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Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar  Cherry Sunburst

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The JTV-59 James Tyler Variax Modeling Electric Guitar offers an innovative design and boutique playing experience courtesy of master luthier James T...Read More

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Cherry Sunburst  
  • Cherry Sunburst

    $999.99 Top Rated

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    $999.99 Top Rated

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  • Black

    $999.99 Top Rated

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OVERVIEW

The latest Variax technology in a finely crafted guitar.

The JTV-59 James Tyler Variax Modeling Electric Guitar offers an innovative design and boutique playing experience courtesy of master luthier James Tyler, and the world's most advanced guitar modeling technology from the people who invented it, Line 6. Plug this guitar into any amp and hear all the models, all the tunings, and both acoustic and electric tones you've ever wanted. No more dragging around multiple acoustics and electrics to gigs or recording studios. Variax gives you an endless variety of sounds from classic acoustic and electric tones all the way to sitar and banjo, all in one instrument.

The JTV features a beautiful arched flame maple top, mahogany back, and a set mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard. A contoured heel makes reaching the upper frets a breeze. The JTV-59 is loaded with a pair custom-wound humbuckers designed by James Tyler. (Wound to Tyler's specs). Controls include a 3-way toggle pickup selector switch, a master volume & tones. A rotary model selector dials the 25 virtual guitars plus sitar, banjo, and resonator guitar tones. Pressing the Model knob switches between models and magnetic pickups A rotary alt tuning selector lets you pick from 12 alternate tunings. The fully adjustable Tyler Custom stoptail bridge is fitted with an L.R. Baggs Radiance Hex piezo pickup system for sweet acoustic guitar tones. A Graph Tech Black TUSQ XL nut keeps the strings from gripping and sticking. Comes standard with a durable, padded gig bag with a stitched Line 6 logo and 2 pockets big enough for all your gig essentials.

Dual-core Processor
Dual-core processor delivers 4 times the punch. This new chip is smaller, faster, and more powerful allowing; fuller, clearer models of guitar bodies and pickups; all models to have alternate tunings ; improved alternate tuning purity and speed; provide alternate tuning customization; improved modes of operation and editing. The JVT sounds and responds surprisingly more like a traditional guitar.

Variax Workbench Software
Variax Workbench software is a virtual custom shop. This free software, which can be downloaded from the Line-6 web site, lets you create custom models on your computer and upload them to your JTV-59 via its built-in USB port. Choose from famous guitar bodies, pickups, pickup placement, tone and volume controls, and tweak away until you've designed the guitar of your dreams - without choking on sawdust!

This combination USB interface and software package for James Tyler Variax guitars allows you to see and hear the physical changes to your custom guitar in real-time. Ever wonder what a single-coil pickup would sound like on a hollow-body guitar tuned an octave down? Probably not. That's because it wasn't a reality - until now.

The Alt Tune Knob
Each James Tyler Variax modeling guitar has a dedicated Alt Tune knob. This knob has 12 settings, including two labeled "Model" and "Standard." Set to "Model," the Alt Tune knob lets you access the alternate tunings you created using Variax Workbench virtual guitar workbench software. These tunings are stored on your Variax's Model knob. Set to "Standard," the Alt Tune knob overrides saved tunings to set every model to standard "E-to-E" tuning. The Alt Tune knob's remaining 10 settings are the most commonly used tunings found in the popular genres of the day.

The Virtual capo feature lets you easily transpose any song to the key that suits your vocalist. And you can adjust your tuning on the fly without having to do on "Workbench" software.

Battery powered DSP
A proprietary lithium-ion battery delivers at least 12 hours of continuous performance. A 4-LED battery life meter lets you know how much rocking time you have left. Rolling down the volume knob when not playing will automatically put the DSP to sleep and helps maximize battery life. So even with your cable still plugged in, you will not be using battery power. DSP wakes up instantly when you turn the volume back up. The JTV-59 functions as a standard electric guitar whether the battery installed or not.

Includes padded gig bag.

Check the drop-down menu to the right to select colors and/or other options.

