Variax’s acoustic tones, vs. real acoustic and a piezo-equipped solidbody electric

So, I’ve had the Variax for a few weeks now, and unfortunately it is going back. This is due to weird glitching, and the models deciding to just switch on their own. Clearly an electronics problem, and while I could get it repaired, I don’t feel very comfortable keeping a $700 (I got it on sale) guitar that might stop working in a couple years. The Variax only comes with a pathetically short 1 year warranty, and though Sweetwater graciously adds another year on top of that, I generally keep guitars for a bit longer than that.

Anyway, enough of that. My main point of buying the Variax was largely due to its acoustic models, and tuning capabilities. What I found was a bit underwhelming, in my opinion, and a large reason why I’m not that disappointed about sending it back.

6-string acoustic

The 6-string acoustic models, of which there are three, were to be the “meat and potatoes” models for me, since I can’t record regular acoustics late at night. I already have a Graphtech Ghost piezo equipped RG that I’m quite happy with, but I felt that perhaps due to the technology in the Variax, it would be a more accurate representation of an acoustic guitar. In my opinion, it falls short, and actually, I ended up preferring the piezo equipped RG, and of course the real acoustic mic’d up.

Of course I’m a bit biased, but I think the real acoustic sounds better, especially with a smidgeon of EZMix 2 on it. And even the Graphtech pickup sounds quite good, given what the guitar actually is.

Ultimately what I feel inclined to do is install either Ghost or LR Baggs X-Bridge devices on all my guitars for the cheap price they are, and get a Fishman Aura Spectrum, which has been demonstrated to make piezo equipped solidbodies sound pretty damn amazing.

Check out this video, where this gentleman gets a fantastic sound from a semi hollow electric and the Fishman Aura Sixteen:

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