#1
Hey guys, pretty soon I'm going to be buying a new axe, something to suit my needs well in a budget of 500-600 USD. I play anything from jazz, all the way up to rock, the heaviest I go is usually around Nirvana/Foo Fighters if that's a good example? Other influences are Led Zeppelin, RHCP, GnR, Hendrix, Clapton, Django Reinhardt etc. This being the case I was looking at some hollowbodies so I could get a better jazz sound, yet dial in some dirt and still get a screaming rock and roll machine. I was mainly looking at LP or 335 style guitars. My question is, what would you guys recommend in that range. I had my eyes on the Agile 3100, Epi tribute, Epi LP florentine, and Epi 335's and Dots. I don't have enough knowledge and experience to decide on my own, but I know many of you out there do. Thanks
#2
Look into a good HSS strat. A bigger part of your sound however will be your amp. So what amp do you currently have?
ESP E-II Horizon FR
Gibson Flying V HET SET
ESP Eclipse II FM JB/Jazz
ESP M-II Deluxe EMG 81/SA
Marshall JCM2000 DSL/ JCM800 1960a cab
Mesa Mark V 25
#3
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#5
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#6
dannyalcatraz
Well here's where you're gonna scoff and leave I'm running a multi-fx pedal into a PA system because the only amp I have is my first line 6 spider something or the other. The pedal also has many amp models so im getting by with it. I really would like to upgrade the guitar first because playing jazz and blues on a black Ibanez that's meant for high gain stuff which i dont really play, bugs me. If there was a way i could get an decent amp and guitar for around 600 maybe, that would be a dream come true. Of course the amp would have to be a combo, and the guitar would probably be sub-par, but if it's worth it that might be the best option.
#7
dannyalcatraz
Also, I wanted to throw some more options into the mix to see if you could eliminate them. So the above listed ones plus(vs.??)Prs single cut models and the vintage v100. I'm sort of leaning toward Agile and Vintage v100 and trying to battle it out between the two. I know an HSS strat would be versatile but I just can't seem to pull myself away from LP's man!
#8
I hear good things about Vintage, but nothing that really stands out. Agile has a LOT of fans here on UG. I see them as kind of an "entry-level" analog of Carvin's.

Now, I'm not the kind of guy to scoff & leave at the first signs of trouble...but your amp situation is less than ideal. But I sympathize: I have 30+ guitars and a Fender HRD combo amp. For YEARS, I've been bitching about how that amp- which I love otherwise- doesn't do metal well. So before Christmas, I put down a deposit on an Orange TH30. I have 1 payment to go, then a cab to buy.

Right tool for the job always makes the job easier.

For certain genres of music, using an MFX pedal with a Spider is like playing a computer game on hard mode.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#9
I had the Vintage V100 Lemon Drop and it sounded nice enough(Wilkinson pickups) but was particularly heavy and the neck was much thinner than your average LP.PRS Single Cut is a nice guitar.
I don't know about Agile as i'm in the UK.
For jazz i play my LP more than my Sheraton.You don't necessarily need a hollow body.
Amp is important though.I play through a Fender Princeton mainly which sounds great.
#10
dannyalcatraz
Well I don't use it anymore I run straight from the pedal to a PA(speakers). So I don't know if I should split the budget and look into amps too or just get a better guitar, develop my skill, and get an amp later. Also, what would you recommend from a prs, agile, and vintage
#11
I mostly run a Multi-FX (I have several) into a full-range speaker cabinet very much like a PA-type system. I've got a bunch of tube amps as well, but the Multi-FX has been my go-to gig-rig for quite a while now, and I really don't see a return to the tube amps and I don't view tubes as an upgrade.

I'm also one of the Agile fans (I'm at five and counting). Four of mine are LP types with Floyds, and one is a 3100. The 3100 is an excellent guitar and highly recommended, but be prepared for them to be heavy. My favorite Agile is the AL-3200, which looks exactly like the 3100 on the face, but which is actually a neck-through guitar with a Gibson Axcess-style neck heel (smoothed) and a tummy cut. Here's one from the back (this particular one has a Floyd as well):



This guitar, with an ebony fretboard, jumbo hand-filed frets, real MOP/abalone inlays, multi-layer binding on body and headstock, single-layer binding on the neck, can easily stand toe-to-toe with anything the G company produces. I also have a Gibson Axcess Custom, new price around $4K for comparison. The Axcess is much lighter; the body is chambered and noticeably thinner than a standard LP, but I really *like* the weight, sustain and sound of the Agile.

