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String Change Made A Difference

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I took off the band new strings that came with my guitar, and put on some ernie ball slinky 10's. I tell ya the difference was night and day, no more metallic, bright sounds, in fact I flashed to ver 2.0 and so far so good, still need to play in a band situation, but iam thinking I will be happy,

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I'm convinced that strings make a huge difference. My guess is that the tone of the modeled guitars will vary depending on what guitar you have, what type of wood, body or bridge. My case is the opposite to your case, I used to have Ernie ball Slinky 10's in my JTV-89F and didn't like it. I consider most of the modeled sounds as very very good but the piezo system is too damn sensitive and mainly when I use overdrive you can hear all the time the friction of my fingers against the 4th 5th and 6th strings, specially the 4th string was very noisy, I even thought that something was wrong with the piezo. Then this week I bought half rounds D'addario 9's, these strings are similar to flat wound strings and therefore the friction is reduced a lot. I must say that although there is still somewhat noise there was a huge improvement. Also the sounds are less metallic, they sound more real and the low E string sounds less bassy. Next time I'll be using the same strings but the gauge will be 10 -46, let's see if a higher gauge improves things even more.

 

I'd like to hear other players experiences with different strings. Also what JTV model do you play?

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I think there's a misconception among some JTV owners that strings don't really make much difference with a modeling guitar; that the piezos will only pick up the basic frequency (pitch) vibration and that the more subtle nuances of string age and type don't really matter. In my experience that's far from the truth. New strings, as well as different types of strings, make just as much difference with the JTV models as they do with any 'normal' guitar. 

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thanks for the tip on the half rounds... I hadn't thought of that but will try them.  I've been using .11s as per Sean Halley but will drop back to .10s next time...

 

Actually I ordered the D'Addario Chromes ECG23 flat wound, 10-48, Dunlop DEK1048 pure nickel 10-46, and Ernie Ball 2221 Slinky 10-46...  lets see what's what...

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and it will be interesting to read what was your experience on half rounds.

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I used to have Ernie Ball super slinkies on my JTV59 but upon a recommendation I found in one of the Line6 forum threads I tried the Fender original 150Rs pure nickel strings and immediately found everything sounded much better - previously I had found everything way too bright - too much treble - but the Fender 150R nickels are much more rounded and warm to my ears.

 

Definitely recommend everyone trying different strings to find what suits their ears and playing style best with the JTV.   They make a big difference - and more so on a JTV than on a standard guitar because the piezo's are so sensitive.

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Hi,

 

I'm using Elixier nanoweb 011 - 049 on my JTV59 & JTV69 and all of my other guitars (Strat, Tele) & found these strings to be the most balanced (right amount of roundness, right amount of brightness) & long living solution I ever tried ... I have other 'coated' & 'non-coated' strings, but none gives me the same result ...

 

... and yes, different string brands (even of the same gauge) made a noticeable difference in sound & feel on both JTV's & 'conventional' guitars :) ...

 

Cheers,

Wolf

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I think there's a misconception among some JTV owners that strings don't really make much difference with a modeling guitar; that the piezos will only pick up the basic frequency (pitch) vibration and that the more subtle nuances of string age and type don't really matter. In my experience that's far from the truth. New strings, as well as different types of strings, make just as much difference with the JTV models as they do with any 'normal' guitar. 

 

 

This. Are you saying they think the Variax is a synth guitar? Can I just tell everyone how much I want to punch people who say that? Do they not realized the signal is PROCESSED to sound like the pickups and all? It's like saying distortion on an amp is midi because you're hearing a different sound coming out of the amp than what you heard from the guitar.

 

People are assuming that it's way too complicated to replicate pickups and body sounds so they think it's just a matter of synthesis.

 

 

On topic: I absolutely agree that strings matter. I hate old strings on the Variax. They sound absolutely horrible. It's one of the reasons why I got Elixirs now. Strings go dead for me in a week. The Variax is even more sensitive to dead strings than a regular guitar. That's probably the only thing I can honestly say bad about a Variax, but like I said, Elixirs fixed the problem. Been a week and a half and they sound EXACTLY like they had when I first put them on.

