Gear Review: Line6 Variax 700.
(To my legions of readers: I posted a review of the guitar before, but accidentally deleted it -- the review not the guitar.)
For all of you songwriter/recording enthusiasts out there who live in apartments, you know all too well the perils of acoustic guitars. Irate neighbors, irate spouses/roommates, irate pets, eviction. Yup, even though a well played acoustic has a mellifluous, somewhat soothing tone, it's sill too damn loud for apartment living, especially if you're primarily a strummer like me. But there is an answer. It's called a Variax, and it's a guitar that models several acoustic guitars reasonably well and tons of electrics very well. There are three basic designs: the 300, the 700 and one that looks like an acoustic. Mine is the 700 Hardtale (no tremolo) and since buying it (with my parents' help, thank you mom and dad!) I have used it even more than I thought I would. In fact, I dare say it's become my main recording guitar because it just makes the whole process so easy. Need a Martin? Turn the dial. Need a Guild? Turn the dial again. Need a Telecaster? Yup, it's on the dial. But all these cool tones wouldn't be nearly as much fun if the guitar were poorly made. Thankfully, my Variax is a beauty, crafted in Japan of carved mahogany, maple and rosewood, and blessed with stellar workmanship and a nicely shaped neck. Combined with Amplitube, the Variax is truly like having a roomful of amps and guitars all in one instrument. Man, I wish this thing had been around when I was younger!
Quick note: The Variax does NOT model amps, just the output signal of a slew of electrics; it model acoustics, though, so wheh you plug it in direct, it sounds like a Martin or whatever else you dial up (more or less, truth be told, the acoustic models are clearly models). Also, the guitar requires power.You can load it up with batteries or use the pedal with a special cord.
BOTTOM LINE: If you want to record acoustic-like sounds silently, get a Variax. The acoustic sounds might not be radio ready, but they're surely good enough for a demo. The electrics are killer. As for which model to buy, I'd go with one of the higher end Variaxe, if you plan to really use the guitar; if you just need to lay down an occasional acoustic track or experiment with electric tones, get the cheapo 300.