The current series AL3200MCC run about $499 plus case plus shipping, but come with a full-thickness maple cap, an upgraded (Graphtech) bridge with string saver saddles, tusq nut and a compound radius (12" - 16") fretboard. http://www.rondomusic.com/Agile_AL-3200MCC_Black_Flame_Wide.html
Last edited by dspellman at Jan 17, 2017,
#12
eragon1452

Patience is your friend. Don't split your budget, buy one piece of gear now, then the other. Paradoxically, it will be a faster path to decent gear, because you won't be buying stuff you'll "outgrow" as a player.

Don't get me wrong, though: you CAN build a decent sounding rig for $500 or so...if you're willing to buy used.. That way, you can get good gear for a song, sometimes. It just may not be gear that calls to you, if you know what I mean.

For examples, see here:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1718912
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#13
There is nothing inherently wrong with your setup, lots of guys use a mFX pedal into a PA/active monitors/speakers so if it works for you go for it. I used to have a V100 tobacco burst distressed finish that I bought used, Pluses - I found it much lighter than the Epiphone equivalent, the neck was comfortable and reasonably thin. Minuses - the pickups sucked, but to be fair the person I bought it from has swapped them out and the pickups they put in were crap, I through some EMGs I had lying around in and problem fixed. The only real issue I had with it - and why I don't have it anymore - is the frets, the bottom side of the neck had sharp fret edges that made playing uncomfortable so I traded it for something else.
#14
dspellman

So how are the pickups? Because my plan for a long time was get a 3100 and spend the rest of the money on decent pickups for a killer guitar. I knew the 3200 was inherently better but I thought if the pickups were trash there would be no point you know? And your vote is for the 3200 btw? Out of the choices?
#17
Best guitar for my sound?





<*ducks, runs, giggling all the way*>
Last edited by dspellman at Feb 2, 2017,
#18
would you consider another option. you might want to take a look at an SG style guitar as a bit of a compromise. I have a Vintage SG and honestly find it to be better than the Epiphone version. I will say that an HSS strat style would be a better choice to cover your bases.
#19
Quote by eragon1452
dspellman

So how are the pickups? Because my plan for a long time was get a 3100 and spend the rest of the money on decent pickups for a killer guitar. I knew the 3200 was inherently better but I thought if the pickups were trash there would be no point you know? And your vote is for the 3200 btw? Out of the choices?


Of the choices, I like the 3200, and the pickups are actually pretty good AlnicoV. You can use those for a long time before you need to think about swapping them out... It will likely be heavy (but none of your choices are really lightweight).
#20
May want to check out a used variax. Several options in your range including an HSS 69.
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#21
Quote by eragon1452
diabolicalhow does a michael kelly strat sound?


They're not bad from what I remember, better than Fender strats.

I'd run away screaming with any Line6 guitars, Variax is a horrendously overpriced piece of garbage that only sells because of the electronics.
#22
Shots fired!!!

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#24
Quote by diabolical


I'd run away screaming with any Line6 guitars, Variax is a horrendously overpriced piece of garbage that only sells because of the electronics.


When the Variax first came out, the guitars weren't all that great, and most considered them $1200 worth of electronics in a $300 guitar. So when the second generation of guitars was planned, they had James Tyler design the guitars (and pickups), and the international consensus is that any of them will stand very well as guitars with or without the electronics. In fact, the guitars are available in both a Korean and a USA version (about 3X the price of the Korean). Mutt Lange selected the tele model as the tele sound he wanted to go on tour with Shania Twain.

I originally purchased my 500 series Variax as a donor, to have its electronics gutted and put in a better guitar. The 700 Acoustic has spent a lot of time sneaking its electronics into P&W groups; it may look like a thinline acoustic, but it has "powers." The two JTV-89Fs are superb guitars on their own, but their ability to downtune to almost any degree while retaining use of a Floyd Rose offers capabilities unavailable on almost anything else. The single coil models are all noise-free, and the acoustic models run into a Helix with an IR are near flawless for both live performance and recording. Both of mine have stinky-low action, and with jumbo frets and a 16" radius, they're very fast.
#25
Quote by dspellman


I originally purchased my 500 series Variax as a donor, to have its electronics gutted and put in a better guitar. The 700 Acoustic has spent a lot of time sneaking its electronics into P&W groups; it may look like a thinline acoustic, but it has "powers." The two JTV-89Fs are superb guitars on their own, but their ability to downtune to almost any degree while retaining use of a Floyd Rose offers capabilities unavailable on almost anything else. The single coil models are all noise-free, and the acoustic models run into a Helix with an IR are near flawless for both live performance and recording. Both of mine have stinky-low action, and with jumbo frets and a 16" radius, they're very fast.


