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Variax 600 broken sound problem
by vtrifu on 2011-03-28 17:10:53.5070


I own a Variax 600 and I experience with it the folowing problem: Form time to time, not always, it makes this:  - Model: Lester 5

which, I have to say is very very frustrating. The biggest problem is that I cannot trust the guitar in a live performance.

Up to now I used it to record tracks for my album and I always edited out the "bad" part when I got one.

Finaly I sent the guitar  back to the shop where I bought it (justmusic Germany) and they sent it to an autorised Line 6 repairing shop (I suppose). Now I got it back, I changed the strings to new ones "Dean Martin 11-52", and this evening playing with some models (Lester 5) it happened again.

This is very frustrating. Do you have any ideea what can cause this? Maybe it is something ridiculous simple.

Some more info:

I used the power source, not batteries, to power the guitar.

The recording you heard I made using a toneport UX2 in bypass mode with Cubase 5.

The repair shop said they have changed some cables and loaded the latest firmware, so not to much.

In the past the problem happened regardless of the selected model.

What can I say more? Please help.

Victor Trifu

Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by amx05462 on 2011-03-30 01:45:55.0370

dont  know  for  sure  but   it  sounds  like  a bad  tracking  problem.  but then  again it could  be  something as  simple  as  a  loose  output  connection.

just  for  the hell of  it    try  playing  a string   and  wiggle  the    output  cord  and  see if  it causes  this  problem.

  again i could be  wrong  but  the  trs  cable  i have    is very  tight  in its  plug  vs  a normal stereo cable.    same problem could  occur   with  the  cat5  if  its   a loose  conection.

Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by JellyWheat on 2011-03-30 11:16:26.8970

I occasionally experienced an intermittent "sputtering" sound problem similar to yours when I had my Variax 300. [My 700 never gave me any problems.]

Sometimes, there seemed to be a correlation with buildup of static on the scratchguard [or pickplate] and the spluttering sound. If I depressed the model selector knob, the problem would correct itself. Sometimes, if I slapped the scratchguard with the palm of my hand, that would resolve the issue, for a time.

Repeated cleaning of the controls did little good to permanently fix the problem. I suspect it was a "Dreaded Coffin Case Issue", as amx05462 suggested. I'm not handy with electronics, so I never did the coffin case insulation fix, nor did I mount the boards directly to the cavity, as The Great, All-Knowing One suggested I do, at the time. You may want to query some of the archived threads that have been posted on this site in the past for further descriptions of the problem and suggested remedies.

Good luck,


Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by vtrifu on 2011-04-01 18:06:29.0960


Thank you for your input.

amx05462 : I don't undersrand what a "bad tracking problem" is. It' definitly not a loose output connection. As I recall it happens also with another cable on bateries.

I also do't understant what a "car5" is.

JellyWheat : I have searched the forum and I found this thread:

It is obvious that I have exactly the same problem as this guy has. His mp3 file sounds exactly like mine. It seems that a lot of people have this problem.

At the end of this link there is another link: . This guy seems to offer a solution. He described that the problem was a grounding problem. So I have opened the guitar and took some piuctures(attached). I saw that the 2 screws were indeed screwed in wood, but the wood was painted with a metal, semiconductive paint or so. With an ohmmeter I mesured the resistance in the conductive paint= 100-190ohm. I don't know if this is ok. Then  I mesured it between the 2 screws that were screwed in wood through the conductive paint. It was 0 ohm, so I don't see the point in conecting a copper wire from one ground screw to the other.

Newertheless I decided to send the guitar back to the repair shop as they already charged about EUR130 without fixing it, and I asked for money back if they cannot fix it.

So I'm still interested in what you say:

1. What is the "coffin case insulation fix" ?

2. What is the "coffin" anyway, based on my pictures?  It is the place where the electonic(boards) is in, shielded by the metalic case?

3. How can you "mount the boards directly to the cavity"? Would this help?

4. Where can I find the threads you described? I searched "Dreaded Coffin Case Issue", but I came up empty.

Victor Trifu

Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by JellyWheat on 2011-04-01 19:33:10.3030


  1. Type the word"coffin" in the search box at the top pf this page. It will return one reference (a document);
  2. Hit the "more options" button below the respose. Then search for the term in discussions. You will come up with a number of references.

