View Full Version : Buy guitar now or Axe Fx II later?
03-01-2012, 04:00 AM
Hey all. So I need some help making a decision. First, I don't really "need" a new guitar or the Axe Fx. It's just a want. So here is the situation.
I'm a bedroom player and only play out at church every other week or so. I currently have 4 guitars and play thru a POD HD500. Love my guitars and I'm pretty satisfied with the HD. My only solid body HB guitar is a PRS DC245 which is my favorite and one that I'm just shy about taking out. I have a Hamer Newport that I play out, but it's really close to mint and you know how we are about putting dings in our guitars. The only guitar I wouldn't mind a new ding going into, I just sold, a Hamer Daytona because I just couldn't get used to the single coil sound and didn't like the neck profile.
So, I'm looking to get a HB solid body guitar that I won't care if I got a ding it or not. There are several used options I'm looking at. Either a Hamer Monaco Elite, any PRS or possibly a Variax JTV-59. All in my price range and all would get the job done for me. I know the Hamer and PRS would be great quality even if used. I think the JTV would be A LOT of fun to mess around with and since I sold my acoustic it would give me a live option if needed that every so often. I'm just not sure long term, if that is really a good investment as it will likely be the more expensive one and I think I'm gonna get converted to the Axe Fx as some point in the future.
And then there's the Axe Fx. Like I said, I'm happy with the HD500, but all the talk about clarity and how much better the Axe is, just has me wanting to go this route, maybe in the next 3 years or so. If I get the guitar that is gonna push out the Axe by at least 2 years so I can save up the cash for it. But, if I just get over my "ding" fear on the PRS and play it (heck it's ment to be played right and I thinking that one will stay in the family forever) then I can use the money and get an Axe in maybe 12-18 months.
Anyway, what would you do?
03-01-2012, 04:58 AM
I would play any of my guitars live.. I don't like the idea of just keeping them at home, even my PRS HB2 custom build..
Having said that I can see an easy way out for you... get a PRS Se 245 and the Digidesign eleven rack + expansion pack..
It gives you a top flight amp modeller and a guitar similar to your fav' PRS that you can take out and not worry about..
03-01-2012, 07:52 AM
I would just be happy with what you have, and gig the Newport to death. I played plenty of gigs with my old Newport, in venues that were a lot less hospitable than a church, believe me. It held up great.
Focus on the music and not the gear.
(You can file this post in the "do as I say, not as I do" category. :) )
don't bother with getting a new guitar. if your a gigging musician just make the choice, prs or hamer. who cares if one of them gets a scratch? they are instruments made to be used, not oogled.
03-01-2012, 08:16 AM
I purchase all my gear to be played out. So I would play all of your guitars... what's the worst that could happen? Dings, theft?
I wouldn't trade the fun of playing them for the fear of something happening.
03-01-2012, 08:53 AM
If I were you, I would buy AXE FX II all the way.
I know this is personal preference but at my point of view, unless you treat your PRS DC245 as an investment or collection item or you will sell it later, otherwise you don't need to worry too much about ding and zing. some of my guitars looks like they survived worldwar II and I am perfectly happy with that, whenever I look at those beaten up scars of them, I remember the history of my guitars, the most important thing is MY guitars, I made those dings and cracks.
kind of adding the sensational value to them IMO :D
AXE FX is monstrous , I had one FX ultra but sold it as I wanted to go pedal board route again. so I let it go for my new pedalboard build. I do miss my FX ultra, it sound really nice and very very versatile. I might get the FX II for gigs if I have more cash to squeeze this year.
HD500 is nice , AXE FX just way more nicer.
03-01-2012, 09:23 AM
I'm a bedroom player and only play out at church every other week or so. I currently have 4 guitars and play thru a POD HD500. Love my guitars and I'm pretty satisfied with the HD.
So, I'm looking to get a HB solid body guitar that I won't care if I got a ding it or not. There are several used options I'm looking at. Either a Hamer Monaco Elite, any PRS or possibly a Variax JTV-59.