What he said .
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#26
I still stand by my statement. If they were really that great, I don't see many of their competitors breaking sweat over it.
I've played the new and the old ones and if it weren't for the fancy electronics I'd still consider guitars at 1/3 their price better made and better bargain.
#27
Sorry bud but the build quality of my 700 easily rivals mim fender and better.
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#29
Oh lord, variaxes hmm? Well honestly, I can see how they would be a nice toy to play with or useful for shredders or metal guys that tune to drop Z or what not, but I think for my more traditional, classic, or whatever you want to call it sound; I would need a more trad. or classic guitar such as a normal strat. Although I love LEs Pauls with all my heart I think all of you are definitely right and I'm probably going to go for an HSS Start. Now the only question is which one. Michael Kelly looks promising. G & L maybe? And of course there's always Fender.
#30
Quote by eragon1452
Oh lord, variaxes hmm? Well honestly, I can see how they would be a nice toy to play with or useful for shredders or metal guys that tune to drop Z or what not, but I think for my more traditional, classic, or whatever you want to call it sound; I would need a more trad. or classic guitar such as a normal strat. Although I love LEs Pauls with all my heart I think all of you are definitely right and I'm probably going to go for an HSS Start. Now the only question is which one. Michael Kelly looks promising. G & L maybe? And of course there's always Fender.


keep in mind that it's all just advice. If you really want a Les Paul then get one. will it be perfect for those bands well no but YOU have to play it and be inspired. it really is all about what works for you. for instance I love the LP sound but never got along with them playing wise. I ended up using a BC Rich Eagle instead. not a guitar I had ever even thought of but I came across one, played it and bam it was for me. sure I get odd looks at a blues jam but the guitar works for me. in the end that is what it's all about.
#31
Quote by eragon1452
Oh lord, variaxes hmm? Well honestly, I can see how they would be a nice toy to play with or useful for shredders or metal guys that tune to drop Z or what not, but I think for my more traditional, classic, or whatever you want to call it sound; I would need a more trad. or classic guitar such as a normal strat. Although I love LEs Pauls with all my heart I think all of you are definitely right and I'm probably going to go for an HSS Start. Now the only question is which one. Michael Kelly looks promising. G & L maybe? And of course there's always Fender.


Les Pauls are very handy -- I have five with Floyds (a couple of which are 24-fret) that are hard working these days. I've lost track of the HSH and HSS superstrats I've got; they're very versatile and most are 24-fret as well. You'll do well with whatever you choose.

You're waving off Variax guitars because, like diabolical, you're clueless; you've never actually worked with one. They're far from shredder or metal guitars. If you want a Les Paul, you dial one up. If you want a strat or superstrat, same thing. Acoustic guitar? Jazz box? Tele? 12-string? P90 guitar with no noise? Ditto single coils? Rik sounds? Enormous ability to cover a wide variety of bases. Alternate tunings cover a lot more than downtuned metal. Want to play Stones in Open G? Blues A? Play everything in fifths? Need to transpose a step or two down for a singer who can't hit the high notes? But wait, there's more. Using a Variax with an HD500 or Helix allows you to change guitar models, tuning, amps/cabs/FX with a single stomp. You can even assign control of an FX parameter or the ability to slide between whole rigs to your Variax tone or volume control.

Edge has two of the 700 Acoustics and uses them on stage with U2. Others have used Variax to craft a quiet acoustic-based introduction to a song with an instant change to a gainy LP. Cover bands love the things, recording artists and producers appreciate the reduction in cartage. All in all, and taken together, very good pieces that, sadly, most guitarists simply never see in a Guitar Denter. I bought one 89F to see if I'd like it. I used it so much that I needed a second as a backup several months later.
#32
I've actually tried to work with Variaxes, they're just garbage, it is an informed opinion. My Godin cost me $300 used and plays better than a Les Paul and is close in sound, but am I trying to sell it as a Les Paul? Nope.

Variaxes are not shredder guitars at all, actually if you're shredder you'd be laughed off the stage if seen in one of these.

They're geek guitars and usually cover band guys that have to fake a whole range of tones get them so they won't have to switch from Les Paul, to Strat, to Rickenbacker, to whatever. They work ok within the confines of that. I've seen a lot of keyboard players, who in general are people with no defined tone, get them in order to fill that whole range they do on keyboard with guitar, forgetting that fingers express much more than anything.

