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gerhartley

Acoustic Variax 700 with electric modeling?

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I recently picked up a Variax 700 acoustic on the used market. I'm new to this forum, (and I realize these guitars have been out of production for nearly a decade) but I wondered if anyone else out there wished there was an electric model available for the Acoustic 700. I know most people will reply with "just buy an electric Variax and you'll have all the acoustic and electric models you need"... I've owned 3 of the older Variax models in the past - including a 300, 500, and 700, but I'm now more interested in doing acoustic gigs, with the occasional need for electric tones. I really like the look of the acoustic 700, and I'm satisfied with the acoustic models and features... I just really think it would have been smart for Line 6 to include at least one single model of a Les Paul, or a Strat for acoustic players who may sporadically need an electric tone for a solo, or distorted passage.  Am I alone in wishing there was at least a single "electric" guitar model on the acoustic?

 

One of the exciting things about the Variax for me from day one, was the fact that you could play a convincing acoustic model on what appeared to be an electric guitar!  It blew my mind.  Why not flip the equation and make it possible to play a convincing electric guitar solo on what appears to be a typical acoustic guitar!?  I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'd love it even more if someone from Line 6 would say that it's possible to add an electric guitar model via a software patch to my legacy Acoustic 700!!  :)

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Don’t hold your breath.  Perhaps boilerplate Line6 response but what you seek is something, if technically possible, would be strictly hobbyists and/or clever Chimps willing to test/hack Variax firmware.  Roland VG forum might find some folks who’ve accomplished this feat?  I dunno….

 

The 500 contains a few very acceptable steel string acoustic models along with several favorite electrics I’ve tweaked over the years.  Problem is, playing it on stage using the acoustic models it sounds wonderful yet seems to confuse people.  Even sound folks and production staff often fail to understand what’s what.  

 

I’m seriously considering a realistic graphic facade and/or pick guard to attach to one of my 500’s.  At a glance from a distance it can look more like an acoustic cutaway guitar.  The Tacoma Kahuna is a potential donor for this graphic.  Maybe even a Line6 Variax Acoustic photo printed to proper scale to cover the front of the 500?  

 

Although hacking some electric models into Acoustic 700 might be useful it would likely suffer some difficulty playing electric parts using a wound 3rd (G) string as it appears the Variax Acoustic bridge pieces aren't adjustable for plain string intonation.  

 

At least with the electric Variax guitars you can adjust for using either plain or wound 3rd string.  But again, they do look like an electric guitar and that seems to cause confusion for some people.  Even if it sounds like the best ever acoustic guitar tone amplified live.  


 

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Welcome to the forum.

 

I'm glad you brought this up. I am with you, I like the acoustic look and the larger variety of acoustic voices on the AC700, but would LOVE to be able to switch to an electric sound. I've tried distortion pedals and overdrives to see if I couldn't get something acceptable, to no avail. 

 

I've thought about installing an electric guitar pickup (sound hole) and running a separate jack for it. I'm still weighing whether or not it just makes more sense to have a Strat on stage. Finding a hack to do it with no alterations would be ideal though.

 

 

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Thanks guys. Sorry for the delayed response. I've had a crazy work schedule... I appreciate both of your insights and comments/suggestions. I've strung my 700 with heavier electric strings (with a plain 3rd G). It makes those impossible bends on a wound 3rd string work on an acoustic! The tone might be slightly different on that string, but I don't notice it and the intonation seems to work just fine!  I like the idea of a graphic facade on your 500 jerseyboy. If you do get around to doing that, PLEASE let me know!!  I'd love to see how it turns out.

 

I thought about buying a natural finish 700 and adding a graphic sound hole. It would look pretty sweet. I make a quick mock up of it and it looks convincing!  haha

 

Is there anybody on here that would know anything about a hack to make my electric dream possible with this acoustic 700 axe??

Vax700graphic.jpg

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I saw the picture before I read the post, and thought that was a real thing! I thought, "I gotta have one of those!" Take note Line6. 

 

With the new Fender Acoustisonic capable of organic sounding acoustic tones AND authentic electric capability, I might be switching guitars someday...

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Love it man!  It may take all my remaining years on earth but someday I’ll fabricate a front dress plate or two for an old 500.  

 

Visual stimuli has always been important for live stage but even more so in our graphic image rich modern world we live.  

