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Main :: James Tyler Variax Guitars

Support community for JTV.

JTV-59s...Wow. An 89 next?
by Andtohos83 on 2011-09-04 09:15:35.5350

So, I'd pre-ordered a Cherry Sunburst JTV-59 over a year ago from my local guitar shop. After the arrival date being pushed back a couple of times I finally got the phone call last week that it had finally arrived. I was really hoping for the Variax to live up to the hype after the long wait and I can confidently say that I was NOT disappointed!

I've owned a lot of guitars over the years but it's a rarity to come across a guitar that makes you think 'Wow!' every time you pick it up : ) - Thank you Line 6!

Seriously considering adding an 89 to the collection...My poor wallet.

When I went to collect my guitar I was mulling over ordering another model and joining what I thought would be a long waiting-list again but after having a chat with the owner of the store about the other models I discovered something rather interesting: They have quite a few models in-stock that are up for grabs immediately!

It seems that they have a couple of other 59s in stock, but the blood red 89 has caught my eye. I may pop in and try it out, but can any JTV89 owner give me an opinion of it?   There's a link to it here:


Re: JTV-59s...Wow. An 89 next?
by Nick_Mattocks on 2011-09-04 10:35:51.8950


I got my second JTV - a Korean JTV-89 back at the beginning of August just a few days before the riots trashed the shop I bought it from in Manchester UK - my 89 had a lucky escape I think.  My first is a JTV-59 which is a very nice guitar indeed with the exception of the switch issue which I experienced.

I like Ibanez RG style guitars and the necks in particular because they are ultra slim, fast and very comfortable.

I wanted the JTV-89 to be nothing short of an Ibanez RG550 like my old trusty one, along with a Floyd Rose and wafer thin neck.  It was initially my first choice until I realised it didn't have the Floyd Rose bridge and locking nut.  When i sw pictures of it on-line, I didn't feel the photos did it any favours as due to an optical illusion or whatever it seemed a bit short and stumpy to me.  I wasn't a big fan of the raised section in the middle.  So I was a little disappointed with what I was seeing pictorially on-line.  Then in February this year, I was fortunate enough to see all three Korean variants and to get to have a little play on all of them as well as a gorgeous JTV-69 US.  In the flesh all of them looked stunning and the elements on the JTV-89 that seemed to leap out of the pictures at me and poke me in the eye are absolutely fine in the real world.  The guitar is very similar in appearance to my Ibanez RG550.  Anyone looking at the two side by side can see the obvious differences of course but at a glance, no one who expects to see me with a black RG around my neck would necessarily notice anything out of place in terms of appearance or sound.

The reverse headstock is still catching me out a bit though as I'm used to 6 in line machine heads being on the upper side of the head-stock with the sixth string tuner being next to the nut but obviously the sixth string tuner is right out at the far end of the headstock, so more than once I've naturally selected the wrong tuner if I haven't been concentrating.  But this is a minor thing and just a case of getting used to it.  Tuning stability is good.  I have put 0.009" to 0.042" gauge strings on the guitar in place of the 0.010" to 0.046" gauge that it came with.and these are good 

The JTV-89 I have got has had no issues whatsoever.  I haven't had it that long obviously, but I have played it a lot and I've used it with my band quite a bit.  Let's put it this way, I took my then new JTV-89 to rehearsal along with my Ibanez RG550 that I've had for years and my Gibson Les Paul Custom that I've also had for a long time expecting to try the JTV-89 for a bit and then swap to one or both of the other guitars.  I have an HD500 and a DT50, but that day I was using a Marshall JVM205H 50w head into two Marshall 1922 2x12 cabs with the HD500 feeding it.  I have a few patches that i use to cross fade between the JTV (usually an acoustic model) and the magnetic pickups.

The guitar played perfectly and it probably out RG'd the Ibanez RG550 as far as the neck goes.  Needless to say the other two guitars didn't get a look in and stayed in their cases.

I thought I'd miss the Floyd Rose, which I do, but not as much as I thought I would.  the pickups are a different spec to those in the JTV-59 and I have to say that these pickups deliver exactly what you'd expect from a guitar like this.  They are powerful but very clear and very similar to Ibanez's stock V7 and V8 pickups as found on the RG1570 Prestige and a number of other models.

We'd been rehearsing for about an hour or so and then took a short break for a drink and a cigarette for those who can't do without either for too long.  So I switched to one of my cross-fade patches on the HD500 which switches the JTV model to a 12 string acoustic patch and started to play something - I think it was the opening chord sequence from More Than a Feeling before cross fading to the magnetic pickups for the chorus chord part.  this isn't a song that we'll ever play BTW, but like Stairway to Heaven, it incorporates various parts requiring acoustic and electric parts (don't worry, that one's not currently in the running to become a member of the set either).  I could see the others looking somewhat surprised at the acoustic sound coming out of the guitar to say the least.  Jaws definitely hit the floor.  It certainly sparked quite a bit of interest and the questions flowed as well as the positive comments on the sound.  These guys are not easily impressed so the fact that they were kind of cemented my own opinion of what I already knew about the guitar even more.

The JTV-89 seems to be the forgotten model around these parts.  It has received very little attention here in these support forums, and that's probably because it is reliable and just gets on with the job in hand and it's probably a good thing.  I don't know where it sits in the popularity stakes as far as sales go, but if anyone reading this has kind of forgotten about the JTV-89 in favour of one of the other two, don't ignore it as it's more than worth considering - and it's a bit cheaper than the other two too.

Mine was from a store but I really don't think they'd set it up at all.  I haven't had to do anything to the guitar whatsoever in terms of set up.  It played/plays well exactly as it came and the action is nice and low too.

I have tried a few 89's and they all seem to have been very similar in feel and set-up. Whereas the 59 is very much in the Gibson Les Paul mode and not necessarily a shredder's guitar having much more of a classic feel, even without the Floyd Rose the JTV-89 is something I'd think pretty much any shredder worth their salt could take to like a duck to water.

If you like Ibanez RG guitars in general, I'm pretty certain you'll like the JTV-89 and find it very familiar feeling

The 89 is much more of a straight ahead work-horse of a guitar that can pretty much adapt to any number of situations in my opinion - and it's so easy to play too.

Yep I like this guitar a lot.

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