31. Line 6 Variax 30
AN odd one, you might think, to find lumped in after three acoustic guitars, but believe it or not, I bought this bright red digital guitar, primarily to use as an acoustic guitar.
It’s a modelling guitar and doesn’t have any conventional pickups. Instead, rather a transducer under the bridge picks up the string vibrations and sends them to a really clever bit of advanced electronics which converts them into the sound of almost any guitar you care to name – from a vintage Martin acoustic to a National, a Strat or a Les Paul, and all sorts of weird and wonderful things in between. Yes, really!
Not only that, it allows you to programme in almost any tuning you like, electronically – a bit like my Hipshot Trilogy bridge, but all done by a couple of chips under the pickguard.
It’s a great idea, but there just had to be a catch, didn’t there? Otherwise, surely every other famous guitarist in the world would be using them by now, wouldn’t they?
The truth is it worked, after a fashion, but never quite responded convincingly enough to the way you hit the strings. The (more expensive) dedicated acoustic model works better – my mate Dave Werewolf swears by his! But for me, it really was a case of a nice idea which came tantalisingly close to working, but never quite cut it.
I was certainly very taken with the idea for a while, mind. I even bought a spare body on eBay, intending to strip off the paint, lacquer the bare wood and fit a tortoiseshell pickguard to lend it a vaguely more “acoustic” vibe. That never happened, of course. I still have that spare body in a box somewhere in my garage if anyone would like to make me an offer. I think it would probably take a fairly standard Strat-type neck…