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How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by shawnmx on 2012-10-12 16:24:50.6510

I'm the proud owner of a new Lake Placid Blue JTV-69. But I'm not a fan of 10-gauge strings and I wanted to replace the factory strings with some 09's. I removed the factory strings without too much trouble. But now I'm having all kinds of problems getting the new strings on.

First off, after removing all of the original strings, the bridge popped up like this:


I've changed strings on guitars with tremolo-style bridges before and I've never seen one pop up like this. But I figured this is probably normal, and the bridge will readjust once the new strings are in place. Beyond that, when I try adding new strings to the guitar, I can't get them to stay seated in the bridge. No matter what I do, they eventually pop out. Considering that there aren't any other forum posts covering this topic (I've searched around), I'm thinking that there's something obvious I'm overlooking here. Any advice you can provide would be appreciated.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by XCrossroadsX2000 on 2012-10-13 09:54:34.0160

Congratulations on your new JTV.

I found the easiest way to do this is to remove the A through B strings leaving the 2 E's on. I'll loosen those strings a little so I can get underneath and clean my fretboard.

Then i replace those 4 strings and then change out the E's.

Slide the string through the locking tuner and then position the ball of the string in the tremlo and hold it there with your right hand. Use your left hand to take up the slack and the lock the tuner.

Keep your right hand on the tremelo until you have enough tension that it won't slip out.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by shawnmx on 2012-10-13 10:13:39.2570

Thanks for the tips!

I will keep your order of string changing in mind for the future. Looks like I've got a bit of a balancing act going forward from here, as I've already removed all of the strings.

Your suggestion to hold the string in place at the bridge and tighten up from there is pretty much what I had intuited on my own but I was really hoping that there was a better way. I've managed to get the low-E string to stay on by doing this but my A and D strings just keep popping out.

This whole thing is kinda funny. I was apprehensive for months and months about ordering the JTV, just because of all of the problems people have posted about them. I was relieved when my new guitar arrived and had none of the major issues that people have reported with their Variax guitars (knob issues, string slippage, etc.). And then, my first big challenge with the guitar is something that's fairly rudimentry: changing strings.

Anyway, I'll keep trying with the method you've suggested. And if anyone else has any other tips to share, please do.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by gtrman100 on 2012-10-13 20:39:16.1660

Under normal conditions, it's not a good idea to remove all the strings on a guitar at once, unless you are going to be cleaning the fingerboard, adjusting the truss rod(on Fenders with the adjustment at the bottom of the neck), fret leveling, etc because it takes all the tension off the neck and could change the bow of the neck. Also,with a trem guitar, you will mess up the bridge setup, as you have found out. I usually take off the high E string, and replace it, then go onto the B string, etc.

I would fix your situation by using XCrossroadX's solution, but put both E strings on and tighten the strings a bit until the bridge is locked in place. Then add the other strings, and tighten them little by little until the bridge is a the proper angle. then I would tune the guitar to pitch, and stretch the strings one at a time until the tuning is stable. Hope this helps.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by shawnmx on 2012-10-13 22:43:17.7520

Upon getting back in to the process of adding the new strings, it often felt like I needed a third hand. I just wasn't able to hold the ball-end of the string down at the bridge and get enough tension going at the tuner to make it work. So I popped the smallest Allen wrench out of my guitar tool and stuck that down into the string openings to hold the string in place, allowing me to use both of my hands to apply pressure to the string slack at the head of the guitar and properly wind the strings at the tuners.


This worked like a charm, and I was able to get the strings on pretty easily after that. I realize that there's probably a more efficient way to handle the string wrapping for a guitar like this. Hopefully, I'll get a better feel for it as I change more strings in the future.

I gave XCrossroadsX2000 the correct answer for my original post, as he did provide the advice I needed. Thanks again!

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by shawnmx on 2012-10-13 22:52:11.2580

I definitely won't take all of the strings off of this guitar at one time again in the future. Tho, that is often how I've done it with most of my guitars in the past. Of all of the guitars I've owned, I'd never come across one like this. I wonder if there are other guitar manufacturers emplying this type of bridge design? And after finally getting all of the new strings in place, I did go thru quite an ordeal getting the bridge back into its proper place. I've got the guitar tuned up now and I'm gonna let the strings stretch out for a bit. I may make some adjustments to the action, etc. as needed. It's been an intersting learning process.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by davidb7170 on 2012-10-14 13:17:18.2190

I've had a strat for years, and don't recall having any problems with this. Then I looked at your picture closer, and saw that there are 2 pivot posts.... My strat is the old school type with 6 screws holding the front of the trem bridge down... I have a JTV-59 (LP style -- no trem) and have always taken all strings off at once when I change 'em. I just ordered one of the new JTV-69S in shoreline gold, so will need to keep this in mind. Thanks for the heads up. Don't really recall that much turning up on the forum about this issue. Will probably need to change my ways in string changeout. I do usually oil my rosewood fingerboards when I do a change and have everything off. One other thought might be to loosen or disconnect your trem springs, as it looks as though the tension of the springs is what pulled your trem block forward and the top part went backwards enough to disengage from the pivot studs. It seems the newer strats have moved to the 2 pivot posts as well -- wonder how they make out with this?

