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ichasedx

US made Variax, where are they????

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I recently began looking at the Variax as my next guitar purchase. I use a Helix floor and PC+ now, I'm curious about the possibilities...but, I'm a little confused and need some advice and direction. I have been playing for over 50 years and have acquired a taste for finely made instruments, I play a Gibson 335, 90's Thinline tele and a Guild 12 string. Not to sound like a guitar snob, but I pretty sure if I bought a Korean made guitar I would be disappointed. I wouldn't but a MIM Fender, Fortunately my finances allow me that luxury after retiring. Anyway...The information on the US made Variax(s) is a little confusing. Are they made by Yamaha now? James Tyler?  Sweetwater, GC and even this site have little or no info, (this site has only one US model listed).

  I'm just looking for a little clarity on the status at this time, availability and where one can be purchased,

Thanks

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They are made by one of Tyler's people in a shop in the Los Angeles area.

 

I have five Korean made and one US made, either one is quite good. US is more hand worked.

Colors are standard colors with a finer finish coating, but different from Korean colors.

Premium Hip Shot locking tuners. All around nice feel. Different pick guards for the US version.

 

As far as acquiring one, check with the retailer. I got mine second hand from a fellow Line 6 employee.

 

 

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4 hours ago, ichasedx said:

Not to sound like a guitar snob, but I pretty sure if I bought a Korean made guitar I would be disappointed. I wouldn't but a MIM Fender, Fortunately my finances allow me that luxury after retiring. Anyway...

 

Imho, you've already made up your mind... so yes, you'd likely be disappointed. It's been said that the imports are a $700 guitar with another $700 worth of fancy electronics...and that's largely true, in my estimation. But I suspect that your disappointment would mostly be due to a pre-existing bias against import guitars. Were this conversation taking place 20 years ago, I'd probably agree. However, what can be purchased today in the sub-$1K category from varous factories in the Far East has vastly improved since then, particularly just in the last handful of years. They're really not junk anymore. Would it measure up to your standards? I have no idea, and there's only one way to find out...

 

But as far as the US JTV's go...when you get down to the nitty-gritty, the only promised differences are a quarter-sawn neck, a few extra colors to choose from, lots of vague references to "attention to detail", and frequent use of the word "custom". And that somehow justifies charging nearly 3-4x the price? Almost $4K for a bolt-on (if you're looking at the 69)?!?!?!. Nuff said. Just my 2 cents. You be the judge.

 

I like nice instruments too. I own a one of these (a solid body, not the archtop) https://www.phiferguitars.com/

 

So I have a pretty good idea what
money buys...and I can't see myself spending the kind of money they're asking on a Strat clone with fancy guts. But that's just me...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well that is so disappointing. With my Helix, PC+ and wireless, I have been nothing but impressed with Line 6 products, from the performance, to build quality and especially there continued updates after the purchase. What a "black eye" for an otherwise stellar company!  I can't see buying a new guitar then replacing the neck, plus I've heard negative comments about other components. And it sounds like the money for the US models might be better spent elsewhere. What a shame, to be so forward thinking with most products and so, mediocre at best, with others. Maybe their guitar line belongs in the R&D department until they can produce a product better suited to the rest of their line.

 

 

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I have six of them and I like them, one is a US because I like his work. I also service them, so I'm with these all

the time. Great play, good sounds and the Workbench HD application allows you to customize your sounds and

tunings. How many guitars can do that?

 

The US version is more hand crafted by one of Tyler's people who is also part of that boutique guitar making circle

of people, the guy who does the paint and finish has an excellent reputation.  Feels and plays great. I've played them,

don't know who else here has.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, psarkissian said:

I have six of them and I like them, one is a US because I like his work.

 Why are the US versions so difficult to find? If making a purchase based solely on price, would you put the US Variax in the same league as a custom shop Fender? or PRS or Memphis made Gibson? I know the electronics are a selling point, but the axe has to play and feel as good as other similarly priced guitars. The "bells and whistles" won't make up for other shortcomings. Just wondering...

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27 minutes ago, ichasedx said:

 Why are the US versions so difficult to find? If making a purchase based solely on price, would you put the US Variax in the same league as a custom shop Fender? or PRS or Memphis made Gibson? I know the electronics are a selling point, but the axe has to play and feel as good as other similarly priced guitars. The "bells and whistles" won't make up for other shortcomings. Just wondering...


