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Variax Acoustic guitar

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Big Al Whittle 31 May 04 - 11:41 AM
michaelr 31 May 04 - 12:37 PM
PennyBlack 31 May 04 - 01:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 May 04 - 01:43 PM
PennyBlack 31 May 04 - 02:26 PM
Clinton Hammond 31 May 04 - 02:37 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 May 04 - 02:52 PM
Clinton Hammond 31 May 04 - 03:05 PM
C-flat 31 May 04 - 03:41 PM
Mooh 31 May 04 - 03:41 PM
Clinton Hammond 31 May 04 - 03:51 PM
PennyBlack 31 May 04 - 03:57 PM
PennyBlack 31 May 04 - 04:10 PM
C-flat 31 May 04 - 05:19 PM
PennyBlack 31 May 04 - 05:25 PM
C-flat 31 May 04 - 06:00 PM
PennyBlack 01 Jun 04 - 07:55 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Jun 04 - 02:26 AM
PennyBlack 02 Jun 04 - 07:57 AM
mooman 02 Jun 04 - 08:22 AM
PennyBlack 02 Jun 04 - 11:25 AM
PennyBlack 10 Jun 04 - 05:32 AM
Eric the Viking 10 Jun 04 - 02:31 PM
PennyBlack 10 Jun 04 - 05:07 PM
GUEST 28 Aug 04 - 01:10 PM
PennyBlack 28 Aug 04 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Colin 01 Oct 05 - 11:42 AM
rhyzla 01 Oct 05 - 01:57 PM
rhyzla 02 Oct 05 - 12:07 PM
HipflaskAndy 03 Oct 05 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,titakti 18 Jun 07 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 19 Jun 07 - 01:57 AM
redsnapper 19 Jun 07 - 11:15 AM
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Big Al Whittle 19 Jun 07 - 09:30 PM
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Subject: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 May 04 - 11:41 AM

just tried this strange beast at local shop, wasn't convinced.
perhaps it was the trace elliot I was playing it through.Anybody else know about this guitar, bought one and knocked out by it etc?
Great idea for a guitar mind you, I just didn't like it - perhaps I was missing something.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: michaelr
Date: 31 May 04 - 12:37 PM

Haven't played one yet, but the concept is certainly intriguing...

DADGAD, open D or G etc, all instantly without retuning. I've been wanting that for a long time.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 31 May 04 - 01:14 PM

I ordered one at start of this month - having been playing a Variax 500 for the last year+

They are just arriving here in the UK and the little time I've had to play (at demos) and listen to the 700 acoustic - I'm looking forward to this new "tool".

If you listen to some of the "demo" Mp3s etc on the Variax user group site it might give you a better idea.

The main advantages are just having one instrument that will give you various emulations including several guitar models including 12 and six, a banjo sound, mandola etc.... Plus instant open tuning (both "standard" and your own) virtual capo (up and down!!), "mic positioning", plus a lot more.

The 500 has as I said, has been great for us and includes electric and acoustic voices and when recorded is great!

Let's face it we're talking a tool and as such it does it's job well (nothing to compare)- but don't swap you D.45 for it.

Variax 700 acoustic Line6 site

Line 6 user group forum

One thing to remember The Variax 700 Acoustic is Not a semi acoustic guitar and when not plugged into an amp/recording deck will be of no real use - it is an electic modelling guitar based on acoustic guitars and other instruments.

PB


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 May 04 - 01:43 PM

At pres. my set up is a yam cpx 8 (and fg 12) through a zoom chorus/ag stomp/marshall combo/ and then di into the pa - so I'm not exactly anti processing acoustic guitar - in fact I've only ended up with a sound that I like after much tweaking.

What I am wondering is - will the variax in the right conditions- despite feeling like a plank - give a comparable tone, more volume, more versatility. somehow the sound seemed a bit disembodied.

Are there a load of Americans who've had these things for ages and have an answer to the questions Im asking myself?


