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rodgerraino

Looking for resources about making guitar mods

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Posted (edited)

While I've had my Variax for many years, my use of Workbench HD has generally been for minor stuff like making a 12-string version of an existing model or setting up Nashville Tuning.

 

Now (mostly stuck at home) I'd like to explore more ambitious mods but am pretty ignorant about making changes to guitar electronics, either real world or modeled. Can anyone recommend any good resources (book, video, websites, whatever) to get a better understanding of what is even possible, much less wise? I spent about an hour googling but the results were swamped with listings of places that perform guitar mods, but very little about any potential mods themselves.

 

Thanks for any advice

 

EDIT:

Just to clarify: This is not about physically modifying the guitar. I'm only looking to change things using Workbench HD

Edited by rodgerraino
clarification

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This is not your normal guitar with passive electronics. Should not be attempted without significant experience at

this sort of thing. Done my share of mods here, so I know. Good staring point would be the Forum Knowledge Base here.

 

Line 6 does not support mods that alter the function of the guitar. Should you get in over your head, and the guitar sent

to me here at Line 6, I would be limited in what they would allow me to do to it here.

 

Just want you to know what's involved before you go diving in. Some general guitar aspect will apply, after that you're in

a whole other world of active electronics for guitars. I can't walk you through it, but I can point out the pitfalls of doing mods on these.

 

Info on guitar mods, lots. Info on mods for these,... different story. And not all the advice is good. Some here do know their stuff though.

 

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3 hours ago, psarkissian said:

This is not your normal guitar with passive electronics. Should not be attempted without significant experience at

this sort of thing. Done my share of mods here, so I know. Good staring point would be the Forum Knowledge Base here.

 

Line 6 does not support mods that alter the function of the guitar. Should you get in over your head, and the guitar sent

to me here at Line 6, I would be limited in what they would allow me to do to it here.

 

Just want you to know what's involved before you go diving in. Some general guitar aspect will apply, after that you're in

a whole other world of active electronics for guitars. I can't walk you through it, but I can point out the pitfalls of doing mods on these.

 

Info on guitar mods, lots. Info on mods for these,... different story. And not all the advice is good. Some here do know their stuff though.

 

 

Thanks for the reply. My initial post apparently was kinda ambiguous.

 

I don't want to do anything to the physical guitar. I just want to explore making changes using Workbench HD to the modeled guitars but am overwhelmed because there are a large number of different possibilities and I'm ignorant about 99.99% of them. As an example there are 30+ pickup choices each with options for position, angle, level, wiring & polarity. Multiply that by all the other settings that can be changed and it gets hard to sort through. So I'm looking for resources that can help me get my head around all the various possibilities and provide advice on what changes have what effect.

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There should be some good tips on that in the manual. There's

this Forum and also a Facebook group for Vaiax users to consider.

From Facebook, people post links to other resources.

 

With Workbench HD, in many ways, it's like building a guitar room "almost" scratch.

Lots of time means lots of stuff to explore.  Enjoy the explorations.

 

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On 8/14/2020 at 2:16 PM, rodgerraino said:

 

Thanks for the reply. My initial post apparently was kinda ambiguous.

 

I don't want to do anything to the physical guitar. I just want to explore making changes using Workbench HD to the modeled guitars but am overwhelmed because there are a large number of different possibilities and I'm ignorant about 99.99% of them. As an example there are 30+ pickup choices each with options for position, angle, level, wiring & polarity. Multiply that by all the other settings that can be changed and it gets hard to sort through. So I'm looking for resources that can help me get my head around all the various possibilities and provide advice on what changes have what effect.

There is only one rule- use your ears! If you have some Variax models you like, keep those. Then start experimenting with different bodies, pickups, all the possible changes and listen. There is no right or wrong, and everyone will have their own preferences on what sounds good. Have fun, that's the beauty of a Variax- no soldering necessary.

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Totally appreciate and endorse the 'use your ears' advice.

 

I spent some quality time with google & Jack Daniels and came across a few resources like I'm looking for that that seem useful. If folks know of similar stuff please post it.

 

This has a good overview of the various "flavors" of pickups along with info on placement and wiring

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/best-guitar-pickups/

 

This site gets more granular about different pickups

https://www.stringjoy.com/types-of-guitar-pickups-explained-compared/

 

I haven't explored this site beyond a very quick look. Seems like it could be either really useful or totally bogus

http://zerocapcable.com/?page_id=400

 

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On interesting thing that affects the sound more than you wold think is the resistance and capaitance of the pots. I haven't really messed with them myself but I remember being surprised by how much it affected the sound when I played with them.

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On 8/19/2020 at 8:44 AM, brue58ski said:

On interesting thing that affects the sound more than you wold think is the resistance and capaitance of the pots. I haven't really messed with them myself but I remember being surprised by how much it affected the sound when I played with them.

 

Thanks for the tip. Just played with it a bit and it does have more of an impact than I'd anticipated. I'll need to spend some time exploring how it works.

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I have a Standard. Really only two things I'm dissatisfied with.

1) the palm muting.i find modeled muting buzzy and I can't get a good tight mute. Using the magnetic PU helps. I ordered a DiMarzio pro track and am going to swap out the bridge Pu.

 

2) no belly cut. Not the biggest deal, but when I go back to a more contoured guitar it's so much more comfortable. Not a lot of space to rout the body, and I'm not confident enough in my finish skills to repaint it, so going to just let it be.

 

Altogether, those are pretty minor complaints, and overall happy with the guitar.

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Pick up swaps,...

1) No active pick-ups, voltage is not compatible with the variax system.

2) Pick-up DCR spec should be between 6k to 8k Ohms, or the EQ tone will sound different.

Keep the DCR in that range.

 

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Here are some videos I found useful from a guy named Chad Huskey. Unlike the stuff above these aren't trying to discuss a range of possibilities, but are focused making the specific guitar sounds that Chad wants. But what's really useful is he explains his thought & decision making process - so you get to see his entire approach.

 

This first one is really a video on how to use Workbench HD, but over the course of it he drops lots of bits of how & why about the mods themselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tikw-drll-Q

 

These next two videos cover custom banks he's built for ''semis' and 'strats' and he has kindly included links so we can download these banks.

Semi

Strat

 

 

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I have a pdf file called Variax Editor Functions - Advanced which was created for the old Variax but everything in it applies. I don't know how to get it to you unless you want to post your own email here. (I wouldn't).  It's too big to attach here. Isn't allowed. It doesn't seem to be possible to PM people anymore. I've looked and web page it used to be on is gone.

 

 

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