Line 6 JTV-59 James Tyler Variax - Cherry Sunburst

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29 Amazing Instruments in One

By combining patented, industry-leading Line 6 digital modeling technology with boutique-style craftsmanship, James Tyler Variax delivers a complete collection of instruments within a single guitar - 28 vintage instrument models, plus the James Tyler-designed guitar itself. No more dragging piles of instruments to gigs or recording sessions. JTV-59 gives you an endless variety of guitar sounds-from classic acoustic and vintage electric tones all the way to sitar and banjo-in a single-cut, set-neck, 24-9/16" scale-length guitar designed by one of the world's finest luthiers.

18 Vintage Electric Guitars

When it comes to electrics, we've included 18 incredible instruments to take you from classic rock sounds to blues, country and more. Featuring meticulous models based on Strat, Les Paul and Rickenbacker guitars, among others, your James Tyler Variax provides instant access to the guitar tones favored by the worlds most famous players. Whether youre performing or recording guitar, Variax gives you an amazing breadth of sounds for all styles of music.

10 Amazing Acoustic and Eclectic Instruments

JTV-59 makes it easy to switch between electric and acoustic guitar sounds on a moment's notice. The acoustic guitar collection features beautiful six- and twelve-strings, jumbos and a "parlor," ideal for a variety of genres and playing styles. Line 6's breakthrough acoustic guitar modeling technology gives these five models breathtaking depth and detail, capturing the subtle nuances of string vibration through the soundboard and the tonewoods of the original modeled guitar body. You can take your tone even furtherfrom country music stylings to the sound of the Indian subcontinent-with the inspiring dobro, sitar, banjo and Tricone models.

Access Alternate Tunings Instantly

Imagine going from "Brown Sugar" in Open G to "Kashmir" in DADGAD with the twist of a knob. JTV-59 provides immediate access to 11 alternate tunings, so you can stay in the creative moment instead of spending quality time with your tuner. You can mix and match any tuning with any instrument-and also create your own tunings on the fly with Virtual Capo. It's easy to save your custom tunings, either to the open Model slot on the Alt Tune knob, or to one of the other alternate tuning slots.


Mahogany body with carved maple top with flame maple veneer
Set mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard
24-9/16" scale length
Tyler '59 neck shape
22 medium-jumbo frets and dot inlays
1-11/16" Graph Tech Black TUSQ XL self-lubricating nut
Sealed tuners (16:1 turn ratio)
Chrome hardware
Fully adjustable Tyler-designed wraparound bridge
L. R. Baggs Radiance Hex piezo pickup system
Vintage-voiced alnico neck and bridge humbuckers wound to Tyler's specs
Master Volume and Tone knobs
Model and Alt Tune knobs for easily accessing 28 vintage instrument sounds and 11 alternate tunings
3-way selector switch
VDI (Variax Digital Interface) for integration with Line 6 POD HD500 and POD HD PRO, and limited compatibility with POD xt, POD X3, Vetta II amplifier and other legacy Line 6 products
Lithium-ion battery (12 hours of play time) and international wall charger (also functions as standard electric guitar without batteries)
Variax Workbench software and USB interface
Includes high-quality padded gig bag
Additional battery, charger and cable kit available separately
Available in Black, Cherry Sunburst and Tobacco Sunburst

