#1
The ones I know about are that Gibson robo thing and the Line 6 Variax. Neither really convinced me. Is there anything else on the market? Are there any really useful models out there? I love the concept because I switch guitar tunings like other people switch their underwear, but the ones I have heard didn't really convince me. I guess it will be a long time until these things will produce a sound that can satisfy guitar enthusiasts. Still, what is the state of the art right now?
#2
Quote by Onkel Cannabia
The ones I know about are that Gibson robo thing and the Line 6 Variax. Neither really convinced me. Is there anything else on the market? Are there any really useful models out there? I love the concept because I switch guitar tunings like other people switch their underwear, but the ones I have heard didn't really convince me. I guess it will be a long time until these things will produce a sound that can satisfy guitar enthusiasts. Still, what is the state of the art right now?


That gives you a good reason to buy more guitars...
#3
I think that Peavey model with the Antares auto-tuning system seems like a rad idea.

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#4
Variax just got a COMPLETE overhaul on their modeling technology. The firmware update is called Variax HD, and basically completely replaces the old variax modeling technology with more powerful modeling since the new Variax guitars have a stronger processor than the old ones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPlo2TjdGFw

For me personally, I have a Variax 600 and I love it. I wish I had the newer model one, but it's out of my price range. Even then, I still think you can get some killer sounds out of even the old Variax guitars.

The Variax, along side it's modeling also allows for complete custom guitar models with custom pickups, pickup positions, pot values, and bodies. You can also tune your guitar instantly from 1 octave down or 1 octave up, separately on each individual string.

I highly suggest checking out videos on the new HD firmware update and see what you think.
#5
Quote by Clay-man
Variax just got a COMPLETE overhaul on their modeling technology. The firmware update is called Variax HD, and basically completely replaces the old variax modeling technology with more powerful modeling since the new Variax guitars have a stronger processor than the old ones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPlo2TjdGFw

For me personally, I have a Variax 600 and I love it. I wish I had the newer model one, but it's out of my price range. Even then, I still think you can get some killer sounds out of even the old Variax guitars.

The Variax, along side it's modeling also allows for complete custom guitar models with custom pickups, pickup positions, pot values, and bodies. You can also tune your guitar instantly from 1 octave down or 1 octave up, separately on each individual string.

I highly suggest checking out videos on the new HD firmware update and see what you think.


That sounds great. I'm still very skeptical, but I will try out the new models next time I'm at Thomann. Which ones are the models with the new processors and firmware?
#6
There is some work going on using sensors to signal notes on string guitars (would be instantaneous), but the lack of interest for most guitarists is probably holding it back
#7
Quote by Onkel Cannabia
That sounds great. I'm still very skeptical, but I will try out the new models next time I'm at Thomann. Which ones are the models with the new processors and firmware?


All models named JTV Variaxes. JTV is the new line of Variaxs.

New: JTV 59 (Les Paul), 69 (Strat), 89 (Super Strat), and special custom models like 59p (p-90), 69s (SSS pickups), 89f (floyd rose)

Old Variaxes would be: 300, 500, 600, 700. This will also include the Variax bass guitars and strictly-acoustic guitars.
You cannot buy these anymore besides off ebay.

If you do try a JTV at a store, I'm not sure if they'll have the new firmware loaded on the guitar. I'd ask the people at the store.


I really do think the Variax guitars are on the top of the Guitar Modeling game. This is coming from someone who used to hate Line 6 after I tried a GX POD, but their latest products are pretty amazing.


Quote by Tempoe
There is some work going on using sensors to signal notes on string guitars (would be instantaneous), but the lack of interest for most guitarists is probably holding it back


Variax guitars and most modeling guitars I know are not anything MIDI or synthesized.

Synthesis = The pickup reads the note, DELETES IT, then replaces it with a synthetic tone.

Modeling = The pickup PROCESSES the signal to sound like specific pickups, bodies, and other things.
This is usually done through convolution (Like a guitar cab impulse) and filters.

Crazy models on a Variax like the Sitar is done by some type of ASDR filter that puts a high resonance over the guitar tone. The banjo is a volume ASDR with a high decay added to simulate the sustain of a banjo.

The only synthetically created tones are the Bigsby ringing on the Gretsch, and the sympathetic strings on the Sitar that you can adjust with the tone knob.
Last edited by Clay-man at Nov 30, 2013,
#8
Yes, it takes a full cycle of the frequency to obtain the note, giving the undesired delay, especially on low notes, this is what I was saying, new developments will eventually use use sensors to replace this technology.
#9
Quote by Tempoe
Yes, it takes a full cycle of the frequency to obtain the note, giving the undesired delay, especially on low notes, this is what I was saying, new developments will eventually use use sensors to replace this technology.


That's for anything that does pitch tracking. Variax doesn't do pitch tracking.
The only delay (latency) you will get is using the alt tuning which barely anything. The delay is to give the pitch shifter headroom to make the pitched tone sound decent.
#10
You'll probably find some first-round JTVs that may not have been updated yet -- the non-Floyd JTV-89s, for example. The JTVs that are now coming out of boxes have had the HD software since mid-October. They haven't changed the guitars that they've modeled, but a few of the actual guitars modeled (the Tele, for example, and the strat) are different.

The JTV 89F is the odd duck (as was the 89, come to think of it). It has a different set of factory-installed alternate tunings (a few more Drop tunings), and the new HD firmware includes some extra models of the 89's own pickups.

