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Video/Audio, feature/example help


themetallikid
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Well...I feel it is come time to realistically explore a variax type guitar.  I'm not doing the heavier rock stuff as much anymore (palm muting issues, potentially, shouldnt be a concern) and I'm finding a larger need to have a variety of sounds available that I just can't dial in on the Helix alone.  

 

So....few requests (I'm at work, and cant fully search these currently)

 

1)  Could someone link or post a video demonstrating the different models of the variax?  I'm not doubting the product, but want to hear how it sounds.  I'll do my own homework a bit and search audio samples on the variax page....but sometimes you just dont know what signal chain they are all going through or what else is changing.

 

2) Is the Shuriken the most recent version?  I dont think the tech has changed much, however, has the build quality improved?  What makes one model different than the other.  Is one better than other?

 

I usually design a preset per song for my performances, how much more complicated will this make my process?

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1) Don’t have one at my fingertips. I’ll look for one later when I have more time, and if nobody else provides one by then.

 

2) Yes, Shuriken is the latest model. Build quality is apparently better in the more expensive U.S. manufactured guitars. The difference between models is entirely physical, including the onboard mag pickups. There is no difference in the underlying electronic modeling. There are several physical model types to choose from (Strat, Les Paul, Modern/metal). Which one is better for you depends largely on your preferences among these three main body types.

 

3) An un-numbered question….. It will make things much simpler, actually, since you have a Helix. Once you learn the simple procedure to store things like Variax model selection and alternate tunings in your Helix preset you can simply recall all those settings per song as you proceed through your setlist. You will no longer have to think on-the-fly about which guitar or tuning you should use for each song when playing live.

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I appreciate those words...

 

To follow up on your answers

 

2) Is there much of a difference in the mag pickup models?  If the electronics are good, what would be the reason to still use the 'original' mag style approach?  So the difference otherwise is just aesthetic visual preference?     Are there any sort of 'preferred' after market upgrades?  Things you shouldn't do.  I see that 9-11's are recommended, which is fine as I use the 10/11 hybrid sets, but it seems that coated strings are a no-no?

 

3) Is all that done through HX Edit? Or I see a program called workbench referred to at times??

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2) The mag pickups are similar to those on the ‘real’ guitar that the specific Variax guitar bodies are modeled after. In other words, the JTV 59 has two humbucker pickups like a Les Paul. The JTV 69 has three pickups like a Strat, two single coil and one humbucker I think but not sure. I can’t answer your string gauge/type questions.

 

3) What I described is done either through HX Edit or on the Helix device itself. Workbench HD is a separate program that allows you to create/modify the Variax guitar models themselves. Workbench HD is to Variax as HX Edit is to Helix. You can do things like select different body types, pickup types, pickup location and orientation, alternate tunings, and many other things. You can create your own custom Frankentar.

 

 

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ok, that clarifies the program differences then.  

 

 

Would you say that the acoustic sounds are solid enough to play an 'acoustic' show with?    

 

I'm seriously debating about going full variax/Helix for full band and solo shows.  In my head right now I can't think of a reason to keep the full acoustic if the variax sounds as good as an acoustic and gives me alternate tunings and plays like an electric

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The Variax world is a love it or hate it thing... you'll either take to it and think it's awesome, or you won't and you'll go back to the rest of your guitarsenal.

 

It's a capable tool if you put the time in... Piezo outputs tend to vary...that means that you'll likely be balancing individual string volumes of whatever models you end up using. Some models seem to be affected by this more than others, don't ask me why.

 

Also worth noting that if you intend to control everything on the Variax from Helix, it means being tethered to the VDI cable. If you're used to going wireless live, going back to a cable might be more annoying than you think. Drove me nuts... just my 2 cents.

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2 hours ago, themetallikid said:

…..

Would you say that the acoustic sounds are solid enough to play an 'acoustic' show with?    

….

Personally, if I were playing a full acoustic show I would use an actual acoustic guitar, but would still use the Helix for signal processing. The Variax acoustic models require a player to use a much lighter touch. Takes some getting used to. The Variax acoustic models are very handy when you need an occasional acoustic sound during a primarily electric setup, imho.

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59 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

The Variax world is a love it or hate it thing... you'll either take to it and think it's awesome, or you won't and you'll go back to the rest of your guitarsenal.

 

It's a capable tool if you put the time in... Piezo outputs tend to vary...that means that you'll likely be balancing individual string volumes of whatever models you end up using. Some models seem to be affected by this more than others, don't ask me why.

