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I was just looking at the guitars hanging on my wall. They include a modified JTV-69s (new neck, new pickups), a ‘67 Les Paul, a very nice Tele, a ‘92 Strat Deluxe with the same pickups as the JTI-69S, Amalfitano SVL Daytona and a very nice black Epiphone Sheraton-II Pro.  With all those guitars, the one I pickup the most is the JTV-69s, and (until recently) was the one that got the most gig time, by far. So I thought about the reasons:

  1. The neck I added with stainless steel frets is the best fo the bunch, with the Strat Deluxe a close 2nd with the same frets
  2. Those SVL Dyatona pickups are pretty nice
  3. its the lightest of the bunch
  4. I use the models a lot, even gigging
  5. There’s no noise with the VDI cable

 

The models don’t sound nearly as good as the real thing, but they’re a lot closer than a guitar you don’t have in a mix or live gig.

 

The only issue I have is that the JTV-69s doesn’t have the sustain of the other guitars. In fact, I find the sustain through the VDI cable isn’t is good as through the 1/4” direct cable for the magnetic pickups. The A2D conversion In the guitar seems to loose a little while eliminating the noise.

 

So anyway, I think its interesting that of all those guitars, the Variax is the one that tends to get the most use, but isn’t the one that gets the most appeal.

 

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I have, I still don't think they sound or feel like the real thing. But every guitar is different, and they do sound pretty good.

 

I do wish I could address that sustain problem.

 

 

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On 7/29/2020 at 5:45 PM, amsdenj said:

I have, I still don't think they sound or feel like the real thing. But every guitar is different, and they do sound pretty good.

 

I do wish I could address that sustain problem.

 

 

    On a different topic, I saw where a Forum member asked for Skype/Zoom help with his helix and you offered to help him for a fee of course.  I'm in the same boat.  I have an HX Effects and am struggling a bit so help would be appreciated.  I think an hour or maybe 2 hours will do it.  How much do you  charge per hour?     Can you send me your contact info to      bmacjr75@gmail.com     Thx much.   

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@amsdenj

 

What neck did you use to replace the original neck on your JTV-69? I do remember trying out a JTV-69 in a guitar store and thinking that the neck felt like it had an overly large neck profile. I have one incoming and I may (or may not) want to replace the neck.

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This is what I used:

 

Warmoth Specifications

Style: Stratocaster®

Construction: Modern Construction

Orientation: Right Handed

Neck Wood: Quartersawn Maple

Fingerboard Wood: Ebony (Black)

Nut Width: 1-11/16"

Back Shape: Standard thin

Fret Size: SS6105 (Stainless)

Tuner Ream: Gotoh/Grover (13/32" 11/32")

Radius: 10-16" Compound

Scale: 25-1/2"

Fret #: 22

Mounting Holes: No Mounting Holes

Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: GraphTech White TUSQ XL - Standard Nut

Inlays: Mother Of Pearl Dots

Side Dots: White Side Dots

Finish: Vint Tint Satin Nitro

 

But I have relatively small hands and like a pretty flat fingerboard. You might have other preferences.

I should have used larger frets.

 

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On 9/8/2020 at 1:05 PM, guitarno said:

@amsdenj

 

What neck did you use to replace the original neck on your JTV-69? I do remember trying out a JTV-69 in a guitar store and thinking that the neck felt like it had an overly large neck profile. I have one incoming and I may (or may not) want to replace the neck.

FWIW shortly after acquiring my 69 I had an actual Strat neck put on - I believe my luthier said it was from a John Meyer (?) model.  Night and day for me - like you I found the stock profile kinda chunky for my hands.  Took it from being a guitar I played because of its flexibility on stage to one that I actually enjoyed playing in and of itself.

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22 hours ago, ricstudioc said:

like you I found the stock profile kinda chunky for my hands

 

I think I'm going to have to do this.  I find it chunky as I get toward the 10th fret or so.  Just an odd shape in my hand.

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Before you replace your JTV-69S neck, be aware that there are some advantages of a thicker neck. First they're more stable, hold their setup better, stay in tune better, and are not impacted as much by changes in temperature and humidity.  This can be important if you're playing inside air-conditioning and outside gigs in the summertime. Second, a heavier neck and body can give better sustain, and more uniform response up and down the neck. It might be a good rule of thumb to use the heaviest neck that fits your hands. 