FEATURES Variax models based on:
  • 1960 Fender Telecaster Custom
  • 1968 Fender Telecaster
  • 1968 Fender Telecaster Thinline
  • 1959 Fender Stratocaster
  • 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard
  • 1952 Gibson Les Paul "Goldtop"
  • 1961 Gibson Les Paul Custom (3 PU)
  • 1956 Gibson Les Paul Junior
  • 1976 Gibson Firebird V
  • 1955 Gibson Les Paul Special
  • 1959 Gretsch 6120
  • 1956 Gretsch Silver Jet
  • 1968 Rickenbacker 360
  • 1966 Rickenbacker 360-12
  • 1961 Gibson ES-335
  • 1967 Epiphone Casino
  • 1957 Gibson ES-175
  • 1953 Gibson Super 400
  • 1959 Martin D-28
  • 1970 Martin D 12-28
  • 1967 Martin O-18
  • 1966 Guild F212
  • 1995 Gibson J-200
  • 1935 Dobro Alumilite
  • Danelectro 3021
  • Coral Dano Electric Sitar
  • Gibson Mastertone Banjo
  • 1928 National Style 2 "Tricone"
Alternate tunings for JTV-59:
  • MODEL
  • STANDARD: E A D G B E
  • DROP D: D A D G B E
  • 1/2 DOWN: Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
  • DROP Db: Db Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
  • 1 DOWN: D G C F A D
  • DADGAD: D A D G A D
  • OPEN D: D A D F# A D
  • BLUES G: D G D G B D
  • RESO G: G B D G B D
  • OPEN A: E A C# E A E
  • BARITONE: B E A D F B
  • Includes padded gig bag made by G&G

SPECIFICATIONS

JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar

  • Top: flamed maple
  • Back: mahogany
  • Neck: mahogany set neck
  • Fingerboard: rosewood
  • Scale length: 24-9/16"
  • Radius: 12"
  • Number of frets: 22
  • Nut: Graph Tech Black TUSQ XL
  • Nut width: 1-11/16"
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Pickups: 2 custom designed PAF style humbucking pickups
  • Bridge: fully adjustable Tyler Custom stoptail bridge with L.R. Baggs Radiance Hex piezo pickup system
  • Tuners: Custom tuners
  • Binding: maple
  • Included: Workbench USB adapter, Li-Ion battery, and switching power supply
  • Workbench software downloadable for free from Line 6

    Ernie Ball Videos

  • Line 6 Interview Part 2 (The Format 9w8ehOZtIhQ
  • Line 6 Interview Part 3 (The Early Pa2iQOqwE1E
  • Line 6 Interview Part 4 (Key Innova N-dRR1YoZQA
Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
Line 6JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar
 
4.7

(based on 20 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (15)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good feel (11)
  • Fun to play (10)
  • Good tone (10)
  • Solid electronics (9)
  • Good pick up (8)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Practicing (7)
  • Recording (7)
  • Jamming (5)
  • Small venues (5)
  • Rock concerts (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (10), Professional musician (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Swiss Army Knife of Guitars

This guitar is a mix of standard single cutaway tradiion and cutting edge modelling technology. No one would be disapointed with one of these if they only ever used the magnetic pickups - though...Read complete review

This guitar is a mix of standard single cutaway tradiion and cutting edge modelling technology. No one would be disapointed with one of these if they only ever used the magnetic pickups - though it would be outrageously overpriced for that. When it comes to the modelling stuff - you either buy into it or you don't. This technology is not what it was. These models really do capture the essence of the instruments they represent. Some better than others, but none are terrible.

Be aware. This thing can easilly sound like a Strat. A good one in fact. But it will never feel like one. Nor will it feel like a banjo or a Danelectro and it certainly won't feel like a 12 String. This is just something you have to get used to. Changes in body style, scale length and bridge affect the feel tremendously. If you must have a strat - buy a strat. Don't buy this thinking it will replace one.

Also, be aware that the acoustic models will never sound right through a guitar amp. If you want really solid acoustic emulation, you will need either an acoustic amp or to run the Vax into your PA. This is not a shortcoming of the guitar. It's physics.

With that being said, the models are very good. Perhaps a newer generation of players won't be as hung up on feel as we older players. This is clearly an evolution of the instrument we've all come to know and love.

The alternate tuning feature is very handy. The built in alt tunings are useful and L6 has made it painfully easy to create your own. Even without getting into Workbench, it really is a no brainer.