Personally, I have no use for a Variax as it is a cheaply made guitar, I think they're fugly (but I guess beauty is in the eye of beholder) and if you don't want to marry into the Line6 way of doing things with their amps, etc. have very limited use. For the price of these guitars, you can much more playable alternatives, but again, this is my opinion.

$1500 "beauty"
#33
Quote by diabolical
I've actually tried to work with Variaxes, they're just garbage, it is an informed opinion. My Godin cost me $300 used and plays better than a Les Paul and is close in sound, but am I trying to sell it as a Les Paul? Nope.

Variaxes are not shredder guitars at all, actually if you're shredder you'd be laughed off the stage if seen in one of these.

They're geek guitars and usually cover band guys that have to fake a whole range of tones get them so they won't have to switch from Les Paul, to Strat, to Rickenbacker, to whatever. They work ok within the confines of that. I've seen a lot of keyboard players, who in general are people with no defined tone, get them in order to fill that whole range they do on keyboard with guitar, forgetting that fingers express much more than anything.

Personally, I have no use for a Variax as it is a cheaply made guitar, I think they're fugly (but I guess beauty is in the eye of beholder) and if you don't want to marry into the Line6 way of doing things with their amps, etc. have very limited use. For the price of these guitars, you can much more playable alternatives, but again, this is my opinion.



I'm not sure who informed you.
That Yamaha version is the cheapest of the bunch. $799 at Sweetwater.

I have a pair of these (but in "blood red"); $1199 each for the Korean versions, triple that for the USA versions. You've never played one. ;



I've never seen anyone laughed off the stage if they were shredding with one of these. You and your $300 Godin would know better, of course. 16" radius, jumbo frets, 24 frets clear, satin-finish neck, fairly hot James Tyler pickups, Graphtech LB-63. Some of the players that have managed to stay on stage when playing Variax: Pete Thorn, Adrian Belew, Jared Scharff (Saturday Night Live Band), Steve Howe, John McFee (Doobie Brothers), Cory Churko (Kelly Clarkson, Shania Twain), Stevic MacKay (12 Foot Ninja). Stevic was demoing the Variax Shuriken (27" scale version) at NAMM in January. Jerry McPherson is in that crew (Nashville A-lister) as well.

But, well, you know better.







Last edited by dspellman at Feb 4, 2017,
#34
$1299 is crazy expensive for this guitar. Few hundred more gets you MM USA, but that's a little unseemly, maybe lije a Reverend. Again, in price territory of Ibanez Prestige and other quality axes.

I've played the $700-800 Variax and that's pure garbage as an instrument, plays and feels close to $200 Squier.

3x more gets you luthier quality guitars, again wouldn't spend it on Variax garbage. $3k and above gets you Gustavsson, Suhr, Vigier and other quality axes.
#35
Sorry bud we're going to have to agree to disagree. But I know you've never been in the same room with a 700. Just like I've never touched a 300. You maybe right on that. I don't know. But mine has been playing and sounding great for 10 years. If your back was turned you wouldn't know what I was playing. Gilmour? Yeah got a pretty good tone,Zeppelin? Yeah got that too Metallica? No problem. Hell I can even pull off Roy Clark (well if I was that good). Point is I'd have to spend $8000 to get the Rickenbacker and Soldano setup this Variax and POD tells me I like, but playing in my den? This is more then good enough. If I just consider the gear I use a lot. I've got roughly $2500 wrapped up in this. That's iincluding my PA. That is a very low cost to get tones that rival $1000 electrics of all kinds, humbucker, single coils, split, combined you name it and $500 acoustics. All this with the flick of a switch and the turn of a dial at studio quality. Your doing some of these people a disservice by turning them away from something that gives more versatility then they could ever imagine. Especially when I'm sitting here with this 700 that easily matches the build quality of a $1000 tele or strat.
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#36
Lets not confuse the issue, you're not playing a Soldano, I've heard and tweaked Line6 models ad nauseam and Soldano it ain't. I probably have better ears than the average concert goer.

We kinda took that whole thread on a tangent, OP - apologies.
#37
I don't know never plugged into one, but it certainly sounds like all the YouTube videos I've listen to. And most importantly.. I like it. Maybe you should have spent more time tweaking?

My apologies also we're done.
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
Last edited by scott58 at Feb 4, 2017,
#38
Well I never tried a Variax. My personal recommendation is getting something with hotter single coils or weaker humbuckers. So for humbucker guitars look at things like Gretsch or fenders with wide range humbuckers. Look at Brian May sig guitars or a P-90 equipped guitar. Basically you have a bit more bite than standard humbuckers but more punch then a standard single coil. You can then eq the results to your liking.