Cool new toys

We have been out today and bought some cool new toys. Musical toys. Guitar toys. We got a Line 6 Variax 500, a Line 6 Pod 2.0, a small acoustic guitar, a couple of leads, strings, a stand, and some picks. We’ll be doing some slightly better reviews of some of this stuff soon, but here’s a few first thoughts…

The Variax

I first found this thing a few days ago on Fox’s site. After a bit of research to find out what it actually was, I liked the idea. As long as it worked in practice, and it was far cheaper than it possibly could be. Of course, they turned out to be not cheap at all. Not all that expensive for the technology you’re getting, but too much for me to afford. Then today we happened on a second hand one in Fox’s, looking in good condition. It shows signs of having been heavily played, but well looked after. The finger plate is dull with tiny scratches, but there’s no dents or deep scratches. A play in one of their testing rooms soon showed that it really did work, too.

If you’re not familliar with the Variax, the idea is that the signal from the strings is picked up by piezo sensors, which feed into a signal processor that then outputs the signal that would be output by the guitar of your choice. If you want it to be a Telecaster, it’ll sound like a Telecaster. If you want a Gibson Les Paul, it can do that, too. Or a Rickenbacker. Or, if you’re so inclined, a banjo or a sitar.

I know, I know. I expected it to be terrible too, but it really does work. My last experience of anything like that was a digital guitar I bought many years ago, with strips of rubber to press instead of strings on the neck, and just some short lengths of string at the bottom for plucking. This isn’t like that. It’s a real guitar, it just does clever things with the signal from the strings.

The Pod

What the Variax does for guitars, The Pod does for amps. It simulates an assortment of different classic amps, mic’d up. So even through headphones, you can sound like you’re playing through a big chunky Marshall stack. It also has a selection of effects pedals built in, which was really our main reason for buying it, but the amp sims are by far the best part.

The Rest

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p>The small acoustic was only a toy, because Sam fancied playing about with one. It’s cheap and a bit crap, but it works ok. The stand is quite nice, as stands go. The Lynx cables are very nice. Rubber texture to the actual cable, and good strong metal connectors. I like good cables.