Dec 27, 2012 4:53 PM
tl;dr: The Korean Varaix isn't worth the money, and Line 6 support had an epic failure. Do yourself a favor, and buy a Shecter or some other guitar that will be worh the money.
Before you purchase one, or the Dream Rig, please check out my story and some of the following stories...
Firmware woes: http://line6.com/support/message/404332#404332
JTV-69 Neck: http://line6.com/support/message/403975#403975
Or heck, just google the following: site:line6.com jtv-69 neck problems
Anyway, onto my story...
Prior to purchasing the Varaix, I knew of potential quality control relating to the neck and tremolo. There are several threads on the Line 6 forums which speak to the problems (see above), and solutions for those problems. The one bright note was that many of these threads spoke well of Line 6 support. Haivng faith in Line 6 (and some GAS for the Dream Rig), I pulled the trigger purchasing the guitar in February of 2012. Budget limits allowed for only the -69 and the Pod HD500. It was my intent to purchase the DT-25 at a later date.
Sadly, the first unit did have problems with the trem and neck. The purchase was made through Sweetwater (props to them). They quickly replaced the -69. The replacement unit also exhibited issues with tuning stability, and had flat spots on the back of the neck. I didn't want to be a pain, so I decided to live with it. Caveat emptor, as the saying goes. I just didn't want to spend the next six months of my life swapping guitars, because of poor quality control. In the end, it wasn't a horrid guitar. Had it gone no futher, I would have just taken my lumps and live with it.
Line 6 contacted me in early May in response to a customer survey I had completed regarding the Variax. The person I spoke with assured me that Line 6, "... would do whatever it took to ensure I was satisfied." He volunteered to replace the guitar with one that would work correctly. I took him up on his offer.
It took Line 6 over four months to deliver the replacement unit. Each inquiry of the status of the replacement would be met with another excuse. Heck, I had to prompt for status reports. The first delay was due to the lack of a bridge (I thought these things were manufactured overseas). The next one had a crack in the finish. It wasn't until I threw a fit months later that something was finally done. The replacement was finally received the first week of September. The condition of the replacement was, simply put, appalling. The unit was supposed to have received the personal attention of Tim Wilson at Tyler Guitars. The nut was over cut, the frets had not been leveled well, the strings were tied to the tuning pegs as if it didn't have locking tuners, etc. I had to pony up an extra $30 for a luthier to replace the nut to eliminate buzzing.
I again contacted the Line 6 rep to express my displeasure. I was met with the same litany of apologies. He offered to give me an amazing deal on a DT-25 to make up for my frustrations. Given that I was (mostly) happy with the HD500, and now that I had fixed the -69 myself, I thought I might at least see what was on the table. Sure, I was given an offer, and was informed that it was their, "Best accomodation pricing." Sadly, I could have purchased a new DT-25 retail and been within dollars of the price offered to me. Let me say that again... Their best accomodation pricing, was within the ballpark of what anyone could purchase retail. The fun part was when, literally a week later, they started their $500 off promotion for the Dream Rig. Putting the overall purchase price at less than what was offered to me.
That was the final straw for me. I'm pretty much done with Line 6 products at this point. If I had it to do over, I'd have gone w/ a Schecter guitar and Boss products.
As a side note, you'll often hear the comments that the -69 isn't a $1400 guitar. It's a $700 guitar with $700 worth of electronics. I now own two Schecters. One is a Diamond Deluxe 006, and the other is a C-1 Classic. Both were at or less than $700 when new. Both are far superior in fit and finish to the $700 Variax (with $700 in electronics).