This guitar has my full attention,. So many voices to experiment with new material. Perfect addition to my acoustic Variax. Great in the studio. Always surprised how few people know about Variax guitars.
This guitar has my full attention,. So many voices to experiment with new material. Perfect addition to my acoustic Variax. Great in the studio. Always surprised how few people know about Variax guitars.
I've owned an early Variax many years ago and somehow didn't like the digital modeling aspect back then, sold it and really got into the tonal character of Telecasters. Several Les Pauls and a stellar SG passed through my hands, but I was never quite happy with their limited tones. Playing mostly Americana, Blues, and country-tinged music, the Gibson electrics never were my favorites when playing with the band. The JTV-59 changed all that: Not only is this a gorgeous looker, but just the magnetic pickups alone (without the modeling) sound awesome! The beefy neck appeals to me, but not so much the standard-issue tuners and the huge Jumbo frets. These frets, combined with the flatter fingerboard take some getting used to as I usually squeeze the strings onto maple Telecaster fingerboards.
The JTV-59 is absolutely flawless and came set up right: I immediately started playing the instrument for an hour without even bothering with the digital models. The next day (after reading the skimpy manual), I explored all models and tunings and am quite impressed with the versatility of this guitar. All guitar models need further tweaking and I look forward to learning how to use the Variax Workbench software. Even tough I've tried a few times, the "Capo" function still isn't working for me... but I'll spend another weekend figuring that one out as well. The built-in tunings are fantastic and worth the price of this guitar alone, from Baritone to Drop-D to DADGAD they let you explore so many creative options. In my opinion, the supplied Gibson models (Lester, Special, Semi, etc.) are useable right out of the box and it feels sinful to have almost every Gibson electric in the studio. Right now, I have only played through a couple of tube amps and it's no surprise that the modeled acoustics sound horrible through these tube amps -even my acoustic Martin and Guild 12-strings go straight into the PA or into the recording console anyway.
There is so much still to explore with the JTV-59, but I can safely say that Sweetwater has sent me another winner that widens my musical horizon. As a sign of my appreciation for this beautiful instrument, I will buy a case very soon! Thank you Tom Koch at Sweetwater for kick starting another chapter in my music career!
Bought the demo model for a better deal but at the same time thinking maybe it was return from an unhappy customer. I've been playing it for two days looking for faults with no luck, it looks like it's brand new. It sounds just as crisp with even a little thicker tone then my Les Pauls with burstbucker pros. The action, intonation and pickup height were setup perfectly by Sweetwater, couldn't be happier.
I recently read a review, where a 47 year old veteran of music was bitching about the neck on this guitar. It's somewhat astounds me that an individual with that much experience would be that Blown Away by the fact that the neck wasn't perfect for him. Hey, we have all owned Guitars that had the tone we loved however had necks that weren't just right for our hand or our style of playing! If the guitar doesn't fit, don't play it, it's as simple as that! I guess I lucked out because the neck is just fine for my needs, the natural tone of the guitar is totally awesome, and the tonal liberties that are available due the software blows my mind! Thank You Line 6...
Even without the modeling, this is a very solid guitar. The fit and finish is excellent, the magnetic pickups sound very good, the frets ends are smooth, the fretboard edges are comfortable. The control cavities are shielded. The neck is chunky, but that's what I prefer. The only thing I didn't like was the tuners, but they're not bad; I prefer locking tuners, so I swapped them for a set of Schallers which were a perfect fit and required no drilling.
With the modeling, this guitar is outstanding. It works surprisingly well. I wish it had a model of a nylon string guitar, but maybe they'll add that in the future.
I own close to 20 electric guitars. Most of them very high end, and yet when I received my JTV-59 about a year ago, Im amazed that it sees more studio and stage time than all my other guitars combined. Im truly blown away at the tone, feel, and playability of this instrument. But, its a Line 6? It snot a Gibson or a Fender or one of those other big names that make me look important and trendy on stage!??? Who cares! If you like a Les Paulish style guitar, I cannot express to you the fit of this guitar! I have small hands, but I love a fat neck. This is true 59! Fat as a biggest loser pre-season contestant! Tone? The James Tyler Spec Humbuckers just work! The wizardy under the hood is so spot on, friends of mine in a test couldnt tell the difference from teh real thing and the modeling in a live situation. I just love it, and I know you will too. Hats off to my rep, Kurt! Always a pleasure and always the best price on everything I buy for my clearly dangerous guitar habit!
