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Variax - Line 6 Variax Survey ... 03-06-2008

The Line 6 Variax survey can still be used, for those not able to enter or to see questionaire highlights we've made a short overview of the survey.

For those of you interested in filling out the survey, don't hesitate it's still online. Enter your answers to the questions here.

To see just the overview info by clicking here.

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Line 6 Variax Owners Speak your Mind... 04-05-2008 Comments (0)

Guitarists love talking about guitars, especially their own. Help shape the future of electric guitars by answering a few questions about yours!

By clicking the link below, and answering some multiple-choice questions (including a few about your Variax® 300, 500, 600 or 700 electric guitar), you can have a direct effect on the concepts and designs of future Variax electric guitars. Our destiny is in your hands! Take the survey?

Click here to take the survey! Thank you for taking a few moments to complete it.

You Rock,
Line 6


Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Line 6 Variax Anwender - Sagt uns Eure Meinung... 04-05-2008

Line 6 Variax-Anwender: Sagt uns Eure Meinung!

Es gibt nichts Schöneres für Gitarristen als über Gitarren zu fachsimpeln – vor allem, wenn es ihre eigenen sind. Jetzt hast du die Chance, an der Entwicklung der nächsten Generation mitzuwirken, indem du einfach ein paar Fragen beantwortest.

Klicke auf den Link unten und beantworte ein paar Auswahlfragen (u.a. über deine elektrische Variax® 300, 500, 600 oder 700), um an der Entwicklung der neuen elektrischen Variax-Generation teilzuhaben. Unser Schicksal liegt in deinen Händen!

Hier klicken, um an der Umfrage teilzunehmen. Vielen Dank für die Mühe – du wirst sehen, dass es sich lohnt.

Rock'n'Roll sei mit dir,
Line 6

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Utillisateurs de Line 6 Variax: Donnez votre avis... 04-05-2008

Utilisateurs de Line 6 Variax : Donnez votre avis !

Les guitaristes adorent parler des instruments, et en particulier de leur guitare. Aidez-nous à façonner l’avenir de la guitare électrique en répondant à ces quelques questions sur vos guitares !

En cliquant sur le lien ci-dessous et en répondant à quelques questions à choix multiples (dont quelques-unes à propos de votre guitare électrique Variax® 300, 500, 600 ou 700), vous pouvez avoir un effet direct sur la conception et le développement des prochaines guitares électriques Variax. Notre destin est entre vos mains !

Cliquez ici pour répondre au questionnaire ! Nous vous remercions de prendre quelques instants pour le remplir.

Vous êtes génial !
Line 6

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Interesting Variax Survey... 03-05-2008 Comments (0)

Line 6 sent out a survey or questionaire to all Variax owners. The survey had some interesting questions to answer. Of course the outcome of the survey is even more interesting but at this time we don't know that answer. For those of you that didn't recieve the survey we compiled a short overview of some questions that might lead to new developments for Variax. Also for the first time we've added a new feature to you can now comment on some of the posts here. Here's the first one

One question that stood out was:
"Please rank the Top 5 guitar sounds you would like accessible at the turn of a knob."

PRS® McCarty®

Gibson® SJ® 200

Gretsch® 6120 

EVH® Frankenstein

Gibson® SG Standard

Fender® Telecaster®

Japanese Shamisen

National Style 2 "Tricone"


Gibson® J-200 

Gibson® J45

Gibson® Firebird V 

Gibson® Super 400 

Dobro® Alumilite 

Gibson® Mastertone Banjo 

Gretsch® Silver Jet 

Epiphone® Casino 

Ibanez® Jem

Fender® Stratocaster®

Jackson® SL1 Soloist

Gibson® ES® 335 

Gibson® Les Paul® Standard

Martin® 000-28

Music Man® Luke

Martin® D-28 

Indian Sitar


Rickenbacker® 360 

Rickenbacker® 360-12 String

Another question got the attention by getting more choices on additional features that one would like, we've printed it here aswell:
One question that stood out was:

"How likely are each of the following improvements to make you want to buy a new Variax guitar?" "

(1 is the lowest score, and 5 is the highest score)


