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Question about JTV-59 comfort

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I currently play on a Yamaha Pacifica that I like a lot, it's a guitar really easy to play for me (I have quite small hands).

I'm interested in buying a Variax for the limitless capabilities that this system offers.

As they sound all similar with the same electronics, I'm looking at the JTV-59 as I really like the design and it would be complementary with my Pacifica which is a "strat style".


But I've never played on a Les Paul style and I see 2 opposite camps in the forums. Some people love the comfort of the 59, some others hate it and have sold their guitar for this reason.

Can anyone provide a feedback on this guitar and an advice in my context?


I know that alternatives more close to the Pacifica neck would be the Standard or JTV-69, but it's hard to tell when you can't try it in a real store.

Thanks in advance for your tips ;-)


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The neck on the JTV-59 is thicker than the JTV-69, and is likely noticeably thicker than your Pacifica. It will feel different. You can get a good feel for it by dropping into any guitar store and playing a Les Paul. The JTV-59 neck feels very similar, if not identical, to that.


In addition the JTV-59 comes with factory installed Jumbo frets. That makes it play differently too and you won’t get a feel for that by playing a Les  Paul. I own a JTV-59 and chose it because I like the thicker neck (big hands). But I did not like the Jumbo frets so I swapped them out after trying to get used to them for a while. I’m very happy with it.

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7 hours ago, snew said:

Can anyone provide a feedback on this guitar and an advice in my context?




The only advice that'll actually yield results is this: Buy it and try it...


As you've already seen from other opinions you've run across, they're all over the map... as they are with just about any guitar ever built. And in the end, everybody's opinion is worthless...except yours. Comfort with any particular style of guitar, neck profile, fret size, etc etc, is very much an individual thing. Hell, EVH played some of his most legendary stuff on guitars cobbled together from well-used $50 parts, which he then proceeded to further mutilate to his liking. 


There are numerous variables that go way beyond how big or small your hands are, and guitar players are the pickiest people on earth. If you line up 10 guys with the exact same size hands, and give them all the same guitar to play, I guarantee you'll get 10 different assessments of what they love and/or hate about the instrument.  Personally, I can't stand semi-hollows and jazz boxes... feels like I've got a canoe in my lap... but that's just me, and it doesn't mean a blessed thing for you or anybody else.


For anything that's entirely subjective,  trying to guess whether or not you'll like it based on someone else's experience will get you nowhere. Yes, it's a gamble buying sight unseen... so buy from someplace with a decent return policy that allows you to try it out for a couple of weeks at least. Sweetwater gives you a 30 day return window, no questions asked. That's about as good as it gets.

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I had the JTV59 and bought the Variax standard as I prefer the look and feel of the Yamaha Pacificas which I also have an early 112 model.  I also have a nice Epiphone Les Paul that also prefered over the JTV59.  Maybe it was the thicker neck I didn't like but the neck was different.  What I also like about the Variax Standard is now you have the vibrato too. Acoustic dive bombs anyone? Lastly, I prefer the 5-way selector versus having to push a button to access the 2-4 positions. Oh and the Standard costs much less.

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Vettacon mentioned the 3-way selector switch, and I wholeheartedly agree --  It is the one axe-to-grind I have with my JTV-59. 


Here's my problem: I have a Strat and two older generation Variax guitars -- a 500 and a 600. All of them use a 5-way selector switch to achieve their pickup selection, or, in the case of the Variaxes, the model selection. That's fairly straightforward and easy enough to remember.


The JTV-59 is patterned after a Les Paul in body shape and also in control positioning and switch functionality. In other words, it has a 3-position toggle switch in a position similar to where you would find it on a Les Paul. When using the Variax models, each model bank has 5 guitars from which you can choose. Only 3 of them are selectable at any given time from the toggle switch. To get the remaining two models, you have to press the model bank selection knob, which sends the remaining models to the 3-position toggle. One of the models that's available from the first set of 3 is ALSO available in this second position, because, well -- you have 3 positions from which to choose. Keep in mind that you have 25 model banks that you'll have to keep track of, plus a couple of custom banks. That's a lot to remember.


I'm an older guy whose memory isn't what it used to be, and I find this incredibly confusing, trying to keep track of the various positions in which to find my favorite models. It's MUCH easier to have, say, the Acoustic bank selected and pick from those 5 models on the Variax 500 or a JTV-69, both of which use the 5-way linear model/pickup selection switch. Although I prefer much about the Gibson-like design of the JTV-59, if I had a do-over, I would purchase a JTV-69 or Standard to avoid dealing with this awkward model/pickup selection issue.

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