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chstd, April 4, 2014 in James Tyler Variax Guitars / Workbench HD
I would post a link to the video for "Things to make you go hmmm" ..... but you could probably have me banned from the site for that.
.....and rightly so.
Picking style and what is used definitely makes a difference but I have observed that the plinky sound I am hearing is not normal. My reasons are as follows:
1. The plinky sound does NOT happen at all on my JTV-59
2. The plinky sound IS present when playing straight into my DT-25
3. The plinky sound IS present on several different models (Lester, Semi, Chime)
4. No amount of EQ compensation or volume reduction through Workbench will remove the plinky sound.
I know what a vintage Strat bridge pickup sound is supposed to be. I love it. It's woody and round and clear. The plinky sound is metallic, abrasive, and hollow.
@ice9mike - do you have some models where you don't get plink?
on mine it is ALL models.... you can hear it clearly in the recordings.
and agree I tried all sorts of EQ and could not mask it... not that I should have to, but I tried in the spirit of getting to the bottom of it.
I also offered to go to Line6 in the UK to demo it in person to try and help ...heard nothing,
It's present on all models and pickup settings, but most noticeable on those that I listed.
One example. The Spank bridge is the worst, but the Spank neck is much less noticeable, although it is still there.
thanks for confirming
Don't know if that's a good comparison, since ice9mike has a
number of modifications to his 89F. Not a stock unit anymore.
Just got a notice that Line 6 is shipping my guitar back to me. Should arrive sometime next week. Crossed fingers that all is well with the modeling. :)
Fingers crossed indeed..look forward to the update
As am I. I have recently purchased a whistle clean HD500 and am considering getting into this Variax business with the rest of you.I have and use a Roland VG-Strat and it's quite good but the POD and Variax together are something else. I just don't want to disappear down a tweaking/string balancing /workbenching etc...rathole.I did that chasing my jazz muse for about 20 years LOL!
Workbench is great if you're not using it to correct things. There are 2 major different firmware differences, pre 2.0 is the original Variax modeling, 1.7 is original Variax modeling with original acoustics as well. 2.0 and above is the new HD modeling for all the guitars.
I do personally think the modelings on the Variax is a lot stronger than the VG strat, mainly because of the piezo pickups instead of using magnetics to base on modeling.
By the way, whoever suggested the felt idea, it doesn't work for me. The ping on the 6th string of my guitar is very faint already, and not bad like yours is, but it's enough to notice the 6th string's attack sounds a lot different than the other strings on humbucker models. It makes the 6th string on the Les Paul KIND OF sound like a single coil. It's the worst on E standard but not on downtuned settings.
I tried putting felt, paper, and other things between the string and piezo and it actually made it WORSE. I tried even 2 times the felt and it is really pingy when I do that.
Just wanted to post my results for your idea.
My 89F arrived today. After being gone for 7 weeks it returned to me sounding exactly the same as before. Same plinky sound on the same Spank bridge, Lester bridge settings.
I'm not really sure where to go with it at this point. It's a great guitar except for this issue. Any suggestions from my fellow Variax players or Line 6 techs? :(
since u r a strat guy, go 4 the 69s.
the hd500+jtv bundle is unbeatable...
Ice9Mike----- When playing through an HD500, be sure you keep track of the gains at each effects module stage. It's easy for it to get away from you. That happens all the time, even to me.-- Put the neck pick-up back in phase with the bridge pick-up. Don't alter the pick-up height in relation to the strings, too close and it will start to warble and distort, and add to your problem.-- The pick-ups you use are hotter than the stock ones, the frequency emphasis and amplitudes are in a range where it will bring out more of those things you don't want.-- Some EQ is useful too. It's all a palette with colors,... it's all about mixing the colors (guitar, effects, amplification) to create "your" sound. They're there, make use of them.-- If using a tube amp, have the tubes changed once every 18 to 24 months, depending on how much playing you do and depending on how hard you go at it. Old tubes can go micro-phonic and make it sound distorted, whiny or ringy.-- Use specified tubes in Line 6 gear, don't try to hot rod it, it's already a hot rod. That's the way Bogner designed it, he didn't leave room for mods. I see too many come back because someone didn't heed my warnings about that and used JJ's, Groove Tubes or Mesa tubes,... don't do that, use specified EH's.-- When I do a guitar set-up (relief, action, intonation and all), I do the set-up for the end destination, not my location.When I service and test JTV's, I service and test,... the JTV. I don't always have the option of re-creating the customer situation down to the last setting, that would require having the customer's entire set-up (cables and all) to go through and diagnose the problem. I have done that on rare occasions when there was a need to.I can emulate playing techniques such as flat-pick vs finger-pick, boogie blues vs chicken scratch vs east Texas, classical guitar vs rock guitar. Each guitar is different, I learn to play the guitar that's in my hands at that moment, in the end, that's what it's about. And I own three JTV's myself.Those would be my suggestions and recommendations. I've been doing this four decades, I started young, so I've seen and done a hell of a lot.Rock-n-roll!