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 31 May 04 - 02:26 PM

The 700 Acoustic has just been released - so no one will have had one for ages - pop along to the line 6 Variax board and read the comments there (what few there are)- like any other tool if it doesn't suit your needs it'll be of no use.

Looking at your set-up you are comparing a semi acoustic guitar with effects to a modelling guitar - two very different beasts.

Modelling is totally different to processing and you could use your standard "effects" boxes after the modelling stage but what you would get from the Variax is a dry sound which is modelled on various acoustic instruments - likewise the virtual capo and open tunings are not the same as using a pitch shift unit.

The Mic positioning works in the same way you would when placing microphones to record an acoustic guitar with the sound changing in respect of body/neck placing etc - a great advantage when dropping a guitar back in at a latter date in a recording as you will be in the exact same position as far as the recording is concerned.

The virtual capo will allow you to drop the whole guitar (or individual Strings) by up to an octave (No slack strings!)and up the neck as well - you can even drop the bottom two strings into bass mode whilst leaving the rest of the strings in standard pitch allowing to play bass runs and lead/rhythm at the same time.

In Mandola and twelve string mode you can balance the volume of the paired strings to such a degree that it can be either a straight 6 string or a Nashville tuned six string plus all variations in between

Various alternative tunings are available DADGAD dropped D, open G etc etc plus you can set your own tunings and store them.

The model tat has had the most critique has been the Classical but to be fair when played in the correct style it is very passable.

The guitar feels and plays to my mind like a Gibson Chet Atkins remembering that you don't want any acoustic sound from it (think of the noise when using open tunings - arrrrgggg)


PB


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 31 May 04 - 02:37 PM

I could NEVER play a standard tuned guitar that had DADGAD tuning coming out the speakers...


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 May 04 - 02:52 PM

yes I had a chet atkins - the actual pieces of wood felt like that, but the playing experience didn't.

I think like you say - the thing is to go again and try it with my effects pedal giving it a bit of resonance, woofle dust, je ne sais quoi, etc

and Clint, it doesn't feel like a standard tuned guitar, so that ain't the problem. It's more I've been driving a car, how do I feel about a hovercraft. they've both got steering wheels!


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 31 May 04 - 03:05 PM

A hovercraft steers NOTHING like a car!

It's not that it'd still feel like a standard... -I'd- be able to either hear the strings, or feel the vibration against my body through the back of the guitar, and -I'd- KNOW it was 'wrong'....

So far, it's been my experience that if you want to play in alternate tunings, there are no short cuts... ya just gotta grunt and learn the alternate tunings... I've found that 3rd hand capos and other junk are just flashy gimmicks that plain old don't work...   I suspect a lot of this over-engineered guitar would be the same for me...


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: C-flat
Date: 31 May 04 - 03:41 PM

I'm interested enough to try one of these. Like PennyBlack, I've been using the 500 in a covers band and recently added the Spider line6 amp to my set-up.
I'm really impressed with what these modelling guitars can do but it does take a certain leap, and an ability to dis-associate your eyes from your ears.
With the addition of alternate tunings at the flick of a switch and pitch-shifting, the feeling that "something's not right here" will be intensified and take some getting used to but I would love to get my hands on one, although my partner will need some sweetening-up before I come home with, yet another, guitar case!
I hope we get someone on who's made the plunge and bought one of these and can give us the full story.
C-flat.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Mooh
Date: 31 May 04 - 03:41 PM

I love gadgets, and I'm sure I'd love this one too, but they are usually shortlived in the market, and in my heart. On the alternate instruments argument, I'd add that half the fun for most of us is actually playing another tuning or instrument, which is why I've got so many distinctly different instruments.

Fun? Likely. But more akin to a musical one night stand than a match made in heaven.

(I've divorced my digital effects pedals lately too...)

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 31 May 04 - 03:51 PM

"dis-associate your eyes from your ears"

To me that seems totally counter to being a musician...