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15 hours ago, amsdenj said:

Before you replace your JTV-69S neck, be aware that there are some Padvantages of a thicker neck. First they're more stable, hold their setup better, stay in tune better, and are not impacted as much by changes in temperature and humidity.  This can be important if you're playing inside air-conditioning and outside gigs in the summertime. Second, a heavier neck and body can give better sustain, and more uniform response up and down the neck. It might be a good rule of thumb to use the heaviest neck that fits your hands. 

 

I couldn't disagree more. A well made instrument is a well made instrument,  and junk is junk. This all has far more to do with whether or not things are built properly, what type(s) of wood are used, whether or not it was properly dried beforehand, how the neck is reinforced, one piece vs multi-piece construction, etc etc... than how fat or thin it is. I had a one-piece birdseye maple Strat neck at one point that was a useless piece of crap. It had no stability whatsoever and needed constant adjustments... yet it was twice as thick as the neck on my old Ibanez RG540  that I've had since high school, and that thing is bulletproof. If it's done right, a thinner neck can be every bit as stable as a baseball bat, and a 7 lb guitar can have just as much sustain as a 12 lb boat anchor 60's/70's Les Paul.

 

And one should play whatever is comfortable for them to play..."I have big hands, therfore I must play on a tree trunk" makes no sense. Fat or thin, if you have to fight with something that's uncomfortable, it's a struggle to play well. Steve Vai has some of the biggest hands/longest fingers of any player I've ever seen, and he's made a career of playing some of the thinnest necks on the planet.

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On 9/10/2020 at 6:17 PM, amsdenj said:

This is what I used:

 

Warmoth Specifications

Style: Stratocaster®

Construction: Modern Construction

Orientation: Right Handed

Neck Wood: Quartersawn Maple

Fingerboard Wood: Ebony (Black)

Nut Width: 1-11/16"

Back Shape: Standard thin

Fret Size: SS6105 (Stainless)

Tuner Ream: Gotoh/Grover (13/32" 11/32")

Radius: 10-16" Compound

Scale: 25-1/2"

Fret #: 22

Mounting Holes: No Mounting Holes

Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: GraphTech White TUSQ XL - Standard Nut

Inlays: Mother Of Pearl Dots

Side Dots: White Side Dots

Finish: Vint Tint Satin Nitro

 

But I have relatively small hands and like a pretty flat fingerboard. You might have other preferences.

I should have used larger frets.

 

     Thanks for your reply @amsdenj I appreciate it. I was putting together some options on the Warmoth site & my neck spec list I was putting together is very similar to yours. Almost exact actually. Did you drill the neck holes yourself or did you have a tech do it for you? I'm pretty sure I could mount & drill the neck myself but that would be the critical step & I wouldn't want to make a mistake there.

15 hours ago, amsdenj said:

Before you replace your JTV-69S neck, be aware that there are some advantages of a thicker neck. First they're more stable, hold their setup better, stay in tune better, and are not impacted as much by changes in temperature and humidity.  This can be important if you're playing inside air-conditioning and outside gigs in the summertime. Second, a heavier neck and body can give better sustain, and more uniform response up and down the neck. It might be a good rule of thumb to use the heaviest neck that fits your hands. 

 

     Relative to this post & the Warmoth neck shape you chose (Standard Thin)  how is that working for you? You mentioned you have smaller hands. Mine are not huge but on the bigger side (Wish I had longer fingers though). I am considering going a little larger than "Standard Thin" but I don't want to make a mistake there either, I had an Eric Johnson Strat that had a pretty hefty neck profile and also a JTV-59 that also had a substantial neck profile, but even though they were a little large they actually felt fairly comfortable to play. The neck on the early models of the JTV-69 felt huge to me when I initially tried them out years ago. The neck on the JTV-69 I have now is really not that bad, it's a lot slimmer than the older ones.  I would prefer that it was wider at the nut though, and would like stainless frets and a compound radius.

 

Speaking of frets, picked out the same frets you listed (SS6105). I was actually thinking that shorter frets might be better. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment on a gig, I get excited and start using too much finger pressure and fretted notes in the lower registers go sharp. It's really a technique flaw on my part but I was thinking that shorter frets would help. Why do you wish you had taller frets? Feel?, Ease of bending strings? Just curious because I want to make the right choice there too.

I was also considering an Earvana nut as I put one on a project guitar some years back and thought it did help the tuning a bit in the open position.

 

I think I agree with you about the advantages of a thicker neck. The stability thing for sure and I'm sure that the neck plays a bigger factor in overall tone than most people think. I also assume more mass there might impact the modeling positively.

 

Thanks!

 

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