The US ones are much more expensive, so typically custom ordered, and rarely on the resale market. The quality of the Variax Standard is a little iffy, but the other import models are really well made. Particularly the JTV-59. I was really impressed by its fit and finish. 

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Yes, he has the pieces, but doesn't actually build the US guitar until an order is put in.

 

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OK, now I get it. "Made to order" makes the price difference from the standard understandable, and also explains the inability to purchase from stock. Thanks.

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5 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

But I suspect that your disappointment would mostly be due to a pre-existing bias against import guitars. Were this conversation taking place 20 years ago, I'd probably agree.

 

You're right! I think the last electric I bought was in '98. The import guitars I see now from all makers in the introductory price range, are by far, head and shoulders above the stuff that we had to struggle with when starting out. I've always said that the worst Xmas present I ever got from my parents was an electric guitar and amp from a local "box" store. I think it was a brand call Heit. Worst piece of S*!% I ever saw. It actually made me give up the idea of playing guitar for years until I was a teenager and played a friends guitar he got from a music shop..

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44 minutes ago, ichasedx said:

OK, now I get it. "Made to order" makes the price difference from the standard understandable...

 

Not to me it doesn't... what you're actually getting still has to be worth the coin, whether they're sitting around waiting for somebody to place an order or not. Value is value.

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10 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

Not to me it doesn't..

 

I absolutely agree, I said I understand it, not that I would spend my money that way!! 

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16 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

like nice instruments too. I own a one of these (a solid body, not the archtop) https://www.phiferguitars.com/

 

Buy the way, these look great! And that arch top, WOW! Thats a beautiful instrument! 

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2 hours ago, ichasedx said:

 

Buy the way, these look great! And that arch top, WOW! Thats a beautiful instrument! 

 

Yeah, he's quite a craftsman. It's the one pricey guitar I own... I'd love another one, but can't afford it. And even if I could, not sure I could justify the expense, lol. Maybe in the next life, if I find myself on stage at Madison Square Garden...

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3 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

Maybe in the next life, if I find myself on stage at Madison Square Garden...

 

I'm still convinced that if I keep practicing, my name will become synonyms with SRV, Clapton and Gary Moore! Problem is I'm 61 and just need another 20 years or so...no problem. I'll headline at MSG with you!

 

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18 minutes ago, psarkissian said:

So, who else her has played a JTV US version?

 

Only played one, and admittedly I only fiddled with it for an hour or so...but 30+ years and countless guitars in, that's long enough to figure out what I'm holding. It was a nice guitar... just not $4K nice, imho. If I were to drop that kind of money on a guitar again, there are others I'd spend it on first. But that's just me...

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3 hours ago, psarkissian said:

So, who else her has played a JTV US version?

I have one and two imports. By touch, I’d be hard pressed to tell them apart, which says a lot for the Korean models, but glad I didn’t get the US model new. The top looks better, but the feel is the same. I’d like one in one of the exclusively US colors if they were more reasonably priced. I just can’t see paying Gibson custom shop prices for a JTV which will not retain its value (nothing with circuit boards ever really does). The US is on the right. 

28D1D5FD-5D0E-4266-9565-6DDA9005805E.jpeg

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59 Tobacco Sunburst US on the right, with the Hip Shot tuners, sculpted heel is really nice, good feel for those upper notes.

 

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Just now, psarkissian said:

59 Tobacco Sunburst US on the right, with the Hip Shot tuners, sculpted heel is really nice, good feel for those upper notes.

 

I love the sculpted heal! I prefer the Tylers to a Les Paul’s neck heal, for sure! If the circuit boards ever die, I’ll be rewriting these as traditional 4 knob types. 

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Very good   :)    If boards in mine go, I'll just design some other active circuits for it and have some fun.  :)

 

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2 hours ago, ParkerFlyMajik said:

I have one and two imports. By touch, I’d be hard pressed to tell them apart, which says a lot for the Korean models,

 

Just a quick question, I live in Conesus about 20 minutes south of Rochester, I would love to come out and see you play, and hear what the Variax sounds like live. It sure looks like you have a great setup! 

Mike

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13 hours ago, ichasedx said:

 

Just a quick question, I live in Conesus about 20 minutes south of Rochester, I would love to come out and see you play, and hear what the Variax sounds like live. It sure looks like you have a great setup! 

