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Variax line discontinued?


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Not entirely rumors. I've called Line6 and Yamaha Canada to ask directly where I can find  Variax for sale in a store, and they couldn't tell me. No-one in my city stocks it. JTV replacement parts like the input jack assembly can't be found or ordered. They've effectively killed the product without announcing it.

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If there is no enough market demand, make no sense for them to keep a pipeline just to sell a bunch of guitars, nor to start a Variax II project. A production pipeline costs lot of money, and we all know how little Yamaha cares of niches products. Also, the Variax technology is really old, so to me looks like it's the right time to move on.

 

Im not longer using the variax tones, they are thin and lifeless for me these days and software is totally unusable on modern OS, so I dont care much anymore, but still I have to say my JTV 59 has one of the best neck profile and best fretboard feeling I have in my arsenal. Means I will be still using my JTV as a regular guitar for many years to come, and that always been the real bonus  of these instruments.

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On 10/22/2023 at 10:43 AM, PierM said:

If there is no enough market demand, make no sense for them to keep a pipeline just to sell a bunch of guitars, nor to start a Variax II project. A production pipeline costs lot of money, and we all know how little Yamaha cares of niches products. Also, the Variax technology is really old, so to me looks like it's the right time to move on.

 

I agree (although I do find the tones useful still), but I think it is pretty scuzzy to be stringing the customer base along implying the line has a future when there seems to be every intention to deep six it (I assume in deference to the Yamaha Pacifica line). A retrospective of YouTube has Line6 featuring the Helix/Variax integration as recently as 2021.

 

Parts availability is my major concern at this point, since if my Cat5 connection to the Helix goes south, I've got an whole lot of preset mojo to re-work, and a fat lotta good all that fancy pants Helix / Variax integration does me. I can't find a jack assembly for the JTV 59 anywhere, nor can my tech, nor the authorized repair centre in Toronto. If anyone has a spare and wants to part with it - DM me. :)

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On 10/23/2023 at 1:17 PM, psarkissian said:

69 jack plate won't work in a 59, cable lengths are all wrong.

See if you can special order it from Full Compass. Also log a Support ticket in your account.

 

 

Out of stock at Full Compass, I've corresponded with them and there are none to be had (and they are restricted from shipping outside the U.S., but there are ways around that). Have checked eBay, Kijiji, etc. Parts page on Line6 redirects to a 404. I'll open a ticket if the jack permanently fails, but its only an intermittent glitch atm. I'm not trying to solve my problem, specifically. A lack of parts in the future is everyone's problem.

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On 10/23/2023 at 12:53 PM, brue58ski said:

I wonder if the JTV-69 Cat 5 assembly would fit? I can't find a picture with a good shot of what the JTV-59's looks like. Here's a link to the JTV-69 assembly.

 

https://www.fullcompass.com/prod/215554-line-6-50-04-0079-1-jack-plate-assembly-for-variax-jtv-69

Well, the 69 assembly is out of stock, too. ;)

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On 10/24/2023 at 12:09 PM, psarkissian said:

404,... it's because you are outside the USA and our web store does not ship across borders.

And unfortunately, neither does Full Compass. Contact Yorkville or Long and McQuade, maybe they can be of some help.

Corresponded and chatted on the phone with the Line 6 / Yamaha service prime at Long & McQuade, Oshawa. He contacted 3 of his possible supplier contacts and came up empty, with apologies. I'll try Yorkville.

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And my JTV-59 is still my daily, go-to guitar. I have a Les Paul Deluxe that has been sitting in its case for several years now. I take it out occasionally to change the strings and have a nostalgia session. It sounds great. But then I find I want a Tele or Strat sound…. the Les Paul goes back and the Variax comes out again.

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On 10/22/2023 at 9:43 AM, PierM said:

still I have to say my JTV 59 has one of the best neck profile and best fretboard feeling I have in my arsenal.

 

I'm with you 100% with that. Some of my fastest, most fluid playing has been with the JTV.