 

Also worth noting that if you intend to control everything on the Variax from Helix, it means being tethered to the VDI cable. If you're used to going wireless live, going back to a cable might be more annoying than you think. Drove me nuts... just my 2 cents.

The wireless was going to be another question I had.  That may be a deal breaker for me then.  I've heard some people reference other units that compete with variax, I think Boss has one....any suggestions outside of L6?

 

 

7 minutes ago, silverhead said:

Personally, if I were playing a full acoustic show I would use an actual acoustic guitar, but would still use the Helix for signal processing. The Variax acoustic models require a player to use a much lighter touch. Takes some getting used to. The Variax acoustic models are very handy when you need an occasional acoustic sound during a primarily electric setup, imho.

Yeah I figured it would be an experiment and see situation, but the one video I listened to sounded pretty good.  

 

 

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14 hours ago, themetallikid said:

The wireless was going to be another question I had.  That may be a deal breaker for me then.  I've heard some people reference other units that compete with variax, I think Boss has one....any suggestions outside of L6?

 

 

For alt tunings, yes... the Digitech Drop is quite a capable pedal, though it can't differentiate between individual strings, so you can't do open tunings, you can only drop the whole guitar by a given interval. But as for modeled guitars, as far as I know, Variax is it. Even if there is something else, it won't solve your wireless problem, unless you're content to make whatever changes you need on the fly on the instrument itself. Half the point of the Helix compatibility is so that you can both power the guitar, and change models and tunings at will with just the click of a footswitch... it works very well... just means using a cable

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2 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

For alt tunings, yes... the Digitech Drop is quite a capable pedal, though it can't differentiate between individual strings, so you can't do open tunings, you can only drop the whole guitar by a given interval. But as for modeled guitars, as far as I know, Variax is it. Even if there is something else, it won't solve your wireless problem, unless you're content to make whatever changes you need on the fly on the instrument itself. Half the point of the Helix compatibility is so that you can both power the guitar, and change models and tunings at will with just the click of a footswitch... it works very well... just means using a cable

I hear all that.  I tried the Digitech and didnt like something about it.   I also knew that the Poly stuff was coming with the Helix so if I kept the Drop I was going to need to keep the Freqout to help with the E > Eb feedback issues live.  I didnt like the Freqout's tracking... probably more the way I was trying to implement it.  If I didnt keep the Freqout, I had no reason to keep the Drop...and the Poly stuff in the Helix works fine for me if I wanna go the 'Shift' route vs a true Variax approach.  

 

I'm very intrigued by the Variax still......     Does cable length matter with the variax cable?  Are there length options?  

 

I greatly appreciate the information

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22 minutes ago, themetallikid said:

I hear all that.  I tried the Digitech and didnt like something about it.   I also knew that the Poly stuff was coming with the Helix so if I kept the Drop I was going to need to keep the Freqout to help with the E > Eb feedback issues live.  I didnt like the Freqout's tracking... probably more the way I was trying to implement it.  If I didnt keep the Freqout, I had no reason to keep the Drop...and the Poly stuff in the Helix works fine for me if I wanna go the 'Shift' route vs a true Variax approach.  

 

I'm very intrigued by the Variax still......     Does cable length matter with the variax cable?  Are there length options?  

 

I greatly appreciate the information

 

www.btpa.com

 

Length doesn't matter. It's a digital connection... the 1's and 0's either get from one end to the other,  or they don't. This place will make you any length VDI cable you want. A little pricey, but quite durable. Aside from the connectors, looks/ feels like any other guitar cable. I still have one of the L6 ones, but it's... oh, let's just call it "underwhelming", lol. It's so flimsy, it coils around itself like cheap ear bud wires... useless on stage. And I'm not talking about the one that comes with the guitar that only has the shell connector on one end, which is only intended for connecting to the ultra-silly USB dongle... this other one is a full blown VDI cable with the shell connectors on both ends... but everything between those connectors is crap, lol.

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LOL, alright, I'll take all that into consideration.  

 

My biggest potential buyers remorse is that I get one and I end up in a project that I dont need the versatility as much and its a wasted purchase.  I'm not quite in the "I have money to afford 'extra' toys" camp....so i need to justify the use of the bells and whistles.  

 

Also worried because of the timeline of Variax tech that I'll get one and the 'new' tech will come out.  I was interested about 2 years ago, but yet here we are.  lol

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