The "metallic case" is, indeed, the coffin assembly. I am not going to respond to your individual questions here, because the information you need has already been published in a number of threads on the site. You will find them if you do the search I suggested, above, and all the information you need about shielding the coffin or eliminating it completely. [I know... you would think a software-centric company would have a more user-friendly Search function, wouldn't you?]

Best of luck.


Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by amx05462 on 2011-04-01 20:55:15.5770

tracking  is a term  that  describes   how the  chip  on the  mainboard    is  picking  up  and  interpreting  the  signal generated   by your  piezo pickups. the connection to the  paint  which is  a shielding  paint  is  just to  connect  it  to ground.   all shielede  guitars  weather  they  be  shielded  with paint  or  metalic  tape  or strips   must be grpunded  for the  shielding to work.  the point  is to keep  random rf  signals  from     a  light bulb a tv  etc  from  being  picked  up   by the  wiring   or  boards  in your  guitar.

  in this  case  measuring  the  resistance  is  feutile.  it  doesnt  matter  what  the  resistance  is  its  a ground. as to the  coffin case  itself.  its  a stamping  that  encases  your  electronics.   simply put...if the  space  between  the board  and  the  metal is too little  you could  get  a grounding  condition.  could be  due to dust   or moisture   getting in   and causing   a  short  from the board   to the case to ground.

  the  remedy  is  to    insulate the case.  the 3 methods  are  electrical tape    liquid  electrical tape  or a non conductive  paint.

m  you can  eliminate the  coffin case. you have to make  some  standoffs  to   screw  it  to.

  unless you  can do this  best  bet    is to insulate  the board.

       i did   scrap the coffin case

  why do they call it  a coffin case.  my guess  would  be  the  board = a body   the  case  = a coffin   and there  burried  in the  guitar........  also the  sole  purpose  of it in my  opinion  was  for  ease  of assembly  on the  manufacturers  part..  ofcourse we all know  this   case  was  eliminated    with  the  vax700.

  why?                 again   were i to take  a  wild guess .   the company  figured  out  it  caused  problems  and  decided  to revert  back to individual  board  instalation.

having  eliminated  the  coffin case. i have  0 problems.  again...   insulate the  case  and  disconnect  the grounds  to the  body.  all that  really does  nothing  in the  first  place.  ive transplanted  mine    and  pick up no rf at all and  i play  2 feet  from an incandescent  light bulb  anf  4  feet  away  from a tv   and 3 feet  from two   big  guitar amps  also the  rest  of the room is full of  electronics.   ive determined  from that   the  shielding  while  a  good  idea  is  really  wasted  effort     with a  variax.

₪฿>♨}...O Great All-Knowing One Whose Eyes Never Sleep and Whose Mind Never Rests...
by JellyWheat on 2011-04-01 21:07:15.4920

uhnnng-GAH... uhnnng-GAH...uhnnng-G-A-A-A-A-H...

You have uttered Inscrutable Wisdoms and Wondersome Mysteries into the ears of mortals who sleep. Let them pay heed when they awaken from their slumbers, and do as the Keeper of the Pearls of Many Colors commands!

He goes as he has come... like wind that passes in the night.


[Fatherless, motherless, born without skin, it comes into the world, says one word, and departs again!]

Re: ₪฿>♨}...O Great All-Knowing One Whose Eyes Never Sleep and Whose Mind Never Rests...
by amx05462 on 2011-04-01 21:15:32.1780

in the  words  of  alfred  hitchcock  ....  good  evening.

   i just  got up a  few  minuts  ago.  the  air  up  here  was  so thin.....  that  i fell  asleep   again.

  it  was  a long  day   on the  mountain top  counting  the  clouds  as they  went  by.

Re: ₪8>*}...Can Excellency blow...
by JellyWheat on 2011-04-02 04:01:36.3950

... steam donuts from his nether regions in the chill air of the mountaintop?



Re: ₪8>*}...Can Excellency blow...
by amx05462 on 2011-04-02 04:13:55.9240

yes    see  attatched  photo

Re: ₪8>D}...I KNEW you could, Excellency!
by JellyWheat on 2011-04-02 05:10:01.8100

... the question is:

"Can a mere mortal be exposed to the Wind That Passes in the Night and live to tell the tale?"


