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Line 6 announced at NAMM Summer Session the release of the world's first digital modeling guitar, Variax. Variax enables consumers to access the sounds of more than two-dozen of the most desirable electric and acoustic guitars for recording and performing.
Variax combines Line 6's patent-pending digital modeling technology with a custom-crafted solid-body guitar to reproduce the sounds of a variety of well-known vintage electric and acoustic guitars, in addition to other guitar-related instruments, such as a resonator, banjo, and electric sitar. Modeled variations include solid-body, semi hollowbody, and hollow-body electrics with single-coil and humbucking pickups, as well as, several six- and twelve-string acoustics.
Included with Variax is an A/B footswitch enabling guitarists to switch from playing through a guitar amplifier to a PA system hookup. This feature enables the modeling guitar's flat top acoustic tones to be better reproduced live. All of the sounds are accessible from a simple user interface. The characteristic tone and volume control responses of each electric model are also accurately replicated, creating instant familiarity for guitarists.
"Line 6 is pleased to present our customers with their #1 requested product, a modeling guitar," said Mike Muench, chief executive officer and president, Line 6. "With a strong development team and artist involvement, an entire guitar collection has been assembled into one easy-to-play instrument."
At first glance, Variax appears similar to any conventional electric guitar. However, closer inspection reveals its lack of traditional magnetic pickups under the strings. Its string vibrations are captured through a hexaphonic bridge pickup and are converted directly into digital signals. These signals flow through software algorithms that have captured the interaction of each modeled guitar's pickups, their placement, tone controls, and details of the instrument's physical structure to accurately produce the sonic signature of the original modeled instrument. The signal is then converted back to analog, enabling Variax to be plugged directly into any electric guitar amplifier.
"Variax is the first guitar to break the physical barriers to great tone by digitally modeling, in software, the specific characteristics of magnetic pickup types, tone circuits, different body resonances, string decay, and more," said Marcus Ryle, co-founder and vice president of product development, Line 6. "With just the turn of a knob, the instrument can change instantly from a classic single-coil solid-body electric to a richly detailed acoustic 12-string, opening up many new creative possibilities for musicians playing live or in the studio."
Variax will be available Autumn 2002, with a choice of black, sunburst, and candy-apple red finishes.