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New Variax 500 owner

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Hello to all!


Have decided to give the modeling guitar a try as I am hoping to maximize my playability and technique by standardizing with one, very versatile instrument.  So....  have purchased a Variax 500 because am not interested in magnetic pickups or tone adjustment on the fly.  For basic value and non-tremolo bridge I chose the 500.


I understand that I will need a Pod or usb dongle to enable the Workbench software which I am interested in.  Have been reading here about Ghost Piezo pickups and their installation.  Really wondering what might benefit the guitar most?  Not sure that locking tuners matter highly since the bridge is a pretty straightforward affair. 


Any recommendations?  I also own a Spider Jam and FBV SB mkII.  Any particular string type play better than nickel wrap.  I have a few sets from 9 to 12s.  Is the Line 6 ethernet type guitar cable of greater value than a standard 1/4" guitar cable?


Thanks for this active forum!

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Congrats on your purchase.  I owned the Variax 500 for about 12 years and really enjoyed it.  


Workbench will allow you to create your own tones and set up some custom tunings.  


I never had to mess with the stock piezo pickups and never experienced any tuning problems.


I ran Ernie Ball Slinky .10-.46 most of the time.  


The VDI cable will allow 2-way communication with a device like the HD500X.  That lets the POD call up guitar models and tunings per preset.  The VDI cable also provides power to the guitar so you don't have to use batteries.

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Be careful!  HD500X will not work with WB on a 500!  It only works with the JTV and STD with WBHD.  I did upgrade my 500 to locking tuners shortly after I got it may years ago.  I love the Planet Waves locking tuners.  That guitar stays in tune better than most of my others.  I also like the hardtail bridge.  I eventually went with the ghost pickups.  I did have intermittent problems with the piezos.  I could bang the bridge with my hand to fix it.  I still run mine on 6 rechargeable NiMh batteries most of the time.

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Thanks for the great replies.  No extras with this guitar.  I can go with AA Eneloop NiMH batteries though and am looking at a Pod XT Line floor pedal set to enable power to the guitar as well as WorkBench software.  I have the FBV SB mkII coming and  maybe I can run the XT and SB in some tandem configuration to get some interesting results with the Spider Jam?  The SB may just be superfluous though.  Any thoughts? 


My goals are to be able to enable all the potentials for the Spider and the Variax 500.  Am I also right in understanding that the V500 can use Firmware Version 1.9?  I'm entirely new to all the Line 6 gear so don't really have a handle on what might be redundant.  Not a lot of information on the Line 6 site as to enabling the variax and short board mkII to work to full potential.  The XT is designed to provide much of the modeling that I already have, and the SB to produce effect and enable Wah.  If the SB can link to the Variax and gateway to Workbench is probably too much to expect.


I probably just bought the wrong board and the XT will deliver all the SB can and more.

Or, maybe they both are necessary to my goals?


Half the fun is the exploration though.  Am very stoked to get this all sorted and see if the Variax can do everything I've read about.


Thanks again and appreciate all the advise and comments.

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Eneloops will work fine in the 500.  Get a couple sets so when your battery dies, you can swap in a new set.  One more thing to be bvery careful of - When changing the battery carrier, do NOT every touch it with the wrong polarity or you will smoke one of the components on the board.  Look carefully and make sure you mate the connector the right way every time!  It won't mate the wrong way but you can make the connection with reverse polarity and blow stuff up.  It has happened to a bunch of folks on this forum.

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