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Rating and Reviews: Line 6 JTV59 Variax

Access over 25 guitar sounds with the versatile JTV59 Variax. Line 6's digital guitar modeling technology offers classic tones from the '20s to the present.

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"Great buy!" submitted December 27, 2011

By a customer from rockingeeks.com
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Musical Background: 13 years guitar, play and record at home
Music Style: mixed
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Sound: Its a Variax so what can you say? I also own a Variax 500 and the models, though the same, do sound much better. I already was planning to replace the magnetic pickups until I tried them no need to now they sound quite nice as is. I still have some issues with the 12 string models but mostly that is tweakable on Workbench. This is a great sounding guitar! Feature: As in above, its a Variax (so I won't delve into the modeling)! There a MANY improvements over the previous Vax. Line6 has been listening to user input for sure! - The first and best for my use (mixed guitar and synth sound with a GTK-3 and GR-20) is the rechargable battery. My 500 would devour AA batteries like nobody's business and rigging it to work with the a/b switchbox power AND the GTK was a mishmash of cables, the JTV fixes that (and in a pinch I can still use the box while the battery is charging). - The Alt Tuning Knob. Baritone banjo, got it! Switch almost instantly from a Drop D Lester to an Open E Tri-cone? Got it! breaking this function away from Workbench and the custom tones was a fantastic idea! - Workbench software with 10 custom models. You can either just tweak the existing presets to taste OR take the axe to all kinds of crazy places. Workbench is a love/hate piece of cool. Ease of Use: Gave this a 9 for a simple reason. Depending on the type of musician you are the tech can be a double edged sword. 1- If you just like to plug it in and play it is pretty danged simple. If you are just playing the magnetics you paid too much but learning to switch between the models is pretty simple and they are pretty good out of the box. The JTV-59 is unique in that it is an LP style with a three way switch. There are 5 banks in each model sound so you can see the math is a bit screwy. You use a combo of pushing the Alt Tuning knob along with the 3-way to select between the models but it is easy to get the hang of. 2- Workbench can be a pain but it is pretty simple onece you get the hang of it. Quality: While you will see varying reports of build quality among the three models (59. 69, and 89) I will just rate my experience. The build quality on this guitar was excellent. The finish is perfect the neck was straight and intonation spot on out of the box. It is a solid feeling guitar ad feels as good as My American made Tele Plus Deluxe. There was early on a 3-way switch issue that Line6 fixed on all guitars shipping after July or so thet does leave a slight indent around the 3-way but it isn't an issue for me. This is easily a $700 guitar without the $700 in electronics. Value: There aren't any other items quite like this one to compare to but the value should be an 11. While it is quite a bit more than my Variax 500 was it is also quite a bit more than my Variax 500 was. Would I spend 3k more on a US model? Honestly, no way. The build quality and playability of this guitar is excellent. If you want to explore new territories with your music or need a SUPER flexible axe for gigs this is the guitar. I can easily sell most of my other guitars without reserve and still have an expanded sonic playground. IMHO it is worth every penny. Manufacturer Support: I am only giving this a 9 because I haven't used Line6 support (have several products). From appearances though the support forums are active and most folks seem to get issues resolved. The Wow Factor: Lets face it, the ability to switch almost instantly from a Les Paul to a Tele then to a Ricky, then a banjo, then a Martin, all intoned and in tune with each other because you are playing them on the same guitar? It is amazing! Add in alternate tunings and custom patches (I have some bass guitar tunings in my Vax 500). If all you want is plug and play with good pickups there are cheaper and more capable axes. If you want a lifetime of exploring wild tones in your music then pair one of these with a GR-20 or GR-33 synth and settle in for the ride! Overall: If it got stolen or burned up I would be buying another one without a doubt.
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"The most versatile guitar on the planet...period." submitted February 11, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: 18 year axe-slingler
Music Style: Rock, Blues
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Sound: I have played this guitar through a Soldano all-tube combo, a Line 6 Spider Valve MKII, and also through Line 6 POD Farm 2.0 on my computer and it sounds great through all of them. To my ears all of the acoustic tones really shine. Also, the Strat (Spank) model really nails the single coil sound. This guitar has so many usable tones that I often find myself having a hard time deciding which model to use when recording a track. Feature: I have to rate the features on this guitar as a 10 because it has to be the most versatile guitar on the planet. There isn't anything else on the market that brings this combination of digital modeling and playability to the market...nothing. The Variax Workbench software (which is included) only adds remarkable flexibility to this guitar. If you want a different sound than what the Variax offers, then just build it in the software and send it to the guitar...fantastic. Ease of Use: This is my first Variax and right away I was able to connect up to my computer and update the firmware. I have also connected up to the included workbench software to upload some different guitar models to the Variax. Very easy and intuitive. Quality: The first JTV-59 that I received had issues with the 3 way selector switch and also a hairline crack in the finish at the neck joint. That guitar was sent back to Line 6 and they shipped out a replacement as soon as one was available. The second guitar is perfect. Everything works as advertised, the finish is gorgeous, and the setup was great right out of the box. If it weren't for the fact that I had to get a replacement guitar, I would have rated Quality at 10. I also play a Gibson Les Paul and this one rivals it in fit and finish. Value: Sure I wish it was a little cheaper, but find me another guitar that does what this one does and built like this one for the money. Manufacturer Support: As I stated above, I dealt with Line 6's customer service department when sending my first JTV-59 back for a replacement. They were first class all the way and I am very happy with the support I received. The Wow Factor: I have the black JTV-59 and it is a very sweet looking instrument. It has the classic single-cutaway vibe with it's own touches and a nice looking headstock. The finish is very nice. Overall: Overall, I give it an 8. It would be a 10, but I had to send my original one back for a replacement. This guitar has exceeded my expectations and the more I play it, the more I love it. I hope my other guitars don't get jealous, because they're gonna be spending a whole lot more time in their cases than what they're used to! ;)
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"Line 6 JT59 Variax - A 'must have' collection of 25 guitars in one instrument." submitted October 19, 2011

