Line6 made their name modelling famous guitar amps, effects pedals, and even specific tones, and a few years ago they took the leap into making “digital” guitars with the Variax range. They play like a normal electric, they look (more or less) like a normal electric, and they even sound like one – but with an amazing amount more flexibility.
The JTV-59 for example gives 28 modelled guitars, plus the simplicity of the standard pickups, making a round… er, 29. The available guitars include classic Fender Telecaster/Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul (Standard, Junior, and Special) & ES-335/175, Gretsch Silver Jet, Rickenbacker 360 for electric, and Martin D-28/D12-28, Martin O-18, Guild F212, and Gibson J-200 for acoustic sounds. Of course Line6 aren’t allowed to call out any of these by name, but the presets don’t keep you guessing for long.
Emulations are never perfect, but here Line6 (and James Tyler) have done an excellent job recreating the idiosyncrasies of 28 classic acoustic and electric guitars. I especially like the “microphone emulation” on the acoustic models, where the tone knob controls mic positing – a very nice touch!
There are also options for Sitar, Banjo, and resonator guitars, plus the much-hyped alternate tunings (which can take some getting used to”.
If you’re after a truly classic Les Paul-through-a-Marshall-stack sound, don’t buy Line6. However – if you’re a busy sessionist or producer and you need a wide variety of sounds without spending thousands of pounds and lugging far too much gear around – the Variax models could be the answer.