Variax 600 review by Line 6

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (70 votes)
Line 6: Variax 600
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Price paid: $ 969

Purchased from: Turramurra Music

Sound — 9
I mostly play metal, and surprisingly, this does the job pretty well. I also dabble in pretty much anything else apart from country and the huge range of sounds makes this guitar one of the most versatile on the market. The sound is great, the Strat sounds like a Strat, the tele sounds like a tele and I'll be damned, the sitar sounds like a sitar. Maybe not 100% accurate, but close enough so that you can tell them apart unless you were side by side. Then if that's not enough, go grab Variax Workbench to go customize your own sounds and tunings. My only gripe here is that (Workbench or otherwise) they don't have any hi-gain pickups that model pickups like DiMarzios or EMGs. Many people seem skeptical about modeling, and so was I when I first tried it, but it actually sounds pretty damn good. Also, being a modeling guitar, it produces no noise at all (or extremely little) which is great in Live situations and for recording. I use it with a POD X3L and the sounds are endless. Distorted banjo with whammy bar, by the way, sounds terrible.

Overall Impression — 9
This guitar is a good match for me since I do quite a few recordings at home and I play a variety of styles. I own a POD X3, and this paired up with the POD X3L is a winning combination. I compared this to the Fender VG Stratocaster, and while the Fender had the advantage of being a guitar plus a modeler, the Variax had much more sounds and possibilities along with a much lower price tag. I still hate the look of it, it could be worse, but could also be so much better. My favourite feature would have to be the custom tunings and the range of sounds out of this thing, if it were stolen I'd hunt the guy down and beat the crap out of him to get it back since I have no money to buy it again.

Reliability & Durability — 9
So far, it's withstood live playing quite well. The strap buttons are solid and the finish is nice and thick. The hardware seems like it will last and the guitar feels very solid. I wouldn't hesitate to bring it live without a backup, it's quite dependable, although that's because I can't fit anything else in my car.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Well, first off, this guitar looks crap. The pickguard along with the missing pickups create a very weird look, which I'm not too fond of. The finish was good, the action was not too bad, the piezos were in good working order, but the tremolo was horrendous, it just wouldn't stay in tune no matter what. I eventually got it set up and now it plays perfectly.

Features — 10
This guitar is a bolt-on and has 22 frets, a maple neck with basswood body, an L.R. Baggs whammy bar, two normal control knobs (one tone, one volume) and another tone know which lets you select from different banks of guitar sounds. Also has a 5-way pickup selector. The huge array of sounds capable from this guitar is amazing, even though some of them you probably wont use too often. The ability to drop (or raise) tune with a flick of a switch is also very neat.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    timmyti9
    notice how it's only people who haven't played it seem to not like it.
    Cohan11
    IS EVERYONE RETARDED? The guitar is not digital it has pickups and im sure im about the 372 person to answer this THE PICKUPS ARE IN THE BRIDGE! so stop asking where the pickups are! as for the guitar being 'fake' and not having the feel of a nice guitar, i have owned a variax for about a year now and have played gibson les pauls, fender strats, teles and the variax feels just as good if not better to play than any of these guitars. sure it looks ugly but anyone who says its fake or feels crap to play obviously has never played one.
    marcusbacus
    madmotty wrote: I love the idea of the sitar sound based on a coral sitar (as used by van halen "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love"). Oh yeh one thing i've heard is obviously ebow wont work with it obviously cos of the lack of pickups, but haven't tried this out... but you can always strap a magnet to the guitar!? lovin' it.
    1 - Sitar in Ain't talking 'bout love? Where? That's just a flanger. 2 - E-bow works with Variax. The E-bow is based on string vibration, not on pickups. The E-bow makes the string vibrate just like when you play (although continuously), then the sound is captured and processed by the piezos of the Variax. And no, the sounds are NOT sampled. It's not a synth.
    J.J.G.
    Gerard_grr wrote: it aint pretty but i bet this stuff is better than a gibson, it has effects you just have to turn the knob to changhe the effects, real stuff!!!!!
    ouch that one was painfull. you can do almost the same with the gibson robot or the fender vg strat. i really belive that i can feel the diference between my gibson les paul studio and my brothers variax. the variax sounds pretty good, but there is something missing, and is not the sticker.
    Cohan11
    the variax shits all over the gibson robot and vg strat, the workbench program for the variax makes it so much better being able to customise the settings on the guitar which the gibson and strat cant do
    Spitfire94
    Cohan11 wrote: IS EVERYONE RETARDED? The guitar is not digital it has pickups and im sure im about the 372 person to answer this THE PICKUPS ARE IN THE BRIDGE! so stop asking where the pickups are! as for the guitar being 'fake' and not having the feel of a nice guitar, i have owned a variax for about a year now and have played gibson les pauls, fender strats, teles and the variax feels just as good if not better to play than any of these guitars. sure it looks ugly but anyone who says its fake or feels crap to play obviously has never played one.
    I agree 100 %
    mondo83xx
    I been thinking about getting one of these for a while. I have heard positive and negative about the Variax, the positive seems to be winning my mind over. Even the dude that teaches on the Songpond website plays on, although it's a Variax 300. Even that sounds great. I don't think there is a more flexible guitar out there for the money.
    MONSTA42
    I own one of these guitars, and while I agree the sound might not fool a guitar expert, it's enough to fool me, and the average punter at a show, and that was always the purpose of this instrument.
    Ragnam
    MONSTA42 wrote: it's enough to fool me, and the average punter at a show, and that was always the purpose of this instrument.
    Exactly. Most of the sounds are sampled - recorded actual instruments which are reproduced through your amp (which colours the sound to make it less/more authentic). So it should sound decent. Is the only difference between the six and 700 the body and neck? Besides the extra of course..