From the Manufacturer
A couple of years before Variax® was born, we decided to turn our attention from all that guitar gear to the guitar itself. We wonderedcould it be possible to capture a complete range of this tone in one single instrument? It was a daunting task, but then so was the idea of squeezing a whole collection of amps and effects into one little kidney bean shaped metal box. So we figured, why not give it a go?
We knew our sounds would have to be amazingly accurate to meet the needs of discriminating guitarists, so we began an intensive research project into guitar physics. We assembled test guitars that would make Victor Frankenstein blush. We systematically examined every factor that contributes to a guitar's tone, and developed ways to measure the complex interactions of vibrating strings, resonant bodies, and magnetic pickups. More importantly, we developed ways to capture these interactions mathematically so we could get the same sounds from our guitar.
As we refined our measuring and modeling techniques, we began working on a new, powerful hardware platform that could deliver our shockingly accurate sounds. Variax needed to have less noise than a standard humbucker, the ability to switch sounds in the fraction of a second that it takes to slap a pickup selector switch to the next position, and be powered in a variety of ways. And, most importantly, perform so flawlessly that you could forget it's even there.
As the body and brain neared completion, it was time for us to create the soul. We auditioned an amazing array of vintage instruments to find the ones with the most distinctive voices and personalities. We applied our painstaking measuring techniques to these specimens, and refined our models while constantly referring back to the originals for accuracy. When the model reached the point not only sounding like the original, but also being as much fun to play, it was done.
- Contoured basswood body
- Maple neck with rosewood fingerboard and pearl dots
- 22 medium profile frets
- 25 1/2" scale length
- 10" fingerboard radius
- Standard 1/4" guitar output jack
- Digital I/O jack for PODXT Live, Vetta II, and Workbench connectivity
- Volume and tone controls respond faithfully for each model
- Included XPS A/B footswitch selects between two outputs:
- 1/4" standard guitar output for connection to any guitar amp
- XLR balanced output for sending acoustic sounds to a separate amp or PA
- Powered by footswitch, on-board batteries, Vetta II or PODXT Live
- Custom-fitted heavy-duty gig bag
- Available in Sunburst, Black, or Candy Apple Red
- Left-handed version is available in all colors
Build your own custom guitar at home on your PC or Mac®! Variax® Workbench gives you your own personal guitar custom shop with all the tools needed to easily create, store, and share the guitar you've been dreaming of.
Variax Workbench allows you to completely customize Variax Electric 300, 500, 600, and 700. Now you have the tools to easily create and store the guitars you've always wanted. Select from a complete list of guitar bodies, choose pickups and placement, and tweak other parameters to design guitar models that are truly unique.
This combination USB interface and software application allows you to see and hear the physical changes as you apply them to your custom guitar. You can even add alternate tunings. Once you've created your custom guitars, model patches can be stored in the included "Tone Locker," downloaded into any of the 60 available positions on your Variax, and even emailed to your friends that own a Variax. Your dream guitar is just a few clicks away!
Variax 500 Frequently Asked Questions
What is Variax?
Variax® is the world's first modeling guitar. It offers the sounds of an entire guitar collection in a single instrument.
Is Variax a MIDI guitar?
No, Variax is a real guitar. All of the sounds available in Variax start with the actual string vibrations of the Variax itself. Our patented modeling process shapes the raw string signal to replicate the sounds of the modeled instruments.
Does Variax work with only Line 6 amps?
Variax works with any guitar amp from any manufacturer.
Is a left-handed version available?
Left-handed versions of Variax 500 are currently available. As of this time, Variax 700 is not available in a left-handed version.
What's up with the footswitch?
Variax includes amazingly warm and detailed acoustic models that sound best when amplified by a full-range system. We include the XPS A/B footswitch to give you a convenient way to divert the output to a PA or acoustic amplifier for these models.
What's up with the extra jack?
This "special" jack is used to connect your Variax to our Vetta II amp or PODxt Live. This one cable (based on industry-standard CAT 5 Ethernet) provides everything needed to make the most complete guitar system ever created. Vetta II or PODxt Live now provides power, a direct digital audio connection, and bi-directional control of the Variax. Read more about it here!
How does Variax 700 differ from Variax 500?
Variax 500 in solid colors has a contoured basswood body, a one-piece maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, custom position markers, and Gotoh® tuners. Variax 700 in translucent colors has a mahogany body with a contoured ash top, one-piece maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, custom position markers and Gotoh tuners. Available finishes are Black, Translucent Red, Translucent Amber, and Translucent Blue. Check out the Specs page for more details.
Is it upgradeable?
Variax 700 is upgradeable, as is the 500.
Can I use it with Vetta II and PODxt Live?
Variax 700 is fully compatible with Vetta II via our custom, locking RJ-45-based Neutrik® cable. Read more about it here.
What does it come with?
Both the Variax 500 and 700 come with a custom fitted gigbag, XPS footswitch/power supply, and a Planet Waves® TRS cable.