Any Variax Owners?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by slowhand84, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Do we have any Variax owners still active on this board? Did a quick search and saw a few people who owned them...I've been looking for a modeling guitar for recording purposes (wanted to have some tones that model dobro, banjo, and sitar but didn't want to spend a ton of money).

    Came across this Line 6 Variax 700T in mint condition with case and all the goodies and grabbed it for a little under $500.

    These were apparently made in Japan at the Fujigen factory which is encouraging, as lots of others I saw were MIC. Gotoh tuners, ash top with a mahogany neck and body, rosewood fretboard with mother of pearl inlays, and it apparently models 28 instruments in one (tele, strat, LP, semihollow, jazzbox, rickenbacker, several acoustics, dobro, tricone, banjo, sitar, and more).

    Mine's going to arrive in 3-4 days but was just curious to know if anyone still had one here and what they thought of it.
     
    RockYoWorld likes this.
  2. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Variax bumpage
     
  3. BatUtilityBelt

    BatUtilityBelt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2017
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    978
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Omaha
    Congrats! I have a 500 (the only model they made in lefty I think). I still like it, but its use is limited. I find I am happy to write new parts using the Variax for many of its acoustic instrument models, but if I want that guitar in a good recording I will normally look for the real thing after the noodling is over. For the electric models, I have easy access to the real ones, so I don't tend to use the electric models very much. It is also a fun axe to mess with when I don't yet know what I'm chasing.
     

  4. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I hear ya, I mainly got it for the "unusual" instruments it models...I certainly have the electric and acoustic side of things covered but the dobro, tricone, banjo, sitar, etc. stuff is really appealing to me since I'm branching out in terms of recording and obviously don't want to buy one each of the real deal :)
     
  5. BatUtilityBelt

    BatUtilityBelt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2017
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    978
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Omaha
    Absolutely. And I didn't mean I won't record with it, I do sometimes. I have had to write and record banjo and it pulled it off - I am not the type to go buy a banjo and learn that. It is a great tool to have!
     
    slowhand84 likes this.
  6. peskypesky

    peskypesky Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19,063
    Likes Received:
    18,071
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    this dude sure makes his sound sweet


    This video makes me want to sell about 17 of my guitars and just have this replace them.
     
  7. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I agree! There are some really killer demos of lots of these on Youtube (this one is actually one of the lower end models and still sounds great!). Excited to check it out and dive into it over winter break.
     
  8. peskypesky

    peskypesky Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19,063
    Likes Received:
    18,071
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    that's a lower-end model??
     
  9. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Yep, that’s a 300. There was the 500 first, then the higher spec 700 (that’s the one I have incoming), and then they released this 300 model which is considered their “budget” one.

    The 700 is MIJ, the 500 is Korean and the 300 is Indonesian.
     
    peskypesky likes this.
  10. MrSouthpaw

    MrSouthpaw Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    687
    Likes Received:
    360
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Southeast Texas
    I've had a left 500 since about 2006. For a period of time it was my main gigging guitar. Really like the neck profile on it. Sure, you can't get it to sound exactly like a strat or exactly like a Les Paul, but the sounds are close enough to get you through any set with just one guitar.

    From what I understand, the electronics are the same in all models. The 300 was MIC, the 500 was MIK, and the 700 was MIJ. Basically all the same guitar, just with different levels of fit and finish.
     
    peskypesky likes this.
  11. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Not quite...the 300 I believe had the same electronics as the 600, and the 500 had the same electronics as the 700. Think one of the differences was that alternate tunings were accessible on the guitar on the pricier models and the cheaper ones you needed to use the software. Also beyond fit and finish there are also spec differences (different body woods, inlay materials, the 700 has a carved top, etc).
     
    peskypesky likes this.
  12. blowtorch

    blowtorch Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Messages:
    470
    Likes Received:
    720
    Trophy Points:
    93
    yep i have one but it's been ages since I last fired it up
     
  13. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Which model do you have?
     