 

Doing live country gig on Variax 500 recently I knew there'd be good natured ribbing by some old duffers so I dressed 501 up/down a bit.  The nickname "Wilford" (as in Brimley) was immediately thrown out and kinda stuck...

 

Biggest surprise was how many fair ladies in the room loved it!  

 

IMG_7693.jpg

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2 hours ago, Bob2point0 said:

I saw the picture before I read the post, and thought that was a real thing! I thought, "I gotta have one of those!" Take note Line6. 

 

With the new Fender Acoustisonic capable of organic sounding acoustic tones AND authentic electric capability, I might be switching guitars someday...

Haha! Glad you had that reaction. I think it looks awesome too. Have you tried the Acoustisonic yet?  I would be all over that if it was a thousand dollars cheaper! I still love that I can get a 12 string mixed in with some great sounding acoustic models on my Variax acoustic. Again. I’m just missing a single electric model. 

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2 hours ago, jerseyboy said:

Love it man!  It may take all my remaining years on earth but someday I’ll fabricate a front dress plate or two for an old 500.  

 

Visual stimuli has always been important for live stage but even more so in our graphic image rich modern world we live.  

 

Doing live country gig on Variax 500 recently I knew there'd be good natured ribbing by some old duffers so I dressed 501 up/down a bit.  The nickname "Wilford" (as in Brimley) was immediately thrown out and kinda stuck...

 

Biggest surprise was how many fair ladies in the room loved it!  

 

IMG_7693.jpg

Amen to the visual stimuli comment! That’s the main reason for my original post/question. Fortunately we live in an age where some convincing graphics can be utilized. Again, if and when you do it... I’d love to see what you come up with. 

 

Love the look of Wilford!  LOL. That’s one sexy looking fringe. Perfect for some countrified picking!  :-)

 

 

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3 minutes ago, gerhartley said:

Haha! Glad you had that reaction. I think it looks awesome too. Have you tried the Acoustisonic yet?  I would be all over that if it was a thousand dollars cheaper! I still love that I can get a 12 string mixed in with some great sounding acoustic models on my Variax acoustic. Again. I’m just missing a single electric model. 

 

I've not played the Acoustisonic yet, but the video demos I've seen are really impressive. It is a little pricey for me, but new ideas usually are when they first come out. I've added it to my reverb.com watch list so if one comes up used, or an open box/scratch-and-dent comes up with an online store (that's how I got my awesome Blueshawk for 60% off) I may snatch it up.

 

I have found that I'm not as pleased with either of the 12 string models on my VAX700 as I am with the Dread setting on a chorus pedal. I may need to spend more time EQing it or put it through the Workbench software. I'm with you though, a patch to add an electric model would be ideal, and probably take the Acoustisonic off of the wish list for me. 

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This is slightly off topic, but since you guys have engaged with me here, I wanted to ask another question regarding my Acoustic 700.

(Did a quick search on the forums and didn't find an answer)

 

I have an old XTLive that still works very well. Can it control and switch the guitar models on my Acoustic 700 with the RJ45 cable, the same way it does on the 300 or 500 Variaxes? Do either of you have experience with that?

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Normally don’t care to comment on something I don’t have 1st hand experience but I’m surfing here and can say I previously used XT Live to recall 500/700 electric models via presets/patches.  

 

I see no reason why that function wouldn’t work same for Acoustic 700.  But, I don’t own or operate Acoustic 700….

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I've played around with it a bit and the XT Live does not react in the same was as my 300. With my 300 I can recall whatever guitar models are saved to a certain patch and they consistently recall. Not so with the AC700... after saving a present and switching to another, the guitar models are jumbled - sitar or banjo might appear where I was hoping for a sweet Jumbo or 12string model.  Disappointing. I was really hoping to utilize the pedal for live foot switching between 12 string, dreadnought and alternate tunings... Bummer!

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Well that is a bummer!  Thanks for the knowledge though.  

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UPDATE: Good news!! after playing around with the XTLive and thinking there has to be something wrong... (else why even have a RJ45 on the guitar!) I finally found the problem. Each patch has a setting waaaaayyy at the end of the menu stream to turn on "Control" of the Variax Acoustic.  Once I found that setting I was able to dial in the model I want to use and save it with the entire patch.  Voila!!!

 

Now I can accomplish what I originally intended to do. I was discouraged for a while - but my persistence paid off. Now I can have that acoustic 12 string intro, and with my foot change the patch and the guitar model simultaneously, to enter overdriven acoustic heaven!  LOL 

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