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.