Workbench is fun. Who hasn't wated to try a Danelectro with Firebird mini humbuckers? The possibilities really are endless with workbench, though I have to confess that I rarely end up keeping anything I create. If a particular body and pickup combo were a particularly good idea, chances are someone would have made it by now. The standard models really are more or less what you want. The one big benefit though is in getting extra pickup combinations. For example, the only built in present for the Dano is both pups turned on. It's nice to be able to try just the bridge or neck. There are 10 'Custom' presets that you can save your creations in.

Overall, I love this thing. I have some small complaints, but none of these stop this from being one of the most fun instruments I've had the pleasure of owning. I can sit and noodle with it for hours.

Pros:

Excellent modeling on almost all presets.
Workbench is fun and can be useful
Alt tunings open up a world that most players are usually locked out of
Very well crafted guitar
L6 releases regular firmware updates for free.
Nice gig bag

Cons:

No XPS box included
Only master tone and volume. Dual tone and volume would be great.
Switching can be a little confusing at time.
Well documented here and elseswhere.

Basically, this is a somewhat Les Paul Styled guitar with two PAFish (though a tad hotter) pups and modelling of a couple of dozen various instruments.
Made in Korea.

Comes with a battery, wrenches, nice gig bag, Variax Wokbench device and charger.

I would give this guitar a 10 but I think Line 6 should have included the XPS box that came with previous Variaxes. Battery life is decent, but it sure would be nice to not have to deal with charging it all the time.
This is a surprisingly well made instrument. Mine is the tobacco sunburst model and I can find no flaws with construction or adjustment.

The flamed maple cap is gorgeous. I have no idea if it's solid or ply, nor do I care. It looks great.

The wood binding is a nice tooch. I wouldn't have minded real binding, but this does look sharp.

The neck is fairly large. Somewhat fatter than a Gibsons 50's style neck I would think, but still very playable. Frets are quite large. Larger than standard medium jumbo but dressed immaculately.

Tuners are solid. Locking tuners would be nice, but not as necessary on a hard tailed guitar.

The magnetic pickups are fine. They're not going to sound exactly like your favorite PAFish humbucker, but they're in the ballpark. They're a touch hotter than something like 57 Classics, but by no means harsh and they can conjure up some very nice Beano kinds of tone if you roll a little tone off.
This is an expensive guitar. If you remove the electronics from the equation, this is not as expensive of a guitar. It's a solid guitar though and the electronics are obviously an integral part.

Again, I think L6 should have included a power option - like the afforementioned XPS box. You can buy one from L6 though.

Given the versatility one gets with this, I would say it's priced about right. Perhaps a touch on the high side, but there really is no competition. I've played and owned VG Strats and synth modeling gear from Roland. The JTV dusts them all frankly.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Meh...

Real improvement over previous models, but still not quite right. Doing A/B comparisons (I have several of the models) not quite there. The Rics, in particular, are not accurate. The...Read complete review

Real improvement over previous models, but still not quite right. Doing A/B comparisons (I have several of the models) not quite there. The Rics, in particular, are not accurate. The Fender and Gibson models are usable, but not outstanding. Whether played through a Line 6 board or a real tube amp, almost but not quite there. The tunings are useful for developing ideas, but I wouldn't recommend recording with them. Too many gliches. All in all, a nifty Korean built guitar, but not really all that is is cracked up to be. I find the Tyler pickups to be about as useful as the modelled sounds - ok, nothing to get excited about. In summary, great for developing ideas, but you will need the real thing to record or perform with.

Reviewed by 20 customers

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4.0

The "one-size-fits-all" instrument for the stage!

By 

from Buffalo NY

About Me Professional Musician

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Fun To Play
  • Good Feel
  • Good Pick Up
  • Good Tone

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Cover band versatility
    • Practicing
    • Recording
    • Small Venues

    Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

    Plugged in to the Marshall 1/2 clean channel right out of the box as the battery was charging (I let it go overnight), and felt very much at home as a Les Paul Custom player! The neck is extremely comfortable, ESPECIALLY the shaved cutaway! Awesome reach! Beautiful tones from both p/u's, all the warmth and sustain you'd expect from a quality L.P.
    As a 60s/70s/80s classic rock cover band player, the Variax will get me all the Beatles/Eagles/Petty sounds I need! 12-string Ric, Casino, biting Tele and bluesy Strat, screaming LP leads.
    We may even play variax's direct to the board to eliminate lugging amps to small-spaced clubs.
    The alt tunings are super fun to play with! Especially drop D and DADGAD. Takes some getting used to, but really fun.
    As a writer/recording artist, I already see huge benefits for writing new material with this tool!! I can match the perfect guitar sound for the material.
    ONLY drawback... the acoustic programs are still a little digitized-sounding... I hope to clean them up with the software to get a more natural sound.
    My other guitars are going to be lonely ;-)