 

Personally I like the brightness and harmonic response the Variax has with new strings. The Les Paul model has a nice subtle low end twang that it's supposed to have imo. The single coil guitars sound really sparkly bright and nice, everything else has more life to it and the Acoustics actually sound like acoustics instead of a mix between an dead string acoustic and an electric guitar.

 

 

The strings ABSOLUTELY matter. That's where the sound COMES from. The strings vibrating. If the string is lacking in tone, your guitar is lacking in tone. Those piezos are built to pick up the full frequency range of your strings so the Variax has the best to work with. You can't really model with a regular magnetic pickup. When you do, you lose a crap load of high end and other tonality.

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Good to hear about the Elixirs and I will definitely try them after the others I just ordered...  any recommendations between the polyweb and the nano web?

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interesting stuff.

 

one question guys ... if you are finding that changing strings improves things .... are you changing TO your preferred brand / type / gauge?

 

Reason I ask is that I usually use D'Addario 10's anyway so wondering if I would not see any difference.

 

there is still this metallic plink that I am not especially happy with, reading the action helped ... lowering string volume was debatable ... some amps it helped others made no difference.

 

Personally I don't like EB slinky's, but I know a lot of people swear by them.

 

so how much of this is just using the strings you are used to on other guitars?

 

 

 

 

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interesting stuff.

 

one question guys ... if you are finding that changing strings improves things .... are you changing TO your preferred brand / type / gauge?

 

Reason I ask is that I usually use D'Addario 10's anyway so wondering if I would not see any difference.

 

there is still this metallic plink that I am not especially happy with, reading the action helped ... lowering string volume was debatable ... some amps it helped others made no difference.

 

Personally I don't like EB slinky's, but I know a lot of people swear by them.

 

so how much of this is just using the strings you are used to on other guitars?

 

Personally - I went for what someone else recommended in the forums which was the Fender 150Rs pure nickel - I was quite happy using EB slinky's and Dean Markley strings on my other guitars before that but on the JTV they just sounded too bright - way too much treble on everything - with the Fender 150Rs everything is much more natural sounding and warmer.   The EB's were brighter than the stock D'Addarios' but the stock D'Addario's were still too bright for my taste.  So, I think you need to find strings that suit your ear and playing style.  Comments above from the other guys are very helpful concerning flatwound, half wound and the Elixir strings which also found favour with JTV players and reduce various bright/harsh overtones/artifacts, as do the pure nickel strings.    So, if you think the D'Addario's on the JTV still produce a metallic plink you would rather not have, then it is definitely worth trying one of the suggested options to see if you can get a tone you are happy with.

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Actually I ordered the D'Addario Chromes ECG23 flat wound, 10-48, Dunlop DEK1048 pure nickel 10-46, and Ernie Ball 2221 Slinky 10-46...  lets see what's what...

 

Changed my order to the Elixir Strings 12050 Polyweb 10-46, DR Strings PHR-10 Pure Blues Pure Nickle 10-46, and the Slinky's.  I picked these for their specific differences to compare.  The Elixirs are coated, the DR are pure nickel, and the Slinkys are just regular strings.  I will update with my thoughts after use...

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Personally - I went for what someone else recommended in the forums which was the Fender 150Rs pure nickel - I was quite happy using EB slinky's and Dean Markley strings on my other guitars before that but on the JTV they just sounded too bright - way too much treble on everything - with the Fender 150Rs everything is much more natural sounding and warmer.   The EB's were brighter than the stock D'Addarios' but the stock D'Addario's were still too bright for my taste.  So, I think you need to find strings that suit your ear and playing style.  Comments above from the other guys are very helpful concerning flatwound, half wound and the Elixir strings which also found favour with JTV players and reduce various bright/harsh overtones/artifacts, as do the pure nickel strings.    So, if you think the D'Addario's on the JTV still produce a metallic plink you would rather not have, then it is definitely worth trying one of the suggested options to see if you can get a tone you are happy with.

cool thanks.