  14. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    4,652
    Likes Received:
    3,895
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    St. Louis
    I think @dspellman is a user of Variax. Although as I tag him I don't know if I've seen one of his posts in a while.
     
  15. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Last seen Saturday, so he ain't too far away :). Think I came across his past posts on the Variax when I did a search.
     
  16. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    4,652
    Likes Received:
    3,895
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Quoth @dspellman: "I have four. An old 500 Electric, an Acoustic 700 and a pair of JTV-89Fs.
    Obviously, I like them.

    They're nearly impossible to find in stores (particularly GC) new. I had to order the first 89F to try it.

    They work well enough with a standard amp. They really come alive if you have a Pod HD500 or Pro or a Helix and can run the VDI (ethernet, essentially) cable from the guitar to the multifx. The ability to use the editing software is important, too, because you can essentially design your own guitar models. And, of course, the ability to use alternate tunings (without changing string tension) with a single stomp ain't bad."
     
    slowhand84 likes this.
  17. slowhand84

    slowhand84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,324
    Likes Received:
    6,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Yep that’s the post I saw. Mine is arriving Wednesday, and then I’m on vacation basically the rest of the month so there’ll be plenty of time to explore it in-depth! :)
     
  18. dspellman

    dspellman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Messages:
    6,310
    Likes Received:
    4,514
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Well, *that*'ll be fun.
    I bought the 500 first, with the idea of using the guts as a transplant. At the time, a guy named Jeff Miller was building some amazing guitars (with magnetic pickups as well) with the Variax innards bolted in. Here's one of his:



    I never got around to it. I'm not sure if there are any differences between the 300 series and the 500 series electrics internally, but the guitars themselves are different, and I've heard tell that you need to do a bit of work to get the 300 playing the way you like -- but you *can* get it to play beautifully.

    The Acoustic 700 looks like a thin-body acoustic guitar, and I use bronze-wounds on it (12's, I think) and it's got a bunch of acoustic models, including a nylon string. Edge from U2 has a couple of these and uses them onstage all the time. Really interesting set of controls, including one that allows you to simulate moving the mike closer or farther away from the guitar. You can change tunings on this one as well, so you can set up (for example) the bottom two strings an octave down and leave the top four normal. Did that at a P&W acoustic guitar thing once and you could tell which of the congregation were musicians; they were craning their necks, looking for the bass player.

    My JTV-89Fs are really good guitars that happen to have Variax electronics. There IS a difference between the JTV series and the older series, including the fact that all of the JTVs have magnetic pickups and that all but one of them have LR Baggs piezos (which, along with some internal upgrades, eliminate some minor artifacting that could appear on the older guitars).

    The one that doesn't have LR Baggs piezos (natch) is mine, which has Graphtech Ghost piezos in the Floyd. I think they're better. The neck is wider at the nut (1 3/4" nut width), has a bit flatter profile and a 16" radius, all of which I definitely endorse. It's also a 24-fret guitar with jumbo (but not overly horsey) frets. Mine are Korean and about $1200 when I bought them, but I've played the USA versions (which run right at three times the price). The USA versions have some upgrades here and there and come with a G&G hard case (seriously nice case) as opposed to the gig bag that comes with the Korean. Hard for me to justify the extra bucks for what you get. More importantly, the Korean guitars are seriously good *as guitars*.

    OTOH, I have that these were so blatantly dangled before the shredder/metal crowd, both in the styling and the available paint jobs (black or "blood" red only). AND the very nice choices of alternate tunings on the other guitars are missing on the JTV-89F. You mostly get a bunch of down and drop tunings from the factory. I *think* you can reset them to the same as the other guitars and I *think* you can buy the alternate tunings knob from the other guitars, but I've been too lazy to do that.
     
  19. peskypesky

    peskypesky Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
    19,063
    Likes Received:
    18,071
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    as a Strat guy, this is the one I'd like to get

    52a29c1208abffb2cf34593e35f7e848.jpg

    or
    a4dbe03f8be1c71fe11a905b5e18fddd.jpg
     

Share This Page