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The guitars are upside down so that the positions of the pickup switches in the top row of the diagram correspond visually to the guitar's orientation. In other words, the leftmost pickup position as you are looking at (and holding) the guitar corresponds to the neck pickup.

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Nice poster but according to the info on the variax HD page:


Spank and Lester are 1959

Both Rickenbackers are '66 370

Casino is '64

Jazz box is '54 with P90 pickups

Martin D28/12 is '70

Martin D28 is '59

The Danelectro becomes 1999 Jerry Jones Shorthorn

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Hi jeff,


It's quite a bit of work, so perhaps somebody else could do it. The reason it's done this way is that the original Variax sheet was done this way, so there was less to change. When I first saw the Variax one it seemed odd to me too, but I definitely got used to it so that now it looks quite normal. One of the great advantages to doing it this way is that most of us are right-handed. That means that the neck is going to the left when I'm holding the guitar: Just like in the pictures. Therefore, I can look at the picture, and instanly know where to put the pickup selector. With all the guitars turned around, the pickup selector wouldn't match the orientation of the guitar, unless we also swapped the left-to-right order of the guitars but if we did that, I'd have to rotate the image in my mind every time I was trying to set the selector switch correctly.


I don't know if that made sense, but hopefully. :)





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when the sheet is layed on the table in front of you... you are looking at the guitars upside down... which in turn becomes the right way... as if you were holding it

and the switch is also the right way then... it only looks wrong when viewing it upright of mounted to a wall...

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  • 6 months later...

Thanks, derums. Very helpful.


A suggestion:


I think the numbering of the pickup positions should be reversed. The JTV numbering uses Position 1 for the Bridge position and then going to Position 5 for the Neck position. The image of the pickup selector switch in your chart is correct, given the player's top-side view of the switch; the numbers should be reversed. In other words, the left-most column header should show number 5, with the image showing the switch pointing up to the top - the Low-E string side - of the guitar. The right-most column header should show number 1, with the image showing the switch pointing down to the bottom - the High-E string side - of the guitar.


What do you think?

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  • 7 years later...

Best I can find is this Variax Bass Pilot's Handbook.

I got it from Line 6 Legacy Products/Variax Bass 700  

But I don't remember some of the images being so blurred like this PDF in my original handbook.

I'm guessing you didn't get the pilots handbook with your recent acquisition.

Hope this helps a little.

Variax Bass Manual ( Rev A ).pdf

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I was hoping for that years ago also but never found one. I checked all my bass forums before posting here and didn't find a thing - not even at the Official Variax Bass Club at Talk - no help from Google either. Guess you'll have to make your own...

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I came across this, which is better and easier to reference than thumbing through the handbook.



Pair Name

Green Bank

Red Bank


1961 Fender Jazz

1960 Fender Jazz (flat-wound strings)


2004 Fender Deluxe Jazz

1961 Fender Jazz Fretless


1963 Precision Bass

1958 Precision Bass (flat-wound strings)


1977 Musicman Stingray

2003 Modulus Flea


1971 Rickenbacker 4001

1963 Rickenbacker 4001 (flat-wound strings)


1966 Danelectro Longhorn

1963 Hofner 500/1 (flat-wound strings)


1963 Gibson Thunderbird

1966 Gibson EB2D (flat-wound strings)


2002 MTD 535

2003 Warwick Thumb


1978 Alembic Long Scale

1984 Steinberger XL2

8 & 12

1968 Hagström H8

1994 Hamer B12A


Tacoma Thunderchief

Kay M1 Double Bass


Mini Moog

Modern Bass Synth


I hope that it helps someone.

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