Addition of standard electric (magnetic) guitar pickups

Automatic tuning to keep your guitar ‘in-tune’


Built-in LCD display to show guitar model name


Guitar effects—such as distortion, delay or reverb—built into the guitar


Connect wirelessly to your computer for computer-based recording


Connect wireless to your live rig


Generate non-guitar sounds (piano, drums, strings, synths and more) using your guitar


Alternate tunings available for every guitar model at the turn of a knob


Built-in electronic guitar tuner


Longer battery life


Connect wirelessly to your computer to customize your guitar settings


Wireless connection to other Line 6 products to control guitar model selections


Additional inputs, outputs, and connectors to the guitar


Fewer inputs, outputs, and connectors to the guitar


Built-in rechargeable batteries


Built-in midi output (13-pin connector)


2 Guitar Sounds at the same time (1 from magnetic pickups, 1 from Variax modeling pickups)


Improved Variax Workbench software

The complete survey had different pages with questions, we've made a small compiled list of the question directions:

- new body styles (which one you'd like most) styles noted as:
  • Les Paul® style, Telecaster® style, B.C. Rich® style, Jazzmaster® / Jaguar® style,Charvel® / Jackson® style, Gibson® 335 style, Ibanez® style, Gretsch® 6120 style, Stratocaster® style, Airline / Danelectro® / Silvertone® style
- both magnetic and modeling pickups (if you'd like that)
- dual sound capabillity
- added sounds ( like synths, other instruments triggered)
- get Variax capabillity installed in a personal build guitar from respected guitar builders
- how much you are willing to pay for the features you want

This is the first item on that has a comment system added. Feel free to add your comment (you need to sign in) or feedback to this survey. To enter a comment click on the comment field next to the item. It'll open up the complete item and add a comment field at the bottom. Follow the directions from there.

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Variax, Workbench and X3 Live functionality... 03-03-2008

So a lot of people have been asking about Variax/ X3 Live functionality with Workbench and Monkey. To answer both of these questions:

At present with Monkey V. 1.23, Monkey isn't supposed to detect my Variax through the X3 Live. This is because Line 6 turned Monkey functionality off in regards to this because of the lack of Workbench support. LIne 6 doesn't not want to confuse people into possibly thinking that because Monkey works, Workbench will too.

In regards to when there will be a Workbench release for X3 Live and Variax Line 6 states that at this time there is no scheduled release date for Workbench. Although, they are hoping to release it around the same time as Gearbox.

Line 6 made great progress on Gearbox over the last couple of weeks and it looks like we'll see a release (barring any unexpected issues) very, very soon.

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Buy a Variax and get Workbench free (US Only)... 06-02-2008

Buy a Variax 600, Variax 700 or Variax Acoustic 700 between February 1 and March 31, 2008 and receive Variax Workbench FREE with rebate (a $139.99 value)!

Renowned for their natural playability and stunning sounds, Variax guitars are like 25 guitars in one. And, with Workbench, you’re just a USB cable away from your Variax being fully customizable.

Workbench software is your virtual guitar shop fully stocked with famous pickups, bodies and controls, all at your disposal. Customize your tuning, pickup placement and even the instrument — Peter DiStefano put humbuckers in a sitar! — then save and share all your creations.

Rebate required. Available only to US residents.

For rebate instructions and complete terms and conditions, click here.


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Variax - Bass Discontinued... 09-11-2007

Variax Bass has officially been discontinued however they still have a limited supply in stock and you can have one special ordered for you from your local authorized dealer.

Please know that despite the Variax Bass being discontinued Line 6 will continue to support this product for years to come. The Variax Bass being discontinued will have no affect on it's functionality in regards to interfacing it with the POD X3 Live. These two products are meant to be compatible with each other and always will be.

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Guide to Wireless Communication (Vetta only)... 11-01-2006

vetta upgrade 2.5variax logo

In the latest Vetta II update, Version 2.5, a new unplublicized feature was added at request of some high profile artists. This feature allows a Vetta II ampliflier to cummunicate with a Variax guitar wirelessly with some special cables, an off the shelff MIDI wireless system and an audio wireless system.


