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Thread: New Toy Gloat

  1. #1
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    New Toy Gloat

    And it isn't even a woodworking tool.

    Travis Stinson and I have been trading e-mail about guitars and other accessories, and he got me started looking on eBay at guitars. (Like I need another one.) I came across a good deal on this:



    It's a Variax by Line 6. This is not your regular electric guitar. It uses fancy electronic modeling to accurately emulate the sound of a wide variety of guitars, from a Les Paul and Stratocaster (several versions of each) to hollow body jazz guitars, to Martin acoustic guitars, a Guild acoustic 12-string, a banjo, a Dobro, and a sitar. I never was real fond of red guitars, but now I've got about 25 of them...all in this one box. I'm going to seriously consider refinishing this one to a color I like better. (Or maybe even making a new body for it. Heck, I've got the necessary tools.)

    Gimme a bit of time to play with it and I'll see if I can record a few sound samples so the rest of you can hear some of the different guitars this thing is capable of sounding like.

    At least it matches the smiley...
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Gimme a bit of time to play with it and I'll see if I can record a few sound samples so the rest of you can hear some of the different guitars this thing is capable of sounding like.

    At least it matches the smiley...
    We're looking forward to hearing it!
    How old is it? Sure sounds like new tech to me.
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    one."
    --Winston Churchill, in response




  3. #3
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    Nice looking axe, Vaughn. Our daughter has a Honner L59 (German made Gibson for those unfamiliar). I can't recall the country artist that dad got it from, but he was well known about 15 years ago.

  4. #4
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    hey blondy, ya got any cd's of what you used to play.. got sum speakers just achin to let her loose
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Page View Post
    ...How old is it? Sure sounds like new tech to me.
    This one's about 6 months old. The Variax technology has been around for a few years, but not many. This particular model is their entry-level version. More money buys nicer wood (this one is agathis) or finishes. The guts are the same in the cheaper one. Back when I was playing guitar for a living, the technology for something like this was beyond comprehension. I remember reading an article in the early 80s discussing how it was impossible with the technology of the day to emulate an authentic-sounding grand piano. The amount of data that needed to be processed in milliseconds was far more than the computers of the day could handle. Nowadays we have that kind of processing power in our telephones, and a little $200 keyboard can sound like a pretty decent grand piano.

    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    hey blondy, ya got any cd's of what you used to play.. got sum speakers just achin to let her loose
    We only recorded one studio record (a 5-song EP). That was before the CD days. Unfortunately, the record pressing was done on the cheap (starving musicians, ya know) and the sound quality was not great. These days there are only a few un-warped copies of the record left, and the copies we've made onto CD sound pretty bad. (Honestly, they weren't Grammy material to start with.)

    We did manage to get our hands on the 2" master tapes from the studio a couple years ago, but time and temperature had taken their toll on the tape. When they tried to play it back on the machine it was recorded on, the emulsion peeled off the mylar tape like pudding. (Took the guy a day to clean the gunk off his tape heads.) Apparently there's a way to heat the tape in an oven to harden the emulsion back up, but it was a rare skill back in the days, and now we're having trouble finding anyone who still knows how to do it. We'd like to somehow salvage the individual tracks off the tape so we can use modern digital tools to remaster the songs. For now, the best we've been able to do is clean up some of the noise, but it's still far from great. I'll see if I can dig something up for your speakers to laugh at.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
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    Regarding Guitars.....

    (Shamelessly stolen from some old Aerosmith liner notes)

    "There's NOTHING like the sound of a Tortured Stratocaster."



    -Kevin in Indy
    "Heroic? He fell off his bloody Aeroplane!"

  7. #7
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    Very interesting, Vaughn.

    Have you heard one set to sound like a Sitar?

    How about a Bass version. I love bass and have my stereo bass booster cranked up all the time. (no no no rap...)

    Do you have to have any special amps to go with it, or is the sound generated by just electronics in the guitar?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cook View Post
    Very interesting, Vaughn.

    Have you heard one set to sound like a Sitar?

    How about a Bass version. I love bass and have my stereo bass booster cranked up all the time. (no no no rap...)

    Do you have to have any special amps to go with it, or is the sound generated by just electronics in the guitar?
    There's a sitar setting on it (electric sitar from the 60's, actually), but in playing around with it, I see that it's most effective within a specific range of notes. Too high or too low, and it doesn't sound very realistic.

    They do make a bass Variax, as well as acoustic guitar versions.

    You can plug it onto any regular amp or a recording console. Different guitar settings sound best with different amps, though. The acoustic guitar setting don't sound too good coming out of a Marshall stack. I have several devices that emulate different amplifiers much the same way this guitar emulates different guitars. The company that makes this guitar (Line 6) also makes some killer amp modeling devices. I have an older Line 6 POD 2, and in a week or so Ill have a PODtx Live. (Another eBay deal I couldn't pass up.)

    I got a chance to play around with the guitar a bit tonight, and I think it's going to be a fun addition to the stable. The electric guitar sounds are all pretty close to the real thing. The acoustic guitar settings are pretty convincing, but not perfect. A lot of the trick is in the playing technique, as well as the amp model it is being run through. Much like a new bandsaw, I need to do a little tweaking to the mechanics to get it set up the way I like, but my initial impression of it is good. So far my biggest complaint is that the guitar has relatively little sustain, but that's something I can likely improve with a bit of work. If not, a new body out of denser wood should help.

    I'm having some USB issues with my computer right now, so my recording software doesn't want to cooperate. When I get things working right, I'll post a sample or two.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  9. #9
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    I know zip about music or instruments. But it looks nice.
    OTOH, you could have bought parts from Grizzly and made yer own.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    ...OTOH, you could have bought parts from Grizzly and made yer own.
    Maybe the wood parts, but not the electronics. The Griz kits actually look pretty decent, although the good ones are about twice the cost I paid for this guitar. If I do end up making a body, I'll be looking to see what Griz has. I wouldn't need the whole kit, but they have some body billets that look nice.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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