 

I will deffo try a different set.

 

One observation i have made is that slight fret buzz that would not be audible via normal pickups is VERY audible through the pickups. I had to raise my action slightly to improve things.

 

So flats and half flats would back that up in that they tend to produce less fret buzz.

 

not used flat wounds on a guitar before, only bass... might be interesting to try them

 

thanks again for the tips guys.

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Changed to Elixir 10-52s, but the neck moves, even with the truss rod really screwed down

 

I don't understand what you mean by "the neck moves"?

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When I left it overnight, the saddle of the floyd rose had dropped below the body, and the neck was concave, then I adjusted the truss rod, andam waiting to see what happens. The sound is great, you can actually play the acoustic models which sounded really tinny and frankly terrible. I'll bedisappointed if I have to change the gauge, it really has made a difference to the sound. I don't know if Sean whatshisname did anything to the neck, he plays with 11s

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When I left it overnight, the saddle of the floyd rose had dropped below the body, and the neck was concave, then I adjusted the truss rod, andam waiting to see what happens. The sound is great, you can actually play the acoustic models which sounded really tinny and frankly terrible. I'll bedisappointed if I have to change the gauge, it really has made a difference to the sound. I don't know if Sean whatshisname did anything to the neck, he plays with 11s

Anytime you change string gauge, adjustments need to be made...especially with a floating bridge. 10-52 is a light top/heavy bottom set. Most standard 10s are 10-46, so I'm not surprised that things were out of whack. No reason that the neck shouldn't be able to handle that gauge tho...just needs the right set-up.

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I switched to the Elixers and liked them a lot.  Those Fenders sound interesting ..especially of that is what they used to develop the models.

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This is fascinating. The stock strings on my JTV-69 are way dead so think I'm gonna try a set of those Fender all-nickel 10's. 

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I am getting great results with magnetics + both acoustic and electrics on my Variax JVT 69s using Addario pure nickel 0.12. With low action the guitar just sings and my jazz tweak patches using 1.71 firmware suits me super dupery well !! I just ordered a warmoth superwide neck which I believe will further facilitate my playing . And yes strings did make a huge difference for me

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Hi, thought i'd share my experience. Only had my JTV59 a couple of weeks and after reading this post decided to change the stock strings, (D'addario 10s), i had a set of the new D'addario NYXL 9s which i decided to use, this is the first time i've used these on any guitar. The strings have made a huge difference to an already great guitar, most noticably on the accoustic models, i had the same issues as other users already stated on here but now they sound like a true accoustic, the difference has amazed me.

It seems there are no hard and fast rules to which string to choose and a lot is down to personal preference but it has to be said, different types of strings can make a massive difference to the modelling of the guitar.

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 Elixer Nanoweb Custom light 9-46 are what i use since day one.

Ι am with you on that!

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I took off the band new strings that came with my guitar, and put on some ernie ball slinky 10's. I tell ya the difference was night and day, no more metallic, bright sounds, in fact I flashed to ver 2.0 and so far so good, still need to play in a band situation, but iam thinking I will be happy,

 

Strings do make a HUGE difference in the tonality and quality of the modeling. It might even make more of a difference than on a regular guitar.

 

I noticed this and got Elixir polywebs and it sounds great for months.

 

Remember, the Variax is the actual string of the sound via piezo pickups, just processed to sound like certain pickups, not synthesized. Anything that affects the acoustic string tone will affect the modeling tone. 

 

Basically pretend that the DSP chip is a suite of interchangeable pickups.

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Anymore experiences/opinions on string choice? To summarise, these seem to be the main suggested alternatives:

 

D'addario half rounds

Fender 150R nickels

D'addario NYXLs

Elixirs

Flatwounds?

 

I think I'm favouring the half rounds to start with. I'm interested in taming the high metallic frequencies in particular.