After playing the jtv 69 for awhile, I can say this is a higher end feeling instrument. The only downside is having to push the tuning knob to change from 1-5 to 2-4 of the modeled instruments. The build quality and over all feel is fantastic and the tobacco sunburst/flame maple is gorgeous. Now with this guitar in addition to the 69 running through an HD500 the access to tones is remarkable. I did find the 59 modeled sounds do sound slightly different than the 69. Might be the different woods used. I now prefer the 59.
I believe this guitar is the way guitars will go. To say it is more than I expected is an understatement. I am in lust with this axe.
I love the guitar...kinda heavy but no more than a Les Paul. I borrowed an HD500 footboard to see if I could use the Variax cable to get the full effect. I cannot figure out why it doesn''t work as I think it should because the Tech Manual...what there is of it, doen't tell you jack-crap about...anything but the most basic controls. The "advanced" book that is mentioned in the manual does not exist as far as I know. So...how does one get the full benefits of using this wonderful technology without some type of instruction manual?
I really did not know what to expect with this. I had a Line 6 300 model years ago and it was of dubious quality. I saw the beauty of this new JTV 59 along with the sale price as a demo unit and it sucked me in. Wow, it sounds, feels, and plays great without all the special features. With all the electronic wizardry it is truly amazing. I have had many USA Fenders and Gibsons that were not as well crafted as this beauty. I am very, very happy!
This guitar has just made my life way simpler. I can now play any style of music I want and not have to take the time to switch guitars, not to mention not needing guitar mics on booms or a guitar stand cluttering up the small space often provided for a restaurant/bar musician. I would highly recommend this instrument. The finish and workmanship are absolutely beaitiful. It grabs attention, even before I start playing banjo or acoustic through it.
I love the way the tuners are geared. They seem to be geared lower than what I am used to and I feel like I can more easily get a precise tuning. If I felt I could justify it price-wise I would have gone for the US version but this Korean version is fantastic.
I am using the alternate tunings regularly. I can now retain the correct voicing for a song such as Pretty Woman and have come out of my amp a step lower so it is much more singable for me. I also love being able to capo electronically. With the turn of the dial I can play Sweet Caroline in A on the fingerboard yet it comes out of my amp in B. I love it!
The only thing I would change(and this is just personal preference): I would put the 1/4" output on the front, since I often sit while playing and the cord is inconvenient for me coming out of the bottom.
My original interest in this guitar was the modeling features, especially around being able to setup custom 12 string configurations. These features met expectations (would have exceeded if it was possible to setup 12 string configurations were you could tune down an octave. Play a lot of finger style and is nice to have bass lines).
What blows me away is that the normal guitar part is amazing. Sounds wonderful. Very light instrument. The neck feels great and is big enough to finger pick without changing my approach.
All of my other guitars have gone into their cases.
Starting with cosmetics/appearance: This guitar is beautiful. Enough said!
Feel: It's roughly 8 lbs, it feels solid and the hardware is also very solid. I.e. there are no loose tuners, knobs, switches, etc. and they don't feel like they would snap easily, either. The neck feels just like a top-notch Paul Reed Smith, to which I have played a few. I'd take this guitar over a PRS any day. The only negative mark I'll add on feel is that the neck becomes very fat where it meets the body (about the 17th fret), which makes it very hard to keep your dexterity on the bassier strings, if speed is your thing, but this doesn't affect my playing style at all!
Sound: With the Variax modeling turned completely off, you run straight through the humbuckers that are shown in the photo, which sound amazing. The lead position sounds beautiful compared to many other guitars, which have entirely too much treble and not enough bass on the lead position, this guitar is balanced perfectly, in my opinion on the lead position. The rhythm position is adds a lot of low end, just the right amount, and also remains crystal clear, whereas many other guitars lose all the treble on the rhythm switch, causing a very muddy tone. I give this guitar's rhythm position 5 stars! The middle position, on the other hand, I believe sets the pickups out of phase (if you don't know what that means, look up "phase inverter" on a search engine and see what that means for humbuckers--it's usually described as a slight volume drop and a "nasal" sound--very unpopular). Now, on to the Variax modeling...