Loved it4 of 4 customers found this review helpful

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Product ExperienceI've tried it
Closest StoreSudbury, Ontario
This is my first variax guitar, although I have been using the PODs for several years now. This James Tyler design, however takes obvious inspiration from Gibson's 1959 Les Paul Standard First, the build quality of the instrument is good, but for the price I've payed I expected a better fret job on the neck. But this is minor and there were no issues with the instrument that I could find. The necks feels like a Les Paul but with a touch of classical guitar. In other words, if you are a Ibanez player you will find this neck a little big for your taste. The neck heel is sculpted and highly contoured, though there's plenty hold on for deep bends beyond the 12th fret. The controls a nicely labeled. My first guitar was an Epi Les Paul so I am used to the Volume/Tone control configuration. If you like 5 way switches you may take a look on the JTV-69 (Fender like model) The guitar is gorgeous. I really like this color and style over the other models, and I am glad I chose the cherry burst finish. It is also quite light especially being a les paul type style, and having lots of electronics in it. The sounds of the magnetic pickups are awesome. They have a PRS bite, which balance well with the overal guitar since all classic tones are there Also 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. The acoustic sounds are good too, but you need to understand the limitations of the modeling technology. A real Martin 12 strings will always sound better than the model. I believe the real objective here is made those custom/vintage sound available to the rest of us and it was achieved. Regarding playability palm muting works fine but I recommend upgrade to the latest firmware as I got a better sound when I use this technique after doing that 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. The computer interface is very easy to use. Combined with a POD HD500 you can achieve most of the classics tones "home-made" style.
Posted by Jake on Mar 7, 2017
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JT-592 of 2 customers found this review helpful

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Product ExperienceI own it
Closest StoreSaskatoon, Saskatchewan
Just bought my second JT-59. Both are just excellent instruments, even without the added instrument emulations. The pickups are easily as hot as the PAF's on my Gibby Traditional. Action was a little high for my tastes but the acoustic emulations seem to work better that way. I don't do much acoustic so I lowered it. Stunning paint job on each instrument (one tobacco sunburst and one cherry sunburst). The volume settings on the emulated instruments was a bit low I found but with the software you can boost it by 6db from the factory settings. Right off the bat I was able to program a decent emulation of a Danelectro with lipstick pickups in open F tuning for "When the Levee Breaks" ... sounds awesome. The one beef that I might have is that the battery doesn't really last very long. You have to be careful to unplug the instrument or next time you go to use it ... dead battery. I just pull the battery out now and don't use it until I need it. Overall, this is a really fine guitar for the asking price and I would recommend it to anyone.
Posted by KB on Jan 6, 2017
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Not for everyone, but I love it2 of 2 customers found this review helpful

