Line 6

New Gear/ New Toy Review: Line 6 Variax Shuriken

First in the Line 6 Artist-Designed line and in conjunction with Stevic MacKay of Twelve Foot Ninja and Yamaha Guitar Development, the Shuriken guitar has an alder body fitted with a 27-inch scale baritone maple neck.

The futuristic design and look of this instrument is presented in a black matte satin finish with 2nd generation Variax electronics offering significantly improved sounding guitar models. There are two pickups: a high-gain Line 6 humbucker and a LR Baggs piezoelectric pickup for the Variax electronics.

The Shuriken has both a standard 1/4 Inch guitar jack and Varimax Digital Interface connector to interface other similarly equipped Line 6 products. A Stratocaster-type five-position switch is used to select the instrument's sound banks.

The Shuriken has many of the electric guitar models also found on the Standard and James Tyler Variax Guitars. There are Les Pauls, Telecasters, Strats, and arch-top Jazz boxes. Resident guitarist Steve Sattler at Music Connection Magazine found the acoustic guitar models surprisingly good-sounding--"better than I've heard on other Variax Guitars I have played."

There are four Variax controls: volume, tone, and two controls for dialing in the Variax Instruments and custom tuning options. The Shuriken comes preloaded with 20 of Stevic McKay's custom tunings.

The Shuriken includes the Variax VDI USB Interface that allows connection to the free, Workbench HD software. The software is useful as an editor/librarian, uploading/downloading sound banks, and creating and saving custom tunings. Line 6's sells for $1,399 MAP.


Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com