#1
I got a Variax 600 back in January off ebay. Really great guitar. The design is basically a strat copy, from body shape, headstock, maple fretboard, to the whammy arm bridge system on it.

Ever since I finally fixed the D string's piezo, I've had my whammy bar back in it. I haven't used a whammy/vibrato arm in forever since my previous main guitar was a stop tail SG.

I want to know what are the best ways to keep the strings in tune without having to do any annoying actions to keep it in tune (ex: hit the arm to set it back in tune, or to constantly retune the guitar)

The guitar stays in tune pretty nicely when I stretch out the strings and tune it to E standard, but using the whammy brings everything out of tune.
I tried tuning it so it's always in tune when you use the arm, but either the G string still goes out of tune, or my bends ruin the tuning, and I do a lot of bends.

Is there any way I can get around this junk?

I've seen graphtech nuts and string trees. How well do those work?
I can't file the saddles or replace them, because that's where the piezos are.

Any suggestions? thanks.
Last edited by Clay-man at May 9, 2013,
#2
You're probably on the right track with the nut. The material isn't as important as whether the slots are cut properly. Very common that they are rough or too narrow and the string hangs up. Get a set of torch tip cleaners (basically tiny round files available at most hardware stores) and run the appropriate size through each slot. Then put some lubricant in each slot. Graphite (pencil lead) or chapstick works well.

The second most common reason for going out of tune is how the strings are wrapped on each tuner post. Also check the string trees to make sure it's not hanging up there. Make sure your strings are well stretched too...

Not likely that the saddles are causing the problem, because there is really no string movement over them.
Last edited by stormin1155 at May 9, 2013,
#3
Probably cheap springs in back not pulling it back to level. The easiest way to set up a Strat style trem is to tighten the spring so that the bridge is in contact with the body. That way, after you use the trem bar the entire bridge comes back to the same exact point every time.
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#5
It's simply a case of set up and condition. Make sure everything is clean, the nut is well-cut, you're restringing the guitar correctly and the knife edges and springs of the bridge are in good order. There are no secret tricks to it. Graph Tech's nuts and string retainers can help a little but they're not vital. Making sure you're putting the strings on properly in the first place is the most important thing and the most common point people screw up.
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#6
I found swapping to a Graptech TuSQ helped a lot, as did the string tree replacements, considering the low cost (something like £5 for the nut and £3 for the trees) you don't have a lot to lose. If you're using a basic plastic/bone/brass nut then you might want to get some lubricant such as Nut Sauce to help.

I swapped to locking tuners on my Strat which definitely helped, but not as much as using a slippery nut/trees did, since if the nut is causing the issue it doesn't matter how well you string it up or how good your tuners are.
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#7
Definitely sounds like it's the nut. I think it's plastic. I put mechanical pencil in the slots, but it doesn't seem to do much. I do hear some pinging sometimes when tuning it, so again, probably the nut.

Like I said, I'm trying to be able to use the whammy AND bends without having to hit the whammy after I do bends, something I saw on a few videos. It's stupid and shouldn't be required with every bend.

Quote by JustRooster
Probably cheap springs in back not pulling it back to level. The easiest way to set up a Strat style trem is to tighten the spring so that the bridge is in contact with the body. That way, after you use the trem bar the entire bridge comes back to the same exact point every time.


I did this. I put a LITTLE bit of relief though, because I found my whammying very sloppy in control when it's too tight. (When I push enough for it to move, it goes down fast, making slow vibrato stuff hard to do)
Also, it made a noise whenever it came back down to the body, probably the piezos picking it up.
Last edited by Clay-man at May 9, 2013,
#9
^ Don't put anything on the saddles, since those Line 6 piezo saddles are damn fragile and sensitive.
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#10
Quote by MrFlibble
^ Don't put anything on the saddles, since those Line 6 piezo saddles are damn fragile and sensitive.


They're pretty poorly made, no offense to LR Baggs. They rust over time, and are poorly grounded. They ground by having contact with the saddles, and shit gets into the cracks between the saddle and the piezo, breaking grounding connection.

I had to replace the piezo I referred to in OP today. It went bad again and I ended up breaking the signal wire right at the connecting point to the piezo. Luckily I ordered from LR baggs in case I needed to do this.

I heard getting Graphtech ghost piezos on a Variax 1 solves these problems and increases the tone quality. Like I said, one of the reasons why the JTV sounds better is because they have better piezos.
Last edited by Clay-man at May 10, 2013,