If this is what you would like to experiment with please read on.

Wireless communication between a Vetta and a Variax falls into the category of an "unsupported, use at your own risk" feature. (it's a category of one!)

Note: There is no intension on Line 6's part to offer a commercial solution for wireless communication between Vetta II and Variax guitar, however in the spirit of supporting the needs of our community Line 6 decided to share this bit of information with you.

While a VDI cable provides bi-directional communication between a Vetta and a Variax, the wireless link described on these pages and document provides one-way communication from Vetta to the Variax. This solution simply transmits Guitar Model patch change data, as well as tone pot data to the Variax, as they were programmed into the Vetta's patches, which must be done with a Variax connected to a Vetta with a VDI cable.


How / Why it works:

When the Variax is physically connected to the Vetta via the VDI cable, the Vetta reconfigures to accept digital audio and digital audio sync from the VDI interface. Vetta also recieved patch, patch name and tone pot information from the guitar whenever somthing is changed, that way it can store and recall the appropriate Variax information within it's own patch structure. Variax W/L (wireless) mode allows the Vetta to operate, (internal sync, analog input) without the Variax connected to the VDI connector, howver it still send the Variax patch information out via the VDI connector whenever a Vetta patch is recalled.


Programming patches for use in the Variax W/L mode:

  1. You must build your Vetta / Variax presets with the Variax W/L mode off, and with a VDI cable connecting the two products.
  2. Once you presets are built, you can disconnect the Variax, connect up your wireless rig, and enable the Variax W/L mode.


How to set up your Vetta II and a Variax Guitar to operate wirelessly.

First you're going to need some things to get this all together. Here's a shopping list:

  1. Vetta II with V 2.5 frmware and a Variax.
  2. A Wireless MIDI solution, Line 6 tested the system with the MIDIJet wireless transciever from Organworks. They also have a pro version with a longer range. Also CME recently announced the WIDI-X8.
  3. Two special cables to adapt the MIDI cables to the VDI connectors on the Vetta and the Variax (schematics provided). You may want to ask your techie friend to help you out with this one. Basically, start with a Ethernet cable, a MIDI cable, a few simple electronic components ( 1x 1N5231 5.1V Zener Diode, 2x 220 Ohm 1% resistors) and a soldering iron...
  4. An audio wireless to get audio signal from the Variax 1/4" output to the Vetta Input.
  5. Loads of batteries for your Variax, the audio wireless pack, and the MIDI wireless transciever.


Tech instructions:

Build the cables, mark the Vetta side cable with the extra electronic components: Vetta, mark the Variax Cable as well. The cables are not revirsible, so please mark them to avoid confusion at critical moments in your performing career.

Vetta and Variax Wireless Diagram 1
  Vetta & Variax Wireless Diagram 2
Diagram 1
Diagram 2

Click on the pictures to enlarge

Putting it all together:

  1. Connect the Vetta VDI to the MIDI wireless Transmitter with the VDI to MIDI adapter cable.
  2. Connect the MIDI wireless reciever to the Variax with the MIDI To Variax VDI cable that you build.
  3. Connect the wireless audio transmitter to the 1/4 connector on your Variax, and the audio wireless tramsmitter reciever to the 1/4 input on the Vetta.
  4. Power it all up.
  5. Set the Vetta's Variax W/L parameter to On, and you're all set.


So there you have it, everything you'll need to get your Vetta / Variax rig up and running wireless at a gig.

Note: This is an "unsupported" feature in Vetta, and yet it is something Line 6 wanted to share with the Vetta community.

A great source for advanced Vetta capabillities is the Vetta community that largely resides on the Line 6 forums, Institute of Noise and and sites. Thanks go out to Line 6 for going the extra mile on this one.

Oh, and you want a .pdf to make your personal wireless system, no worries, just click here to download

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Alt Tunings... 11-01-2006

variax logo

With the development of Variax Workbench software, you can now tune your Variax electric to any alternate tuning you like. The Variax Acoustic 700 has this feature built into the guitar itself. With the physical Variax tuned to standard pitch, however, the Variax DSP must create the alternate tunings in real time, note by note as you play. This is no easy task, and as with any developing technology, there are limitations. To get the best musical experience from your alt-tuned Variax, please check out the following four Alternate Tuning Tips. They address the most frequently asked questions of Variax owners.