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 31 May 04 - 03:57 PM

Clinton - the Learning of alternate tunings re the Variax is just the same just that the strings are electronically tuned - partial capo's are of great use allowing standard chord and open tuning chord to be used at the same time - not a gimmick just more versatility and a tools which you have to learn to use to get the best out of it, and certainly not a shortcut.

Ridiculing the use of a partial capo would be as silly as abusing a standard capo saying it was a short cut not to learning every chord, when we're all aware that chord shapes have an effect on the overall sound and transposing into a different key will change that.

Because there is little acoustic sound from the Variax, clashing of chords is not a problem - but of course it's a new technique to be learned and become accustomed to (although when recording I tend to have headphones on and on stage a fold back and back line is used so that won't be a hardship)- all part of the learning experience and advancement in the music world. Think of it as a keyboard player using keyshift, he plays the same chords/notes but they are in a different key.

But like I said before if the Variax doesn't serve your purpose don't buy it - but if it takes off anything like the 500 and 700 electrics did it's going to be a great success and fantastic for live and studio use. I've more than had my money's worth out of the Variax 500.

Thanks God we moved on from carving everything in stone or the Internet wouldn't keep Rolling On ;-)

PB


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 31 May 04 - 04:10 PM

C-flat what about going down the path of the Workbench software/Hardware package for the 500/700 due out later this year.... very tasty (and doesn't come in a guitar case :-)

Build your own custom guitars at home on your PC or Mac!

Provides Variax 500 and 700 owners with their own personal guitar custom shop with the tools to easily create and store the guitars they've been dreaming of. Select from a complete list of guitar bodies, choose pickups and placement, and tweak other parameters to design guitar models that are truly one-of-a-kind. This unique combination USB interface and software application allows you to see and hear the physical changes as you apply them to your custom guitar. You can even add alternate tunings! Once you've created your custom guitars, model patches can be stored in the included "Tone Locker," downloaded into any of the available positions on your Variax 500 or 700, and even emailed to your friends that own a Variax. Your dream guitar is just a few clicks away!

Variax Workbench Line6 info


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: C-flat
Date: 31 May 04 - 05:19 PM

One of the things that appealed to me about the Variax was the ability to load new "tones/instruments" as they came available. The workbench certainly looks exiting but I'm going to have to get to grips with using my P.C. properly before venturing too far down the deep end.
Most people who know me are astonished that I've taken to my 500 so well, given my techno-phobia!
Thanks for the link. I was expecting to hear something from Variax after registering my purchase but this is the first I've heard of the Workbench.
C-flat.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 31 May 04 - 05:25 PM

Worth popping in to the Line6 Users group (link above) loads of tips and friendly help, reviews comments (good and bad)

A bit like Mudcat


PB


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: C-flat
Date: 31 May 04 - 06:00 PM

Thanks PB, although I'm having a problem registering on that site. (I'm sure I'll get through eventually)
C-flat.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 01 Jun 04 - 07:55 PM

Collected my Variax 700a today unfortunately I was playin from 11.30am to 3.30pm (my wife did the 120 round trip in pouring rain to pick up the guitar - thank you) and was playing again tonight so haven't had a long time to tinker with it - I will give you further details once I've given it a good thrash and played it live. So far very impressed,

PB


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 02:26 AM

didn't intend to spark off an argument. Still very intrigued by this instrument and its possibilites. After I tried it in the store, I tried one of the new avalons and it felt beautiful in comparison - like back to planet earth.

do you play slide at all penny black. I didn't think to take a slide to the store and try out the open tunings - dobro settings etc.
Also I'd be interested in anybody using it as a solo rather than an ensemble tool.

Many thanks to anybody who has replied


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 07:57 AM

Very little slide - but use a lot of open tuning and partial and double partial copoing. Steve a local lad might be a the club tonight - he's into slide so will let him have a go (trouble is I'll have to fight to get it back :-)

The Variax will be used both in a group situation and as the only backing instrument in some numbers.

