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Any Word on Variax Bass Retrofitting?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by EricTheEZ1, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    I know a lot of people would love to see this happen. Line 6 should release a retrofitting kit to change a regular bass into a Variax-like bass with the knobs and everything.

    Just wondering if this is a total pipe dream or if it has a chance of actually happening.

  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Pipe dream. Too many fragile electronics, very dependent on Line 6's exacting detail according to them. However, Warmoth has begun to offer replacement bodies for the Variax guitars in Strat and Tele shapes, so that's good news.

    Maybe we can get a Variax Jazz through Warmoth?
  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    There's a company that is offering routing templates for the Variax guitar electronics- don't know if that would work for the bass also, or if they're different shapes.
  4. KAOSBass


    Mar 10, 2005
    Amarillo Texas
    someone in the Line 6 forum claims to have gutted the variax and installed it in a guitar/bass cant remember which one...
  5. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Wouldn't be too hard. It's just a big circuit board and a piezo bridge. Then add some more knobs for passive controls, and you have got one versatile bass.
  6. I suspect that Variax wonn't make an "offical" retrofit, but just like w/ the variax guitars, you should be able to "gut" a variax bass and retro fit the piezo bridge and electronics into a bass w/ the appropiate cavity.
    The various retrofitted variax guitars -suggest that the models rely on the electronics and not the physical instrument to gather modelling data, so retrofitting into a new bass should be straight forward
  7. Rusty Chainsaw

    Rusty Chainsaw Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2002
    NJ via London
    Unless there's a way to adapt the Variax electronics to accomodate a 5-string, then I'm still not interested (much as a Jazz or Stingray-shaped Variax would be an improvement on the original).

    Russ :bassist:
  8. When is Warmoth going to release a Variax bass body & neck kit?

    Not that I like Variax stuff, in fact, I think the actual instruments play like crap.
  9. bwbass


    May 6, 2002
    Probably when Line6 asks us to. We designed the strat and tele-shaped Variax-routed bodies from sample parts Line6 sent us. No word from them on the bass stuff yet...
  10. Gotcha. Thanks fer the info. LOVE your product.
  11. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Well, I'm pretty confident that anyone could fit the Variax electronics into a different bass, but my point was that people don't want to do that. What's the point of buying a $1300+ bass and then gutting it and having a $1000+ bass shell. It's wasteful and expensive.

    I think it'd be a great idea for Line 6 to release a, say, $500 electronics package with knobs and wires like a pickup has. Then you could choose what bass to put it in and everything.


    P.S. - Does anyone offer bass modelers of Variax caliber?
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Roland V-Bass.
  13. you actually think the variax bass itself is worth $800. I suspect the electronic is most of th eexpense.
    Thats said, a roland Vbass has far more modeling capabilities than a variax, problem is -its big and requires a special pickup. The variax concept would be a great great solution for someone who has a great playable bass and wants to add additional colors, tones, and models, but does'nt want to lug around a large floor unit.
  14. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    It seems odd that the electronics would be so fragile that they couldn't be fitted to another bass- and I'm thinking the electronics are half the cost. I won't be interested in vvariax until they A)Make a 5 string and B) add in a Spector NS option.
  15. bwbass


    May 6, 2002
    Yeah, the thing about the Variax guitar is that some models can be had for around $500, which as others have pointed out here would be a nearly-reasonable price for the guts alone. At the point where you own instruments that cost three times as much, throwing the variax guitar out and putting the guts in a nicer body becomes a viable option.

    Unless we see the variax bass price drop quite a bit, I doubt that the market demand would support our replacement parts.

    The routing in the guitar body, by the way, does need to be pretty particular and precise, as the pots are mounted right on the circuit board, and the two circuit boarda are huge and oddly-shaped. Noticed the stepped ledges and 4 extra screw holes in the bottom right part of the cavity for the second "stacked" circuit board:
    Notice that we even had to change the shape of the body on the edge to accomodate the big molded double-jack connector.
  16. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Thanx for all that info. It does seem extremely tricky and complicated to reproduce.

    No, I don't think the actual bass is worth that much. I was stunned when I saw the price tag in the first place, but the actual bass itself is very simple and mass produced, so...

    I may check out the Roland V-Bass, but it's really expensive.

  17. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    I have to say, after trying the guitars earlier, their bass is a lot nicer to play. Very comfy J-ish neck, and the whole instrument looks decent compared to their guitars.

    Don't expect Variax to come out with Fender models. It's not going to happen - until Fenders buys them of course :)

    I'm curious when they upgrade the models. They could be improved on still.
  18. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    I've been checking out the Roland V-Bass and it really doesn't model other basses the way the Variax does. It's more like it gives you the ability to EQ and effect the crap out of a signal until it resembles a Warwick, or Thunderbird, or MTD or whatever.

    I'm still secretly GAS-ing for a Variax and you know what? I don't know what GAS really means/stands for.

  19. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    Haha, yeah I didn't know what this 'gas' thing was for ages. Had to ask a moderator. Means 'Gear Acquisition Syndrome' apparently.
  20. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    Oh hecks yeah! I've had that from the second I bought my first bass. I guess I'm terminal!