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Product ExperienceI own it
Closest StoreVictoria, British Columbia
I ordered my JTV-59 from L&M Victoria, paying $1149CAD, and (hopefully) getting a $150 rebate from Line 6. I’ve rated it for ‘features’, ‘quality’ and ‘overall’ according to my comparison of it against other guitars, and for ‘value’ according to the price I paid.
First, my equipment, because someone with mid to high end gear will probably have a different view of the JTV-59: I have a ‘Roland Ready’ Fender Strat, Mexican made, and a Roland VG-99, routed through a pair of Edirol computer monitors. Sometimes have a Korg mini-KP Kaoss Pad after the VG-99. I also have a Takamine classical guitar, and for fun and travelling, a Squire mini Strat. Along with the JTV-59 I bought a Pod HD500X, and the Line 6 gear is routed through a Fender Ramparte tube amp, which has no effects – just a volume control. I also have a rarely used Casio PG-380 midi guitar. Of course there are a few other ad hoc pedals that can be inserted as desired. This is all for home use, I don’t play on stage, which is relevant, as will be seen. I don’t have a particular sound of my own, I spend a lot of time playing bluesy stuff but – clearly – I value versatility of sound.
On to the JTV-59.
First impressions. I played a black model in store, it had a dead battery so the Variax electronics weren’t available, but it immediately felt like a more expensive instrument than the Mexican Strat, and through headphones the standard pickups sounded very good. On to the moment when my own instrument arrived. My Strat and Casio are black and the Squier is red, so the cherry sunburst of the Variax just blows them all away for looks. Note that the lacquered finish is extremely difficult to photograph and it looks better in the flesh than in any photo I’ve seen. Several weeks later, I still like to just look at it!
It’s not as heavy as a Les Paul Standard, probably similar to a Strat, but, maybe due to the through neck, it has good sustain. The action out of the box is a little higher than I have the Strat – which is very low with 9s – but because of the many acoustic models, I think an ‘almost touching the frets’ action would be inappropriate. It came with 10s and that’s how I’ll leave it, so I’m happy with the action as it arrived, and I would guess that is the intent. There were no buzzes, everything looked pristine, everything seemed well finished and it is clearly a better product than my Strat. However the box had been opened, almost certainly at L&M.
Plugging it in, standard pickups, the sound is great – rich, beefy, cutting on the bridge pickup and nicely mellow on the other 2 settings – I spend more time on the neck pickup, and plugged directly into the ‘cool’ input of the Ramparte it has a nice warm sound, great for jazz (which I don’t play) or blues. If this guitar had no Variax circuitry, it would still be a very nice instrument.
On to the Variax sounds, briefly – there are enough reviews elsewhere on the subject. I would agree with the common consensus that Line 6’s acoustic models are better than Roland’s. I love some of the resonator sounds in particular, and the banjo model is definitely playable, unlike imho Roland’s. However there is no classical model, so a mark away there. For electrics, they sound good to me, but I haven’t really got into the whole HD500X/Variax thing yet. First impressions are that it’s a lot more complicated than the VG-99/GK combo, and probably less versatile. I love that I can have (for example) a bluesy Strat and a heavily distorted LP on a single setting of the VG-99, and merge between them using the Roland volume control or a foot pedal; and that I set all that up without reference to a manual. For the Line 6 equivalent, I read the manuals that came with each item, and I still don’t really get it, but my impression is that it’s arse about face: changing a patch on the Pod can change the model on the Variax, but not vv. That’s great for stage use, but for home studio, I’d rather have a set of default effects that come up when I choose a guitar model – in fact ideally each model would be associated with a bank of 4 effects.
Which brings me to the downside of all of this. As I just said, the PD/Variax is geared to stage use, and I have the impression that Line 6 don’t care at all about their other users. The Ethernet cable that comes with the Variax is definitely not supposed to be used for normal playing, only for occasional sound editing. But the ‘real’ cable we have to buy is only available in a length of 25 feet. Now how many people, including those that do play on stage, want to practice and record elsewhere with a 25ft cable? But it’s that, or get your own made up to order. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Next, the battery. This is a purpose made affair – there are forum references to similar batteries but none which have proven to work. Naturally its fairly expensive, and it doesn’t last as long as you might wish: particularly because, if you ever carefully turn off the Variax electronics but don’t unplug the standard cable, your battery will be dead next time you want to use it. Yes, ‘off’ doesn’t mean off. The supplied charger isn’t a fast one, so unless you buy a spare, you’ll have to wait – or plug in the supplied, or purpose built, or 25ft Line 6, Variax cable if you have a HD500X, because the JTV guitars are actually powered by that connection, which is a nice plus. (But I’m not sure that the battery doesn’t continue to drain if it isn’t removed.)
I have yet to play with the Variax and Pod software and programming, which is partly a tribute to the quality of the Varix sounds – I love tinkering, but most of the sounds are so good that for now I’m just playing. Yes, the 12 string sounds are OTT, as other reviewers have said, but for the most part it’s a whole lot of fun. I did use Like 6 Monkey to check and update the firmware for both, but it was a painful experience. Tip – after any install, after almost anything, REBOOT.
For those that want an opinion about Line 5 v Roland, and can’t say either is better, they are so different that I’m glad I’m privileged enough to have both, and if I ever have to lose one, it will be a tough choice. For tinkerers, I would go with Roland unless you’re pretty with it (and I have a Physics degree and several decades of IT systems experience), and the VG-99 is an absolutely awesome piece of kit; but one could fall in love with the JTV-59, and not the Roland Strat. Now a Roland Ready JTV-59, that would be a killer guitar!
Posted by Tony on Jan 7, 2015
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