My obs so far - strings will be changed to elixir 12's, feel and playabiliy very happy with (then I play a solid bodied banjo so it's doesn't feel that unusual)

Wouldn't buy it for classical guitar - but treat it as a sound not a replacement and it becomes usable.

Dread is Brill far better than 500 (which was good) and 95% of people listening to a recording wouldn't think it was anything but a nice Martin Mic'd up. When dropped into DADGAD is a killer.

Dropping the whole guitar an octave is not advised other than doing a bass fill within a group situation - baratone drop is very good.

12 strings are very good.

Banjo won't take the place of me "real ones" but migt be sliped in on some odd solos.

Not had much chance to mess with the rest but will happily give any info I can - the trouble with instruments is that everyone has their own pet-hates and likes (likewise with strings, cars etc. etc.)and become protective, where really it's best just to be happy with what your happy with and let everyone else do the same.

I hate people asking me "what's the best guitar to buy?" because you can't answer the question - only they can.

I love me Martin - me lad loves his Taylor both are good guitars.


PB


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: mooman
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 08:22 AM

Sounds a versatile instrument and I shall definitely be trying one out to see what its like and out of interest in the concept. However as I already have one top-line guitar permanently in DADGAD, my jazz archtop, my resonator, an 1890's parlour guitar used exclusively for slide, and my classical (and that's just the guitars!), I don't think The Good Lady will be allowing a Variax Acoustic anywhere near our humble abode in the near future (say within the next 50 years!).

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 11:25 AM

moonman - you sound in much the same situation as me with an abundance of instrument! One of the reasons I bought the Variax was to save that line up of instruments on stage (and vehicle space) and hoping our lead vocalist decided to do a long verbal intro so I have enough time to change instruments.

Just spent the last 4 hours trying it through the AER I use for backline still very impressed, some expected limitations e.g.some of the guitars are happy to go down up to a full octave below standard pitch others lose some character other don't like being pushed too high above standard pitch - all open/alternative tunings work well.

The Dred and Jumbo are great likewise the twelve stings - mandola fair for picking and partial capoing good for strumming and driving a song on.

Like the Sitar for ubiquitous Norwegian wood and surprised how much I liked it on Matty Groves, feel a new arrangement coming on.

Being able to go from Standard to alternative tunings at the push of a button (you can set any alternative tuning or your own string key change to any instrument then just press the button to change to it)is a God send and can be done mid play (who needs Scruggs Pegs?)

Don't worry about how many guitars you've got (I had 84 at the last count) just look in the average mechanics tool box - he's far more tools than us :-)

PB

"Too many Strings Not Enough Fingers"


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 05:32 AM

Well Steve (Past Carin' and solo Artist) was at the club last night and took the 700A through it's paces.

I've heard Steve play Doro's steel for over 10 years and last night he was well on form!

At the après sing/play I got Steve to try out the 700a (through an AER Compact 60) first of all he went through the standard guitars - very impressed.

He then tried out the round neck as he went to re-tune to open tuning I stopped him and pressed the control knob - he was confused how the guitar had re-tuned itself and eager to get his bottle neck out. The next 45 mins we were all entertained by his playing (even the Landlord came across and joined us!)

As a listener I can say I was well impressed how the 700a performed The sound was right to my ears and Steve was obviously enjoying playing it as a)He wouldn't stop and b) He kept trying new things Old things all interspaced with positive comments and disbelief.

The outcome - Steve is going to buy one, I'm totally convinced that the 700A was worth every penny (and more) and I'm also going to buy a bottle neck and start practising so I can get even more out of this great guitar. -


Pete


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 02:31 PM

What price? Who gives a good deal? By the way Richard, Lady McMoo is too kind to you anyway. But if she feels kindly disposed toward me...........


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 05:07 PM

RRP: £899.00 Street Price: £799.00 Arm up the back discount: £699.00 - £759.00.


