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A few Variax questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Taylor Livingston, Mar 3, 2008.


  1. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    All the talk recently of Variaxes has got me thinking about getting one in the future. I have a few questions, though; hopefully someone with experience will be able to answer them.

    I heard someone mention that you can get non-stepped glissandi when using the upright bass model. True? I can't imagine how it would be, if the Variax circuitry is just sculpting the sound of the strings. Also, in response to a comment about a delay when playing, Dave Muscato mentioned that the only instrument with a delay is the Kay upright, which he said was intentional. Why would this be?

    On Line 6's website, there is mention of plugging the instrument into your computer to use editor software to change the tuning of the presets and so forth. I only see this on the guitar Variax page, not the bass. Is this possible? I haven't heard any mention anywhere else of interfacing with a computer. Without the computer editor, is there any other way to change the tuning of the presets? For example, could I save the Rick in fifths tuning, but other basses in standard tuning? Or is this a guitar-only feature?

    On a similar topic, I read somewhere that Line 6 would be offering new models on its website. Did this ever happen, or did the failure of the Variax bass happen before any new models could be released?
     
  2. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I'll do my best! Any others, feel free to chip in as well :bassist:

    Sorry, not true; the stops are not as obvious as on, say, the Warwick model, but it's definitely not going to give you a smooth glissando unless you defret it or put on a fretless neck. I have two 5-string Variax basses and have actually considered putting a fretless neck on one of them just for more variety. If I decide to do it, I'll definitely post some sound samples for you guys.

    It just gives it a slightly more realistic attack for that specific sound. On a real upright, you have to pull off on the string a bit more than on an electric bass guitar, just because of the higher action. You can recalibrate the sensitivity of the strings if you don't want it to do this; it's about a 30-second fix.

    As far as I know, this is a guitar-only feature, unfortunately. I don't know of any way to change your tuning on the fly unless you go with de-tuner machine heads like any regular electric bass. I imagine Line6 just didn't think there was a big enough market for altered-tuning basses to be worth it. Personally, I never use any tuning besides standard (although I do play 5- and 6-string basses, so I get a pretty big range without altered tunings, anyway).

    I don't have any inside knowledge about Line6's offerings, just what I've seen in their press releases and on their website & forums. I haven't heard anything about new bass models (or new guitar models). Their big thing right now seems to be the new POD X3s.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Cool, thanks. It's too bad that this thing didn't take off, because it could have been even more interesting with more development.
     
  4. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I agree! That's part of the reason I bought a pair of the 5-string models before they were discontinued. I thought I might want to use one's guts as a donor for a custom build someday, and I would still like to do that. I was really hoping for a 6-string model someday.... shucks!

    Considering that the bridge, as far as I can tell, is a regular piezo bridge, maybe I can rig some kind of combiner for the signals from two of the strings... hmm...
     

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