1.Guitar Volume Balance: If you hear the standard tuning of your physical Variax along with the alt-tuning, your ears may be fooled into thinking the alt-tuning is out of tune. This is especially true for Acoustic 700 owners, but the solution is easy. In a studio situation, turn up your headphones; in a live situation, turn up the volume of your alt-tuned guitar amp or stage monitor so that it drowns out the physical guitar sound. When you adjust your guitar volume balance so that all you hear is the alt-tuned guitar, your alt-tuning will sound the way you expect it to.

2.Odd-Sounding Notes: If you use pull-offs, especially on an open G string that's tuned down a full step or more, or if you use Capo mode and tune several frets up or down and play harmonics or hammer-ons, you may sometimes hear odd-sounding notes. The general cure for this is to adjust your playing technique so that you play very cleanly when doing pull-offs, play with a lighter touch on extremely alt-tuned notes and harmonics, fret your notes accurately, and avoid any problem zones that may produce odd sounds. It’s not difficult to get clean-sounding alt-tuning tracks. It just takes a little time to adapt to the particular alt-tuning you're using, then avoid any obvious problem spots you may encounter by adjusting your playing technique and choice of notes.

3.Ringing Overtones: When you play certain notes and you don’t mute your other strings, occasionally a note you're playing may cause a harmonic to resonate from a non-muted string. This can be a good thing, but sometimes it may result in an odd sound as in #2 above. The solution is to mute the strings you aren't using, especially when playing single notes. This way the DSP won't be 'confused' by unwanted notes resonating against the intended note.

4.Amp Sounds: For Variax Acoustic Models, use an Amp Bypass setting or go direct whenever possible. Acoustics, Resos, Sitar, etc. don't like preamp gain, so cleaner is better in order to bring out the full range of these Models. If you use a Vetta II or PODxt Live, it’s a good idea to set up an Amp Preset for each of your favorite alt-tuned Variax Models, and save the Variax Model with your Amp Preset.

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - New Flashmemory V 3.10... 11-01-2006

variax logo

Line 6 released new flashmemory. Here are the highlighted changes

  • Fixed bug in the 12-string and Alt.-tuned models that caused F# at the 16th fret on the D string not to track.
  • Improved pitch tracking speed, vibrato tracking and general tracking stability for 12-string and Alt.-tuned models.
  • Detune amount is lessened for User 12-string Models.

Please update using Line 6 Monkey 1.10 or later. There are different versions for Variax 300/600 and the Variax 500/700 models.

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Automated Variax Reference Sheet... 06-01-2006


The Automated Variax Workbench Reference Sheet provides a single page reference sheet of the models stored on your Variax. It loads with the default contents of the Variax Electrics.


  • The Automated Variax Workbench Reference Sheet is an Excel sheet providing a single page reference sheet of the models stored on your Variax. It loads with the default (factory) contents of the Variax Electrics 300, 500, 600 and 700.
  • The layout of the sheet is optimised for printing, and it automatically substitutes default Variax names for their historical counterparts, eg. "Spank-1" will appear as "(B) 1959 Fender Stratocaster"
  • If you enable macros, it's also able to read the HTML files exported by workbench, supporting the same features for your custom or renamed models. Models which are named as one of the defaults (it doesn't have to be in the same position) will automatically be displayed using the name of the historical counterpart. Models with names you have created will appear with the name you gave them.

Source: Andy Allsop /

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Variax - How to install a different neck (500 / 700)... 29-12-2005

How to install a different neck on a Variax (not the acoustic)

J-Bird, (ION Forum member) gives a detailed explanation on how to replace a neck on your Variax.

Installation Instructions
Here are some notes and helpful tips on installing and setting up a bolt-on neck. Most necks will require minor truss rod adjustment after installation. Please read the entire document prior to installing the neck.

