Variax review by Line 6

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.1 (59 votes)
Line 6: Variax
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Price paid: $ 457.5

Purchased from: Trevor Davies Music

Sound — 9
This guitar, though sounding perhaps a bit too crisp and clear, will suit any style. It can sound like everything, from Telecasters, Les pauls etc. To acoustic guitars, even resonators, a banjo and an electric sitar. I'm pretty sure it can sound good through most amps. The best part of this guitars sound though, is that there's no unwanted noise, at all. If there is it's the shielding on your cable's fault. The 12-string models sound a bit odd sometimes, and it does sound a bit pre-produced (well it is), but apart from that it's perfect.

Overall Impression — 9
This guitar will suit any style. I play classic rock mainly and this is perfect for it. I have a Fender Strat to compare the sound to, and this guitar seems to mimic the tone of a Strat with a maple fretboard as opposed to the rosewood on the Strat. If this guitar disappeared I would probably buy another Variax, I'd be unlikely to find a 500 now, they don't make them anymore. I like being able to play an electric sitar then immediately switch to a typical electric guitar. There's nothing else in this market to compare it to really. What other guitar has the sound of 25 different classics in one? the only thing I'd have to say is that Line 6 have built an alternate tuning selector into the new Variax acoustic, why couldn't they have done this first time around? You have to buy an extra piece of software to do this on the solid body Variax. That's the only downside.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is very solid, and will probably last a long time. It definitely will withstand live playing. The hardware is well fitted and will last I'm sure. This guitar shouldn't need a backup, although it might have a few technical problems at some point, I don't really know. The finish has lasted on mine, only a few little dents and chips.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I've heard bad things about the factory setup actually, but I wouldn't know because mine was second hand. It did have some fret buzz on lower frets but that was gone once I changed the strings. There were no other problems with it, except that mine had an extra strap peg that the previous owner had put there. That's not the guitars fault.

Features — 9
The ability to Switch between 25 different guitar sounds is a good thing. It's easy to navigate the different models. Yes I know thay when you select "chime" in pickup position 2 or 4 you aren't really playing a Rickenbacker 360/12, or a 12-string at all for that matter, but it's a good representation of how these sound. The 22-fret rosewood fingerboard, medium scale neck is smooth and very comfortable to play. on the 500 it feels very like a Gibson. The body is shaped like a cross between a Strat and a double-cutaway les paul, and mine is finished in a 3-tone sunburst. The bridge is HardTail, string thru body style. obviously this guitar has active electronics, you can have batteries, connect to the purpose built footswitch or a vetta amp. The controls are volume and tone, a 5 way Switch and the model select. There are no magnetic pickups, it uses piezo-electric. I think the tuners are gotoh. This guitar came with a heavily padded gig bag, a stereo jack (to allow the audio signal and the electrical flow through) and the footswitch which powers the guitar as well as switching outputs.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    hminh87
    ... seriously. Do people buy guitar to play music or just because it was built the 'traditional way' with pickups? No pickup? digital generated sound? So what?! It's almost the same thing when electric guitar was introduced.
    ( o )===#
    Id love to try it out. They dont have it here near my house, at Cosmo Music in Toronto.
    ArcherTheVMan
    i just like the idea because i myself have to change guitars a lot in gigs and it would just be so much easier to be able to use one guitar the whole way through that caters for all the tones i need (and more).
    alfiebradic
    why not buy the ACTUAL guitar,instead of one that just copys the sound of it?--- because each guitar in the range costs at least 3000 pounds so i think u shud start saving! lol
    alfiebradic
    you can never copy the sound of playing a gibson the neck is nicer than any gibson ive ever played and the tone is spot on.....dont knock it 'till u tried it...seriously
    alfiebradic
    ArcherTheVMan wrote: i don't like variax's, i like the idea of them but they just sound too sterile. Sendrith wrote: ^ agreed xxZeroxx wrote: Same here. musicissick wrote: me too lol please! people! there is nothing wrong with this guitar...pure genius..no matter what style music you play
    alfiebradic
    Also, another point is that with most of these guitars are too precious to play...my dad had a Gibson Sg Les Paul Standard 1960's reissue....and he sold it as it was just too precious...one scratch and imagine how mortified you'd be...
    Blompcube
    Do any of you realise that you can make your own guitar models for the variax? of course, you have to pay another 60, but thats still less than you'd pay for a custom guitar. Also all this about them sounding sterile, try replacing the strings.
    guitarest99
    Nothing Sterile about this guitar, I have played it for a year now in bars and while its not a $5,000.00 1950's Les Paul or a Strat there is a difference in the sounds and for the price you pay its well worth the price. Rather than go to a music store and play one for a 1.5 hours why not purchase one, or borrow one. Even those who test drive Rolls say bad things about them, you have to write these review with an open mind, I have been playing since 79 and while my life does not depend on money from gigs I do get paid for playing and my Les Pauls, Strats, Custom Tele's have all but been retired because of this guitar. When is the last time you tried to use alternate tunings with your "regular" guitars without having to set the damn thing up for that tuning? If I want to tun to "C", I flip a toggle switch and I am there..... Nothing sterile about that, just plain amazing. Team it up with a PodXt Live and watch out for the sparks because you will be so motivated that you will be in the woodshed writing new material...
    stringdoctor58
    I've been playing stringed instruments since the mid 60s and I think Variax does an amazing job of recreating the sounds of the vintage guitars as well as the newer models. I play mine through a 60 watt Behringer AC112 Ultra-Tube and I am truly impressed. While it would be really cool to have the originals, I have come to realize that brand name and sound quality does not necessarily go together. So maybe what one has to decide is am I in it for the music or the investment.
    hippieking24
    ArcherTheVMan wrote: i don't like variax's, i like the idea of them but they just sound too sterile.
    Sendrith wrote: ^ agreed
    xxZeroxx wrote: Same here.
    musicissick wrote: me too lol
    i have to agree with you all.