Side note -- the method of never taking off all strings is how you'd normally restring a guitar with a trapeze tail piece and floating bridge, like on an archtop. I used to have a Gretsch Country Gentleman that had a Bigsby trem and a floating bridge (just sat on the top -- no posts, etc. to keep it in place). It was a beautiful guitar, but a pain to change strings on. If you moved the bridge in the process, it would screw up your intonation big time.

Again, thanks for the heads up. I'm supposed to get my 69 Tuesday, so will see what I will need to deal with.


Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by shawnmx on 2012-10-14 17:55:59.0010

I was surprised to see that no one had brought this up before (either here or on other online forums). That's why I figured that there must be something obvious I was missing in the string-changing process.

Indeed, the JTV-69 does use two pivots for the tremolo. In order to get it back into place, I had to remove all of the springs. Then, I had to tighten them back up again. The bridge is nice and flush now, as it should be. I'll need to do some of the usual adjusting that's necessary when going from one string gauge to another. But tha's to be expected.

Regardless, in the future, I won't be pulling all the strings off at one time again. You'd think Line 6 might suggest this somewhere in the documentation? The fact that they don't is another reason that I figured there must be something I was overlooking.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by markcockerill on 2012-10-14 18:32:03.5630

I tie a shoe lace round the body and over the trem arm which holds the bridge in place then snip all the strings with wire cutters. Bridge stays put every time. I always clean the neck and frets every string change.  I soon as I have all the new strings in place and locked the tuners I remove the lace before bringing back up to pitch. I'm sure you will find what works for you.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by capetown on 2012-10-17 01:49:03.4650

I have a JTV 69 with the first generation tremolo. I also change the strings all at once. I have used the same trick to fix the bridge. That works fine.

However, I would like to recall another of the original problems of shawnmx. Changing my strings for the first time also raised the question what the

correct final position of the string ball is. I actually experienced  that there may be two final positions of the string ball, one where you can see him

from a top view on the guitar, another one where its fixed more lower in the bridge (you can check it by looking at the balls from the tremolo rear view).

What is your experience with that?

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by bigglesdog on 2012-10-17 09:42:03.5270

Interesting. I changed the strings on an eBay '69 that just arrived and removed all the old strings at once to give it a clean and the tremelo did not pop up like that, in fact the whole process was easy. Is this a redesigned bridge or does the fact that I had the tremelo bar removed lock the bridge in some way?

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by markcockerill on 2012-10-17 10:35:45.2150

I will add that I didn't have any problem until I added an extra spring.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by shawnmx on 2012-10-19 20:15:22.4040

Seems like I can see some, but not all, of the ball ends of the strings. Guess it all depends on where exactly they get enough tension to stay in place.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by shawnmx on 2012-10-19 20:20:27.9320

I didn't have the tremolo bar in place when I removed the strings. I had no idea that the bridge would pop like that. Then, when I removed the high-E string, pop went the bridge. I was pretty surprised, as I hadn't ever seen a bridge do that before.

I should also note that I didn't realize at first that the JTV uses locking tuners, and I hadn't loosened the locks before removing the strings. The strings just sorta broke at the tuning machines once I loosened them enough (I didn't snip them). Maybe this contributed to the bridge pop-up.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by Lurotex on 2012-10-23 14:37:47.2850

"I have a JTV 69 with the first generation tremolo"

sorry but what means "first generation tremolo"? are there two type of tremolo for the James Tyler variax?

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by snhirsch on 2012-10-30 05:31:40.5590

The next time Line 6 does a manual revision, it would be helpful to add a couple of pages on basics such as string replacement.  Some of us have better intuition than others regarding mechanical issues.  Although I like to count myself in the first category, it was still a bit unclear how to fasten / wind the strings around the tuning pegs in a manner that best avoids slippage.  There should also be some verbiage (and pictures!) covering bridge and tremolo adjustment.

Otherwise, I'm reasonably happy with my new JTV-69.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by phil_m on 2012-10-30 07:48:18.9330

With locking tuners, you don't really need to wind the strings around the tuning pegs at all. Actually it's probably better if you don't. Just turn the tuning pegs so that the hole running through shaft is roughly parallel with the nut, pull the string through until its taut, lock it in, and you're good to go. Once you've got them all replaced, you're good to go.

Re: How do you change strings on the JTV-69?
by snhirsch on 2012-10-30 07:58:44.0820

Great, thanks for the explanation!  It definitely deserves mention in the Line 6 guitar manual.  The JTV-69 is the first instrument I've owned with this particular type of locking tuner.

The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.