Hands-On Review:Laguna/Line 6 Ultimate Rock Starter Pack

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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:

  • 22 frets
  • Carved top
  • Basswood body
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Tremolo system
  • Dual humbucking pickups
  • Pearl inlays
  • Volume and tone knobs
  • 3-way pickup selector
Laguna LE 122 Electric Guitar

Spider III 15 Modeling Combo:

  • 4 essential amp models: Clean, Crunch, Metal, and Insane
  • 6 effects (2 simultaneous) including Phaser, Chorus/Flanger, Tremolo, Sweep Echo, Tape Echo, and Reverb
  • 4 user-programmable channels
  • CD/MP3 jack
  • Headphone/Direct Out for practice or recording
  • Custom 8" speaker
  • 15W
Line 6 Spider III 15 Guitar Amplifier

Accessory kit:

  1. Nylon gig bag
  2. Instructional DVD
  3. Digital tuner
  4. Adjustable strap (26"-46")
  5. 10' instrument cable
  6. Adjustable, padded, dynamic headphones with 1/8" stereo plug (includes 1/4" stereo adapter)
  7. Picks
  • Extra set of strings
Ultimate Rock Starter Pack Accessories