Thank you for your suggestions. I will try them out. I did not have time to play much with it last night. I have already swapped out the pickups to lower output dimarzios (Tone zone and PAF pro). I will try to lower them from the strings more.
I already had an experience with JJ tubes in my DT25 where they failed prematurely. They were normal EL84 tubes but for some reason they blew early. The Line 6 service center put in Sovtek tubes (basically re-branded EH tubes). They seem to be working well.
I'll keep everyone updated. I am heading to the G4 experience in August and this is the guitar I would like to take so it's a priority to get it playing great.
The normal pick-up height specs are useful with our factory pick-ups,... don't know what it would be with other brands. Craig Anderton recommends 4mm from string to pole piece, typically,... measured with the highest fret stopped.
The guitar brand, string gauge and pick-up brand will determine how far up or down you will have to dial-it in to fine adjust it beyond that 4mm spec.
Warbling distortions occur when the string and pick-up are close enough that the magnet starts to pull on the string, damping and distorting the way the string vibrates. You can even see the level of pull on the string when it's out of adjustment.
Electro-Harmonix,... they own the Sovtech tube factory in Russia. The EH branded ones we use are their premium Sovtechs, scrutinized beyond the usual Sovtechs,... especially the ones we get. I've had chats with Mike Matthews, the owner of EH, about this tube stuff,... in case you wondered how I knew that.
*** And the power tubes have to be matched pairs.
Not using matched pairs creates a whole host of problems that can damage circuitry in a big way.
There is a point in the characteristic curve trace of the tube specs, that once the "load line" gets you to start operating outside the linear region of the curve, stuff happens. The limits of that linear region can vary slightly from brand to brand. Operate outside of that and problems occur.
Mesa's are good tubes, and I'm acquainted with a couple of people at JJ, Ruby Tubes, well acquainted with Aspen Pittman of Groove Tubes (know him from my days at Alesis). They're all good tubes, I like them, just don't use them as power tubes in Line 6 amps. Reinhold Bogner designed the tube portions of our amps to operate with what he specifies, and he leaves little or no wiggle room for modifications. So his bias voltage specs for the power tubes are tight (had chats and emails with him about it). He knows amp tubes. So use the Line 6 specified tubes in your amps.
I can attest to the fact that funky out of spec tubes can make any amp sound weird with any guitar. I am encouraged by psarkissians' post and will continue to consider the purchase of a JTV for my general gigging needs.Thanks to everyone on this forum for sharing your knowledge and opinions!
I-- When playing through an HD500, be sure you keep track of the gains at each effects module stage. It's easy for it to get away from you. That happens all the time, even to me.
<sigh...> Why does Line 6 not consider putting overload indication on the various virtual processing stages? This idea has been near the top of your "Ideas" forum since day one. I'm not a DSP applications person, but I am a software engineer with 30+ years of experience. It seems to me that it should be possible to set a flag somewhere on a digital overrun. Then, have the display logic show, e.g. a little dot or marker on that stage at the next refresh. An indicator feature has no hard real-time requirements and shouldn't add any latency.
I could not agree more! It would be very easy and very useful to have a Clip indicator! Running as many effects in series is just asking for an overload somewhere unless they designed in a ton of headroom. (which trades off resolution in digital calculations) Clipping sounds terrible and ruins your tone.
So then it's my turn to experience this problem. I bought a second-hand JTV 69, and when I got it all tunings worked fine.
I also bought a new computer around the same time, and installed all the software I needed (Edit, Workbech, Monkey .....) . Then, after a night of charging battery
on the JTV, and bringing all the software up to date, the low E-string is useless on ALL the alternative tunings!
It's some kind of ring modulator/Pitch thing going on, it just sound terrible. All the guitarmodels works fine, no problem there.
And then I have probelm nr. 2 (not a big one) : I can only engange the models if the "modelknob" is set to Semi.
Your guitar has a problem or two. Your model knob is a common problem. You can remove it and put a shim in the hole so it doesn't go on quite as far and it should then work properly when you push it. The other problem sounds like either a bad piezo or bad setup. I would try reducing the string volumes one at a time in WB and make sure that your piezos are assigned correctly to the right strings and try at reduced volume to see of your modulation goes away. If it's fine without the alternate tuning, the piezos are probably ok. I read here of at least one case where the piezos were wired wrong. In normal tuning, that sort of works but in alt tuning it won't. The other cause of these problems can be any crosstalk between strings at the piezos. Alt tuning depends on picking up only the single string with each piezo.
I would consider either returning it or sending it to Line6 for repair.
"ring modulator" sounds really bad with no audio clip. Shouldn't sound anything like that. If it literally sounds like a ring modulator it sounds like the pitch shifting mechanism is failing in the hardware. I have a bit of warble on my g sting but it's ignoreable.
Like the previous poster said, I'd return it if I were you, unless you can send it to Line 6 under warranty.
Absolutely shouldn't put up with getting a guitar that damaged.
