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Hi guys, The D string on my Variax Acoustic 700 is electronically barely audible. I don't believe it's anything more than a problematic connection between the D piezo and the bridge PCB**. Can anyone name guys in or near Sydney Australia who've got experience with the insides of this guitar? And for the interim, any troubleshooting methods to help further diagnose where the problem sits? Thanks all, much appreciated. -Dawes **My reasoning for this is due to my experience with the guitar in the few months I've owned it. - Purchased in March/April from an interstate seller. - A friend living near seller tested guitar on my behalf, gave it the ok. - Friend loosened strings before he shipped the guitar to me. - Upon arrival, the D string piezo was barely audible. - I loosened string, carefully applied pressure to piezo and retightened string onto it. Success. - Some intermittent dropouts for a few days but got it under control and have had no further problems since March/April. - I recently loosened the strings; now D string is once again not working, this time it seems unfixable. (I did manage to get a very, very distorted -but appropriately volumed- note out of it briefly but I think that was a death rattle; hoping it's not the ribbon or PCB!)
Hi guys! I'm planning on doing a Variax Acoustic 700 transplant into a Epiphone Wildkat hollow body guitar and will like to hear some feedback on the project, specially regarding the correct compromise of strings and bridge to make the acoustic models work in an electric body while at the same time maintaining the functionality of the analog electric pickups. By the way before someone tells me that it's not worth buying and defiling a Variax 700 Acoustic just for a transplant project, let me clarify that I won't be doing that... I actually think the Variax 700 Acoustic body makes a terrific guitar as is. Me and my wife (who's my bandmate) have one in our rig and believe me when I say we won't parting with it anytime soon (I can't believe Line6 discontinued such a great product)... That being said, the reason I'm doing this project is because I find myself with an extra set of 700 Acoustic guts and electronics that are just siting around doing nothing, so I thought I might just experiment with them a bit before deciding to try and sell them on eBay. So here's the story... A couple of years ago I had an accident with my wife's Variax Acoustic 700... I was loading our gear into the car after a gig and I was about to put the guitar inside (last item) when someone called to me to check on something, so I leaned the guitar against the car and went inside the venue for a moment... As you can probably figure by now, I totally forgot about it so I jumped into the car, started backing up and rolled over the guitar!... The neck was completely destroyed but the body was intact. I sought Line6's help to see if the neck could be replaced as my wife had some custom paint job done to the body and she wanted to save it, but it was too much of a hassle and more expensive that buying a new guitar and painting it again (we had to send the guitar to Line6 because they would not sell a replacement neck to us for a local luthier to make the installation and since we were in Costa Rica at the time it just made no sense economically). So we ended up simply buying a new Variax Acoustic 700 off of eBay (haven't got around to reproducing the custom paint job yet, but I plan on do it soon). Ok so now I have an extra Variax Acoustic 700 body and electronics that work perfectly well. Piezos and guts are intact so I've been toying around with the idea of using them on this transplant project. I have en Epiphone Wildkat ( http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Archtop/Wildkat.aspx ) which I think will be an ideal candidate for this project. This is a very nice sounding guitar and a great player actually, but it is also very cheap and easy to replace in case I mess it up which makes me feel confortable about experimenting with it. The guitar is pretty much a hollow body (does have a small block in the middle to support the bridge but it is definitely not a semihollow: http://www.gretsch-talk.com/media/epi-wildkat-bodyslab.6811/full ) so my luthier agrees it won't take much routing to install the guts inside (and the carving required to place the slider controls on the side of the upper bout is minimal). We also figured that since both guitars are mahogany but the Wildkat has a maple top and neck (versus a basswood neck and cedar top on the Variax) it might actually result in an improvement of the acoustic characteristics of the guitar (don't know if such tonal characteristics might have an effect on the models though... I'm guessing not). Finally even though the Wildkat is hollow and the Variax is solid, the unplugged volume of the two guitars is actually pretty similar (the Variax is amazingly loud for a solid body), so using the alt tunings on the Wildkat won't be more distracting than it is already on the Variax. Ok so far so good then... Now comes the dilema questions: (1) how do I adapt to an archt. body the Variax bridge that is obviously made for a flat top acoustic body, (2) what type of strings should I use to find a good balance between what the acoustic models need versus and what the electric pickups require. On regards to the first one (bridge) I feel like I don't wanna mess around much with the piezo saddles so I don't feel comfortable with trying to transplant them into a tune-o-matic bridge like I've seen other people more capable modders do to try and maintain the original look of the guitar on Variax transplants into Les Paul guitars. I'd rather just use the Variax's bridge as is. I don't mind altering the look of the bridge on the Wildkat but I do care about functionality and the dilema here is that it doesn't seems like the Variax Acoustic bridge can be raised to the height of a tune-o-matic as it is (which seems neccesary to get to the right angle for the bigsby to work well). The wood base piece will have to be modded or shimmed somehow so I was thinking that maybe going for a Gretsch type arch base would work to sit the Variax bridge and saddles on top of it (Variax bridge will obviously need to be trimmed anyway for the strings to be able to reach the bigsby)... Any thoughts? On regards to the strings, I don't think the Variax phosphor bronze electro acoustic strings will work for the electric analog pickups, so I'll need to use some type of electric guitar strings that are as close as possible to those so that the acoustic models don't suffer. Fortunately gauge and action is not gonna be a problem because I actually use the Wildkat for a lot of heavy chording, slide playing and even some jazz, so it is already set with a somewhat medium to high action and the same gauge as the Variax Acoustic: 0.12 - 0.54 with a wound G string (I'm using Ernie Ball Medium Light Nickel Wound strings: https://www.ernieball.com/guitar-strings/electric-guitar-strings/nickel-wound-custom-gauge-electric-guitar-strings#P02206)... My first impulse is to think that those strings should actually work fine for the Variax acoustic models because playability feels pretty similar between the Variax and the Wildkat as is (obviously the phosphor bronze strings feel more "acoustic" but we're talking modelling here so I'm guessing that as long as the gauge is the same piezos should function in a similar manner so it shouldn't affect the models significantly)... Still maybe there's a better option you can recommend?... Only thing I might add is that on a personal preference note, I like roundwounds strings and I feel like on this project where we're talking about using the Wildkat as an acoustic alternative it might bring it closer to home... But if someone can think of a reason why flatwounds or halfwounds will work better, then by all means I'll appreciate the recommendation. So there you go guys, I'll appreciate your thoughts... Sorry for the long post but it is a fun project so I wanted to be as detailed as possible on the line of though I'm following... This is probably the only scenario I can imagine where doing a Variax 700 Acoustic transplant will make any sense because as I said at the beginning, those are terrific guitars in my opinion so gutting a perfectly good one to transplant it into an electric (where there's obviously going to be some compromise) would be a real waste... And putting them into a real acoustic, well that'll be just ludicrous (ok maybe it might work on one of those old Fender Stratacoustic bodies, but then again the Variax Acoustic body is always a way better guitar than that one). Cheers!