The possibilities become endless at this point! The modeling is rather spot on, although I've found that the Les Paul models (including the Juniors) have a bit too much lows. The Fenders are spot on, the Gibson ES-335 is possibly my favorite for cleans ("Semi" model with the white light on). The sitars, banjos and resonators are cool to play around with, but I have no practical use for these, so I will say that I'm pleased with them, simply for lack of experience with these instruments. I bought this guitar for the tuning flexibility mainly.
The Variax Workbench is a very handy piece of software that allows you to absolutely 100% customize this guitar. In your custom slots (you get 10, I believe), you can pick any of the preloaded bodies (which makes a big sound difference, believe it or not), any of the preloaded pickups (my favorite are the P90s) and you can program that patch to play any tuning you want, as well. What's more is that you can move the pickups to any position you want. I.e. you can slide the virtual position of the pickups as close to or are faraway from the bridge as you want, down to the .01"!!! Like I said, 100% customizeable. But, as with anything ever made from Line 6, there is a very steep learning curve, so you will be sitting behind your computer and guitar for at least 8-12 hours before you can "kick the training wheels off."
This guitar is built with great quality! Is 100% customizable and can accurately emulate DOZENS of guitars in ANY tuning and you can switch between any of these presets in the blink of an eye! I have a song with my band where I start off the intro/verse using a 12-string acoustic in standard and then switch to a distortion for the chorus, using Les Paul model with a B-E-A-D-G-B tuning, and I'm able to go back into the verse to the 12-string, back into the chorus with the Les Paul and so on, virtually seamless!
It is expensive, but it is worth it! This guitar costs less than just ONE of the classics it models flawlessly, so I consider that a good bargain. If you play in one band and stick to the same tuning, same sound, same genre, this guitar isn't so much for you. It's for the guitarists who want multiple tunings, multiple sounds and the versatility of multiple guitars, to whom I would absolutely recommend this guitar!
Tremendous guitar. Awesome neck - very playable. Nice warm 'buckers. Oh yeah and it has computer guitar simulation magic as well. The acoustic models are amazing. I can find nothing to not like about this guitar. And it's beautiful. Don't waste the money on a US made model, 'cause it any getting any better than this! Basically 3 grand more for a hard case and another battery. I don't think so
I work in the studio and compose many styles of music. I am a guitarist. I had been considering the purchase of a Martin acoustic and Gibson acoustic to balance out my Taylor. I was also lookin at buying a PRS electric or a Les Paul. So this guitar was made for me! The guitar itself sounds great and the models blow my mind. The folks at Sweetwater got me the guitar quickly and in great shape. I couldn't be happier.
I never thought I would go for something like this. I tried it and fell in love with it. It's a very good Les Paul type axe by itself. The various models are tunings are inspiring. I have gotten into styles I've never tried. I'm having great fun with the JTV-59. It's also a great looking and playing guitar. I have a home recording studio and it is nice to have the pallet of so many guitars available. My only criticism is the tuning pegs are a bit cheesy relative to the high quality of the rest of the guitar. I tightened them and some are still feel loose. I'll probably upgrade them. Also, it would have been nice if they included a nylon string/classical guitar sound.
L6 has addressed the palm muting issues and fixed them with a free firmware update 1.9. *Rumor has it there will be all new HD guitar models and a new Variax Workbench HD in the next update which would be 2.0.
That's what I love about Line 6, About a month ago I just updated this guitar to the 1.9 firmware and the palm muting is really improved. They listen to the consumer and allow the instruments, PODS, amps, etc. to be updated instead of making us buy the newest version.
I was reading though the L6 online forums and saw people complaining about their JTV's not working as they should. Well they should of bought the guitar from Sweetwater. They make sure the guitar works, is setup properly, and even with this guitar, they test it to make sure the modeling works properly.
* By rumor, I mean it's going to happen very soon ; )
Sell your gear and get the entire dream rig- DT25 1x12, POD HD Pro or HD 500, and a JTV VAX.
It's pretty cool being able to control any parameter of any FX pedal right from my tone knob. For instance I can control the amount of drive from the tone knob, switch up the delay, the possibilities are truly endless.