Attaching the neck
Place the neck into the neck-pocket and check its fit. Ideally it should drop in, or be a little snug—you shouldn't have to force the neck into the pocket. If the body is unfinished and you are pre-assembling the instrument (highly recommended!), remember that the finish will make the neck pocket smaller—it will build up on the edge of the rout. Be sure to compensate for the finish buildup or the neck will be too tight after finishing.

Next, locate and center the neck in the neck pocket/body. (Use a small clamp with thin wooden shims on the clamping surfaces to hold the neck in place during this process.) To double-check if the neck is centered on the body, take a long straightedge and place it along the edge of the neck. Be sure that a portion of the straightedge is over the body at the bridge's location. Compare the two sides of the neck, and where the straightedge hangs over the bridge (i.e. the straightedge may be even with the outside of the E-string saddles, the outer saddle height screws, the outer edges of the bridge plate, etc.).

Drilling the neck bolt holes is one of the most critical operations in the construction of a bolt-on neck guitar. The holes must be properly sized and located so that the neck is secure in the pocket, insuring that the vibrations and resonance of the instrument are not compromised.

If the body already has the neck holes, place the neck into the pocket (properly located and aligned with the bridge), and center punch or mark the locations to be drilled onto the neck. Insert the four neck bolts into their holes, and tap them with a hammer to mark their locations on the neck.

Next, you must drill the holes into the neck. After center punching the neck bolt locations, determine the proper size drill bit (most neck bolts use a 1/8" diameter bit) and chuck it into your drill. Place a neck bolt through the neck plate and body. Measure the amount of the neck bolt that extends up into the neck pocket, and mark your drill bit (a piece of masking tape around the bit works great) so that it will drill into the neck to that depth.

Carefully drill the holes in the neck. Pull the bit out a few times while drilling each hole to clear the shavings packed onto the bit—when drilling maple or other dense hardwoods, drill the hole in gradual steps so the bit won't get too hot or clogged.


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Variax - Registration while using Monkey... 10-08-2005

When you are updating your Variax through the Monkey app. As small error will come up while trying to get your Variax registration done. The registration confirmation error on Variax family members has been around for a while. If you've registered, it's confirmable independently through "My Account".

It's only when the Monkey goes to check your status that the wrong value is returned. Line 6 willl get fixed at some point, so please click "remind me later" in the mean time and one day it just won't appear.

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Acoustic 700 - Alternate Tunings from Factory... 20-01-2005

The Variax Acoustic 700, has several alternate tunings in it when purchased. Which ones they are? Here's the answer a nice little grid of all the default tuning modes for the standard Variax Acoustic 700 models

The alternate tunings are default, however you can adjust them to your liking, if you want the original alternate tunings reset do this:


Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Acoustic 700 - Explanatory Videos... 29-12-2004

The newly released Variax Acoustic 700, has several Eastern and Western stringed (guitar) instruments in it. Here's a video that overlays some of the models. The video was taken live with a Line 6 Delay Modeler for looping purposes and went strait into an AER acoustic amp. The sound you're hearing is the sound in the room and not plugged in to the amp or mixing console.


And just some short video's are up and running on the Line 6 site.


Click on the links for the different video's


Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Bass Pressreleases... 11-11-2004

LINE 6 UNVEILS WORLD’S FIRST MODELING BASS, VARIAX BASS 700--Instant access to 24 in-demand bass sounds ranging from vintage and modern instrument models to acoustic upright and synth--

Daventry, UK-November 10, 2004- Line 6 announced today the launch of Variax Bass 700, a high-quality bass instrument addition to the Variax family of guitars.  Variax Bass 700 is the first bass that accurately models vintage and modern electric basses, an acoustic upright, plus synth bass tones. 

Variax Bass 700 is the instrument that is ready at a moment’s notice for any live performance or recording situations.  Variax Bass 700 is a breakthrough product for any bassist, as it provides instant access to sounds never before available in a single instrument. 

