Right about now, if you’re asking yourself who James Tyler is, or what a Variax is… I can only assume you’ve been in prison for a long time.!
Here’s some info about James Tyler: James Tyler Biography
Here’s some general info: The History of Variax
Now you know all you need to know about the background, let’s get down to it:
I met up with Rich Renken (Product Manager for the Tyler Variax and Product Advocate @ Line 6) in London, so he could give me and some other guitarists a taste of why the Tyler Variax is so awesome… He’s one super cool cat and was in the UK overseeing the first European shipment of JTV’s being setup. So it was really good of him to spare the time to show us this new product, and boy were we in for a shock when he got out the JTV69US!
Rich started off by giving us an explanation of how the Tyler Variax came to be what it is, and that he wanted to take on board any previous comments users had about the original Variax, and resolve them for this new version. One obvious thing was the lack of pickups on the original Variax, and now we have them. Another was the quality of the guitar models were slightly lacking in some areas (like palm muting), now they’re better… A pattern was starting to emerge.
Next it was time to play the axe, and four of us took turns to have a go at some serious plank spanking on the JTV69US – Natural Satin, through a Vox AC15 at moderate volume level. We all played different styles of music as much as we could, through the amp, but what we were all blown away by was just how easy it is to switch to different guitar models, and tunings: It was as easy as tweaking your guitar volume, or changing pickup selections. But at each tweak we were given different guitars, rather then just different pickup combinations form the same guitar.
The models: You would have thought (if you were in the next room) that they weren’t models at all. Obviously we knew they were, but they were so realistic that I think given a the real guitars to compare to the JTV it would be hard to tell the difference. The tracking of the alternate tunings were also undetectable from a real alternate tuned guitar.
Rich took the opportunity to give us a demo of the virtual capo, and in a few seconds (the time it takes to fit a real capo) he has re-tuned his guitar to a different custom tuning, then a few seconds later, yet another custom tuning. This thing is Sick! Check out the video: Virtual Capo
All in all, I can’t wait to get my grubby paws on a JTV, but now comes the hard choice… Which model to go for, and in which colour? I’m thinking a Cherry Sunburst JTV59 would look great on a guitar stand next to my TV… Then I can look at it while ever I’m not playing.