Sound Control (Phone Manchester and ask for Ben)

Rimmers Music Stores, Lancashire (Phone Preston and ask for Hedley)

Promenade Music (hoping to do them at a "Killer Price" unqote)

SoundsLive (On offer at £759.00)

(Remembering these have just hit the shops and are in very short supply many dealer are hanging on for top price, when larger quantities hit the shops better prices will be had)

See your local dealer who should be able to order one for you through Line6 and is always going to give you the best price 'cause he's so nice and you spend so much money there.

PB


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 01:10 PM

I tried this guitar, and as an electric in my backup rig its great-
the guitar-body modelling really works well. As for the retuning function, my problem was this: When I used the electronics to retune,
I could still hear the stringsound in the original tuning. Not a problem when I'm working with headphones in the studio, but on stage
its a horrible distraction.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: PennyBlack
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 01:34 PM

Guest - are you using foldback or backline?

I feed mine into AER 60w backline and there's no problem with clashing of actual and virtual tuning (it doesn't need to be loud (depends on your playing style)) and of course the audience doesn't here the actual strings. What with all the other "noise" on stage plus the wedge foldbacks for vocal/mix it soon gets lost.

It is something to get use to though in quieter settings - but I think well worth it for the ease of dropping in and out of alternate tunings... also it tends to be more noticeable if you capo up the neck.

PB


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,Colin
Date: 01 Oct 05 - 11:42 AM

Just played one of these in my local Guitar shop,in all, a very pleasing experiance. I play in DADGAD and Open G quite a lot and tend to go through a fare few Strings along the way, This guitar solves that problem and should save me a few strings going 'Ping'.Great for playing Gordon Giltrap stuff! Sound wise it's actually very good, but the bit I like most is, you can plug in a pair of Headphones while the wife is watching Coronation Street and practice away without getting yelled at! I may have to get one of these!


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: rhyzla
Date: 01 Oct 05 - 01:57 PM

If anyone is interested, I am about to put mine on ebay with a reserve of £500. It has one tiny dink, but other than that is as new, with case, leads, adaptors and booklet.

I based in the midlands UK, and am happy to sell to anyone who wants to collect and pay me £500. I have followed a few on ebay recently and have seen them sell between £480 and £550, so I feel my price is fair.

This is completely genuine, and pm me for more info.

Reason for selling - too many guitars, and not enough time to play!!

Barry


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: rhyzla
Date: 02 Oct 05 - 12:07 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 10:42 AM

ClintonH, dear chap, with regard to your…..
'It's not that it'd still feel like a standard... -I'd- be able to either hear the strings, or feel the vibration against my body through the back of the guitar, and -I'd- KNOW it was 'wrong'....'

I tested one of the line 6 acoustics out for over an hour in Sound Control, Leeds t' other week. The 'rep' was up from Nottingham (or somewhere) and, on my asking, put the thing in 'C Modal' in under a minute for me.
I sat and played switching at will tween that tuning, standard and drop D for about an hour through a small amp designed for 'acoustic' instruments - set at a reasonably low volume - so no one might hear me struggle!
I can honestly say that right from the first notes, that I felt nowt through the body, or heard owt from the actual strings themselves.
The body is so thin and the guitars own natural volume is so low, you see.

I played a healthy chunk of my 'set' in a variety of tunings and found it a piece of cake from the outset.
Never once did I think owt was 'wrong' - it allus sounded just like the tuning I was meant to be in as I fingered the chords and tunes appropriately, just as I normally would, for each tuning.
Towards the end of the hour, the rep came back and turned the volume of the amp down to almost zero - only then did I realise what 'nonsense' was actually emanating from the strings themselves (I was fingering for C modal while, of course, it was really in standard) - I quickly turned the amp back up a bit and hey presto, once again, no 'mind-boggling effects to worry me in the slightest.

I will point out, that I didn't buy one though, lack of finance for one thing!
Secondly, I experienced a personal difficulty with the narrowness of the neck (width). I play hand-made 'Oakwood' guitars with necks made especially wide, to my own spec, something closer to classical guitar proportions.

