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Some decision angst over my Variax600

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I have Variax600 that I bought 6 years ago. I have played it so much that I need to have the frets changed, if I want to keep on using it. But recently it happened that the first string was really low in its ouput.  The problem came and went over a few days but then disappeared and has not come back since. Almost like a cold!
What could the reason be and what could it cost to have it fixed, if it comes back, now that the warranty is probably long overdue?
To get new frets (this time stainless steel to make them last) would cost me the equivalent of 470 USD, whereas a used JTV-89 (if it is not already sold) would cost 620 USD.

A ridiculous point in my considerations: I like the look of my Variax, but the used JTV-89 says"you play metal on me" with its design, which I could get over with some disciplin....

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Might be the Piezo pick. Line 6 sells replacement still. I've also heard good things about the GraphTech replacements. Then again it could be a lot of things but if it's just one string I might suspect the Piezo on that string.

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I have Variax600 that I bought 6 years ago. I have played it so much that I need to have the frets changed, if I want to keep on using it. But recently it happened that the first string was really low in its ouput.  The problem came and went over a few days but then dissapeared and has not come back since. Almost like a cold!

What could the reason be and what could it cost to have it fixed, if it comes back, now that the warranty is probably long overdue?

To get new frets (this time stainless steel to make them last) would cost me the equivalent of 470 USD, whereas a used JTV-89 (if it is not already sold) would cost 620 USD.

 

A ridiculous point in my considerations: I like the look of my Variax, but the used JTV-89 says"you play metal on me" with its design, which I could get over with some disciplin....

 

My friend, there are a few options. That volume problem is probably indeed a piezo problem like Palico stated earlier. This can be replaced at a very small cost. The piezo piece only costs 12-14 dollars. All you need to do is solder in the new piece by taking off the bridge and then detaching the plug that goes to the motherboard temporarily. 

 

It will work like a charm afterwards. 

 

Before you do that, I suggest rotating and maybe cleaning the piezo first. Take out the piezo carefully and turn it 180 degrees and see if that fixes it.

 

 

For your fret problem. You could try getting a new neck. I love the neck and decals on my 600, but you might have to call it a day and swap it out.

 

If you go for a JTV, I don't think the 59 is a metal-only guitar. I know what you mean though. If anything, the 89 is for metal. The 59 will be more of your humbucker les paul sound which is great for rock. Besides, it has the Variax guts in it, so you can play anything you'd like!

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OK, thanks a lot for your responses, guys. So then it should not be too hard to fix the problem if it comes back.

About the JTV-89: I expect to be able to play anything on it. But the thing is it will signal metal to the audience if I use it on stage, and that is not what I do.

By the way, it seems the price varies a lot between the models. Why is that?
I am also curious about the sound quality. Does it sound a lot better than the old generation of Variaxes?

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Often you can get a new neck cheaper then a refret.  The 69S is most like your old 600.  Replacing Piezos is not hard and that's probably what caused your low volume problem.  It may not be a bad one - just a poor contact with the string.  Try new strings and a good cleaning around the bridge.

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Moving away a bit from the original topic I would like to know, has anyone here compared the JTV Variaxes with earlier Variaxes and do they sound better?

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Moving away a bit from the original topic I would like to know, has anyone here compared the JTV Variaxes with earlier Variaxes and do they sound better?

 

JTV have a bit of improvement to the sound, even without the new HD firmware. But speaking of that, I suggest you do some research on the JTV and possibly try one out if you can. The JTV has a new firmware called the HD update which overhauled the modelling completely, using the advancement of present day technology to model the guitars as opposed to back from 2003. The result is having much more clear sounding models with more high end that is a bit lost in the previous modeling. It's also debatably more accurate in sound.

 

Another thing to look forward to is the alt modeling knob. Alternative tunings can be completely independent from the model knob, which allows you to assign whatever tuning you want to whatever model you want.

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Some would say better, some the same, some worse. I have a 500 and a JTV-59 and thing it's a mixed bag for me but there are other very real reasons to upgrade, some of which Clay-man stated.

 

- The separate alt tuning knob is one of those things that you never knew you needed, no need for workbench and you can do an alt tuning on the fly just on the guitar and store it in about 45 seconds.

- You can now apply virtual capo and alt tunings to the 12 string models.

- I think the build quality is marginally better.

- True magnetic pickups (finally!). I can't speak to the 69 or 69s but the mags on the 59 are not too bad (although I may still change mine out). So if everything goes south in the middle of a set (piezo dies, battery drains etc) you still have a fully functioning regular guitar.

 

Also you may find that you can find good deals on a 69 or 69s if the "metal" look on the 89 is off-putting but I have noticed that prices seem to have gone back up in the last few weeks?

 

Just my 2 rusty pennies

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After much internal debate (in me) I decided to go for refretting. I think I´ll pick up a JTV later, though. More horsepower for modeling sounds like a great idea. I thought I could hear better sounding acoustic models on an online demo, but I dont trust it 100% before I tried it myself.
The capability to have alternate tunings for the 12-string models also makes sense to me, though I rarely switch tunings.

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