I decided to splash out and get a Variax guitar (one of the JTV-59 models in tobacco sunburst finish) and went to pick it up this morning. A quick soundcheck confirmed to me that the range of modelled tones did fit my needs and that, yes, the simulated tuning feature, was brilliant. DADGAD for the bridge? Not a problem at all!
Unfortunately, on getting it home, I discovered that the battery charger was missing a vital component so I can’t plug it in. A quick call to the shop, profuse apologies (they check the guitars when they come in but it was suggested the vital lead didn’t get packed back after testing) and it will be with me in a couple of days. Meanwhile, I’ll have to wait to really dig in with the huge range of sounds as they all rely on the battery (allegedly it can last for about 12 hours but you’ve got to be able to charge it first).
At least the magnetic pickups (Les Paul style) are great and even the acoustic sound is surprisingly strong for what is an electric guitar. Two of the big developments from the original Variax range were to build the technology into high quality guitars (rather than a basic model) and to give a magnetic pick up fallback capability. Still, next time I get something like this, I’ll make sure I go though everything in the box.