Last night was band practice with the "repaired" JTV-89F. It sounded horrible. I actually think it is worse now and even my band mates noticed how awful it sounded. I keep coming back to the fact that my JTV-59 does not sound like this at all. It actually sounds great with no plinky metallic hollow 6th string. I'm going to record some more tracks to compare the two directly with the same setup using just my Dt-25 amp.
Psarkissian, I have a serious question for you. Did you really think this guitar sounded fine when you were done with it? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I'm just trying to understand how this guitar can sound normal to anyone given the incredibly annoying 6th string plinky sound. I have done some experiments on my own to diagnose this issue and found that plugging the 6th string internal piezo cable into 5th string connector slot will remove the plinky sound completely. That tells me that there is no mechanical issue causing this. It is a software or electronics issue. I know you are an experienced tech and I appreciate that you spent the time to troubleshoot this guitar, but it is still broken.
Remember when I get a JTV to get it from somewhere that accepts returns, multiple of times at that.
I got mine from Sweetwater and should have returned it at the first sign of trouble, but I decided to try and work through the issue. Big mistake on my part.
Agree on both counts... I should have sent it straight back instead of trying to work with the official process.... By the time I said enough... When line 6 still deny there is anything wrong... Too late for a refund... Luckily GAK were cool and ended giving me store credit.
But another sour taste in my mouth thanks to line 6.
I kind of regret not sending my 600 back on ebay when I discovered a lollipope piezo a few days later. No excuses, should send it back if it's not functioning correctly.
I was hesitant because I thought it was a good deal because it came with a bag, VDI, dongle, and power supply unit.
Been looking at some clean used Variaxes on GCs website.After reading this thread as much as I could use one( I have a "Women Of Rock" multi-female vocalist show coming up I am music director for) I will just continue to get all my alt. tuning/acoustic 6 and 12 string/electric 6 and 12 string and all the other guitar sounds I will need from my HD500 and Roland GR55s.They are a bit of a pain(the GR55s) but they are tough as nails and they work.Period.
Try one out at a store someday and decide from there. You'll be amazed at how much better it is than a GR55 if you get a proper Variax. The workbench feature just honestly murders the competition.
My GC here does not keep any around nor would they know how to sell one LOL! I will have to try one in my travels away from my area.I played one of the first generation 300s years ago and liked it a lot.I don't do a lot of high gain palm muting so that would not be a problem for me.Soldering peizos in and out of guitars is something I can certainly do but I really don't want to.
i shall repeat one of my older posts:
HD500+JTV bundle is unbeatable...
My mileage varies considerably.
Totally understandable. Replacing piezos is something you have to consider when getting an old Variax. In fact, I hear my fat E string taking a lollipop on me now. Ugh.
The JTVs have better piezos, but I believe they still ground the same way (LR Baggs, come on)
The JTV is a huge improvement over the older Variaxes though. Alt tuning and the HD firmware option. There's just so much that kills the competition. The good thing about them is that you can order them off a good site and can replace any crap guitar you might get initially.
My problem first occured after I changed strings on my 69. When I got it the strings were dirty, had never been changed. The 69 worked as expected at that time.
But after a change of strings all the alt. tunings are wierd and useless... Could it be the vibration thing which I read about...?
Did you change the gauge of the set?
If so, a set-up has to be done to the guitar. Changing gauges change the tension and so changes the set-up (relief, action and such).
Change strings one at a time or pull the whole set off at once?
Changing all at once leaves the guitar without string tension for a time, and can also have an ever so slight affect on the set-up until the strings tension settles in (which can be up to a couple of days).
Have you checked for burrs in the nut slots of the string nut?
Burr can give distortions that can get processed along with the rest of the audio.
Make sure the retainer nuts for the tuning machines are snug (not too tight, that would create a host of other problems).
If it's still under warranty, have an authorized Line 6 service center that knows JTV's, have them give it a good going over.
They will have what's needed for servicing these guitars.
I think I have the same problem as you do. I had 9's on my guitar since I got it new a few years ago. I noticed the alt tuning problem on the low e string. I recently had 10's put on it, and a setup at the same time. Now I notice the problem on the e and a strings. It's like there's a slight delay in detuning, so you get this odd off pitch tone when plucking the string. The notes also seem kind of choked off. Banging away on power chords I don't notice it. It's mostly on single notes.
I am going to put 9's back on it the next string change.
I typically play 9s on everything these days except my electric mandolin(10s). String gauges shouldn't be such a big deal.My VG strat does not care what string gauges are on it.I am familiar with touchy piezos as I am a Roland GR55 user and I only use the GK Roland pickups.All the piezo guitar players using the GR55s have a lot of problems interfacing with the GR units. They are by nature highly sensitive and that is what enables them to do so many wonderful things. Of course they have some drawbacks as well like everything else we use to make music.
IMO Any trem equipped guitar will need some setup after changing string Gauge. Variax is no different.
What Charlie said,... most definitely. And the same for non-trem as well, but
to a lesser extent. Changing gauges will always need some set-up, some more
Take it to a Line 6 authorized service tech who will have access to service info,
including set-up specs.
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