Variax Bass available at a more realistic price ...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IotaNet, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

    I stopped by my friendly neighborhood GC today and found that they are selling the Variax Bass for $899 and they're willing to deal it down to $799.

    At THAT price point, it becomes an intriguing concept. :eyebrow:

    Any thoughts?
  2. Still not worth it.
  3. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    $799's not too bad. I've seen them as low as $699. I always thought that $1299 was an ambitious price.
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    If I had money to burn I'd buy one of those. I don't have money to burn. If I seriously wanted one I'd play the crap out of it first, read everything ever written about them, and then make an educated decision. Me thinks though that I'd play for a couple of months and then it would would sit next to my bed like so many other basses have. What I remember being said, which i don't remember, about it's hardcore battery eating habit makes me think that even at $699, that bass'll wind up costing a crapload of money.
  5. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Always groove.... Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    At $699, I'd pull the trigger. I like the tone shaping possibilities of the instrument, but at $1299 it's too much. It's a $300 bass with $x worth of electronics in it. Not sure what the $x is, but it's not $900.
  6. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

    I was just thinking ...

    If we take it as a given that:
    * The Variax does not perfectly replicate all 24 instruments it purports to.
    * Some of the tones are practically useless. (i.e. Synth and upright.)
    * If you already have any of the 24 basses, you will not get rid of them for a Variax.

    On the other hand:
    * The Variax does a passable job of replicating some of the tones and it does an EXCELLENT job replicating others.
    * The Variax has more tones than any ONE bass and they are all customizable to one degree or another.
    * Is is comfortable, well made, and highly playable.

    ... if all of that is true, why wouldn't somebody give it a hard look?

    I mean, if a bassist has one or two basses (for example, a P-Bass and a Stingray) but would like to have access to the sounds of others, wouldn't $799 or $699 for a Variax be cheaper than going out and buying any ONE of the ones he/she doesn't already own?

    Obviously one wouldn't get authentic replicas but on the other hand, it would be cheaper than spending what any one of those basses would cost. And you get the bonus of having a very broad range of tonalities to experiment with. (And there's always the possitility that Line 6's Workbench Software may become available for the bass. At that point, it's all good!)

    Don't get me wrong -- I thought that $1,199 was a bit much. For that money, I would want perfection. (Deeper still, for that money, I could buy any one of a number of new instruments.)

    On the other hand, $799 does not buy me a new much of anything once you get past MIM (and some CIJ) Fenders.

    I am in no way a shill for Line-6 but on the other hand, I am intrigued.

    Just my .02
  7. yeah, i'd be more interested if instead of trying to replicate certain models, i'd be more interested if it came with the workbench software and you could just assign presets on the bass...that'd be more worth it for me
  8. At that price, oh yeah, I'd go for it :D .

  9. KevinC

    KevinC Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2002
    West Des Moines, IA
    :hyper: Well, I took the plunge this past week. After reading the raving review in Bass Player in March '05, it almost sounds to good to be true, but I found a used one like new for $699. I already have a BassPODXT Live with BassSmith and Line6 editing software on my PC, so I am looking forward to the many possibilites with the marriage of the two. Also, when you run the Variax via the BassPODXT Live, it powers the bass, so no need to worry about batteries, and when using it on 6-AA batteries, it will run 12-14 hours and on a single 9-volt, 3-4 hours.

    I will let you all know after a few weeks of working with it what I then think about it.

    Keep it low :bassist:
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't think I could bring myself to buy one. I just can't see how it would be useful to me. I'm not much of a bass changer. Once I get a sound down, I like to keep it and not change very often, and if I do change the sound, it's usually with the pickups or a pedal. And I know if I bought it, I'd find two, maybe 3 sounds I like and stick with them, just like every other bass I buy.

    Besides, I like to feel the physical changes in the bass when you switch off. I don't want my solid-body with rounds to sound like a Hofner and still feel like a solid-body with rounds. That's just weird.
  11. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I'm sure that workbench software for the Variax Bass is on the way! I'm with you - I want to use this thing the way I use my Zoom B2 multieffects processor. I've scrapped the patches they have and I've got my own.

