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Adding pickups to a variax bass?


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Wife and I are planning to move overseas next year.  Our sponsors are telling us to bring NOTHING, and to buy locally everything we need once we get our house in order.  BUT I have 20+ instruments and amps that I use regularly and hope to use playing in the local music scene, which is VERY active with big name people showing up to jam in local bars and clubs after their big time gigs elsewhere in the country.


I'm primarily a bassist but have played lead when no other better player was available.  In order to NOT ship my expensive/vintage guitars, I just bought a JTV-59.  I'd LIKE to do the same for my basses but Variax basses are a different beast.  I've read on various online sources that imply the piezos on the Variax basses are prone to failure.  Replacement parts for the basses are pretty much unavailable.  I've been told without "normal" PUs the 700 bass would be a brick if the piezos ever fail.


How difficult/expensive would it be to fit a Variax 700 with regular pickups in addition to the modeling electronics?    If that option isn't an outrageous price, it MIGHT be an option.  Otherwise, I'm stuck with taking one of my vintage basses, which I'm loath to do.


Any sources or ideas?


Stephen Wilson

Pensacola, FL



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Would have to run the magnetic pick-up on a separate line from the Variax electronics. And have to steer clear of

Variax cabling when routing out the pocket for the magnetic  pick-up. Would have to be a luthier in your area with

experience with our product.


Magnetic field pulling on strings can cause warbling in the sound when in model mode, so pick-up height

adjust has to be spot on.


Mod to our product would be an unsupported modification. So if something goes wrong and is sent to to us,

chances are we would have to sent it back untouched.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Routing out a space for the magnetic pick will change the tone color as it will affect the wood density

and so affect the acoustics of the body and its EQ tone on the Models.


Wiring has to be separate, on a separate output not on the Variax jack plate, and isolated from the Variax circuitry.

The ground plane on the Variax circuitry chassis must not be altered or the Models won't work (seen this on a number

modification attempts that did not end well).


***Modification to Line 6 products that have an affect on its function are considered unsupported modifications.

So make certain there is no affect on Variax functions. Because if something were to go wrong and it ends up on my bench,

there is 50/50 chance I'd have to return it untouched.


And I don't know policy regarding an authorized service center doing such mods outside of authorized servicing of our product.

Don't know if it would make trouble for them with our service center policy.


So be aware.


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  • 1 month later...

Found a surface mounted pick up for bass from Roland:  This gadget doesn't require any routing or drilling and has capability to blend between a normal bass signal to a 1/4" cable jack and data to one of their pedals.  None available at Roland dealers so will have to measure my 700 Bass to guestimate if/how it would fit before ordering.  (They start at $187-ish.)  Appears this may solve the problem.




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