Re: ₪8>D}...I KNEW you could, Excellency!
by amx05462 on 2011-04-02 05:14:53.2410

yes  but  only  if the moon  is full   otherwise  the   wind seems  to linger.

Re: ₪X>z}...I fear, Excellency...
by JellyWheat on 2011-04-02 05:18:12.6920

... that you have imparted too much information for the human mind to process. I must go shower now!


Re: ₪X>z}...I fear, Excellency...
by amx05462 on 2011-04-02 07:25:35.3560

up on the  mountain top we shower  with  rain  water you  know.

Re: ₪8>z}...perhaps so, Excellency...
by JellyWheat on 2011-04-02 08:48:42.5530

... but do you REALLY know where the sound of thunder is coming from as you bathe?


Re: ₪8>z}...perhaps so, Excellency...
by amx05462 on 2011-04-02 09:35:30.1110

yes  i believe  we  discussed  that  earlier  then  you   needed to wash  lol

Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by vtrifu on 2011-04-02 14:53:57.0510

Jelly: Thank you for your indications. I was indeed able to find the described threads which gave me an understanding of the "coffin assamble issue"

amx05462 : Thank you for the detailed explanations about the "coffin issue". So from what you are saying, the problem might be the fact that the electronic boards might come in contact (or very small resistance) with the ground through the "coffin" which is there just as a mounting help for the board. And from your experience loosing it completly would be the best, provided that I can make some standoffs to fixate the boards in. Alternative would be to isolate the metal case from within so that it cannot touch the boards.

Thanks again and if the repair shop is unable to fix it, this will be definitly the first thing to try. Pity I did not check this forum first but it is never to late.

Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by amx05462 on 2011-04-02 15:03:50.0810

yes   thats  about  it.

   your  600  and  my 300   are the  same   accept  for   the  tremelo.     and  if you   remove  all the  pick guard  screws   the  whole  thing  lifts   right  out   . you  have to disconnect   the   bridge  wire connector  and if there  still there  the  two  grounds  which  are  on the  coffin case   with  a wire  plug. 500 and 700  all components are   seperately  mounted.    the  controls    are  held  to the  pick guard  with two nuts.  so its  just a matter  of  standoffs  for the  board  or  just  insulate the  case     the  way  i said.   the  liquid  electrical tape  or   nonconductive  paint is  avalable  at  lowes  or  home  depot  you  might even  find  some  standoffs  in there  hardware  department  in  those  little  drawers  of  parts.

by JellyWheat on 2011-04-02 15:09:33.4140

That's EXACTLY what I was about to say!


Re: (:>*}...Yes...
by amx05462 on 2011-04-02 15:11:32.1530

well good afternoon  sleepy head

Re: (:>*}...Yes...
by amx05462 on 2011-04-02 15:12:24.6030

remember   da  oily  boid  gets da  woim

Re: (8>/}...oily boid? Sounds like something you get...
by JellyWheat on 2011-04-02 17:08:28.8960

... if you don't wash thoroughly! PLEASE, DON'T TAKE MY MIND THERE!!!


Re: (8>/}...oily boid? Sounds like something you get...
by amx05462 on 2011-04-02 17:37:54.5270

well thats  one  interpritation

Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by vtrifu on 2011-04-03 15:43:02.4800

Thanks again amx05462.

When I get my guitar back, if it still has the problem, I will definitly try what you proposed. It will be more dificult for me to find the "home depot" or "lowes" (I had to google that to see what it means:) ) as I live in Hamburg, Germany. But there are a lot of hardware stores here as well, so I will manage.

It is good to know that you can get help when in trouble:)

Victor Trifu

Re: Variax 600 broken sound problem
by amx05462 on 2011-04-03 15:50:50.4710

ok  i didnt  realise  where you were  located  .   any hardware store  should  have that stuff  though.

Re: !(8>*}... Excellency, I believe in German, this is called...
by JellyWheat on 2011-04-03 18:22:04.1810

"GitarreinterneLeiterplatteisolierendenKunststoff-Beschichtunggesellschaft" and - as you point out - is available at any hardware store.

Hell, the Germans probably INVENTED the stuff!


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