It does what it says to a point.. Some of the the models sound or feel kinda synth like... But over all especial after you record with it sounds spot on. I was playing Tangerine in one of the twelve string acoustics and there were moments where I was confused whats sound was the backing track I was playing with and which was actually me ( so dead on). Love the alt tuning (play allot of different tunings) at first seamed weird but got used to it. The sustain on this guitar is amazing especially in variax mode, chords just ring forever. The build quality is that of a 700 - 800 dollar guitar pretty decent. The bridge is a beautiful piece of hardware, both in looks and function. Other wise good guitar
I was looking for another guitar that was a bit different from the rest , ke , so as a was researching around I seen the JTV-59 , bought one and it's quite the machine to say the least , there was a bit of tweeking to do to get it right for me but all are like that in some respect , I've been in working bands for about 35 years now and I would like to recommend that this Variax be part of your tool box a very very good all-rounder
This guitar is awesome. Looks great, sounds incredible. Easy to lean all the basic functions. I haven't put it through the POD or used the additional software tools so can't comment on that however the sounds right out of the box are excellent. The 12 string shimmers and even the twang of e sitar is wild. This is no toy. The guitar has weight, the action is low, the neck is beefy and this guitar rocks. I was a little skeptical on the alternate tunings function but it works and I'm blown away. If you want a great functional electric. This is your guitar.
This is a great instrument, and a useful tool. This is my first variax, although I have been using the PODs for several years now.
First the build quality of the instrument is great. There were no issues with the instrument that I could find. There is some comments about the neck being big; but I am a die hard ibanez player, and love thin necks. I also purchased a PRS SE24 a while back, and hated the neck on that instrument and eventually sold it to a friend. For some reason this neck just feels comfortable, and I am to shred on this guitar. The fretwork was really nice, which is usually a big grip for me on medium range guitars. The only issue I have had, which is not that bad, is doing chords where I need my thumb to fret the low string. I can still get it, but its a bit of a stretch. Keep in mind I do not have the biggest hands either.
I also wish the volume knob was closer at hand, as I like to change my dynamics, but I am making adjustments to my playing and using my foot pedal for that stuff now.
The guitar is gorgeous, and will be an instrument you will wan to pick up and play. I really like this color and style over the other models, and in person I am glad I chose it. The guitar is also quite light especially being a les paul type style, and having tons of electronics in it.
The sounds as as you would desire. I hear all the elements that I would expect out of the instrument models. I do not know if they are perfect, but the qualities I would want from a les paul, tele, strat, gretch, acoustic, they are all there and react as I would expect them to. Also there has been some discussion about the palm muting, and I did not find it an issues. It works like you would expect it to. The les paul model did not have the bite on the muting that I would like, but the les paul is not modeled with hot pickups that you would get the bite from. But you can get squeals and all the goods from it just like a normal guitar.
The guitar is easy to select and change models and tunings on and turn the instrument on and off, but I am currently working on programming my HD500 to do this for me.
This is a great guitar and I would highly recommend it for anyone that has a need for multiple guitars, or changing tunings. Even if you never engage the variax modeling the guitar is great.
The Neck! I do not normally have time for writing reviews. But there is just toooo much praise of this guitar. Yes it does what it says . But if it is not a player. Then why bother
The neck is not right. It was sampled from a bunch of good necks. But the result is Too Wide - Too Round. Almost comfortable but not a player. And Why do you buy this guitar. So it can be your go to Guitar.
Make this with neck variations and I would buy one in a heartbeat. Like a PRSNeck , Like a Fender Neck, Like a gibson Neck. Not like a new neck shape. I had 3 other Guitar play this without using the models. None of them felt comfortable with the Neck.
I was never a fan of the LP style bodies, but every other Variax looks pretty lame compared to this one so I went ahead and took a chance. I am in love with this guitar. I use it with a POD HD PRO, DT25,which Line 6 calls the dream rig. It called the dream rig for a reason. Anything is possible with this guitar. People are blown away when I change to one of the acoustic models. I've owned a VAX 300 for a few years, but the JTV is in a class of it's own. The VAX 300 is nice but without any pickups they just don't compare. If you're going to buy one I highly recommend you do so soon, these guitars are not in any stores down here in soFLA and it took a while to get the guitar from Line 6 to sweetwater. I decided to go all or nothing so I got the G90 wireless system, stuck it in my rack under the HD PRO and now I don't have to worry about ripping cables out of anything. Of course I had to spend some time programming all of my custom presets to the guitar itself. It was well worth it, I can just plug in like a regular guitar 1/4th TS cable if need be and you have a great guitar even without the VAX pickups. Read the review in Guitar World this one go their gold award. Make sure to buy the VDI cable as well if you're going to use it with the HD 500 or HD PRO.