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Anymore experiences/opinions on string choice? To summarise, these seem to be the main suggested alternatives:

 

D'addario half rounds

Fender 150R nickels

D'addario NYXLs

Elixirs

Flatwounds?

 

I think I'm favouring the half rounds to start with. I'm interested in taming the high metallic frequencies in particular.

 

Never tried half-rounds on the JTV, but I've used them on other guitars...you may find that the high frequencies go from "tame" to "dead" in short order.

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With all this talk about losing the bright "high metallic frequncies" of the strings and how changing the strings will fix that, here's something from the Guitar Center page for one of the recommended strings, D'addario half rounds.

 

Ground flat for playing speed and comfort. Heat treated for extra brightness.

 

Just kinda funny. Bottom line...if it works, it works.

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The 2 biggest things when it comes to dead strings is the brightness (rust and string degradation cause this to suffer)

and garbage in the windings (This will make the overtones of the strings go down. Not everyone likes the overtones to be so strong, hence flatwound strings, but I prefer it. It makes it sound fuller to me.)

 

There is no wrong strings to get, but the sound quality of the Variax is based on how well these 2 attributes of your strings are, and it seems like the Variax is pretty unusable when strings are dead.

 

That's personally why I get strictly Elixirs, but that's just because my hands rust strings within 3-4 days. Once the strings are dead, the models start becoming more and more useless and indistinguishable, as well as muddy.

 

If you change strings often, and don't have acid sweat hands, and don't care too much about the string overtones, then there's no reason to try other strings besides finding your preference.

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With all this talk about losing the bright "high metallic frequncies" of the strings and how changing the strings will fix that, here's something from the Guitar Center page for one of the recommended strings, D'addario half rounds.

 

Ground flat for playing speed and comfort. Heat treated for extra brightness.

 

Just kinda funny. Bottom line...if it works, it works.

Yes, I've looked at one or two reviews for half rounds that suggest they are brighter than regular strings. Maybe they're not the ones to go for!

 

I tried Elixirs years ago on my acoustic and found that my acid sweat caused the coating to break up after a while, making the strings more unpleasant to play than regular strings. Maybe their technology has improved since then?

 

The Fender nickels have moved to the top of my list now!

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With all this talk about losing the bright "high metallic frequncies" of the strings and how changing the strings will fix that, here's something from the Guitar Center page for one of the recommended strings, D'addario half rounds.

 

Ground flat for playing speed and comfort. Heat treated for extra brightness.

 

Just kinda funny. Bottom line...if it works, it works.

Lol...So we made these strings specifically so they'd have less top end, then we "heat treated" them to produced the opposite effect...because what we were really aiming for was "playing comfort". I love marketing..."Buy these strings and they'll make you play faster"...ugh.

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Yes, I've looked at one or two reviews for half rounds that suggest they are brighter than regular strings. Maybe they're not the ones to go for!

 

!

Whether or not they'd work on the JTV is open to debate. What I do know is that the half-rounds will NOT be brighter than regular strings...doesn't matter what guitar you stick them on. They're for playing a chord melody version of "Fly Me To The Moon" on an archtop, whilst seated in the corner of some cocktail hour, wearing an ill-fitting tuxedo with coffee stains on it...Been there, done that, lol

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I personally use the Elixirs on Both my JTV89F and 59.  Very good sound all the way around modeling and mags,  Acoustics sound realistic.

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In theory the Elixir Polyweb might be a better solution than Nanowebs. According to the Elixir website Polywebs have a 'warm tone' whereas Nanowebs have a 'bright and lively tone'.

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IMO Elixir strings are not as bright as uncoated ones.  I think that is maybe a plus on a Variax.  They squeak less when you run your fingers over them.

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In theory the Elixir Polyweb might be a better solution than Nanowebs. According to the Elixir website Polywebs have a 'warm tone' whereas Nanowebs have a 'bright and lively tone'.