 

As to parts...just try to find acable for the G10 MIDI guitar. Yamaha was of no help. Fortunately, it turned out there's a cable that has the same connectors and wiring as the G10 cable, it's just not sold as such. I don't think we'll have that kind of luck with the Variax.

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My two JTV59s and my Helix's VDI port are the reasons I never checked (at least) KPA or QC and wouldn't try any other competitive modeler or PlugIn. Without the VDI integration, I'll be sure to test some options, regardless of the brand. That's what you're losing, L6. An integrated ecosystem that provides customers with complete care and keeps them within your system.

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... at least they came clean. They didn't mention parts availability as part of their ongoing support, so I suspect any repairs requiring Variax specific parts will be either "get the soldering iron out" or "buy another variax second hand and raid it for parts."

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sort of on topic.... however..... I just got back from a visit to the local music go round.  they had lots of pretty shiney guitars.  One was a Variax... very pretty... UNTIL you picked them up!  ALL OF THEM... the strings looked like they had been soaking in the rain for years and ALL were out of tune... just terrible.

 

I know I'm just whining, but why would anyone buy a guitar, much less spend alot of money on one when it plays so lousy when you pick it up, and it is mainly because of the strings!   I know Guitar Center has been bad for this.....

 

Ok, back to your normal programming!

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On 11/8/2023 at 5:08 PM, PaulTBaker said:

sort of on topic.... however..... I just got back from a visit to the local music go round.  they had lots of pretty shiney guitars.  One was a Variax... very pretty... UNTIL you picked them up!  ALL OF THEM... the strings looked like they had been soaking in the rain for years and ALL were out of tune... just terrible.

 

I know I'm just whining, but why would anyone buy a guitar, much less spend alot of money on one when it plays so lousy when you pick it up, and it is mainly because of the strings!   I know Guitar Center has been bad for this.....

 

Ok, back to your normal programming!

 

SPOILER ALERT: Variax guitars aren't the only instruments that rot on the wall at GC for months/ years on end without being touched by so much as a dust rag, let alone having the strings changed...

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It is with great sadness and frustration that I recently read from a Line 6 support person that the Variax line is discontinued.  Just about 13 months ago I bought a 700 bass and a JTV-59 to prepare for an overseas move in summer 2024.  We were planning on a trial year before we cut our US-ties permanently.  Those two were supposed to be my hand-carry guitars until we determined if it was advisable/cost-effective to ship my other guitars.  The thought was between the two Variaxes I could cover the bases (no pun intended) on instruments until my others were shipped (perhaps) in a year or two after we got there.  Their being discontinued changes all that. 

 

To help with our shipment reorganization, it would be helpful to know the failure rate of the Variax electronics, particularly for the bass.  The JTV-59 is still usable with its magnetic PUs should the Variax gadgetry fail but the bass will be unusable since it has no external PUs.  The 700 is really a good bass with great feel and tones but if it craps out I'd be stuck without easy, or timely, access to my others.  Not good since I'm primarily a bassist. 

 

Advice, pls.

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On 11/9/2023 at 7:41 PM, sornord said:

…..  Their being discontinued changes all that. 

….

Why? They still work and there’s no reason to believe they will suddenly stop working. When a product is discontinued (and all products eventually are) it doesn’t cause existing units to die. 
 

Yes, if the electronics die in the next year or two it will be bothersome. But there’s no reason to believe they will, and it will be no more bothersome than any other piece of electronic equipment you use. Enjoy your guitars! After 10 years I still use my JTV-59 every day, and it’s never needed repair.

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On 11/9/2023 at 7:41 PM, sornord said:

It is with great sadness and frustration that I recently read from a Line 6 support person that the Variax line is discontinued.  Just about 13 months ago I bought a 700 bass and a JTV-59 to prepare for an overseas move in summer 2024.  We were planning on a trial year before we cut our US-ties permanently.  Those two were supposed to be my hand-carry guitars until we determined if it was advisable/cost-effective to ship my other guitars.  The thought was between the two Variaxes I could cover the bases (no pun intended) on instruments until my others were shipped (perhaps) in a year or two after we got there.  Their being discontinued changes all that. 