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Almost there

    By 

    from Binghamton, NY

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel
    • Good Pick Up
    • Good Tone
    • Solid Electronics

    Cons

    • Can't Pinch Harmonic
    • Difficulty in Drop Tuning

    Best Uses

    • Jamming
    • Practicing

    Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

    I was hoping to buy this to replace a number of guitars that I currently already have, but in the end I decided it was not for me.

    While the guitar was fun to play and had excellent craftsmanship, there were a number of reasons I decided to return the guitar. I'm a metal guitarist. Unfortunately, the guitar did not deal well with the simulated drop tunings (e.g. Drop C, or Drop B). It felt like it lost it's bite when it went from standard tuning to the simulated drop tuning. Another huge draw back in my opinion was that when I tried to do a pinch harmonic on the 6th string (e.g. the 3rd fret) in the simulated Drop C tuning and bend a half step, the note would kind of warble. Hard to describe, but it sounded like the firmware in the guitar could not figure out how to register that note for the 6th string and would oscillate between a high and low octave pitch.

    I've never owned a real Gibson, Fender Telecaster, or some of the other model guitars that were simulated, but I thought most of them sound great. Surprisingly, I felt the acoustic guitars would have been completely usable. The 12 strings sounds excellent, but again, I'm more of a metal guitarist. The sitar pretty good sounding, along with the semi-hollow guitars.

    The guitar had a hard time picking up the first string, but I was able to overcome the complication using the workbench software. I turned down the volume of the other strings while keeping the first string at a higher volume.

    It would have been cool if there were more choices on pickups, e.g. EMG, Dimarzio's, or Seymour Duncan's.

    I think if I were only to have one guitar, this would be it. For the price you get a PRS build-quality beautiful guitar, and you get the ability to sound like ton of different guitars. However, since I already own a number of decent guitars I could not justify keeping this and selling off the others.

    Comment on this review

     
    4.0

    Excellent deal, excellent service

    By 

    from Canada

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Good Feel

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

        I already own a Variax 300 guitar & PodX 3Live & use them in a semi-pro Pink Floyd cover band. Instead of upgrading the 300's hardware, pizeos, neck... I picked this up as a 'blemished level 2' item at a good price. I have found no blemishes on it yet, in fact the plastic was still on the back control cavity covers. It is well put together, and set up and nearly in tune right out of the box. I'm very pleased so far.
        I haven't done a comparison of the sound of the two guitars yet, some people say the tones on the Tyler models are markedly different than the original Variax software, some like & some don't. If I don't I'll add to this later.

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        WOW , HOT, AMAZING

        By 

        from Delray Beach Fl

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Fun To Play
        • Good Feel
        • Good Pick Up
        • Good Tone
        • Solid Electronics

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Practicing
          • Small Venues

          Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

          When I received guitar almost perfect. Needed only personal setup. If you turn your back and listen you would swear the guitar sound is real as advertised. Guitar fits every style needed. Great service and advice from Musician Friend.

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Versatile guitar & excellent playability

          By 

          from Charleston, SC

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Fun To Play
          • Good Feel
          • Good Pick Up
          • Good Tone
          • Gorgeous Guitar
          • Great For Studio Work
          • Solid Electronics
          • Tuning Versatility

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Jamming
            • Practicing
            • Recording
            • Rock Concerts

            Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

            I use this guitar with Line 6 Pod Studio UX2 and my Apple iMac computer. This guitar sounds and plays very well. With the versatility of the guitar and the Pod Studio, I have thousands of guitar tones literally at my fingertips. This is my second Variax as I also own an original Variax 300, and this provides some extremely cool and useful enhancements over the original model. T

            Comment on this review

            (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            The Only Electric Guitar to Own

            By 

            from Tulsa, OK

            About Me Professional Musician

            Ask me a question

            Pros

            • Fun To Play
            • Good Feel
            • Good Pick Up
            • Good Tone
            • Solid Electronics

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

                This guitar has effectively and comprehensively replaced every other electric guitar I own or have wanted to own. The only way up from here is the one made in the US. The models are at least as good as the originals. I am So Happy to own one. It has given me musical vocabulary that I have wanted for decades.

