Well, my friend was just visiting from SF purchased the James Tyler Variax JTV-89 used from someone in Burbank. We took it back to my house and played it through an amp.
Holy crud, this thing is varied, useful, and good sounding. And it plays well.
Now, as you people know, I'm really not a Line 6 homer, a virtual modeling fan, or any of that. And I would say immediately if something didn't sound good. This sounds good.
I have no idea whether the Variax sounds like whatever it's supposed to model. I don't know, partially because we didn't have the owner's manual, so it was just two people playing guitar (not simultaneously ) and flipping through sounds. But we were really impressed with how the guitar felt and played.
Some quick observations about the sounds:
1. The Coral Sitar or whatever that is as part of the "Reso" grouping sounds great.
2. The banjo sounds surprisingly good and useful.
3. The chimey guitars sound really good.
4. The acoustic guitars sound sort of like an acoustic going DI, and although I don't know whether it would fool anybody, but they sound good, and that's all we were really caring about when we were messing around with this.
5. The Jazz and Rockabilly settings also sounded great.
- I didn't know that it did alternate tunings (downtuning) on the fly. I basically didn't know anything about this. It does it quickly, without affecting the tension of the strings, and sounds good.
- There is no latency, not any more than any other guitar. None.
- It's extremely quiet unless you turn it to the normal pick-ups, as it can be played without the modeling. We didn't really put this through its paces, but it seemed to sound fine, just like a "regular" guitar, nothing amazing, but sounding fine.
- We did not mess around with what happens if you do alternate tunings or downtune and then see what happens when we change the tuning via the knob (software). We just basically messed around with it before he took off, so I don't know anything about whether it does alternate tunings or what happens if you retune the guitar.
- It interfaces with other Line 6 products, which we did not have available with us. It also connects to a computer, which we also did not do, so you can get new sounds or whatever.
- It's absurdly easy to use. We were messing around with it without an owner's manual, and it was easy to flip through the sounds, change tuning, or whatever, just like any other guitar.
I already own several guitars, and need another guitar like a hole in the head, but even I caught myself thinking, "Hmmmmm......this would be kinda cool......" It's a well-made guitar, sounds great, is fun to play, and is extremely versatile. And being a huge skeptic, I was genuinely surprised at how good it sounded.