Variax review by Line 6

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.1 (59 votes)
Line 6: Variax
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Price paid: $ 622.2

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 10
I play a lot of classic rock (Led Zeppelin, Status Quo), Blues (SRV, Eric Clapton) and some 80's Metal (Black Sabbath, Scorpions). Using all of the different sounds makes this guitar very useful for band practices so you don't have to lug a few seperate guitars and a load of effects around with you. I favour the Vintage '57 Stratocaster sound (the exact model used by SRV) for my blues and some rock, but I also like the Les Paul settings. The acoustic settings and resonator settings are second to none I have ever heard. these include the Gibson Mastertone Banjo, the Gibson J200 Jumbo and various 12-String settings which are fantastic. At home, I use a Marshall MG50DFX amp which is a very good amp that goes well with this guitar, but I never use many effects.

Overall Impression — 10
For the style of music I play, and for the various styles people I know play Who ave used this guitar, it is a perfect match, I am almost certain you could get any tone you want out of it a long as you use even a half decent amp to play through. I cannot think of the slightest thing I could have asked, as my Uncle (Who already owned a Variax 500) had told me pretty much everything I needed to know about this guitar and after playing it, I had found the perfect guitar! I would definitely consider buying another Variax guitar if this one happened to break or get stolen purely down to the reliability and how practical it is. I just love the fact that you can take this single guitar with you to a rehearsal knowing that it is all you will need no matter what you are going to play. I own a Gibson SG Standard aswell as this guitar and an Affinity Series Squier, and I can honestly say that out of the guitars I own, this is my favourite, and possibly my favourite out of all of the guitars I have ever played including my Uncle's various guitars inluding American-Made highway Strat's and Vintage LP's. It has everything I want, there is nothing else it could have. It is simply the perfect guitar for me, and probably every other guitarist out there, whether it be a beginner or an experienced professional.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have only used this guitar to do a few shows in school, and it has handled very well. You can be very rough with it, but it will still stay in perfect tuning. For the very low price paid for it, everything is extremely well made with seemingly good materials. I believe I could use it at a gig without backup due to the purely sturdiness and reliability of this guitar, I would feel very confident in knowing that everything would be fine on stage.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
As I bought this guitar second-hand from an ebay seller, I would not really know much about what it was like new, but everything was in pristeen condition when I got it, a very solid body and neck. Everything was very sturdy and also smooth to play. The only single criticism I had was the Master Control Knob produces a slight crackling sound when it is being changed between settings, but apart from that, everything is great!

Features — 10
I believe this model was originally made in 2003/2004 in Japan. It has 24 medium frets, and a bolt-on rosewood neck. There is a solid bridge which is very good, I had the option to go for the Variax 600 model, but the bridge and tremolo on that are not very well made and prone to detuning very fast and easily. Since it is a modelling guitar, it has no pickups, but some small sensors in the bridge, that lead to a basic onboard computer-type system with all of the various settings stored. This guitar does not get affected by anything really tuning wise, I have left it in a room with no heating system for 3 days in the middle of a British November and it did not go out of tune in the slightest.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    guitarest99
    I have read a few reviews from people who have gone to a friends house played this guitar for a few minutes and felt they are experts on this guitar. Then there are those who think this is the best guitar in the world, its neither. I have played guitar and been in bars since 1979, I have owned old Les Pauls, SG Customs, Tele's from the Custom Shop and loads of Ibanez's. I purchased this guitar originally for the ability to have a decent acoustic sound; and it does have that. There is one reviewer that speaks badly about the "Company Setup Sounds" on the Variax, so down load the Variax Work Bench and change the tunings or sounds, but wait you played the guitar for a hour and your a expert. I have owned and played gigs with the Variax for over a year now, this is not the best sounding guitar in the world. What this guitar does is cover within its banks many different models of guitars. Does it sound like a Les Paul, if your a traditional Les Paul owner used to the Les Paul sound then its close but not exact. What about a Strat, again its close but not exact, or the many other guitars it covers. What it does really well is it covers a Sitar, Acoustic's, and Bass Guitars unlike any other guitar I have ever thought about owning. Pair this guitar with a Pod XtLive and you have a huge switching system on your hands. A great example is my band covers "Wish you were here" by Floyd and I do both guitars on the Variax with two different patchs on the XtLive. Its one hell of a set up, and one that is very difficult to beat. Another trick up the Variac's sleeve is its ability to change tuning with a flip of a switch, and unlike the Gibson Robot this guitar does the changing via the Digital Computer on board. In closing if you want the best sounding guitar in the world this is not it. If you want a guitar that is the Swiss Army Knife of Guitar this would be it. I also love the ability to plug straight into my Pod XtLive with a Cat-5 Cable and I have nothing to worry about with the power issues discussed above. The only bad comment about this guitar is when I received it from AMS the guitar was so far out of wack with the neck being set up it was laughable. A few minutes with my trusty tuner and I set the neck up the way I like it. As for life span of this guitar I believe if you treat something nice it will treat you nice back. I wipe the neck down everytime I use it and swap strings all the time, I baby all my guitars. If you wish to hear it in action go to myspace/guitarest_99..... Jocko