By a customer from 02.co.uk
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Musical Background: Active Musician - Christian Worship Leader
Music Style: Rock, Folk, Christian Worship
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Sound: This is an amazing product. I've just upgraded from a Variax 700 that I've had for around 6 years. Acoustic modelled instruments are clearer, altered tunings useable. When the modelled sounds aren't turned on it still sounds great Feature: Most useful features: pickups to use as an 'ordinary' guitar is a fantastic step forward as is the improved battery pack (10 hours playing). Neck is just right for finger picking style. All controls really simple to use. Have a range of sounds available Least useful feature: on the JT59 (LP shape) there's only a 3-way selector switch (to mimick the LP)...however a 5 way would have been more useful to access the 5 variants. Ease of Use: Very simple although I've used a Variax 700 for a while. The manual is basic to say the least but it gets you started. The guitar is fantastically simple to use. Quality: Brilliant - no issues at all-fresh out of the box, it's plug'n'play. Value: Absolutely!!..This is well worth the price tag. 25 or so guitars at your finger-tips. Anyone who plays a range of music styles shold have one of these. Manufacturer Support: I contacted Line 6 (UK) on a couple of occasions and they were always really knowledgeable and helpful The Wow Factor: It looks as good as it sounds. It's practical but very, very clever. A real talking point. Overall: I expect to live with this guitar for many years...Why would I want any more than 25 guitars?? If it was lost, broken or stolen I'd have to replace it like for like. Knowing what I know now...I'd still get it...like a shot!
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"You can bend over backwards with the flexibility!" submitted October 14, 2012

By Gary S in Decatur, IL
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Musical Background: hobbist
Music Style: Anything but rap!
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Overall: It's an amazing guitar right out of the box. Well setup and sounds just fine with the two humbuckers. The fit and finish on this guitar is better than that of my gibson 335, 175, and 137! But I can do all of that on the other guitars I have. The real fun comes when you start playing with the guitar models and the alternate tunings.There are 10 presets with 5 models at each preset. These are set up to function like the guitar's PUP at the bridge, bridge/neck, neck, etc, but they are able to be assigned to anything you want to reprogram them to.Reprogramming is accomplished by USB access to the guitar from a computer screen and downloadable program. Furthermore you can define alternate tunings with the same program.You can even build you own guitar and then build and change the parameters of the PUPs! It's like a virtual course in PUPs.So my neice wants to play with the guitar, but has no knowledge of it. I simply set her up with an open "G" tuning, showed her the way to play a I-IV-V progression with a single bard fingering, and she is off playing harmony to all of those old country and campfire songs. Much better than guitar hero and she is unknowingly learning about bar chords.I wish I'd had this 10 years ago.My two items for a "wish list" include a 5 way selector switch for the PUPs (figure out the funky method they used for providing 5 positions with a 3 way switch and you'll know why) and another control that provides you with an instant octave capo. I know you can do it with their magic capo, but it makes my head hurt especially after using Roland's VGA 7 amplifier with its virtual capo. Just hit the button to move the tuning up or down an octave in half steps! No more fretting (pun intended) when the singer complains the key is a bit too low or high! The only weird thing about this guitar is there is a mind/body disconnect. IOW's your ears hear an acoustic guitar, sitar, or banjo, but you hands only feel the Les Paul style of the JTV-59.I wish they made this in the style of the body of a Gibson 335 as that's my favorite guitar, but you can't have it all.But you can have a lot more when you pair this with the Line 6 POD HD500 and the DT50 112! It's just plain magic. You can assign any variax guitar, POD HD500 simulations and the DT50 amplifier parameters to a foot pedal on the POD 500. That's like being able to change a guitar, amplifier, effects, and tunings with a simple tep of the foot pedal. Magic.
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"The only guitar you'll ever need!!" submitted November 14, 2011