 

Polyweb might not be as bright as a new set of regular strings, but the brightness content is way higher and more consistent than a set of string that have been played after a whole week.

It's something I find important, especially when recording music. The tone needs to be consistent. 

 

Basically, the Polywebs are great, and they don't sound dead at all. They're still nice and bright, just not "just put the strings on this minute" bright

 

Also, Polywebs don't shred very easily if you avoid techniques like pick scraping, as well as not wiping the strings vigorously with a rough cloth (If gunk gets on the string coating, use a smooth cloth or paper towel. You can get it off just by swiping the cloth across the strings without much pressure.)

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I threw a set of the Nanowebs (as they don't seem to offer the Polywebs in 11's) on just out of curiosity...and reached the same conclusion I did the last time I tried them about 15 years ago. Didn't really notice any appreciable difference in tone, certainly nothing to justify spending more than 2x the $$ on a set. Put a couple of hours of playing on them at home, then gigged with them last night. We'll see how long they last. Something tells me I'll be going back to my D'Addario balanced tension 11's.

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I threw a set of the Nanowebs (as they don't seem to offer the Polywebs in 11's) on just out of curiosity...and reached the same conclusion I did the last time I tried them about 15 years ago. Didn't really notice any appreciable difference in tone, certainly nothing to justify spending more than 2x the $$ on a set. Put a couple of hours of playing on them at home, then gigged with them last night. We'll see how long they last. Something tells me I'll be going back to my D'Addario balanced tension 11's.

 

Cruisinon, the point of the strings aren't for a different tone, the point is to KEEP the tone from dying out.

 

If you have sweaty hands that eats away at your strings, then they're for you, if not, then you should use regular strings.

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Cruisinon, the point of the strings aren't for a different tone, the point is to KEEP the tone from dying out.

 

If you have sweaty hands that eats away at your strings, then they're for you, if not, then you should use regular strings.

 

Then why all the debate over 'brightness' then?Regular strings vs. coated, flat-rounds vs. half-rounds? Last time I checked, brightness, or the lack thereof was certainly a component of one's tone. Then there's Elixer's own advertising blurbs about one having a 'warm tone' vs 'bright and lively' for the other...On we go to the marathon discussion above about the the piezos and how much of a difference the strings make with respect to the modeling.

 

String life is only half of this discussion...the rest is most certainly about tone, and what does or doesn't affect the quality of the modeling.

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Then why all the debate over 'brightness' then?Regular strings vs. coated, flat-rounds vs. half-rounds? Last time I checked, brightness, or the lack thereof was certainly a component of one's tone. Then there's Elixer's own advertising blurbs about one having a 'warm tone' vs 'bright and lively' for the other...On we go to the marathon discussion above about the the piezos and how much of a difference the strings make with respect to the modeling.

 

String life is only half of this discussion...the rest is most certainly about tone, and what does or doesn't affect the quality of the modeling.

 

Your statement was confusing: "i didn't really notice any appreciable difference in tone, certainly nothing to justify spending more than 2x the $$ on a set."

 

Do you mean difference in the tone compared to dead strings or a normal set of new? If you mean dead strings, then the strings you took of weren't dead yet. 

 

The difference between a dead set of Ernie Balls or a set of Cleartones I had on for 2 weeks (They're horrible by the way) compared to the Elixirs I put on was night and day.

I recorded a sample of the strings on day 1, and the overtones and brightness were exactly the same quality when I did an A/B comparison a month later.

 

It only took 5 months until the strings finally died. The coating worn off, the plain strings FINALLY started to show rust (3-4 days vs 5 months? I'll take 5 months)

 

The reasons why I use elixirs is because my sweat will rust strings within 3-4 days and it'll sound unusable in a week. I can't afford to change strings every 3 days.

 

Any brightness that the coating might take away is minuscule at best, and a regular set's brightness will be below that in a day or two, so what's the point?

 

It's all about the player's needs. Choose what's best for you. If you don't rust strings with your hands, then don't get coated strings. They're not for you.

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