    I'd like to include a P/J bass in there, a MM/MM bass (Bongo), a J/MM, etc. It would be nice to mix and match body styles and pickups.
  12. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

    For what it's worth -

    In the January Issue (Adam Clayton on cover) of BassPlayer Magazine, the Variax 5-string gets a nice review. It's not online yet but the closing paragraph reads:

    "To reiterate my Bass Variax 700 review conclusion, these instruments will never replace the originals. But there is no way to achieve the astounding variety of tones and timbres that the Bass Variax provides without spending a small fortune. For its sheer versatility, the Bass Variax is a killer piece of gear, and now us 5-fans can hop onboard."

    At $1,399, I still think its a bit pricey but I am also convinced this is a great instrument and a great piece of technology that is waiting to find its niche.
  13. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    I'd buy one at $799.
  14. If Warmoth ever does that thing like they did with the Variax guitars, making drop in bodies, I'm in. Variax needs to admit that they don't make high quality instruments, and that their forte is mos def electronics. If they sold the electronics package, I'd 'moth it in a second. Heh, I might even salvage a used variax for a custom.
  15. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I disagree. Granted, I've only spent about an hour with a Variax, but it seemed pretty well-made. It played really nicely, had a good neck on it.
  16. i can certainly see the utility and logic of the variax. i'm sure $799 is a good price for a well-made, extremely versatile bass. i played with a guy who had a variax guitar and pod live. it was very cool how it could change guitars and amps with a single footswitch. i can see how this would be great.

    but i like what i have as far as versatility is concerned. so that's good for me. but i'm sure if i had a variax, i'd really enjoy it. and i think i'd make a pod live appear in my future, too.

  17. I'm not sure where the opinions of the Variax basses being "cheap" instruments has come from ( not really a factor on this thread, but several others have eluded to this opinion ). I don't own one, but Bassplayer has reviewed it twice (once for the 4 str and recently the 5 str.)and both mentioned that it was a well made instrument. I personally had the opportunity to play them at a music shop. Not plugging the instrument in, but just holding it and playing a few notes did not give any indications of it being cheap. It felt like a very nicely made bass, with good action and fretwork. I don't think it's at all worth the 1200.00 price tag it carried ( I suppose this store didn't get wind of the price at GC yet. ) But, at the $700 price point, I will end up buying one this year.

    It think it makes a great bass for someone playing in a cover band that jumps around genres alot like myself. It would be great to have that versatility and only need to bring along the Variax. It would never replace my favorite Carvin LB70 I've played for years, but there is certain material I would definitely enjoy using it on.
  18. Dad Bass

    Dad Bass

    Jun 22, 2005
    New Jersey, USA
    I played one at a GC ....I was interested in the concept. I found that to my ears that there was a much difference between switches as changing hand position or setting on my Modulus bass. I guess some people like it Hutch uses one and that's cool but I don't have the need in my life right now.

    I can agree that this could be a great Idea but I don't think theyre there yet.
  19. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I'd go for it if I had the moolah. Honestly for $799 it's a great instrument, highly playable and versatile. It does some instruments sorta well and others really well. The synth sounds were great IIRC and for $800 if it could do ONE instrument well, it's worth it and everything else is extra.

    If Warmoth ever came out with the bass bodies, I wouldn't mind a Jazz bass shaped Variax.
  20. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    What would be sweet is a sub-$500 drop in kit which people can throw in a bass of their own....

    This would be great for the P or Jazz bassists who can maybe do a little carving behind the huge pickguards (or better yet, be able to fit in their cavities already) and be able to switch between the Variax and their own bass's pickups if need be...

    Little drilling for a Variax connector and you'd be set...

    Maybe include a pickguard with this already setup for you.

    Who cares if it may be 2 - 3 times the knobs. it would be sweet for EVERYTHING!

    I am guessing that someone could buy a Variax and do this mod themselves...