Anyway, what would you do?
I had sort of the same problem; a while back I was getting back to gigging after an absence, and I'd managed to accumulate guitars that I really didn't want to subject to that environment. So I bought some used Carvin neck-through plank-type guitars (super strats, etc.). Great quality, great prices and built to take a beating. Also found a really nice old Samick neck-through in the same vein. Later happened across Agile LP-type AL-3000 series guitars, which I found to be pretty amazing *and* cheap, even when new. All turned out to be great choices and all are going strong.
The Variax is a whole 'nother issue. Especially since you already have an HD-500. The Variax will give you a bunch of guitar models, and they're very very good, particularly in the JTV series (I have two Variax and haul those to church functions on occasion). If you have a JTV mated to an HD-500 via the Variax "ethernet" cable, you have a whole 'nother set of options available to you. The Variax can switch models AND it can allow you to use the built-in humbuckers. In addition, the new Variax allow you to use alternate tunings like gangbusters. If you've never done this, trust me, there are some eye openers, even if you're not into Open G or any of that. I've learned a song in standard tuning, arrived at a gig and found a singer who couldn't hit the high notes. "Everyone transpose this song down a step and a half from E to Db." I've done that on the fly before, but with a sax. It's a bitch on a piano. No fun on a guitar, even. But with the Variax alternate tuning setup, you simply flip the switch and you're tuned down on all your models. You haven't changed the string tension one iota, but what comes out of the amp is down a step and a half. Cool. Better yet, you can store settings on the HD500, not only for amp/cab/FX models, but also for guitar and alternate tuning models. One stomp and you've changed everything. Absolutely sublime if you have to do Boston covers short-handed.
You can't do this with an Axe-FX II. That, too, is a whole 'nother thing. Think of it as a boutique modeler. I've got an Ultra on more or less continuous borrow. Nice piece, and it will allow you to futz to your heart's content with various parameters of the FX and amps it has available. The editor isn't all that good, but once you've learned it, you can play forever with the electronic makeup of a preset.
If you've got a variax, however, you can't change everything in a single stomp with the Axe. The Axe, while excellent, is one of those minimal upgrades for a maximal additional expense kind of deals. It is available in a rack-mount only, and you need to buy a foot pedal for it. At the end of the day, it's $2700 all up. It's an electronic device, and will be supplanted by the next version within a year or two as electronics get more powerful.
If you're buying the Axe for subtleties, you'll want to make sure that you have a reproduction system that will allow you to hear those subtleties (amp, cabinet, etc.). Otherwise, might as well not bother.
03-01-2012, 09:28 AM
if you are happy with the HD500, why get the axe-fx? (i love my axe-II by the way, but just being honest, use what you need to get your tone you like, that's what the whole thing is about!!)
The tyler variax sounds really awesome to me, and if it connects in like dspellman says to your HD500, that could be pretty sweet too.
03-01-2012, 10:33 AM
At the end of the day, it's $2700 all up. It's an electronic device, and will be supplanted by the next version within a year or two as electronics get more powerful.
True, but I can't see a new version making the old one anything but cheaper. Here we are 12 years after my Oberheim GM-1000 was released, and it still occupies a prominent space in my rack, looking and functioning remarkably like the AxeFX. Even the people at Fractal have admitted that the dsp chip technology hasn't changed much over the years, just the implementation. It's a game of small increments and some new features, not total game-changers it seems.
03-01-2012, 04:38 PM
You know it's just one of those good vs better kinda things. I wonder how many folks that have the Axe Fx Stand/Ultra/II actually played it before they were able to buy it. In my mind, I'm just thinking that it is WAY better in tone quality than the HD. The question then, is will I be able to hear it? I'm not a career musician, I have a horrible ear (I'm doing some ear training stuff now to help) and worse yet, I'm not even a good guitarist. Maybe I should just sell all my gear and find another hobby. Just kidding.
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