Some folks have found even the older Variax guitars fairly convincing. None other than Mutt Lange, when he was looking for a specific tele sound to go on tour with Shania, had his guitar player bring in a wad of different teles, and none of them quite suited him. The guitar player, in exasperation, pulled out an older Variax 500 or 700, switched it to the tele sounds and that one tickled Lange. That's what went out on tour. The tele has been very good from the get go, as has the strat, the LP, the 335 (I've got a real 335 from '68 or so that matches it very well) and a few others. The 12-strings have been good but not great (they're better by a bunch in the new models, thanks to much improved piezo saddles, four times the DSP processing power and the HD tweaks). I've found that the better you are at finding the signature sweet spot on one of the original guitars, the better the Variax will sound if you go there and do that.
#11
Quote by dspellman
You'll probably find some first-round JTVs that may not have been updated yet -- the non-Floyd JTV-89s, for example. The JTVs that are now coming out of boxes have had the HD software since mid-October. They haven't changed the guitars that they've modeled, but a few of the actual guitars modeled (the Tele, for example, and the strat) are different.

The JTV 89F is the odd duck (as was the 89, come to think of it). It has a different set of factory-installed alternate tunings (a few more Drop tunings), and the new HD firmware includes some extra models of the 89's own pickups.

Some folks have found even the older Variax guitars fairly convincing. None other than Mutt Lange, when he was looking for a specific tele sound to go on tour with Shania, had his guitar player bring in a wad of different teles, and none of them quite suited him. The guitar player, in exasperation, pulled out an older Variax 500 or 700, switched it to the tele sounds and that one tickled Lange. That's what went out on tour. The tele has been very good from the get go, as has the strat, the LP, the 335 (I've got a real 335 from '68 or so that matches it very well) and a few others. The 12-strings have been good but not great (they're better by a bunch in the new models, thanks to much improved piezo saddles, four times the DSP processing power and the HD tweaks). I've found that the better you are at finding the signature sweet spot on one of the original guitars, the better the Variax will sound if you go there and do that.



Don't forget that all of those alt tuning banks are programmable, without even plugging the guitar into workbench. From 1 octave up to 1 octave down on EACH string.

12 string models seem to sound better on the HD firmware. I believe you can make any guitar into a 12 string now on the HD firmware as well.

Btw, that's an extremely interesting story about Mutt and the Variax.

I really do think you can find your tone with workbench. All new Variax guitars come with it.

Examples of tweaks I've done to my Variax when I wasn't satisfied with the tone:

Telecaster: wasn't as twangy as I wanted it, so I backed up the pickups towards the bridge a bit on all the tele models. It sounds amazing now.

My custom SG patch: The Les Paul settings are great, but sometimes it's just a BIT, too fat sounding than I want. I decided to make a patch inspired by my own SG, which uses the Les Paul Jr bodies and Les Paul Standard pickups.
I backed the pickups on those to the bridge as well, and I can get a killer humbucker tone with bite that the LP didn't have, sounds amazing for metal and rock.

The whole customization of the Variax is what really kills the competition. Another thing that helps is the fact that it uses piezo pickups, which is great for the concept of modeling guitars.

Think about it, what would you want in order to make a guitar sound like a bunch of guitars? The answer is the raw sound of the string before it goes through the pickups or is drastically altered by the body.
Piezos have flat, and extremely wide frequency response and range, compared to magnetic pickups.

The only downside I can honestly say about the Variax, is that originally it had palm muting issues. I've found that palm muting a little closer towards the neck helps make it sound better.
The new JTVs also addressed this problem with their 1.9 firmware. I'm not sure how good it is, but I'm sure it helps.

I strongly suggest trying it out. Remember, while I love the Variax, I realize it's not for everyone. Some people aren't ready for it yet, and just can't work with it, but I really do think you can't really find any other modeling guitar better than a Variax, at least for now.
#12
OK, another question. There are different models based on different real guitars, like Strats and Les Pauls and what not. How much of a difference do they make considering the modelling and the piezo pickups and whatnot?

My assumption would be this: You get some slight difference based on the wood and the rest is more things like action, shape, locking system etc.
So I could get a Les Paul model and get some sick blues sound and a brutal metal sound. I could get a great metal sound on a strat model to, but a mahogany based guitar would be better. Is that about right?

If I wanted full versatility from bluegrass to thrash metal I would go with a Les Paul model, right? Or maybe a BK model for the extra whammy and then raise the action for playing slide and stuff (I am comfortable playing metal solos with RHT and everything with a very high action).

I'm going to try them out anyway, especially since I tried out the Kemper and was surprisingly underwhelmed, but it's good narrow it down in advance. I'm gonna look for some other instruments too, so it is going to be a busy day as it is.
#13
The guitars will sound as different as each actual based models will sound different from the other guitars.

The question is, how different does an LP, Strat, Tele, Rickenbacker, Gretsch, Firebird, etc all sound from eachother?

The answer varies. You have to think about what actual guitar would you use in that situation, then try it out. But don't stop there, and flip through the models and see if you prefer another over the one you thought you wanted.

I assure you that with the Les Paul and the alt tuning knob, you can get some killer metal sounds. With the improved palm muting, I'm sure it will sound great.

Remember that you can program your own guitars too. Too bad you can't just borrow one for a while because that's honestly the best thing you could probably do. Workbench software really adds massive depth to the guitar.

I hope you enjoy it, but if you don't that's ok. It's been my main guitar for a while now.