By a customer from wowway.com
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Musical Background: playing for 3 years, guitar, jam at home and with friends.
Music Style: Hard Rock, Metal
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Sound: This guitar sounds great. It has an awesome acoustic setting. I can go from jamming a Les Paul model sounding riff into a slow acoustic part ,even a banjo, all just by turning a knob. Feature: This guitar sounds great as a stand alone, but with the workbench technology, there is no limit to the tweeking you can do. You can create any alt tuning there is. Ease of Use: It's as simple as turning a knob. Overall: A true workhorse
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"Impressed ? you will be !" submitted May 31, 2012

By Sid Sewell in Hornchurch, Essex, NA
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Musical Background: playing for about 40 years. Guitar. I currently jam and record at home.
Music Style: Blues, Rock, Blues-Rock, Progressive, Punk.
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Overall: I had a Variax 700 and 300 for many years and I was impressed with the playability and sound quality of the models. The JTV-59 has surpassed that and I am now glad that I made the decision to sell my 700 and 300 in part exchange for the JTV-59. I also found the Eb (1/2 step) tuning a great feature. I attended a demo session with Paul Hindmarsh in DV247 East London recently and to hear the guitar played by a master along with the Dream rig really impressed me. Besides, my '59 looks great hanging on my home studio wall, next to my Ibanex JS1000 ! :-).
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"JTV-59 works just great, but do the firmware upgrade" submitted June 24, 2012

By a customer from meritzone.com
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Overall: Bought a JTV59 and had broblems with the tunings capability. It was hard finding information, but I registered the product, then fiound there was a firmware upgrade available to 1.8.1. Did the upgrade and the ghost notes I had been hearing disappeared., It's a great guitar, with great sounds. The tuning function is also brilliant. The switching is a little bit fiddle to get all the sounds, and with the benefit of hindsight, I might have bought the Strat version, which has simpler 5 way switching. But it's a minor gripe, the guitar overall is great.
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"Line 6 JTV59" submitted January 14, 2014

By Ray Z in Prospect Heights, IL
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Musical Background: I am 65 ,I have been playing guitar for 50 yrs. . I play profesionally occasionally.
Music Style: Rock and Blues
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Overall: Great guitar ! ,Played great right out of the box.I think this will be my go to guitar from now on .I have 16 guitars but none of them have this kind of capability.I get the sound of many different guitars without having to switch to a different neck size ,string type and size and the fret spacing is always the same .Amazing guitar and plays like most of the higher priced guitars I've owned .Its a keeper !!
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"inspiration and passion" submitted January 28, 2013

By Mike Z in Plymouth, MN
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Musical Background: Playing over 40 years, play praise and worship at church and jam at home on Spider Jam III
Music Style: Blues, Rock, Christian, acoustic, some jazz
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Overall: I wasn't big on "modeled tones" I thought they were fake. Then I plugged this in. This guitar sings. Pure inspiration at your fingertips. The tonal palette and options will blow your mind. The guitar is solid. I did have to have it set up, and the neck was a little warped. The neck is awesome, the shape is a great fit. I have read reviews that say it's too fat (?) if you don't like it, maybe pick up the ukulele it's making a comeback I find myself getting lost in this guitar, discovering all the possibilities. The tone with distortion was really a surprise. Sounds awesome, tone shines through the distortion with clarity and good low end. Don't hesitate on this, well worth the investment. BTW, the acoustic tones are fantastic. rolling off the tone control really gives you varying degrees of brilliance.
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"JTC-59 - exellent guitar!" submitted May 24, 2014