Its simple, stand-alone operation offers 24 authentic bass sounds all in a single, professional grade instrument.  Its output can be sent direct to any standard bass amplifier, mixing console, or recording device.    “Variax Bass 700’s simple layout combines the best of passive and active electronic controls in one practical, problem-solving, pro quality system,” said Rich Lasner, Director of Instrument Product Lines, Line 6.   “No other bass enables artists playing live or in the studio to instantly call up a modern 4-string, vintage 8-string, acoustic upright, fretless, or synth bass,” explains Lasner.  

Variax Bass 700 uses Line 6's patented guitar modeling technology to offer bassists instant access to models of a world-class collection of the greatest bass instruments and sounds in recorded history. 

Variax Bass 700 features an alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, and sealed chrome tuners. Custom-fitted gig bag and direct box with ¼-inch and XLR outputs included.  Available in black or sunburst finishes.

Source: Line 6 /

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Variax - Variax DVD... 17-01-2004

The Line 6 DVD offers these chapters:

  • Variax Electric & Acoustic introduction
  • Variax Electric
  • Variax Acoustic
  • Variax Soundsamples
  • Insider Guide to Variax Electric
  • Guitars Modeled in the Variax Acoustic & Electric
  • Pilotbooks

The DVD features: Marcus Ryle, James Santiago, Carl Rydland, Rich Lasner, Christian Nesmith, Stevie Locks & Anne McCue, to name a few.

  • here some pictures taken from the DVD on measurement for Variax



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Variax - Line 6 announces Variax Acoustic 700... 15-01-2004

Line 6 Announces Variax Acoustic 700: Exact Tone for performing and recording

16 acoustic instruments, including vintage flat-tops, mandocello, and classical models


Agoura Hills, CA-- January 15, 2004--- Line 6 announced today the launch of Variax Acoustic 700, an acoustic addition to the Variax family of guitars. Variax 700 is the first electric acoustic modeling guitar that achieves tones exactly right for live performances and recording situations. It's simple, stand-alone operation offers guitarists 16 richly detailed acoustic instrument sounds, phenomenal feedback-resistance, unique and intuitive tone-shaping options and instant access to alternate tunings.

Variax Acoustic 700 is a breakthrough product for any guitarist, as it provides the best means by which to record great acoustics direct to achieve exquisite, professional results. It's output can be sent direct to a recording device or any standard acoustic amplifier. It will enable guitarists to achieve the best acoustic sounds possible without requiring expensive instruments, microphones and sound-proofed studio space.

Variax Acoustic 700 brings guitarists the perfect acoustic sounds for live performances via direct output to a PA system or standard acoustic amplifier. It is the only acoustic guitar that can handle any high-volume onstage situation without feedback hassles or complex setups.

"Variax Acoustic 700 was developed to create the ultimate acoustic experience for guitarists that play in live situations that require microphones or pickup to amplify or record acoustic guitar," said Rich Lasner, director of instrument product lines, Line 6. "No other instrument enables artists to easily create their perfect acoustic sound for live recording environments, save it and call it up at will without the worries of feedback or ambient noise problems."

Variax Acoustic 700 embodies Line 6's patent-pending guitar modeling technology to offer guitarists instant access to the sounds of a variety of steel string acoustic, nylon string classical, resonator and arch-top guitars, as well as non-guitar stringed instruments. The guitar features a set-in mahogany neck, chambered mahogany body and natural finish cedar top.

Variax Acoustic 700 Pricing: MSRP $ 1679.99

Suggested street price of US $ 1.199,99.

In Europe the price (aprox.) will be around € 1350,-, could be different per country due to VAT differences

Source: Line 6

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Variax - Introduction... 30-10-2003

Line 6 has been working for some years now and was moving strongly due to the suc ccesful ampsimulations or modeling. To put it in other words to digitally recreate the original amps en get this captured in software (and hardware). This means to digitise the orginal sound, the way the original amps knobs effect eachother, the way the channels of the amp interact with an overdriven amp etc...

Besides modeling amps, the next (logical) step would be to try to model guitars. That's how the story of Variax starts. During the change of the last century (2000) Pete Celi (Line 6 design engineer) got the 'go ahead' to look at the possibllities to creat a guitar that could model other guitars. De Line 6 Variax is the worlds first modeling guitar. The first guitar that re-creates the sound of different electric and acoustic guitars. This is all done in one single natural looking-, playable guitar.De diffrent models, 26 in total, are ealiy accesable through the selectorswitch and 5 way switch as you are used to on Stratocaster type guitars.

