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Variax Bass 700 - Reset?

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Hi Gang.


I'm a luthier when I'm not doing my first job of concert sound and teching.  So a few months back, I successfully, and rather easily, transplanted all the electronics out of my tick-blood-red Variax 300 guitar and put in into a colorshift Strat (see the pic).  It is absolutely my favorite guitar.


Upon that success, I picked up a Variax 700 bass and am working on the same kind of project - putting the electronics into my own build (see the cat bass).  This time, in addition to separating the bridge and cat5/TRS jack's cables from the "coffin" electronics while creating the design, I had to take the motherboard and controls circuit out of the coffin as well to create a new layout in the bass body.  It's just a matter of unplugging a few ribbon and multipin cables and reattaching.  Well, it should be ....


I have everything back together but I cannot get the bass to come to life.  Instead, when it powers up, the LED light (which is either normally red or green displaying which A/B model you've selected per bass), is just a flashing red (3x per second approximately).  I have disconnected and reconnected everything, several times, blowing out parts and checking everything thrice as I go, and no progress.  In reading these threads, someone suggested I plug the bass into the Monkey and reinitialize.  I tried this, but the bass is invisible to the Line6 software (where my 300 shows up immediately).


My next step was to start a ticket with Line6.  I asked them how to reinitialize, or what the blinking LED code may be, or which part of the circuitry (I/O, tone controls, motherboard, bridge) is the likely culprit ... and to please sell me a replacement part.  Naturally, their response was that I have to send this in for troubleshooting, which of course will be my LAST resort.


Can anyone help me troubleshoot this?  All insights are welcomed!




Famous Guitar Replicas



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Is it still in the coffin assembly? If not, there could be a grounding problem.


Not showing up on Monkey for an update or re-Flash, could be computer OS or Monkey mis-match.

Double check the downloads page on the Line 6 Support link. Make certain you are using a Variax

Interface Device.


Blinking 3 times,... if it's locked in a mode, or the encoder needs calibration, it will have to be sent to Line 6.

Bear in mind, with this bass guitar in the picture,... Line 6 does not support modifications to its product on this

level to this extent. It would require a support ticket and sent in for evaluation by the technician to see if it's fixable.

Have to ascertain and confirm whether it's a hardware or software problem, and whether it's fixable.


BTW, nice kitty cat.


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Thanks about the cat!  And thanks for your reply.


No, it is no longer in the coffin.  And I thought about an incomplete ground somewhere.  Take a look a the picture attached.  I did connect the grounds from the piezo saddles and the I/O assembly to the remainder of the coffin on which the motherboard is still screwed on.  Based on my wiring, that does mean it's possible that there's a missing ground connection going to the controls circuitry, as those are now separated from the coffin.  Is there a suitable place I can connect a ground on that circuit board to see if that is the issue? 


I'm relatively certain this has to be a hardware issue, as the bass worked PURRRFECTLY before removing it from its original Line6 body and coffin.  Monkey, Updater and everything on the power DI were functioning per design.  


I bet it's a ground .... 


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" No, it is no longer in the coffin."--- it's part of the problem right there.

It doesn't connect to Monkey and it does the 3-blink,... not good. If the pot/encoder

controls need calibrating, then that can only be done here at Line 6.


Splice job on the connector to the lower right? Double not good.

Clean splice job though.


Looking like both a firmware problem's inability to deal with the hardware problem.

And that's part of the problem with doing transplants. Not all transplants are created equal,

they each have their quirks. 


Only our Variax Bass tech here at Line 6 would be able to evaluate this one.


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A few corrections:


- It's not doing a "3-blink."  Rather, it's doing a continuous blink, at the rate of 3 times per second.

- There are absolutely no splices in the wiring.  It is all the original connectors, all disconnected and reconnected properly.  As I say, I'm a luthier and an audio technician.  This is the first item that's given me any sort of problems all year.  The only modification made was to remove parts from the coffin.  There is no physical reason for the failure.


There is no hard-reset procedure that I can do at my end?  Like, "Hold down this knob, set the encoder to this position, plug in the TRS and do such-and-such after 20 seconds"?



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"There is no physical reason for the failure."--- Removing it from the coffin may

have left it open to outside noise, not all the shielding is in place. 


-If the pots/encoder need calibrating Line 6 is the only one with the software tools 

to do such calibrations. 


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Well, what is more cost-effective?  To send back my parts and have Line6 calibrate/repair it, or simply to have Line6 sell me a new PCB Assembly?  I have an open ticket with Line6 right now.  They quoted $90/hour for them just to look at the parts.  That naturally does not include shipping, bench work or any replacement parts needed.  But, they also quoted me $90 just for the mainboard.  I asked them to quote me a price for a full replacement PCB coffin.

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  • 6 months later...

So, this is a long update to this thread.  Perhaps this will give you a bit more info on how I might be able to get this coffin working again:


I went out and bought another used 700 Bass.  Transplanted those electronics and into my new body and it works just fine. SO, I put the old electronics into the "new" Bass 700.  This particular bass came with the older-style Line 6 Power Supply/DI - the one that lets you set mic or line level out for the XLR and also has the ground lift switch.  When I cabled up the "new" bass containing the "old" electronics, the bass powered up just fine!  No flashing light!  A solid green!  And, I have output again (haven't strung it back up yet, but when I tap the piezo saddles, I have sound and all the tone/vol/blend controls are doing what they're supposed to be doing.


With that, I went to plug this into my USB interface and reflash the bass with Line 6 Monkey.  When I attach, however, while I have the solid green light towards the USB side, the LED towards the Cat6 cable flashes red and Monkey does not detect the bass.  I tried this my three functional computer platforms, and it's all the same ... while the same setup sees the my Variax 300 guitar and the replacement coffin.


I've been reading up on threads here but I'm not seeing how there may be a way to get Monkey to communicate with the bass in the situation.  Can you update me please?




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On 6/24/2019 at 10:26 PM, Growlyman said:

while I have the solid green light towards the USB side, the LED towards the Cat6 cable flashes red and Monkey does not detect the bass. 

This sounds to me like a MIDI connection problem, which are lines 3,6,7,8 on the Cat6, according to e.g.

That USB dongle communicates with Variax basically using MIDI protocol.

Since Cat6 and dongle work elsewhere, continuity between those lines and that PCB are suspect.

Edited by blekenbleu
clarification of suspect
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