                Comment on this review

                 
                5.0

                Well made guitar

                By 

                from Massachusetts

                About Me Experienced

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Alternate Tunings
                • Feels great
                • Real Pick Ups
                • Very playable

                Cons

                • None so far

                Best Uses

                • Live Playing Without Capo
                • Recording
                • Relying On One Instrument

                Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

                The JTV-59 has exceeded my expectations. The tobacco sunburst is gorgeous. I own a Variax 700 and am thrilled with the playability of the JTV-59. From the normal sized frets, book-matched wood grain, to the Les Paul-like neck, you instantly can tell this is a serious guitar. Owners of real Les Pauls and real Strats have played it and have raved about its feel. I write songs using capos. The ability to do virtual capo-ing is tremendous. When I received the guitar I did lower the bridge just a touch to get the high E string a similar distance off of the neck as the low E, but that was all I did.

                Comment on this review

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                GREAT! Exceeded my expectations!

                By 

                from Helenwood, Tn

                About Me Experienced

                Ask me a question

                Pros

                • Beautiful instrument
                • Fun To Play
                • Good Feel
                • Good Pick Up
                • Good Tone
                • Great Craftsmanship
                • Solid Electronics

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • All around

                  Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

                  Just got mine the other day. Cherry Sunburst model. The pictures on here don't even do it justice, it's a beautiful guitar. Feels great, easy access to all frets, great action right out of the box. Sounds great not even plugged in, you can feel the entire guitar ringing out notes, from the body all the way through the headstock. The pickups are comparable to my Les Paul. I'm still experimenting with the guitar Models, but the Fender models sound pretty accurate. The Les Paul models... AMAZING. Sounds better then my Les Paul. The banjo sounds just like a banjo. The Alternate Tunings sound great. Very natural. There is no latency or odd sound quality. I haven't tried the Workbench software yet, but am looking forward to experimenting. If you've been thinking about getting one of these guitars, do it.

                  Comment on this review

                  (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  3.0

                  Meh...

                  By 

                  from Wisconsin

                  About Me Professional Musician

                  Ask me a question

                  Pros

                  • Fun To Play
                  • Solid Electronics
                  • Versatile

                  Cons

                  • Flat Sound

                  Best Uses

                  • Practicing
                  • Recording

                  Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

                  Real improvement over previous models, but still not quite right. Doing A/B comparisons (I have several of the models) not quite there. The Rics, in particular, are not accurate. The Fender and Gibson models are usable, but not outstanding. Whether played through a Line 6 board or a real tube amp, almost but not quite there. The tunings are useful for developing ideas, but I wouldn't recommend recording with them. Too many gliches. All in all, a nifty Korean built guitar, but not really all that is is cracked up to be. I find the Tyler pickups to be about as useful as the modelled sounds - ok, nothing to get excited about. In summary, great for developing ideas, but you will need the real thing to record or perform with.

                  Comment on this review

                  (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  This is the answer

                  By 

                  from Colorado

                  About Me Experienced

                  Pros

                  • Fun To Play
                  • Good Feel
                  • Good Pick Up
                  • Good Tone
                  • Solid Electronics

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Jamming
                    • Practicing
                    • Recording
                    • Rock Concerts
                    • Small Venues

                    Comments about Line 6 JTV-59 Variax Electric Guitar:

                    I'm no expert on vintage guitars. All I know is that when I pick this thing up and plug it into my HD500x, I have the most amazing banquet of sounds at my disposal. I'm able to pretty much get whatever sound I'm aiming for with any song. I took it to a friend's house who IS an expert at vintage guitars. He closed his eyes and was able to identify the Gibson ES355 spot on as soon as I dialed it in and started playing. The acoustics take some getting used to because you're playing on an electric body. You have to develop a very sensitive touch or you'll squeeze every chord out of tune. You also lose the ability to do percussive stuff with the guitar body. But still, worth EVERY penny! The 12-string acoustic is just mesmerizing for fingerstyle. I didn't like the cherry sunburst finish at first, but now I think it's beautiful and I'm glad they didn't have the tobacco available at the store. Wonderful playability. My $1600 Fender Strat is just sitting there unused now.

                    Comment on this review

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