I have two GR-55 units and they are truly amazing units. They are about $800.00 retail not including the GK-3 cable which may or may not come with the VG guitar.
I tool my older Variax 700 guitars and physically mounted the GK-3 pickup and controller. Now I have access to the older line 6 guitar modeling, PLUS anything from guitar modeling, to real synth sounds all from the same guitar with just two cables. One VDI, the other the GK-3 13-pin proprietary cable.
The guitar does look nice, but what about people like myself who never have liked Fender guitars, and especially Strats? I like I have my own solution, but what about all the other guitar companies out there. Is it possible Roland is going to make deals with most of them like Gibson, PRS, etc.? It would be a VERY SMART business move of the part of Roland if it did happen.
I remember back in the pre-JTV production stage of being asked what we wanted from the next Variax guitar. I'd guess it was about 80% that asked for the same thing we see now with this Strat. Line 6 seems to not wish to collaborate or "share" business with the other guitar companies that have excellent reputations and -in my opinion- would do MUCH for getting Line 6 guitars and tech to be taken much more seriously than it is now by the general public.
I also do not think that comparing the VG-5 Strat against any of the JTV line is a fair comparison. Line 6 DOES NOT do anything with Synth technology. Their algorithms are different from the COSM tech that Roland uses. And if the peope who were buzzing abouit the VG knew a fraction of what the JTV guitars can do by themselves or coupled with the POD HD/DT gear, then Line 6 would have much better public opinion.
The one thing I will say about the Roland GR-55 unit it what the POD HD units did not do and we've all complained about. The Roland units actually HAVE useable presets out of the box along with the silly ones. There are far more useable ones with the Roland unit, then there are with the POD HD units. This might help equal out the "buzzing" that you heard at your local store. I'd even bet that if you were to ask any of those store people what they thought or knew about any Line 6 gear, they would not have much to say, be incorrect, or just say something bad because others have said something bad, not from any personal experience.
Roland has nothing to PROVE in a new market, they just have to KEEP UP with that they've already done and just continue to evolve it. Can Line 6 say the same in the market places of the general public??
Or perhaps I have no clue of what I'm writing about??