So I'd venture to suggest no one should condemn them then, till one has had a proper go. Wouldn't want anyone to level the 'I don't like Guinness so I've never tried it' argument, eh? ;^)

It was seeing the Oysterband's guitarist use one onstage this year that made me look 'em up. But then even he didn't use it for all the acoustic guitar applications in their set. He used a variety of acoustics, chopping and changing from song to song which seemed to defeat the object of using this guitar as a sort of 'universal' acoustic.

I'll definitely keep toting the two Oakwoods to my solo gigs (proper acoustic sound), but still might consider the Line 6 acoustic yet, for use with m' electric band - to help cut down time taken for guitar changes (for different tunings), capo position changes etc, to save taking two guitars to venues - and to save my precious hand-mades getting yet more 'dings' in the rather more energetic band scenario. Also, I believe the Line 6 might just 'cut through' better against the band sound.
Heck! Talked too much again - sorry all - Cheers - HFA


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,titakti
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 11:45 PM

Rent one cheap for a month, play it,get past the novelty, and be glad you only rented it, You can always rent again if needed.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 01:57 AM

I'm not an electric guitarist. I thought that what I was trying in the acoustic section of the store was an acoustic guitar plugged into an amp. This is nothing like an acoustic guitar. After hearing the various settings, I thought that the presets were mere shadows of the actual instruments that they were supposed to be representing. I didn't even think that it came close to imitating an acoustic sounding guitar.

If you want to play an acoustic guitar, classical guitar, mandola...why buy an electric gizmo that does a poor job of copying what you want and gives a lot of extra unnecessary junk in the package? This new toy is nothing more than the guitar equivalent of those home (insert brand name here) organs that so many folks now have collecting dust in their living rooms. I now see lots of those organs for sale at countless garage sales in perfect condition, other than the dust.

They're all pretty much the same beast. They include a percussion section with presets for various percussion styles that you can play along with like a rock, marching, cha cha and waltz rhythms, etc. They can model various instrument sounds too. Depending on the model some can sound a little better than others, but I personally wouldn't dream of trying to jump up on stage with one of these one-man bands and call it entertainment. That's just my own opinion but I guess that what you were looking for here. Sure, the organ might be able to closely approximate a whole percussion section but nothing beats a real good drummer. That said, I have seen some sales wizards on these units make them sound like a dream. I guess that why they were able to sell so many.

I look on this new gadget in the same way. Maybe it was the way the clerk suggested that I try it out while I was perusing the acoustic guitar section of the store. I felt skeptical from the start. Nothing that this modern version of those living room organs did met my expectations.

I've seen other players willing to spend the time to add that kind of band in a box type accompaniment to their act. I've even seen some totally program the entire thing and pump it out via a PA while they just stood there and noodled their guitar and sang along with themselves in little lounge scenes. While I was impressed by the effort, I felt as though something was lost in the translation. Just as I'll never own one of those organs, I don't think that I'll ever bring home one of these all-in-ones.

I think the designers of such modern toys will have to work a lot harder before I get impressed with their efforts. For my taste too much gets lost in the translation from true acoustic sound to analog or digitally reproduced imitation.

I too am one of those performers who will bring a number of different guitars to a gig. Each one of my guitars offers me something that the others cannot. This guitar offers me nothing I want. It is more a novelty than a tool.

Though I'm a player of novelty instruments, the saw and washboard, I don't think that this novelty is something that I'd add to my bag. I'm certain that with enough work put into practicing with it one might make this novelty guitar function within an electric show, but I don't play many electric shows. I'm primarily an acoustic player. I play acoustic guitars, acoustic saw (not electric saws) acoustic washboard (not electric washing machines).

