Line 6 (company)

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Line 6
IndustryAmplification, Musical instruments
Founded1996; 26 years ago (1996)
FounderSusan Wolf, Marcus Ryle and Michel Doidic
Area served
United States, Europe, Japan
ProductsElectric guitars, basses, amplifiers, effects units, USB audio interfaces, guitar/bass wireless systems
ParentYamaha Corporation

Line 6 is a musical instrument and audio equipment manufacturer. Their product lines include electric and acoustic guitars, basses, guitar and bass amplifiers, effects units, USB audio interfaces and guitar/bass wireless systems. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Calabasas, California.

Since December 2013, it has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Yamaha Corporation.

Origin of the company[edit]

Marcus Ryle and Michel Doidic (two former Oberheim designers) co-founded Fast-Forward Designs, where they helped develop several notable pro audio products such as the Alesis ADAT, Quadraverbs and QuadraSynth, and Digidesign SampleCell. As digital signal processing became more and more powerful and affordable during the 1980s, they began developing DSP-based products for guitarists. As Ryle tells the story, the name "Line 6" came about because the phone system at Fast-Forward Designs only had 5 lines. Because the new guitar-related products were developed in secrecy, the receptionist used "Line 6" as a code word of sorts, and paging them for a call on Line 6 meant to stop any guitar or amp-related sounds so that they wouldn't be overheard by other Fast-Forward clients or callers.[1]


Line 6 launched in 1996, with their first digital-modeling guitar amplifier, the AxSys 212, a combo amp using two 12" speakers. This was followed in 1997 by the Flextone.[2] The company underwent a rapid expansion in the early 2000s (decade) due to the success of their Pod product line, which isolated modeling circuitry from the AxSys amplifier.

Digital modeling attempts to recreate the unique characteristics of musical instruments and pro audio gear. Early Line 6 products used digital modeling to emulate the signature tone of a guitar amp/speaker combination. Further development of Line 6's modeling technology has extended the emulation to include numerous guitar amplifier / guitar cabinet combinations, guitar effects, microphones, and even different guitars and other fretted instruments themselves. Digital modeling offers countless virtual combinations of a variety of music gear, but only as emulations, however convincing as they may be.

Though Line 6 began with a modeling guitar amp, their breakthrough product line was arguably the POD guitar processor line and its later variants,[3] but this modeling technology has been the foundation for most of Line 6's products, from guitar amps to software and computer audio interfaces. Line 6 has an active user community, and provides software that allows users to easily download and share patches or device settings for many of Line 6's products.

In early 2008, Line 6 acquired X2 Digital Wireless, who had introduced digital wireless systems for guitar. Further developing this technology, Line 6 developed and introduced a family of digital wireless microphone systems in 2010.[4]

In December 2013, it was confirmed that Line 6 was to be bought by Yamaha Corporation, to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary with the internal management remaining the same.[5]

Line 6 products[edit]

Guitar amplifiers[edit]

A Spider III Amp.

Line 6 produces a number of guitar amplifiers (combos and heads), all featuring amplifier modeling software. In 2004, the Spider II 112 combo amp was released.[6] The Spider III sold over 12,700 units in 2011, the 15-watt Spider IV amp was the best-selling guitar amplifier in America.[7] According to their website, the Spider IV has also been the best-selling 15, 30, 75, and 120 watt amps. The latest model is the Spider V.[8]

Pedalboards/stomp boxes[edit]

Pedal boards range from Pod amp modelers to modeling pedals for delay and other effects, as well as a jam looper. In 2015 Line 6 announced their 'next generation' multi-effects processor/ pedalboard named Helix,[9] similar in function to the Floor Pod and Pod Live series, but with a redesigned interface and body.

Portable recording devices[edit]

The BackTrack and BackTrack+Mic are portable recording devices for electric and acoustic guitars, respectively.

Audio interfaces/effects processors[edit]

The earlier audio interface produced by Line 6, GuitarPort, is replaced by the TonePort line. POD amp modelers are available in a number of versions.

Musical instruments[edit]

Bob Mould performing with a Line 6 Variax acoustic guitar.

Variax is a line of acoustic, bass and electric guitars. Some of the original development team members for the first Variax model introduced in 2002 moved on to other companies, including Damage Control USA and Vox Amplification Ltd.


Line 6 software includes the Variax Workbench, a software application that can interface a home computer with a Variax electric guitar; the Gearbox, tone editing software; and Pod Farm, which contains all of the modeling features of the POD X3 emulated on the computer.

Wireless systems[edit]

In May 2008, Line 6 announced it had acquired X2 Digital Wireless;[citation needed] it now sells wireless systems for guitar, bass, vocals and wind instruments. Spider V 60 MkII, Spider V 120 MkII, Spider V 240 MkII, and Spider V 240HC MkII all feature built in wireless and are compatible with most Line 6 wireless transmitters.[10]

POD product history[edit]

2020 POD Go
2017 Line 6 Helix LT
2015 Line 6 Helix
2013/9 POD HD Pro X
2013/6 POD HD X
2011 POD HD Pro
2010/10 POD HD
2008 POD X3 Pro
2007/9 POD X3, X3 Live
2007/3 POD Floor Plus
2006/9 POD Floor
2004/9 POD XT Live
2003 POD XT Pro
2002/10 Bass POD XT
2002/10 POD XT
2001 POD Pro
2000 Bass POD
2000 POD 2.0
1998 POD

Guitar Hero World Tour[edit]

Line 6 products were placed in Guitar Hero World Tour. Line 6 guitar and bass amplifiers can be found on stage. In the Guitar Hero World Tour "Music Studio", gamers can use a stylized Line 6 POD to create their own songs.[11]


  1. ^ Pro Sound News Europe, The Lineage Of Line 6
  2. ^ Line 6. "Line 6". Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  3. ^ Line 6: Inside The Tone Modeling Factory, Sound On Sound, March 2006
  4. ^ The Lineage Of Line 6, Pro Sound News Europe, May 2010.
  5. ^ Official press release by Line 6
  6. ^ "Line 6 Spider II – 112 Combo Amp Review". Guitarhoo!. July 7, 2004. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  7. ^ "Spider IV 15 – 30". Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Line 6 Products". Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  9. ^ Line 6, 2015. Helix. Available at: [Accessed July 25, 2015].
  10. ^ Line 6. "Line 6". Retrieved 2022-08-11.
  11. ^

External links[edit]