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Variax is a line of modeling guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

s marketed and developed by Line 6. It claims to be the first guitar able to emulate the tones of other notable electric and acoustic guitars. It also has a banjo
In the 1830s Sweeney became the first white man to play the banjo on stage. His version of the instrument replaced the gourd with a drum-like sound box and included four full-length strings alongside a short fifth-string. There is no proof, however, that Sweeney invented either innovation. This new...

 and a sitar
The 'Tablaman' is a plucked stringed instrument predominantly used in Hindustani classical music, where it has been ubiquitous since the Middle Ages...

 tone. The Variax is currently available as an electric guitar, but modeling acoustic guitars and modeling electric bass guitar
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

s have been available in the past.

James Tyler Variax electric guitars

The earlier solid body Variax electric guitars made by Line 6 were available in four models:
  • The original 500, which did not have a model number when it came out in 2002, but was labeled the 500 when the newer 700 was introduced in 2004 (the 500 was discontinued about a year later),
  • the "budget" model 300, introduced in 2005, in limited supply starting in 2007 and was finally discontinued in early 2009,
  • the 600 with a tremolo bridge and an all-maple neck with 6-on-a-side tuners,
  • and the upmarket 700, with a carved top, and option of either a hardtail bridge
    Bridge (instrument)
    A bridge is a device for supporting the strings on a stringed instrument and transmitting the vibration of those strings to some other structural component of the instrument in order to transfer the sound to the surrounding air.- Explanation :...

     or a tremolo bridge, maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. It has 3-on-a-side tuners and mother of pearl inlays with an abalone "V" at the 12th fret.

The bridge of a Variax electric guitar has an individual piezoelectric
Piezoelectric sensor
A piezoelectric sensor is a device that uses the piezoelectric effect to measure pressure, acceleration, strain or force by converting them to an electrical charge.-Applications:...

 pickup for each string. Each of these 6 signals is converted individually to a digital signal in the guitar's electronics. This allows for separate processing
Audio signal processing
Audio signal processing, sometimes referred to as audio processing, is the intentional alteration of auditory signals, or sound. As audio signals may be electronically represented in either digital or analog format, signal processing may occur in either domain...

 of the signals from each string. This allows two technologies that would otherwise be impossible: the modeling of effects caused by one string on the others, and virtually altering the pitch of each individual string, allowing guitarists to switch between different tunings using a pedal or a switch on the guitar.

Customizers may remove the electronics and hardware of a Variax and fit them into a different instrument. These "transplants" can look like almost any popular guitar but still emulate 26 vintage instruments.

Variax acoustic guitars

There were three models of Variax acoustic modeling guitars; the 300 Nylon String and the 300 Steel String which allow varying the body size and mic placement in the electronic model, and the more expensive cedar (later spruce)-topped 700 (available only with steel strings) that had alternate tunings "built-in" and was able to emulate over a dozen rare and desirable acoustic instruments, including a real Indian sitar, rather than the Coral electric sitar modeled in the electric Variaxes. It was discontinued in 2010.

Variax bass guitars

Line 6 had offered the same technology for electric bass guitar
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

s with the 4-string Variax 700 bass and the model 705 5-string bass, but discontinued them in 2007.

Workbench Software

Each Variax guitar comes with a VDI (Variax Digital Interface) connection that allows them to be connected via an Ethernet
Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks commercially introduced in 1980. Standardized in IEEE 802.3, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies....

 cable to compatible hardware like the Line 6 POD amp modelers
Pod (amp modeler)
Pod is a series of digital guitar amplifier modelers from Line 6. Pods are designed to digitally simulate amplifiers. Most Pods also include cabinet models, and all Pods include effects models. All Pod variants include headphone ports and recording ports, and can be used to feed a signal into an...

 or through the Workbench interface via USB to a computer. Workbench is also the name of the software that allows users to customise the settings of the electronic models, such as changing the body type, changing and moving the pickups and adjusting how the volume and tone knobs function. It also allows the user to create customized tunings of any kind. These models can be saved back to the guitar.

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