I have coveted a Variax guitar since playing with a 300 model a few years ago in PMT Bristol. Unfortunately, I was always skint, so made use of the cheap guitars I'd borrowed, stolen or bought over the years. And then - miracle - there was a confluence of spare cash and a happy wife and I splashed out on a black (obviously) JVT69. It is all I wished for. Beautifully made, the modelling is astonishing (especially the acoustic) and it's quite easy to find a tone that sits well in any mix. I've played one big jam (lots of people wanted to play the guitar) and recorded a few tunes and I'm very happy. As with amp modelling, I don't know whether the 'Les Paul' model sounds like a real Les Paul, but it does have the requisite grunt when thrown through a distortion pedal. Similarly, do the Chime guitars sound like actual Rickenbackers? I have no idea, but when I play a recording to the missus and said: "I was trying to sound like REM..." Her response was: "I thought it was REM." Which is good. The main worry I have with very complex machinery is that it's impossible to fix (not like just soldering a new jack socket into a cheap guitar), but so far it's all lovely.
Here's a few example tracks. All the guitars are the JVT. https://soundcloud.com/andy-channelle/learn-to-fly-in-one-hour Challenge to record a cover in one hour (ignore the bad singing).
https://soundcloud.com/andy-channelle/the-ground-beneath-my-feet-isnt-yours-03-02-2015-2054 There's a 2 six string acoustics, 12 string acoustic, Rickenbacker 6 string (double tracked and panned hard left and right) and one track with the guitar's own magnetic pickups.
After watching the Manic Street Preachers at Cardiff Castle and making a note of James Dean Bradfield's guitar during this song, I had a go at it. The noise gate is a bit redundant because the JVT pickups are silent.