So we finally received a Variax bass in my store this week. I played it for about 15 minutes, and here are my preliminary thoughts: - The gigbag is awesome. Wow. I'd expect this kind of bag with a much more expensive instrument. Really cool. - The bass feels like the quality of the Japanese Fenders. Nothing to really write home about, but adequate. The neck is like a cross between a P and a J. Didn't feel like home to me - I prefer a P style neck. It's also a gloss finish on the neck, which I don't really dig. Too sticky. I don't really like the thumbrest, either. It's scooped, so you can sort of ignore it if you want, but not enough to ignore it completely. They should have left if off the bass and stuck it in the bag for those who wanted to install it later. - The J bass tones are excellent, but a litte undefined. Didn't quite have the growl that I wanted, but not terrible. It would fool most people, methinks. The P tone was terrible - really nasally, and rather honky. No good. The MM was ok, but not aggressive nor clanky enough. This was passable, but didn't really capture the essence of the MM bass. The other tones didn't leave much of an impression on me, with a few notable exceptions: the hollowbody was really cool, as was the 12 string (even though I could tell it was digital). The acoustic bass sound completely sucked, and the synth was absolutly awful. Overall, I have to give this one a big "meh". Nothing really jumped out and grabbed me, especially for a $1600 MSRP bass. Granted, I didn't spend tons of time with it, but I'm of the opinion that you can know enough about an instrument to tell whether it's right for you within the first 30-60 seconds. I bet it would be a great bass for guys who want a ton of tones in one bass, but none of them will replace the real thing. I will say that it didn't sound overly digital nor cold sounding (which I expected), but the tones weren't 100% accurate either. Hmm. As a point of reference, I'm a dyed in the wool tubes guy who doesn't care for active basses at all. I generally respect the idea of Line 6 stuff, but I still see it as a technology in it's infancy that will probably be a force to reckon with in the next 5 years or so. But for now, it still seems like it's a pale imitation of the real thing. Next!