Six people have worked on it during the last 3 years. In the beginning a tremelo-arm was considered but later was decided not to place this on the first Variax type. This first generation Variax (that was just called Variax) are now know as the Variax 500 series. Now in October 2003 is a new series, called the Variax 700, added to the salesportfolio. The 700 series do have the tremelo. The original idea was to make a set-neck instrument, later on Line 6 rejected this idea because they liked the idea that users should be able to put another neck on it if so desired.

The instrument itself is rather pratical, the way this Variax guitarcollection looks and feels has a bit of a retro-look. Playablillity & comfort are obvious. When you look at the guitar then it looks like something's missing... Varaix guitars don't use magnetic pick-up's. That's what you probebly miss.Pete Celi, Line 6 senior design engineer, says: "The Variax is a base design is a good solidbody with a stiff neck, which mechanically and acoustically performs just like a custom strat."

The modeling process itself explained: "Well, first, we put a low-level signal into the guitar that we're modelling to measure the pickups' impedance at a given frequency," explains Celi. The information is loaded into a software program that evaluates, and recreates, the circuit's performance. Numerous parameters are evaluated.

For example, there's the magnetic aspect, "the distortion that's introduced by the proxim
ity of the string to the pickup's magnet. This proximity alters the magnetic field, and as you move the pickup away from the string you lose volume and high-end." Then there's the position of the pickup on the guitar: "depending on the position means you're altering the frequency response of the string's output." By carrying out this investigation, Celi believes, "all the nuances of the pickup should be replicated if you've done this carefully."

 The body resonance of the guitar is another evaluation, obviously more applicable to semi and full body acoustics than a solidbody guitar. "With an analyser and impact hammer we evaluate the different responses of a guitar body," Celi explains.

As the information is amassed, it's assembled into the software program, which in reality is a number of processing blocks that will create the final model. Each and every parameter can be tweaked: "individual string volume, sharpness of the frequency peak, etc." For an electric model it's a little easier. The designers are 'listening' and trying to emulate the signal that emanates from the jack socket output. An acoustic presents more problems: "Listening to an acoustic model, the body resonance is obviously fundamental to the overall sound."

To give you some idea of the intricacy of this process, initially each string is evaluated and passes through more than 10 individual processing blocks, each containing a little piece of Line 6's modelling secret. Then the tweaks become global: pickup response, body resonance and numerous other elements are adjusted here until the sound is perfected.

All frequencies are measured with an analyser during the modellingprocess and captured in the mentioned software. This software is loaded into each of the six strat-like saddles that can be adjusted in height....

and intonation.

This is being done to have no latency during the switch to differend models. each string of every modelled instrument is recreated in this way. Creating a model is one thing, but how it's voiced by Variax is another. The strings' vibration and character are picked up by the hexaphonic piezo pickups. That information is then altered by the selected model. "There's no triggering," explains Celi. "We're taking the natural string vibration and dynamically altering it."

The bridge itself is the LR Baggs X-bridge with a modified flexible PCB hook-up cable, "to maintain as full a response as possible." During the design-fase of Variax the question was asked: What pick-up shouldwe use? "Initially it was, What kind of pickup should we use?" says project manager Dave Fruehling, who leads the engineering team. "We looked at optical, piezo and magnetic. We came to the conclusion that piezo had more information; magnetic loses stuff - it's easier to take away than add."

"We learnt a lot about modelling,"It's interesting. You see, an amp is just a circuit, but the electric guitar is a circuit plus its actual physical properties." says design engineer Dave Fruehling.

During the R&D proces of capturing the character of the different modelled guitars, the Line 6 engineers have systematically measured all parts of these guitars and captured it into software. Each factor that adds to the specific guitartone is a part of the complex interaction between vibrating strings, resonance of guitarbodies and magnetic pick-up's and captured. Subsequently Line 6 developped a way to mathematically capture this interaction, this is way we can re-created the same sounds on our own Variax.On the processing power side you could look at the Variax as if you had six Line 6 POD's, that's how much mathematical power is under the Variax's hood to be able to have this kind of natural emulation of the modelled guitars.On the Variax are three knobs, 1 for volume, 1 for tone en and a so called "model selector switch".  On this model select switch are twelve positions. Each position gives you a range of modelled guitars.

