Line 6 Variax 700 Bass

Year: 2005?
Finish: Black
Origin: Korea
Price Paid: $600
Acquired: 2011
Mods: Schaller straplocks
Still owned: Yes

The Story:
I love my Variax 500 guitar, and the convenience and pure digital signal path when running through a POD via a Variax jack led me to get the bass model. It does most of the same things as the guitar, but for four-strings — six flavors of Fender, plus Rickenbacker, Steinberger, Gibson, uprights, roundwound & flatwounds, even some synth toys. Being a Beatles fan, I’ve been lusting after a Hofner violin bass for years, but they are fragile and limited. The Variax model based on the Hofner got high praise, so to be able to have that — AND Flea’s Modulus bass, AND a Stingray, AND a freakin’ 8-string — well, it was worth selling another bass to gain what is basically 20 more in one instrument.

I broke my long-standing rule of “no sunburst, no black” for this bass. I think sunburst and black finishes are totally cliched and I swore never to support either if I could help it. But the Variax was only made in those two finishes, and its functionality is more important than my grudge. So, this should tell you a) how good this bass is and b) how much I hate sunburst finishes. The moto pickguard makes the black less boring anyway.

The neck width and shape is perfect for me, sort of the ultimate Fender Jazz feel; the body is a nice hybrid of a P-bass and a Music Man; the thumbrest (which I prefer using, and miss on many modern basses) is perfectly placed and scooped so it doesn’t get in the way for aggressive pick playing. It took me a little while to figure out how to change the digital models (it’s a color-changing LED) but once you get it dialed in, it’s super easy. I put half-wounds on it purely for the feel and it’s now extremely comfortable. I love playing it.