up today at the local store.  There have been no changes to the design (except for the ebony fingerboard).  It has a very high action, and high at the nut too.  Am going to attempt to lower the bridge tomorrow.  What do I need to be aware of?  What possible problems will I encounter?  Is there any info on any website about setting up the action on a Variax?  Is there an authorised Line 6 service centre in Sydney (Australia) that does set-ups?

 

Glad you could grab one! Could you take a close up pic of the fretboard? Mine is pretty dark, but i think it is rosewood, i wanna check the grain on the ebony they are using.

 

About the adjustments, yes, they come pretty high. I was able to lower mine with the bridge, which is a little unconventional for a les paul, but not as much as the rest of my guitars, for two reasons, the frets, and the variax hardware. Take into account that the piezo picks up everything and makes it worse, so the little buzzes and noises that you can get with a low action guitar will get amplified. 

 

Still, it's quite comfortable. 

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2 hours ago, devgop said:

Hi Guys,  It's here!!  I ordered a JTV59 over 9 months ago and I picked it up today at the local store.  There have been no changes to the design (except for the ebony fingerboard).  It has a very high action, and high at the nut too.  Am going to attempt to lower the bridge tomorrow.  What do I need to be aware of?  What possible problems will I encounter?  Is there any info on any website about setting up the action on a Variax?  Is there an authorised Line 6 service centre in Sydney (Australia) that does set-ups?

 

Any competent tech can address those set-up issues for you if you're not comfortable doing it yourself. In that respect, there's nothing particularly magical about a Variax. Fancy electronics aside, a guitar is a guitar, and they all require the same basic adjustments periodically. As for the nut, it's either properly cut or it isn't...all too often not right out of the box, even on guitars a lot more expensive that than these. Most other set-up parameters (action, relief, etc) are largely personal preference. Don't obsess over factory specs. L6 won't give them to you anyway... if you don't set it up the way you like it, all the technical wizardry inside won't matter one bit. If it isn't comfy to play, you're not gonna like it.

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On 10/3/2019 at 1:53 AM, psarkissian said:

There was a bottleneck in shipping, it's been cleared up, so things are flowing again.

 

 

6 hours ago, will_19 said:

 

Glad you could grab one! Could you take a close up pic of the fretboard? Mine is pretty dark, but i think it is rosewood, i wanna check the grain on the ebony they are using.

 

About the adjustments, yes, they come pretty high. I was able to lower mine with the bridge, which is a little unconventional for a les paul, but not as much as the rest of my guitars, for two reasons, the frets, and the variax hardware. Take into account that the piezo picks up everything and makes it worse, so the little buzzes and noises that you can get with a low action guitar will get amplified. 

 

Still, it's quite comfortable. 

 

The new JTV59 Ebony fret-board.

 

Ebony Fingerboard 2.jpg

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By the way the serial number of the JTV59 I just got is W190101_ _  On other threads they say that this indicates it was made on 1 Jan 2019.  Is this correct?  The shop told me that this was just made in Sept.

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17 hours ago, will_19 said:

 

 

8 hours ago, psarkissian said:

W1901xxxx,... made in early 2019.

 

Hi psarkissian,  The local store are insisting that this guitar is from the latest batch made in Korea.  Is it possible that the new batch has this serial number seeing they stopped production about 9 months ago.  If it is from the Jan batch, I want to return it and wait in case the new models have some added design features.

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7 minutes ago, devgop said:

 

Hi psarkissian,  The local store are insisting that this guitar is from the latest batch made in Korea.  Is it possible that the new batch has this serial number seeing they stopped production about 9 months ago.  If it is from the Jan batch, I want to return it and wait in case the new models have some added design features.


As far as I know, the only difference would be the fretboard. If you are happy with your guitar I would keep it :)

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5 hours ago, devgop said:

 

Hi psarkissian,  The local store are insisting that this guitar is from the latest batch made in Korea.  Is it possible that the new batch has this serial number seeing they stopped production about 9 months ago.  If it is from the Jan batch, I want to return it and wait in case the new models have some added design features.

 

The JTV product line is approaching 10 years old... at this point, it is what it is. Waiting around for new features will be a long wait for a train that ain't coming. The only reason the fretboards were changed to ebony is because of recent restrictions on the international trade of various kinds of rosewood.

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16 hours ago, devgop said:

 

 

The new JTV59 Ebony fret-board.

 

Ebony Fingerboard 2.jpg

 

That looks like Rosewood to me... but I certainly can't say that definitively. 

 

Most rosewood I have seen in recent years has been much lighter than that, but my older rosewood strat looks exactly like this photo. It's the grain that is making me question it... it doesn't look tight enough for ebony. 

 

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1 hour ago, codamedia said:

 

That looks like Rosewood to me... but I certainly can't say that definitively. 

 

Most rosewood I have seen in recent years has been much lighter than that, but my older rosewood strat looks exactly like this photo. It's the grain that is making me question it... it doesn't look tight enough for ebony. 

 

 

That is most likely macassar ebony. It has streaks of brown in it, and at a glance the grain is similar to rosewood. The jet-black, really tight grain ebony...whatever the species is...is becoming increasingly rare and harder to get.

 

https://www.wood-database.com/macassar-ebony/

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Hi

 

so I'm really curious about this topic. I own a Helix Lt and two JTV59s and I'm quite happy with the setup but I'm also looking into the future. Thomann has taken the Variaxes completely off of their website. I Would understand the JTV since it's a bit older. But the Standard and Shuriken are also not available anymore.

 

So my guess was that maybe Line6 has a new Gadget they will present soon but nothing as of yet.

 

Or is that just something on the Thomann side of things and the guitars are made and sold as usual?

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JTV, Standard and Shuriken are still available.

 

" Or is that just something on the Thomann side of things and the guitars are made and sold as usual? "--- no, there was a snag in shipping.

It's all cleared up now. Just a matter of getting caught up on back orders and such.

 

If you want to know what out there, if it's on the Line 6 website, then it's still out there.

 

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On 10/23/2019 at 10:03 AM, psarkissian said:

W1901xxxx,... made in early 2019.

 

I just called Yamaha Australia and they have confirmed that my Variax JTV59 (Serial no : W190101xx) came into the country on 18 Sept;  and is from the latest batch made in September.  Wonder if that 01 means the first week of manufacture for the year - and that they had stopped manufacturing the Variax  late last year.  Is it possible it was not made in Jan this year as you suggest?

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Make date is early 2019. And more than likely with the Macassar ebony. And they are still in production.

Finished and passed factory January 2019 (W1901xxxx), arrival Yamaha Australia would be that September date of this year, 2019.

 

"Is it possible it was not made in Jan this year as you suggest? "--- No,... I'm the guy at Line 6 HQ that does service and repair on these.

My supervisor and I track this stuff for QA.

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On 10/23/2019 at 10:03 AM, psarkissian said:

W1901xxxx,... made in early 2019.

 

 

4 hours ago, psarkissian said:

Make date is early 2019. And more than likely with the Macassar ebony. And they are still in production.

Finished and passed factory January 2019 (W1901xxxx), arrival Yamaha Australia would be that September date of this year, 2019.

 

"Is it possible it was not made in Jan this year as you suggest? "--- No,... I'm the guy at Line 6 HQ that does service and repair on these.

My supervisor and I track this stuff for QA.

Cool.  Thanks for clarifying.

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