Using the Variax Workbench to “prototype” body, pickup and wiring combinations

As you’ll have seen from the last couple of posts, I’ve been spending some time with my previously neglected Line 6 Variax 500. Last night I stumbled across a use for it that had just never occurred to me before. On my to-do list are a couple of projects, a Tele with either a pair of Filtertrons or P90s and enhancing the Rockmangle to add phase and series/parallel switching options and experiment with different pot values.

Last night I was able to try these out to see if I liked the sound. Not only that, I was able to try each virtual guitar with a number of amps using the Line 6 PodXT Live. I hadn’t really explored the Variax Workbench software much before. Like most people, when first presented with something that offers so much control, you do a couple of weird extreme things (Jazzbox tuned down a 5th with a Dano lipstick bridge pickup anyone?) and then put it to one side.

Aside from filling in a couple of gaps in the standard guitar models that the Variax comes with (a full set of pickup combinations for a Thinline Tele and a P90 Les Paul Goldtop) and being able to play around with a couple of alternate tunings, I hadn’t seen very much use for it.

Here are a screenshot and a recording of the various pickup switching options for combined P90s on a Goldtop, which is the model that sounds closest to my Rockmangle. In order the switching combinations are;

  • In phase, in parallel (the standard mid position),
  • Out of phase, in parallel,
  • Out of phase, in series.

And here are the various Telecaster bridge pickup options I tested.

  • Standard Telecaster bridge,
  • P90,
  • Filtertron.

All recorded in Reaper using the Line 6 PodXT Live – Plexi 100 amp sim.

2 thoughts on “Using the Variax Workbench to “prototype” body, pickup and wiring combinations

    • It certainly is, and it has certainly saved me time and money. I’ve been thinking about a Telecaster with a filtertron in the bridge for a while now, but I’ve been able to find out (for free) that I don’t particularly like the sound of it. They do look cool though. 🙂

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