I've been playing for over 35 years, sometimes in bands, sometimes not. I've owned some really great gear and I wish I'd never sold some of it because it would be worth a lot of money nowadays, especially the 60's guitars. Musical tastes are pretty wide and varied.
I had read about these things and thought it was a fantastic idea, because I play a lot of open tuning stuff, and re-tuning in the middle of a set is a pain. I tried one out in a Sydney shop side by side with my Guild Dreadnaught. The Guild sounded better, but when I weighed that up against the sheer versatility of the Variax I eventually sold the Guild (I have another two anyway) and bought a Variax from the US on ebay for $930. By the time I'd paid for shipping and customs charges it ended up costing me about AUD$1600 - still a lot cheaper than the Australian RRP of AUD$2700.
I pretty much like everything about it. Looks great, incredibly easy to play, and the versatility in a gig is amazing. One song I'm strumming a Jumbo in open D, seconds later I'm bottlenecking a dobro in open A, straight after that I'm fingerpicking a 000 in straight tuning. Sounds great through a PA - I know because I sometimes lend it to other performers just so I can hear it from front of stage. Doesn't sound the best through my acoustic amp I must admit, but when I plug it straight into my Mac to record with it's just perfect. No mic problems, just clean perfect acoustic sounds.
Personally I'd prefer a slightly wider fingerboard, but that's just my taste. Some of the sounds are pretty useless, but I guess they're useful to SOMEONE? And it sure goes through the batteries. You really need to use the power supply all the time.
Solid construction and feels good and well crafted. One of the pickup devices failed not long after I got it, which meant that no sound came from that string at all. But it only cost about $30 to fix. Feels like a Les Paul to hold, although it's been a fair while since I held one of those. Similar weight and size.
Great - definitely the most useful piece of equipment I own. I use it all the time and without it I probably would have given up doing solo gigs by now.
Guitar Center, Falls Church, VA. I saw this in Acoustic Guitar magazine then played one on a business trip and had to buy it. I use it for recording. The nylon-string guitar capoed down an octave (try that on a real guitar) makes a nice bass. $1200
I have had this guitar for about a month now and it still amazes me. I build acoustic guitars and the clarity and realism of the guitars modeled are very close. They need a little help when played through a guitar amp but through headphones and digital recorder, they are fantastic. The Dread, Archtop (Jazz) and Macaferri are particularly well done. You have to play them in the style that they were designed for. If you fingerpick the archtop it sounds muddy and dead but if you strum chords, it is right on. The balance shift as you go from Jumbo to Dread to 000 to 5-size is just what I would expect playing the actual guitars.
The banjo, Shamisen, and Dobro square-neck/ National round-neck are less useful to me and there is some tracking delay in open tunings but I have gotten used to that by just pushing the beat a little. You have to have enough amp volume or wear headphones to overcome the Variax acoustics in open tuning or virtual capo modes or it will drive you crazy. I think the key to really enjoying this instrument is to picture the guitar you have dialed in and forget about the little electric guitar you are actually playing.
Solid, nice looking guitar. Nice finish and well-built components. (There is one little pitch pocket on the top but that is the nature of the wood) The setup was a little stiff for me but that is common with factory made guitars. I lowered the nut and saddle a little, put on some better strings. Feels good now. May add a pickguard later but the finish seems pretty bullet-proof so far. I didn't like the strap button placement on the back. It makes the guitar want to rotate away from your body. Moved it to the bottom side of the neck. (there goes the warranty)
I played this in Huntsville while waiting for a plane and had no intention of buying one. After 20 minutes or so I had to have it. I am hooked and cannot wait for more instrument patches to start appearing.
I played this guitar for about 45 minutes at Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Not much, unfortunately (more on that). It does offer 12-string sounds on a six-string guitar, and alternative sounds like sitar and banjo...
...the problem is, none of the sounds is what I'd consider usable even in a live setting, not to mention for recording. When I'd first heard of this product, I was elated and waited months before I finally found it in a store where I could test-run it. The results were far worse than I'd anticipated. All of the acoustic models I tried -- round neck, square neck, jumbo, dreadnought, nylon, 12-string folk, 12-string blues -- sounded horrible, with a pinched, ultra-synthetic sound that's much worse than any piezo-equipped acoustic I've ever played, and I was testing on a $500 Roland acoustic amp, so it can't be all the amp's fault. Three controls exist on this guitar -- "mike placement" (I find this slider useless), volume and compression, but none of them was able to get rid of the very dead, very nasal synthetic sound. Twiddling amp EQ didn't help a great deal, and it's important to mention that the guitar doesn't have onboard EQ, a dreadful oversight in design. A tuner would've been good as well.
