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Sterile Variax sound solutions

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I now own both a JTV-59US and a Shuriken. I find a lot of the sounds useful live but I don't think I could ever use it in the studio. Live is a different matter for the most part. Some of the models are just unusable for me (i.e. Strat, L5, 335 and other jazz models....etc)

The ones that are usable still have a sterility that I am trying to work with. Any ideas are welcome.

I have tried eq-ing it out with no luck. I have also tried out the line 6 store stuff.  I do use the Helix Rack or Helix LT into an Egnater/Synergy amp 4CM

I have come up with one thing that seemed to help. Prior to the FX loop in my signal path I put a Marshal J45 block on the Helix with no real volume boost and very little gain. It seems to warm it up quite a bit. I can even use the EQ for the Marshall to get some of the squank out. Anybody have any comments or ideas for me to try?

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Try this bundle here from Arislaf (ultimate.bun). He has spent a lot of time evening out volume levels and comparing them to real guitars. A lot of people like it.  Remember, it will replace every guitar patch in your Variax so back up your Variax patches even if it's just the factory presets. It'll just make it easier to to go back to any of the models if you like some of them better. Here's a link to the thread in the Vguitar forum that talks about this bundle.


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I will try the bundle and believe that he probably got some better sounds for strats, 335s, etc.

I am not sure that the sterility  I am hearing is in any one model. I think it is a digital guitar issue. It may be a lot like the old amp models. They were interesting but always had a less than warm feel to them. Over the years it started changing and now it is amazingly close. Line 6 hasn't really changes anything on the guitar sounds in years and it would be great if they could. At any rate. the sound I am talking about may have to be fixed after the guitar.

I remember when line 6 amps started getting it together (along with AX FX, Kemper, etc.) and they did the blind tests with some great guitarists. I don't think these guitar models would fool anyone yet and hope that Line 6 gets moving on it as they are close.

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From what little information I have been able to glean, the Variax just hasn't caught on the way Line 6 would have liked it to, so it's not all that profitable if at all. For now, I believe, there aren't any resources dedicated to working on upgrading the models on the current Variax or a new Variax of any kind. I had always hoped they would at least add more pickup choices. Despite all that, it is a labor of love for Line 6 so it isn't going away for now. Just not being improved. I still keep my fingers crossed but I don't think anything will happen in the near future.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a JTV69S that I used for gigging for the last 4 years. I invested in a nice new neck and SVL Daytona pickups, adding about $1200 to a guitar I bought used on eBay. Now its a wonderful guitar, fantastic neck, great pickups, light, stays in tune, tremolo works great, real easy/fast to change strings, looks great, etc.  But sadly it has fallen out of my gig rotation in favor of a Strat and Tele that are just wonderful to play. I like the way the different guitars feel and how they change how I play. I still use it for rehearsals and as my practice guitar. And it might re-appear in the rotation sometime, you never know. 


If found the models fine for occasional double coil sound, acoustic, and quick open tunings in live gigs. But I would likely never use the models for recording except for some of the odd models of instruments I don't otherwise have. In my case, I've tried to focus on what's needed for the songs in the context of our band. And in that case, I don't really ever need a double coil guitar because our other guitarist plays a Les Paul or SG most of the time. I need to use the single coils so we don't collide in chaotic muddy midrange. So I no longer really needed the models. We've adjusted the set list so the open tunings I need are all in one place. And I use IRs to get a pretty good acoustic sound out of the single coil picks. It's not as good as Variax acoustic, but close enough for club gigs.



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