I had watched the JTV release for a while, reading reviews and checking out the videos. My needs were were what this guitar does. #1 Alternate tunings for various cover tunes my band does. And #2 emulating various guitar voices for the same reason.
What I got was that and a little more. On its own magnetic pickups this guitar is a great upper-mid, sounding guitar. Good voicing and sustain. The fit and finish is very good for mass production. I "LOVE" the Tobacco SB finish. I'd rate mine as a AA. The guitar is solid and I have no concerns at gigs, stayed in tune even with major bending going on for a full 4 hour evening.
The modeling is something you will think about until... you have that moment that you are inspired by the tone and possibilities. For me, now it is natural to dial up and play and not think of the technology within. It is a guitar first with some cool technology behind the curtain.
The JTV-59 is not perfect, you may find you have to alter some ways you play to get what you want. Let your ears do the talking. For me the benefits are huge and the possibilities are endless. Play it through a acoustic amp or a PA for a demo of the models. I'm a believer.
Oh and a shout out to the Sweetwater Team: Thanks for all your assistance for selecting this specific guitar.
I received my JTV-59 last week, after about a year of going back and forth on buying one or not. I am a very proud American and usually only buy American. I have had other variaxes in the past and build quality was not up to par and the acoustic models that I needed the most were lacking. I unpacked this one plugged it in and WOW what a difference. I am using a POD HD500 into a Presonus StudioLive and it sounds amazing. Since the POD HD is lacking an acoustic amp model I set up a FX loop into my fisman aura and now I push a button and have a great sounding acoustic that you can play like an acoustic and not get all kinds of weird sounds like the older variaxes when you played rythem. I am really impressed with all the new features such as the tuning knob and the updated models. I can make it sound like my favorite Tele set up with duncans, 250k pots, .47cap, where the older variaxs couldent get the sound I wanted. Love it thanks yet again Sweetwater Rep. Tim Harrington!
This guitar exceeds all of the hype you read. The sounds that come out of the mag pickups are very good and then you add all of the modeled guitars... what more could a player want?
The wait was worth it. It is really nice to be able to switch between accoustic and electric without the added bulk of a double neck guitar or mess with a separte stand.
I play through a diditech RP500 pedal and it sounds terriffic!
If there is any down side it would be the battery. I haven't had a problem with it dying on me during a performance, but you must be carfull and roll back the volume when not in use to conserve battery time. I plan to get a second battery - just in case. The other option is to get a HD pod pedal. I guess Christmas is comming...
Final a guitar that matches the potential of the electronics... Feels right!
I am very happy with this guitar, Line 6, and Sweetwater. We did have some "bumps" along the way. The demand outstripped the supply, and some un-forseen technical issues surfaced in the process. I ordered in October 2010 and received my guitar in May 2011. It did have a switching issue, that required the return of the unit to L6 for resolution, but the turn-around was very quick, and I was in the loop of the process. I feel that both Line 6 and Sweetwater provided very solid professional support. I appreciate it.
Now to the good part -- I received my guitar back and the next night used it at a gig, and it performed flawlessly, with great sound. My backup guitar never left it's stand, and I left my Ovation acoustic/electric at home. This last weekend it worked and sounded great, in an outside festival in 90 degree heat and high humidity for 2 nights in a row. Again, my backup stayed on the stand both nights. I use the JTV-59 hooked to my L6 X3L pedal via my VDI cable, which also powers the unit.
The finish is beautiful -- love the Tobacco sunburst. The guitar is very solid with great sustain, great fit & finish. The neck is different from my Epi LP Classic's 60's slim taper neck, but it feels good in my hands, and is set up well, with good action, no buzzes. I do like the mag pickups -- they are hotter than my LP, and hotter than the models, but have a very nice crisp and dynamic bite to them. the models are improved over my Variax 300, but part of the improvement in the modeled tone is due to the much higher physical buld of the JTV-59, I am sure, as well as the improved electronics of the processing.
While it was unfortunate, that I had a long wait, and some initial problems, that is part of delvelopment and release of a new product. There were many, many technical differences in the 59 as opposed to the first generation, and even between the 59 model and the 69 & 89 versions. My impression is that Line 6 learns from such issues, and will improve, and improve.
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