Mike

 

Lol...3 Rochester ties in the same thread. I spent 5 years (yes, 5...;) ) at the U of R. So who's been to the HOG lately? I miss that place... that, and the garbage plates from Little Venice. Ahh, memories, lol

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13 hours ago, ichasedx said:

 

Just a quick question, I live in Conesus about 20 minutes south of Rochester, I would love to come out and see you play, and hear what the Variax sounds like live. It sure looks like you have a great setup! 

Mike

Thank you, Mike! Sadly you're about 2 years too late to see me live. BOTH of the bands I was in (90's Flannel Rock and a 70's-90's mix, respectively) broke up shortly before quarantine or dwindled during. I was sick of arguing about which tunes to play and having to pay out of pocket for a lousy practice space, but I've started to get the itch again lately. The Variax is a fabulous instrument, regardless of model, and there is no easier way to drop tune during a set. Best trick in the box, bar none. I became a Gibson snob for a minute, but came to my senses, and I've fallen back in love with my JTV 59's. I banged away on the Cherry Burst at every gig and it is truly a work horse. If/when I get out there again, I'll look you up. ;-)

 

Nate

IMG_1191.JPG

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Cherry Sun 59,... very good.

Have a couple Tobacco Suns and Cherry Suns, here in the repair lab at Line 6.

Like having a Les Paul to the N-th power.

 

 

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I just purchased the JTV-59 Tobacco sunburst from Sweetwater scratch & dent sale, about $1100 including tax, plus free shipping and 0% interest for 24 months. I needed a dedicated E flat guitar and this is an obvious solution. It was either this or a used US Strat. 

Are there any tips or suggestions that I should do when setting up my presets for the Variax?  Does the string gage and type still have an effect on the tone when using the modeling? 

Thanks again for all of your input!

 

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10's or 11's, we use 10's, the D'Addario XL-110 is the factory set. D'Addario NYXL and Elixir Optiweb 10's and 11's are well liked.

 

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15 hours ago, ichasedx said:

Does the string gage and type still have an effect on the tone when using the modeling?

 

 

As with pretty much everything around here, half will swear on a stack of Bibles that there's a night and day difference between Brand "X" or gauge "Y" strings, and the other 50% couldn't hear a difference with a gun to their heads... just use what you like.

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Gauge and tension are related, with tension comes good transfer of energy to the piezo.

After that, it's up to the circuitry. Not so much tone, but more solid amplitude of the pitch.

 

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What locking tuners would you recommend to replace stock JTV-59 tuners?

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3 minutes ago, ichasedx said:

What locking tuners would you recommend to replace stock JTV-59 tuners?

I put these on my imports. Direct replacement. 
Guyker 6Pcs Guitar Machine Heads (3L + 3R) - 1:19 Locking Tuning Key Pegs Tuners Replacement for Electric or Acoustic Guitars (Chrome) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MQCHZHG/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_G23BR7C1WJBSH5CY8Z2P

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On 8/4/2021 at 12:22 PM, psarkissian said:

Have a couple Tobacco Suns and Cherry Suns, here in the repair lab at Line 6.

 

Just wondering...what type of repairs do you find most common to cross your bench?  Do you repair the electronics or luthier service to the guitars?

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17 hours ago, ichasedx said:

What locking tuners would you recommend to replace stock JTV-59 tuners?

I put these on my JTV59P:

Sperzel Style Locking Tuners 3x3 Chrome from GuitarFetish

No muss - no fuss

 

 
 

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7 minutes ago, Hey_Joe said:

I put these on my JTV59P:

Sperzel Style Locking Tuners 3x3 Chrome from GuitarFetish

No muss - no fuss

 

 
 

Those are the exact same as the ones in the link I posted, so I guess the OP now knows that these are pretty popular. ;-) 

Congrats on the 59P, Joe! Those really are cool. I'm glad I picked one up. 

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Couldn't pass up a Gold Top 59 with P90s from Sweetwater's Dent and Scratch deals 5 years ago.

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" Just wondering...what type of repairs do you find most common to cross your bench?  " --- A variety of things, nothing in particular, a bit of everything

guitar with a processor in it.

 

" Do you repair the electronics or luthier service to the guitars? " --- Both. Though I don't have a paint booth, so I'm limited when it comes to finishing work.

 

I also do electronic keyboards, a host of audio, video, RF/microwave/light-wave communications and such. Got started at 14 and doing this for a living

when I was 19 (some 46 years ago), building mainframe computer printers by day and crewing for the rock band Iron Butterfly in my off-hours.

 

 

 

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