These 12 postions are labelled:

T Model, Spank, Lester, Special, R-Billy, Chime, Semi, Jazzbox, Acoustic, Reso

Custom 1 & Custom 2, are banksthat can be 'filled' with the models in Variax

When you made a choice for a certain bank, let;s say Lester, than it's possible to select a type with the 5-way switch. For the Lester bank you can make your choice out of the models based on:

1. Bridge pick-up of a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard

2. Bridge pick-up (P-90) of a 1952 Gibson Les Paul "Goldtop"

3. Bridge & neck pick-up of a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard

4. Combination of bridge an middle pick-up's of a 1961 Gibson Les Paul Custom

5. Neck pick-up of a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard

In this way all different, available guitarmodels become available for the Variax player.

Another big advantage is that Variax doesn't need any adjustment of the play-style or the feel of the guitar. Normally, when you chnage guitars (for differnet sounds or playabilly) you have to get aquanted with diffrent lenghts, thickness of the neck, where the swtiches and knobs are, how it's tuned etc... Nou you don't have to get used to it cause everything is a part of the same guitar.

The influence of TL lights or computers, the 'humming' of the guitar, is with Variax no longer present. It has no influence on the sound coming out if the Variax. evene when you sit next to a computer en are connected to a high gain amp the Variax won't pick up any 'hum'.

Alternative tuning?, Can you use that with Variax? Of course says Pete Celi: "de-turning will work, although we've not scientifically modelled the sound of a down-tuned Strat or whatever." Also string gauges and string condition will play their part. "We'll ship with .010s and we've modelled with .010s on the solidbody electrics (on other models appropriate strings/gauges were chosen). But if you use acoustic or flat-wound strings it will affect the sound of the model. Likewise string gauges and type will affect the sound you hear, as will string wear and condition."

Another thing on the Variax is the 'mystery connector' it sits besides the normal jack plug. Possible future upgrades will be brought through this jack for upgrading your Variax with...., new models, upgraded software???.

Line 6 have included an extra multi-pin connector on Variax. Line 6 aren't revealing too many details, but agree that downloadable software, new models and user-editing software are strong possibilities. If we think about this we could dream everything possible like: Steve Lukather's Music Man, Brian May's Burns, B.B. King's Lucille.... Aaah dreams, always nice.

Direct feed to a recording device and MIDI patch change may also become available. Simultaneous patch change - as you select your Strat model, your Line 6 Vetta II amp will switch to a Fender, Cornford or whatever. In short we can speak of an upgradable concept. 

With the new Vetta II, that has the VDI within, (and is sold seperatly for Vetta I owners who wish to upgrade) Variax can be upgraded through this VDI connection (Vetta Versie 2.03 with VDI installed) the next step is logical. Interaction between Variax en Vetta II even goes further. When connecting your Variax through the VDI, you'll Variaxx will have it's own power and you won't need the A/B switchbox that comes with Variax. Besides the A/B box there's also a battery compartment where you can install 6 penlite batteries for use with a wireless system for instance.

VDI stands for Vetta Digital Interface, you can read more on the VDI page. Line 6 will probebly follow the same path as with Vetta, flash-software upgrades for the Variax. For those unknown with de Line 6 Vetta. This amp has modelled amps, effects, cabs and microphones. This digital amp is flash upgradable and owners have had 3 free upgrades so far. These upgrades included better models, new effects, new amps etc...

If you wanna know more on this subject go to the different Vetta pages. Besides the power aspect, there's one different digital advantage. With the new VDI connection the signalpath reamins completly in the digital domain of Variax, Vetta and/or Recording system. Through AES/EBU and/or SPDif to digital recording equipment, signalloss will be minimum, bringing better soundquality. This brings us to the path of recording... that's a complete new chapter.




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