Hands-On Review:Laguna/Line 6 Ultimate Rock Starter Pack
A first rig that can take you to the big time
By James Gault
Musician’s Friend Staff Writer
If you are thinking of taking up the electric guitar, I say go for it. It’s tons of fun, especially after you learn a few basics and start to really rock out. And if you stick with it and have a little talent, who knows, the guitar may reward you with fame and fortune. If not, it will at least give you your share of those creative moments when the band is smoking and everyone’s in the groove. They are the best high ever—experiences you’ll treasure forever.
The guitar isn’t all that difficult, either, especially if you get off to a good start. The main thing that can frustrate the beginner is bad gear. It can be a guitar that is difficult to play because it’s not set up properly, or an amp that sounds awful or has limited tonal range. Such gear problems can spoil or at least delay the fun.
Nowadays, beginners have a choice of starter packs that help them avoid the equipment problems. These packs include a guitar, an amp, and all the required accessories: strings, picks, straps, and often such helpful gear as a stand or a tuner. Some packs even include instructional CDs or DVDs that assist the actual learning process. The most important thing is that they give you everything you need, in ready-to-play form, and for a price that is economical.
The pick of the packs
While most companies offer such packs, the best I’ve ever seen is a new one, the Laguna/Line 6 Ultimate Rock Guitar Pack. It’s a beginner’s setup that could just as easily be a practice rig for any seasoned pro. The guitar is well-crafted and has features not found on other starter guitar packs. And the amp is way better than the usual—a Line 6 modeling amp from the Spider III series, currently the most popular and best-selling amps on the market. It also includes an especially generous set of accessories—all of it good stuff.
The accessories enhance the quality of the package: an adjustable guitar strap, headphones for silent practice, an electronic tuner, an extra set of strings, picks, and a quality 10' guitar cable. There also is a DVD that will teach you enough basics to get you rockin’ in no time. It doesn’t waste time trying to teach you music theory. It cuts straight to the practical, hands-on chords, riffs, scales, and progressions you need to start playing actual songs.
A guitar that rocks
The Laguna LE 122 is not the usual starter guitar. First of all, its body is made from a single piece of solid basswood. Most first guitars have bodies made of glued-together pieces covered with a veneer. They don’t have the tone or sustain of the solidbody Laguna. The Laguna body also has a comfort carved top, another feature seldom found in starter guitars, so it’s especially comfortable to play. The great-feeling maple neck and Indian rosewood fretboard are fast and easy on the hands.
The hardware is of exceptional quality: die-cast tuners to keep you solidly in tune and a tremolo bridge—another feature not usually found on starter guitars. The Laguna also has a pair of hot humbucking pickups that will deliver crunching rhythm and searing lead tones with three-way switching so you can select either pickup or both for a variety of tones. All in all, the Laguna is a sweet axe and one that will take you a long way on your road to rock guitar stardom.
A Spider you’ll love
The second reason this is an exceptional starter pack is the Spider III 15-watt amplifier from Line 6. The Spider III Series amps are among the most popular guitar amps on the market today and give you the acclaimed Line 6 modeling technology. The Spider III 15 features an 8" speaker and enough power for you to crank it up when you want to be heard. It also has a headphone output for private, silent practice.
The amp gives you four basic models: Clean, Crunch, Metal, and Insane. These four models offer a full range of basic sounds and each one can be modified with adjustable parameters so you can customize them to be your own. Then the Spider III gives you six built-in effects for tweaking them even more: Phaser, Chorus, Flanger, Tremolo, Echo, and Reverb.
Between the built-in effects and the high-quality, very detailed amp models, this is an extremely versatile amplifier. It lets you rage in the Insane model with its massive high gain or explore your sensitive side with the Clean model. Crunch and Metal give you two sound sets on a continuum between the other two, so all kinds of sounds are possible. When you are just learning to play, it is a big advantage to be able to make all the right kinds of sounds.
About the bucks
The Ultimate Rock Guitar Pack may not be the lowest-priced pack available, but you can’t beat it for value. You may pay a little more, but you get a lot more. With other packs you’ll quickly outgrow the amp or the guitar, but the Laguna guitar and the Line 6 Spider III will be good gear for a long time to come.
Features & Specs.
LE 122 Guitar: