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Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:20 pm

Hi all

I did a quick search and didn't find anything on this, but does anyone have any experience with the later generation of Line 6 James Tyler guitars - do the emulations work for recording purposes really? Especially interested in the Jazz box emulations and acoustics as I imagine these are going to be trickiest to emulate.

Any advice greatly anticipated as I am thinking of a guitar clear out and this could be exactly what is required.

Thanks in advance

Luke
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:22 pm

lukeandrewhill wrote:but does anyone have any experience with the later generation of Line 6 James Tyler guitars - do the emulations work for recording purposes really?

Yes and yes.

You need to hear one for yourself, plenty of "traditional" guitarists don't like them, but the models are more than accurate enough for recording and live. I played one on stage for years, the 600 model (with 16-bit electronics, not the later generation 32-bit), and although it was transplanted into a traditional strat body, the vast majority of guitarsts would think it was a genuine USA strat. I used workbench to add additional/updated models, it's superb in that respect.

A keen ear 'might' tell the difference, on a clean and well-recorded sound, but in the context of a mix, or on a live stage, I'd say they'd never even know. I've used the strat sound for recording 100's of times, along with my Big Apple USA strat and my Blade, and there are plenty of times where I've had to look at the track name to remember which guitar I actually used.

I borrowed a JTV-59 for a few weeks, and I used it for a music production (where we used the Ampeg plug-in for re-amping), and I'd put my knackers on the line if someone said they could tell it wasn't a real guitar. I'm a real Chic fan, the Nile Rodgers white strat era, and the funk tracks we did sounded great.

As a caveat, I'm a keyboard/pianist that can play guitar, I base all of my decisions on what something sounds like, rather than what the headstock says, but I'd absolutely recommend that you try one for yourself: you might disagree.
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:38 pm

Cool - that sounds like a ringing endorsement. Now I just need to wait 'til they make them left handed....

Should have done more research before posting I guess!

Thanks again

L
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Gary_W » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:49 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgki-wJM_jI

Good vid showing old vs new variax on the acoustic models. All going through an HD L6 pedal, so keep in mind that it will be doing some of the tone shaping too

I have no experience of the JT Variax, but I did have a Variax 500 a few years back. There seems to be little evidence that the actual models have changed at all (if the modelling WAS new then L6 would be telling it on the mountain but they just keep telling the same story that was told 10 years back when the original variax came out). However, the guitar has clearly been cheered up a great deal and has some real pickups on it too. The sound has moved up the food chain from those vids due to the woods....

I was in love with my Variax for a while, but ultimately found that there was a slight piezo flavouring to everything you did.... The positives were that it was dead quiet (no pickup hum at all) and it was very versatile BUT IMO none of the models gave the same level of sound quality as you could get from a 'real' guitar. As your main interests are getting 'hollow bodied instrument' sounds from a solid bodied guitar I think you might end up disappointed.... And ultimately a mic'd up acoustic is going to give a better perfomance than a solid bodied guitar with a piezo output and DSP to cheer it up.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a modelling fan. But no modelling is yet 100% perfect. When I was in love with my Variax, I overlooked the sound quality in favour of convenience. Most of my guitars are low end copies, but each of the low end copies outdoes the sound I used to get from the Variax.

All IMO of course
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:27 pm

ok - that is what I feared to be honest. I thought I might be onto a wife-pleasing winner there (she can't understand - "but they are all just guitars!?". I guess I just need to be acceptable from a hearing it in a mix perspective really, but I would be really put off by the piezo "attack" you can get...

Thanks again

L
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Gary_W » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:12 pm

Burried in a mix it's fine IMO..... It's just that, when you're playing it, you get the constant feeling that you could do better with a 'real' one. I am absolutely not against this kind of technology at all - I think that it has the potential to be great but as of now I still think the real thing does a more pleasing job in every respect apart from huuuummmmmmm which is spookily absent on the Variax.

Or that was my experience anyway, and I fully accept others will feel differently.

I was a huge fan of modelling pedals / gear at one time. Then I discovered the joy of playing through a proper point-point valve amp and turned into an analogue snob. I still have Guitar Rig 5 on the PC and it's great for a quick blast but again it is lacking vs the real thing.

And the guitars I'm comparing the Variax to are not high-end - just 'a cheapo les paul copy' and a far east Strat. Both have far more harmonic complexity to the tone than ever the variax did.
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:31 pm

thanks again for the replies. So they don't do these things leftie anyway, so now I'm thinking of getting as cheap a variax as possible and stuffing the electronis in my own Strat, for (possibly) best of both worlds or (probably) another never to be completed half baked project.

I love those!

L
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Dave B » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:29 pm

The cheapest variax is the model 300 which is supplied in such a shockingly bad guitar that it would suggest that it's sole purpose is to be ripped out and rebuilt into a new guitar.

Personally, I'm keeping my eye on ebay for a good potential guitar to rip into.

Warmoth do specialist necks, bodies and scratchplates.

Plus, there is plenty of info on the net if you google...
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Shivanand » Tue May 01, 2012 9:18 am

lukeandrewhill wrote:I thought I might be onto a wife-pleasing winner there (she can't understand - "but they are all just guitars!?".

99% of the audience will be of much the same opinion.
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Tue May 01, 2012 11:22 am

OK Dave B - PM me if you start bidding, in case we end up bidding against each other! That would be irritating!

