vgstratFirst Line 6 with the Variax – then Gibson with it’s HD.6X now Fender have jumped onto the guitar modeling bandwagon with the VG Stratocaster.

Unveilled at NAMM 2007 (along with Gibson’s Digital counterpart) the Fender VG Stratocaster is set to radically update Fender’s classic guitar, which for over 60 years has been a mainstay. The VG forms one of the results of a 10 year relationship with Roland and looks to fight for market share with the likes of Line 6 and Gibson.

So what’s different with the Fender VG? Well it’s got two things going for it – firstly the guitar modeling, the VG has three standard American Series single coil pickups but additionally it has a Roland GK Bridge pickup. With the GK Bridge Pickup comes five distinct guitar “models” – which are Stratocaster, Telecaster, Humbucking pickups and acoustic. There is also the option of bypassing the circuitry and invoking the guitars normal tone.

Secondly the VG Strat has the ability to alter tunings on the fly the VG has a “Tuning” knob that allows the player to select from a number of predefined tunings – Normal, Drop D, Open G, D Modal, Baritone and 12 string.

The two options are controlled by two extra control knobs fitted to the guitar and allow the player to change settings at the flick of a switch

Other than that it’s a traditional strat in everysense of the word – design, hardware etc all remain the same – this is good news as some of the Line 6 guitars have had some criticism levied at the build quality of some of their lower value guitars. And with the VG you get Fender’s built quality.

The downsides? Well it’s too early to tell (we’ll need to have a listen to truly get a picture) but if you contrast the Line 6 Variax – the variax has more guitar models (and there based on multiple manufacturers not just Fender) – there is the option of the workbench software (to extend the range of sounds available) – The plus sides – well obviously it’s a Fender so you should get the usual quality instrument that Fender is well known for – it’s simple – Fender have opted for a standard guitar and output – so know need for external devices – strange cables and the like.

The result? Well we’re certainly interested – Guitar Modeling is getting a real foothold in the industry and there’s no getting away from it – while it may never offer the subtleties of a real instrument – to our ears they come pretty darn close – with Fender and Gibson entering the market there’s some real competition and innovation so we will be watching the developments closely!


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