Should some genius eventually decide to try to digitize the sound of a washboard and saw, and this is something that I doubt anybody is in a particular hurry to do, I think that I would still prefer the sounds produced by a real human playing a real instrument over the artificially produced variety.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: redsnapper
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 11:15 AM

A waste of money better spent on a really good luthier-made instrument (in my opinion of course).

RS


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Grab
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 01:41 PM

The Variax electric is on my to-buy list when I've got the dosh. Fantastic idea, and I've heard it used very effectively on stage.

I'm less convinced about the idea of the acoustic one. I've not played one yet (planning a trip to somewhere that sells them to see what they're like), but I'm not sure how well it'd work. Where the tone of an electric derives mostly from features (generally inadequacies!) of the pickups and the pickup location, there's so much variation in acoustic guitar bodies that it's difficult to see how it could be modelled accurately enough. Electrics only use a fairly narrow frequency band, where acoustics go all the way up. Plus the tone of an acoustic in an altered tuning also derives from the sympathetic resonance of the strings, and it doesn't seem to me like you'd get that when the strings aren't really detuned.

But I guess it depends on your needs. If you already own a Collings, a Lowden, a Benedetto and a top-of-the-range Ramirez classical, and you plan on using a mic for amplification on stage, you don't need it. But if you don't already have a bunch of good guitars and you're going to be playing on stage using a pickup for amplification (especially if that's as part of a band), maybe it'd be close enough for you, and it'll give you a lot more variety of sounds for the same money.

And significantly more convenient too. Re the keyboard thing, whilst none of them can compare to the sound of a grand piano or a pipe organ, the simple fact is that you can easily transport a keyboard to gigs, and fit it in your living room. You might only get 75% of the sound quality of the original, but if the original simply ain't an option then settle for second best.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: oggie
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 04:08 PM

I've played them on several occassions but they're not for me. My reservations are -

It's really on electric guitar, it doesn't feel right if you're used to playing an acoustic. The body's too small and the neck too thin.

You need in-ear monitoring to play it well, there is not enough volumne from the bare strings to work with well

Some of the sounds are very good BUT I think most people would only use 3 or 4 at most.

The retune option only works with monitoring becauase what little you can hear is at odds with what you're trying to play.

I've seen a couple of electric guitarists use them effectively where they want an acoustic sound in a heavily miked enviroment and it does cut out the feedback problems.

Like the Line6 Bass Guitar (good but not gorgeous or radical enough for the price tag)it's an idea looking for a market. Could see a lot of studio use by sessions men and as above, lead guitarists needing the acoustic sound, but that's about it.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: Variax Acoustic guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 09:30 PM

Depends what kind of gig you do. We'd all love quiet audiences that hang on our every word, but some of us live our nights in the tough shitty places, and the variax is perfect for that. No acoustic guitar ever works in these places unless your style is walloping. If you meet someone who plays acoustic in these places - some guys have a Marshall power amp and 4by4 set up, and they still have to beat the shit out of an acoustic instrument to make it audible.

I've retired now, but the variax acoustic is the best thing that ever happened for players with an acoustic style who work the toilets and I would unhesitatingly recommend it. Of course its not an acoustic - it doesn't sound much like one unless you find some effects units and eq -ing that'll get it out of jail.

Also you need the workbench thing - I wonder how many guitarists were driven mad - trying to install opentunings without it before the workbench came on the market. The variax management really deserve a rap over the knuckles with a rusty razor for that particular piece of sadism.

Basically you can manage with half the sized PA with the variax. It doesn't feed back. You can compress the sound and do quite delicate picking and nail the audience in their seats.

Also I used the mandola, 12 sring and banjo voices in the studio, and nobody noticed it wasn't the kosher thing.   I know there won't be many folkmusic people who understand what I'm talking about, but if my experiences sound vaguely familiar to your own - give it a whirl is my advice. Prior to variax, the only real other option was getting an electric guitar that gave the same tactile experience as an acoustic. I always played a Rickenbacker 330 - which meant you could use a lot of acoustic technique. the variax sounds more like an acoustic than that!


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