The much ballyhooed "alternate tunings" settings were not useful at all, since they created a discrepancy between the vibrations of the strings and the sounds coming out of the amps. Even without the change in tunings, there was a sense when I was playing that the sounds coming out of the amp was not connected to my fingers or my guitars. And the sounds were almost uniformly horrible, with the banjo, square neck and 12-string blues sounds being particularly annoying.
In terms of playing feel, this guitar is about the same as the electric Variax models. The neck feels bulky and unwelcoming, and the gloss finish is uncomfortable. They also screwed up on the shape of this guitar; I sat down to play this guitar and after about five minutes I was tired, because this guitar doesn't have enough body for you to lean into. I had to hunch a great deal. The semi-solid construction is not the culprit, since I've played Godins and Gibson/Epiphone Chet Atkins models before and none of them have ever felt this un-ergonomic.
I really can't find anything to recommend this guitar for.
Okay, but see the comfort issues above.
The concept of an acoustic modelling guitar that can offer up the sounds of multiple acoustic instruments is a brilliant, revolutionary idea. But Line 6 has clearly not produced a product that can even come close to realizing this dream. The sounds I heard coming out of this guitar were even worse than the ones I got using a Boss AC-2 Acoustic Simulator and a Gibson SG Classic! I went to play some Ovation and Takamine acoustic-electric guitars through the same amp just to be sure, and sure enough, the Ovations and Takamines sounded infinitely better. So I'd say the Variax Acoustic is, for the moment, a complete bust. I'd sooner carry four acoustic guitars into a show and switch around rather than try to play this guitar. I do hope Line 6 continues researching this technology, though, as it could prove to be revolutionary. The guitar itself warrants only a 1 on a 5 scale.
I will not repeat the characteristics. Just to emphasize that it presents as a solid body guitar with an acoustic look. The fabication of quality is top, she seems solid (very beautiful mahogany back well designed to be soft in the corners).
The body parat a little heavy and dsquilibr but nothing serious.
Comfortable neck, flat fingerboard and pretty inserts.
The amount of sounds that can produce this guitar is awesome. It is a dream for the studio.
The alternate tuning (we can even simulate an acoustic bass), the virtual capo, the built-compressor and rglage the position of the virtual micro electroacoustic put a slap in the moment.
on the other hand, regarding the quality of the sounds, like the Variax 700 "electric" I possde must be qualified. I am Introduced certain, if the amount of intresants and usable sounds is waiting for you, do not talk about modlisation sounds of guitar legend!
There really see anything. You will not have all rsonnances and harmonics of the original instrument. The range and grain are not at the rendezvous. In some cases it borders on the ridiculous (the guitar "nylon" sounds like a tuft Mtal). Moreover, almost all folk have little nearly the same grain of its key personalities and we do not distinguish the original.
Nevertheless, I am not. A versatile acoustic was much taken up by a microphone (without breath or the resumption of the noise kind of computer ventilation). What I regret most is that the famous micro produces no noise or mdiator fund. What harmonics and effects and less. I tried to take it in duplicate with a studio microphone, but the body is really a solid body and produces currently are no rsonnance, rubbing a mdiator and the strings added, however, things tr s intressantes (but there are catches heads of the noise).
In conclusion, this is a possder guitar. very convenient, especially for the creation and probably on stage (I could not talk). Creativity is dcuple and I think many possiblits are possible on an album.
The fact remains that the true sound of an equivalent prices are much better. It was when even the upscale this price. It is true that, even if we stick one mule guitar (Jumbo or Dread for example), it will split the purchase of a personal professional quality studio and a compressor of the same level. A gal prices must go down range. If you can afford it, buy an acoustic 1200 and a microphone 300 and you will laugh by listening to the Variax.
To stay in 1200, if you plan to use only his dreadnough and that you are in a config home studio with everything you need (compressor, quas, reverb ...) prf ground, in the same price range, an electro (like Takamine Tan 15). It must be said that in this case the Variax not hold water.
I put 10 all the same because I think it is an extraordinary instrument of creation and faster decision-heads positioning the microphone and many rglages.
I'm not sr however I referrer this choice, but it's really a matter of taste.