L
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Dave B » Tue May 01, 2012 7:04 pm

Sorry - I meant donor guitar .. I already have a 300...
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Wed May 02, 2012 10:52 am

Ahh good - glad we won't be getting into a bidding war. Out of interest, do you think it would be best to opt for a hollow body (335 style) to mod - strikes me that this would be good deal easier to stuff the variax guts into rather than hollowing out a solid body?

Having done a fair amount of googling I can't find anyone who does a pre-routed lefty body for a Variax transplant. Obviously.
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Dave B » Thu May 03, 2012 9:33 am

Warmoth.

Google Warmoth. or go to www.warmoth.com and have a butchers.
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Thu May 03, 2012 10:24 am

yeah had a look there - again no leftie pre-routed bodies for variax conversions. A bit annoying, but thanks for the tip.

L
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Dave B » Thu May 03, 2012 11:30 am

Blimey - that's a bit of a shock them not catering for lefties! I'd drop them a mail and double check...
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Gary_W » Thu May 03, 2012 12:07 pm

Warmoth are obviously of the opinion that he should have had his left hand tied behind his back at birth and be beaten with a wooden spoon until he used his limbs in the way that nature intended
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Thu May 03, 2012 12:23 pm

...which literally happened to my Mum!
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Shambolic Charm » Fri May 04, 2012 9:21 am

My main issue with all the Variax guitars is the sustain on the electric models. It's so unatural, sustains for a bit and then just cuts off. No slow fades at all
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Gary_W » Fri May 04, 2012 9:38 am

Shambolic Charm wrote:My main issue with all the Variax guitars is the sustain on the electric models. It's so unatural, sustains for a bit and then just cuts off. No slow fades at all

It's been a few years since I sold my original 500 model Variax. I found the LP models OK in this respect but nowhere near a 'real' one for sustain. The Strat did artificially cut off in a very unnatural way. I believe they did this intentionally to go with the ethos that a bolt on neck strat won't have the sustain of a set neck LP or indeed the actual Variax. As mine was a fairly functional lump of basswood with a bolt on neck I really don't get the need to cut off notes sooner than intended as it did that of its own accord sooner than I'd have liked!

One of the pleasures of my cheapy far east G+L strat is just hitting a note through a decent valve amp and listening to all the lovely complex harmonics warble and ring as it gently fades away....
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby grab » Fri May 04, 2012 12:15 pm

Not had a problem with that myself with my 300. I'd say it was twangy, but not really more so than most Strats. But I do tend to use vibrato a lot for sustained notes, rather than just hitting it and letting it decay, and that'll naturally tend to keep the note going.

TBH, I suspect any difference will be in the instrument itself, not the electronics. Given the state of the guitar's construction, that's likely to be the problem.

And FWIW, I got significantly-improved playability on my 300 by carefully taking sandpaper to the fretboard for a bit of reprofiling. Ideally I'd have defretted it and refretted it, of course, but the quick-and-dirty option has worked OK.

I believe the more expensive 600 has a lefty version. But like most makers, the mass-produced low-end versions don't cater for lefties.
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby lukeandrewhill » Fri May 04, 2012 4:40 pm

yeah my current thinking is either get a 300 off ebay, rip it apart and stuff all the bits into a pre-existing Strat that I an happy to hack about; or
buy one of the James Tyler ones, flip the nut and re-wire the peizo - this from a Line 6 guy in their forum when I asked about the possibility of leftie ones:

"For the time being, I'd like to throw out a possibility that might inspire some of you to consider if modifying a Right handed JTV-59 could work for you: Turns out it is a fairly straight forward electronic modification to cross wire the peizo cabling from 1-2-3-4-5-6 to 6-5-4-3-2-1, and re-string the guitar for leftie operation. I know this is not a long term solution for the needs of the leftie market, just a possibility I wanted to get out there. If any of you decide that this approach could be successful for you, and give it a go please post about it so we can see how it goes!"

Might not be ideal (read IS DEFINITELY NOT IDEAL) but might work and I guess I could always flog it if they bring out a leftie in the future. And I might look a little bit like jimi Hendrix*!


*I won't look at all like Jimi Hendrix
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Gary_W » Fri May 04, 2012 5:55 pm

grab wrote:

TBH, I suspect any difference will be in the instrument itself, not the electronics. Given the state of the guitar's construction, that's likely to be the problem.


I can't speak for the 300 but the electronics on my 500 definitely cut off the Strat model notes quicker than it did the LP models.... I take the point that the natural sustain of the guitar (or lack of) plays a point and can be cheered up with the methods you've mentioned but if that was all the was at play here there would be no difference between models.
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby grab » Fri May 04, 2012 7:37 pm

Fair point, yeah.
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Re: Line 6 modelling guitars

Postby Music Wolf » Tue May 08, 2012 2:58 pm

lukeandrewhill wrote:thanks again for the replies. So they don't do these things leftie anyway, so now I'm thinking of getting as cheap a variax as possible and stuffing the electronis in my own Strat, for (possibly) best of both worlds or (probably) another never to be completed half baked project.

I love those!

L

I called into the local town this lunch time as I needed a break from the office. There is a little music shop, which used to be pretty poor, but I swung by anyway. Turns out that it's undergone a makeover and gone far more boutique. I ended up walking away with a Blackstar HT Dual pedal but I did spot a pale blue Variax 300 sitting there un-loved. Probably more than you'd want to pay for just the innards (I think they were asking £299) but I thought that I'd pass the info on (after all - no problems in buying this guitar on-line without trying).
Here's the link to the shop Sound Affects Music
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