 

To help with our shipment reorganization, it would be helpful to know the failure rate of the Variax electronics, particularly for the bass.  The JTV-59 is still usable with its magnetic PUs should the Variax gadgetry fail but the bass will be unusable since it has no external PUs.  The 700 is really a good bass with great feel and tones but if it craps out I'd be stuck without easy, or timely, access to my others.  Not good since I'm primarily a bassist. 

 

Advice, pls.

162 B · 1 download

 

We could debate all day over the likelihood of a malfunction when you get wherever it is you're going. My primary concern would be local access to a L6 service center, should the need arise. Depending on your destination, getting it serviced may or may not be possible without shipping it to hell and back, and a long delay without your instrument. If it were me, whether they've discontinued them or not, I'd be taking the path of least resistance by bringing an inexpensive, less tech-dependent instrument that I could have serviced anywhere on earth. Life's already unpredictable when you're not in the midst of an overseas, life-altering experiment... you're gonna have headaches as it is.

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On 11/9/2023 at 8:50 AM, cruisinon2 said:

 

SPOILER ALERT: Variax guitars aren't the only instruments that rot on the wall at GC for months/ years on end without being touched by so much as a dust rag, let alone having the strings changed...

Oh... yes, did not mean to imply in was only the Variax... it was ALL of the guitars!

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  • 2 weeks later...

This makes me incredibly sad. Since the very first Variax, they have been my #1 guitar and pretty much all I use both live and in the studio. I feared this day might come because not enough people used them. And I've had to replace volume knobs and piezo saddles several times over the years so I know it's just a matter of time before I'll probably be forced to abandon them. This seriously bums me out. The Variax was probably my favorite thing to ever happen in guitar technology and I use the HELL out of them in MANY different bands. Depend and rely on them in fact.

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  • 2 months later...

Same thing happened with the Peavey AT-200 but I had the foresight to grab four of them so I should be good.

 

I talk to fellow guitarists wherever I go and I haven't found any that have even heard of the Variax or AT-200

Even when the Standard came out, my nearest big-name store seemed to have everything except the Variax.

 

Could it be that nobody was interested in selling a guitar that could do the job of many?

 

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On 1/25/2024 at 10:19 AM, Tinine said:

...

Could it be that nobody was interested in selling a guitar that could do the job of many?

 

Interesting. From the retailer's perspective: Why would I want to sell a single guitar that can sound like many guitars? I'd rather sell more of each of the many. I want guitarists to have to carry 6 guitars with them to every gig - not one. A different guitar for different sounds and tunings. That's what I want to sell!

 

Good observation.

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On 1/25/2024 at 10:52 AM, silverhead said:

Interesting. From the retailer's perspective: Why would I want to sell a single guitar that can sound like many guitars? I'd rather sell more of each of the many. I want guitarists to have to carry 6 guitars with them to every gig - not one. A different guitar for different sounds and tunings. That's what I want to sell!

 

Good observation.

 

That might have accounted for some of it, but I think it was a tough sell for a lot of reasons, and it's a bit of a stretch to blame the whole thing on a "Big Retail" conspiracy, lol. The Variax is/was a rather quirky beast that requires a great deal of tinkering to get everything just right... and even then they're tempermental, prone to going on tilt if anything is the slightest bit out of whack. And that's just not something that the masses generally want to get involved with. They want the instant gratification of "plug and play" gear... and the Variax just ain't that. Not to mention that they also require an additional investment in other gear that a lot of players didn't necessarily have, if they wanted to take full advantage of what it can do... specifically with regard to the acoustic models. I think a lot of people bought them under the mistaken impression that it would make their favorite traditional guitar amp pump out tones indistinguishable from the raw sound of their favorite Martin or Gibson Jumbo, not realizing that it would require a further investment in FRFR speakers to get there. Imho, Variax was always gonna be niche product.

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  • 3 months later...

Installed the new Line6 Central software.  It says it can support JTV guitars, but I can't get it to recognize that my JTV is connected to my computer.  I tried through the Helix and using the VDI USB interface.  Does this prove that they are not going to continue supporting the guitar, or am I not doing something right?

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