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Support community for JTV.

Try another JTV-89?
by YirWaffy on 2012-11-19 19:41:22.7810

I ordered a JTV-89 in late September from a friendly online retailer. I liked it but found some serious issues and I returned the guitar at the end of October. The whole process was handled well by the retailer. I only ordered the guitar initially because I didn't want to have to return an amp and effects board to them if it didn't work out. I came to this conclusion based on a discussion of the Dream Rig on Harmony Central.

The main problem was when I had the guitar professionally set up, the low E string could not be intonated properly. It was 7 cents sharp at the 12th fret with the bridge and saddle all the way back. The small pin that adjusts the bridge on the low E side was at its furthest point and it was slightly splayed inward. The strings were loosened before adjusting it. The horizontal position was such that it slightly covered the hex insert for the vertical adjustment of the bridge.

I also noticed some digital artifacts when playing around the center of the fretboard that were not present in magnetic mode. Some indication of them is here:">">

There were also some drop outs when playing chords. I heard these both when playing directly through my Line 6 amp and through my PC with headphones using Guitar Rig with a clean model. As above, the problems were only present when using the modeled guitars, not the magnetic pickups. I noticed the dropouts when I was demoing a JTV-69 at a store earlier in September directly through a Fender amp. It was also a guitar that had been returned.

The JTV-89 serial number indicated it was a late 2010 build. I'm wondering if anyone knows if these problems have been addressed? I've read that dampening the strings between the nut and the tuners can help with the digital artifacts.

I'm posting here because I want one but I don't want to end up returning another one if the same issues are present on a 2012 build.

Thank you for any input.

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by YirWaffy on 2012-11-19 19:53:02.3700

I didn't see an "Edit Post" button but I wanted to add this: I know that pressing to hard on the string, especially in the center between frets will make the note go sharp. The person who set up the guitar sets up guitars for ESP and was using a strobe tuner.

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by LewisBrunton on 2012-11-20 03:12:13.3100

I know it may sound silly, especially as it was professionally setup but an old or faulty string can cause the intonation issue you describe, I have even had a brand new string out of the pack do it once.

Perhaps try re-stringing with another new string?


Re: Try another JTV-89?
by YirWaffy on 2012-11-20 07:56:26.8170

Thanks for the feedback. It's too late to know since I sent it back but doesn't that seem unlikely? They were unplayed strings and I didn't see any flaws on them nor did the person who set it up. As far as I know, they are the same EXL110's that I regularly play on my other guitars.

I'd like to hear from other JTV-89 owners on their experience with intonation. I saw one review on Musician's Friend or Amazon that also said there were problems getting an 89 intonated correctly. Maybe the initial run of the KR models had the bridge position slightly out of spec?

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by phil_m on 2012-11-20 12:27:11.5090

The issue of some strings not intoning properly happens more often than you would think, at least that's what I was told by a very good tech who I know. But it could be something in the bridge itself, too, I suppose.

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by TheRealZap on 2012-11-20 12:31:06.7580

they have stated that they are coming out with an FR version of the 89 as well... certainly be a different bridge on that!

no telling if that interests you, or when they'll be releasing it though...

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by YirWaffy on 2012-11-20 12:57:57.8190

I appreciate your input. I'm no expert but it seems to me that either the fretboard or the bridge position was faulty. I set up my Traveler Guitar EG-1 on my own and got it to within 1 cent on all the strings with about the same action height.

The other main thing that has me concerned is the digital artifacts and dropouts that were present in the models but not from the magnetic pickups. I wonder if the electronics have been updated since 2010 since I only see a few posts about this. I had updated the firmware to 1.82 (1.9 wasn't out yet).

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by YirWaffy on 2012-11-20 13:00:02.5560

Thanks. I wonder if the 89 FR will have the same problems as the 69. I had seen a post about it potentially being released but I haven't seen anything official. If I can get a fixed bridge 89 that works properly, I'll be happy with it.

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by merman_96 on 2012-11-25 13:55:28.4500

I have a JTV 89, purchased the month they began shipping here to the US. I had it set up by my tech, who sets up Ibanez Prestige/ J. Custom, and Caparison guitars for an independent importer. All of my guitars are strung with Daddario exl 120's.