By Kim Christiansen
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Musical Background: Played since I was nine (I am 42 now), professionally, semi-professionally and as a hobby
Music Style: Everything that has a guitar or 10 inn it, hehe
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Overall: The guitar came perfectly intonated and set up from the factory. In fact it came much better set up and intonated than my much more expensive Fender Stratocaster+ USA guitar I take that as a sure sign of quality workmanship. It plays and works beautifully, does everything it promises although you'll have to eq the acoustic models quite a bit to make them more believable/fit in the mix. Here I find the area around 2500khz to be especially troublesome. But with proper eq treatment it works VERY good A wholehearted thumbs up from me!
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"Nice concept" submitted August 8, 2012

By Shannon Clemans in Canon City, CO
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Musical Background: Was semi pro.
Music Style: Rock
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Overall: I like it but, yes BUT, there seems to be a little bit of latency. Some of the models aren't as open (bright and full bodied) as the actual guitar is. Any kind I'd 59' humbucker is VERY bright as well as thick in the low mid. The variax is a little muffled. The tuning is really cool. It's stable. Even if your not tuned to a perfect 440 it still deduces weather your a little flat or sharp. The acoustic sounds are AWSOME. One gripe though... There is a formant problem with the 12 string models. It sounds like a pitch shifter. It usable though. The JTV will grow on me. I like it.
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"JTV59 Guitar" submitted November 21, 2012

By Ron R in Lafayette, IN
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Musical Background: Playing for 50 years (no joke) professionally and semi-professionally
Music Style: Blues, Christian, Rock,
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Overall: I watched the variax for a long time waiting for a guitar build that was as good as the electronics on board. This is it. The guitar has blown me away. I'm sure the purists will argue the sound of the digitally sampled voices and I still do love my Martin; but for one guitar able to do all it does you can't beat it.
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"experience the variax difference" submitted January 10, 2013

By jerry smith in oconomowoc, WI
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Musical Background: I am a basement dwelling weekend warrior.
Music Style: rock and blues
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Overall: after reading the material,watching the demo's, and checking out all the descriptions,I decided to make this my new guitar for the new year. It was the best decision. the guitar lives up to my expectations and then some.I feel with all the settings and combiations I have more creativity, and want to play more and finish writing song ideas. thanks J.
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"Found what I was looking for for so many years" submitted August 14, 2013

By Zoran Boshkov
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Musical Background: I'm playing guitar professionally, learned accordian and keyboards...play music from my 8 year
Music Style: Progressive rock/metal..
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Overall: This is a great instrument all in one sounds and looks great as just a guitar and plus you get the added line 6 variax electronics that makes this guitar a dream come true
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"If someone or some store offers to sell you you one .... run .... hide ..." submitted February 1, 2011

By a customer from aol.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician and Recording Producer
Music Style: Rock to Progressive Classical
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Sound: Sounds good and gives a fairly good emulation of the various guitar models. 12 string acoustic was a great tone until after 15 minutes it quit working. Feature: This guitar should really have come with a hard shell case and a power supply (as prior Variax guitars). The Digital cale that came with mine was missing the metal XLR sleeve over the one connector ... talk about shoddy quality. There is a battery, charger, USB adapter and cable, digital cable, sturdy gigbag. Supposed to come with wrench set ... mine did not and so store had to order. Ease of Use: Easy to play when it works. Quality: Ordered one last year ... waited since September 2010. First one arrived January 2011 and store did not send as back arrived with a crack. Second one shipped two weeks later. Nice finish and flametop. Cool sounds until 15 minutes later the models fried out and the toggle quit working. Go check out the Line 6 forums on this guitar. Its a piece of crap. Even Line 6 HDs are frying out. This guitar DOES NOT come with the XPS box as they had in the past. You can't buy them new. Line 6 discontinued them. Goggle Line 6 XPS and you will again see that Line 6 made these with a quick profit in mind and absolutely no longevity. I am still waiting for my guitar whenever Line 6 decides to fix it. This should have been sold as B stock. Value: Once your battery goes good luck finding a power supply. Manufacturer Support: Friendly but all tech support does now is just enter your complaint into the database. That's real helpful (snicker). The Wow Factor: Avoid at all costs .... Overall: I am already dissatisfied with this piece of junk.
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