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Rating and Reviews: Line 6 Variax Limited Amethyst

Topped with a flamed-maple veneer and finished in translucent purple, this limited edition Amethyst Variax model lends unique looks to the Variax HD sound.

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"Two Day Review" submitted November 12, 2017

By Martin G
Ease of Use
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: hobbyist
Music Style: rock, blues
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Overall: This is my second Variax guitar. I purchased a James Tyler model about 3 years ago but was attracted to the new Standard's reduced size, weight and form factor not to mention the "amethyst" color of this "limited" edition. I thought I'd comment after having had this latest edition for a couple of days. Color: The amethyst staining is so dark that if you don't look closely, or have it under direct lighting, the guitar appears to be black....confirmed by my 3 year old grand daughter when I asked her what color my guitar was. (she knows the color purple) That said, the paint job of this made in Indonesia product is quite good. You can still make out the flame, but you'll need to look closely for the full "amethyst" effect. Fit and Finish: Nicely put together, maybe weighs in near 7 pounds, A semi-loose tone knob was the only structural issue that I've noted so far. Does not effect its function. Overall carefully constructed and finished. Parts: respectable parts minus locking tuners. But I've found it to stay in tune quite nicely in contrast to some online reviews that I've run across. As for the trem, not bad for mild use. It really needs to be screwed all the way down to avoid wobble. The native pick ups actually sound quite good behaving very much like a proto-typical strat-type product with a five way switch. At least in my opinion, an upgrade over my 3 year old James Tyler Variax. The electronics: The Variax suite of guitar (and other instruments) emulation is the real reason for owning one. 28 musical models featured with each having established their reputation as landmark instruments. And not to forget the altered tunings found on a second knob. To be sure, some emulations are better than others. My favorite being the "T Model"....Sounds just like my Tele. To really tell the difference between all of the models would require an exquisite ear. In the end, one just plays with the selector knob and the five way switch to choose what sounds best to your ear. The manual that accompanies the Variax describes in detail each instrument rendered. A nice feature is the ability to save your favorites to a custom setting for quick and easy access simply by moving the five way switch. While I find the modeling reasonably convincing, if you've been around the block enough, you can tell it ain't the real thing owing to a brassy overtone that seems to be ever present. It's not unpleasant but it does, in my opinion, cast a shadow on the overall effect of the modeling. This is especially true in the acoustic modeling set of tones. Ironically that jangly overtone is not a problem in the 12 string emulation or within the Resonator set of instruments. I can't really comment on the tunings as of yet. I tried Open D. It worked as advertised but the tonal quality takes some getting used to. Design issues: The most annoying issues are minor. One involves the USB plug in the guitar itself used to communicate with the included HD software and with your DAWS if you have one.. It is quite difficult to remove. and is situated too close to the jack for the magnetic pickups. While we're on the subject of the software. Easy to install, attractive to look at and in fact functional. But I doubt I will put it to use as the models provided are quite sufficient for my own needs. Taking the battery in and out is also a bit challenging; takes a little practice but can be mastered if one is patient and doesn't try to force the issue. Should have come with a gig bag at $900 but it didn't so beware of this omission. Conclusion: This Variax Standard won't likely be your only guitar. Think of this "ax" as being a strat-style guitar with an onboard pedal board with extra-ordinary capabilities. It really is fun to dial in the variety of sounds and represents a cure for the guitar doldrums that occasionally settle in. I consider it a worthy part of my good sized guitar collection. I don't buy into all of the emulations but there's enough goodness to justify ownership. (Note: this review included two amplifiers: Roland Blues Cube played clean and Fender Acoustic 100 also played clean) Over and Out
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