I have grown to really appreciate the qualities of the JTV 89 ,(guitar wise,... Regardless of Variax), although It has taken many months for me to become accustomed to the neck, fretboard, radius, etc. My tech commented that when I dropped it off it was perfectly set up, (after being tuned up,.. It was detuned for shipping). It had remarkably low action with no buzzing. It had 10's which don't work for me, but after only a few adjustments, my tech returned it to me perfectly.

For these strings, there is ample play on the low E saddle for much more adjustment. Les Paul's are extremely finicky about intonation adjustments. And a locking floating trem, like A Floyd, or Edge, always frustrates my Tech.

I haven't noticed the other issues that you mentioned either. I recently recorded a shoot out between a 2012 Les Paul, 2000 Prestige Artist, and my jtv 89 using Les Paul Variax settings. I just re-listened more closely to see if any artifacts were present,  and honestly if I hadn't known which tracks were Variax I couldn't pick it out from the others.

It is possible that a particular batch of that guitar was flawed, with the bridge mounting holes just slightly off. If you are in the US, the major online retailers have excellent return policies. I feel like you do, and wouldn't want to be returning another new guitar if it is going to have the same issue. But that is the risk they take with operating an online business, they expect that, and would rather make the sale, and have a satisfied customer. I suggest trying another jtv 89 as, it is a great guitar. I just upgraded to the newest firmware, and it actually includes unique high gain les paul models on custom bank 1 only for the jtv 89 model.

Good luck

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by YirWaffy on 2012-11-25 20:44:15.8680

I appreciate your feedback, merman. That is a response I was hoping for from another JTV-89 owner. I doubted that they had spec'd out a guitar with a flawed set up which couldn't be intonated. I expect it was just one where the bridge was placed slightly forward of where it was supposed to be. I don't know enough about the physics to say if a heavier gauge string would make a difference in getting the intonation correct.

One piece of advice I can offer anyone buying an online guitar is to tape some protective material below the strings during the first month. I didn't wear a belt while playing the JTV-89 and was very careful with it. However, I noticed light scratching below the strings which I could have avoided by using some painter's tape and heavy plastic as temporary pick-guard. I didn't pay any penalty when I returned it but I would have felt better returning it in showroom condition.

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by merman_96 on 2012-11-26 07:43:13.0330

Glad to be of assistance. I wanted to edit my post but can not as I am on an Ipad,... Grrrrr. I mentioned the update included High gain "Les Paul" patches for the JTV 89, which is incorrect. They seem to be models of the actual magnetic Tyler Pickups used on the JTV 89. The Variax workbench has not been updated for the new Variax models, and when I looked to see what the new models in custom bank 1 are, it appeared to be copies of the Les Paul bank. Sorry bout that. However, they sound great.

Regarding the physics of strings and intonation,... I am no expert either, but seems to me that the heavier guage string I use, the further the bridge saddle needs be set to intonate correctly. Your set is slightly heavier, and the low E saddle needs to be adjusted slightly further out, but you have reached the limit of adjustment. I have an Ibanez Prestige RGA 121 with fixed bridge that my Tech suggested I return because it had reached the farthest limit on the low E and wouldn't intonate. However, it was a limited edition, in black, and couldn't be replaced, so he had to use a dremel to grind down the back on the bridge just a hair. He had set up several of these models, but not this limited edition, and never had this issue. So, it does happen occasionally, that mistakes are made on a batch of instruments.

Re: Try another JTV-89?
by YirWaffy on 2012-11-26 11:08:18.7450

Thanks for the clarification. I had read elsewhere that the high-gain models were based on the 89's mags too.

I'm pretty certain I just got an out of spec one. I wouldn't want to dremel the JTV bridge though(!)... that might introduce more problems. I see others reporting harmonic feedback problems on the Lester models in a recent discussion. I was using Lester a lot (I used to have a Black Beauty). Here's the thread:


I didn't notice any imperfections on the bridge on the one I had but I didn't change the strings on it.

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