Variax transplant


The Line 6 Variax guitars are capable of a huge range of convincing sounds. The only real drawback with these guitars is an uncomfortable and cheap-feeling neck, and unattractive body. This project attempts to fix those problems by transplanting the Variax electronics into a new guitar.



The body shape is based on a Yamaha Pacifica, for no reason other than I had one around to work from. It's a fairly typical Superstrat-style guitar, and is a nice design overall. I had a little trouble deciding on a heel shape. The Pacifica uses a Strat-like square heel, but I was interested in a rounded heel as well. I made templates for each, but ended up going with the square heel shape.

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Surfacing the blank

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Shaping and roundovers

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Routing the electronics cavity

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Neck joint carving

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Bridge and string retainer

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Shielding the pickguard

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Installing the jack

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Test fit

I used my replacement Pacifica neck for the test fit; however, the final neck is a Carvin.


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Body and neck

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The first time I finished this guitar, I used Sherwin Williams conversion varnish over tinted shellac. This was a mistake -- the shellac was much more flexible than the CV, which let to cracking. Still, it looked great at first.

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Severe cracking -- this will not do at all!

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I refinished it in nitrocellulose lacquer.

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It came out great! Now I have extreme versatility, looks, and playability all in the same package.

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