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.