With the range of options available from large guitar manufacturers and smaller custom builders, your choices for an electric guitar are endless. Still, when you look at body style and design, players remain drawn primarily to the traditional Strat, Les Paul, and SG body styles. But even within basic guitar style confines, manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve upon the engineering as well as the tonal ability of these guitars.
|Documentation & Support
|OVERALL RATING = 3.5
3.6 stars or better: Outstanding, WIHO Award
3 stars or better: Worth considering
2 stars or better: Suited to specific needs
1 star or less: Not recommended
Vigier Guitars has caught the attention of many artists and enthusiast around the world – definitely in their home of France. After reviewing their unique Excalibur Shawn Lane signature guitar, we knew first-hand just how much innovation takes place underneath the surface of these seemingly familiar yet boutique guitars.
Sure enough, the Vigier G.V. Rock series guitar may look familiar in design, but take a closer look at the build details and a closer listen to the tonal pallet of this guitar and you just may find the fit and sound you’ve been searching for.
We found quite a few out-of-the-ordinary features in the Vigier G.V. Rock series guitar not common in your average solid-body, and mostly centered on build, custom-designed hardware, and added body contours providing both comfort and style.
The body of the Vigier G.V. Rock series guitar consists of a two-piece, single cutaway made from naturally aged alder. Our review model had a beautiful pearl white finish throughout the entire neck, headstock and body.
Comprised of maple wood, the bolt-on neck features a D shaped neck profile fitted with 22 frets, including a zero fret. The frets all have a rolled edge, and to add extra comfort, they don’t cover the full width of the neck. For an added sleek and clean design, the fingerboard is blank, giving you only side markers for position identification.
Another innovative feature, common to all Vigier models, is that the neck does not contain a truss rod! Instead, Vigier created their 10/90 system, in which they have installed a thin piece of carbon running through the length of the neck (thus the neck is 10% carbon and 90% wood). The carbon reinforcement provides increased stability and sustain without the need for a truss rod.
Additional neck features include:
- D shaped neck: 1.65” at the nut / 2.24” at the last fret
- Teflon nut
- Glossy varnish finish
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Side of neck fret position markers only
All hardware on the G.V. Rock guitar is chrome plated:
- Schaller M6-2000 custom locking machine heads provide large finger nuts and low profile pegs.
- The Vigier Hard Tail Bridge features a very modern design and contains slotted, half moon saddles, which also eliminate string breakage at contact points.
The electronics of the Vigier G.V. Rock series guitar are configured as follows:
- Amber Custom hand-wound pickups in H/H arrangement:
- Humbucker - Bridge
- Humbucker – Neck
The five-position pickup selector switch has the following wiring scheme:
1 - Humbucker in bridge position
2 - Coil split in bridge position
3 - Coil split in neck & bridge position
4 - Coil split in neck position
5 - Humbucker in neck position
There is one Volume and one Tone control.
The Vigier G.V. Rock series guitar comes equipped with standard strap buttons. However, another unique Vigier detail is that they are screwed into a brass casing embedded within the body cavity to provide added security. As with any guitar of this caliber, we would recommend changing the stock strap buttons with strap lock buttons, however, you will need to make sure the same screw fits the new buttonhole in order to screw into the threaded brass casing within the guitar cavity.
Additional basic features worth noting:
- Allen wrenches included
- Strings: Vigier stainless 9 - 42 gauge
- Weight: 8.37lbs
- Hard-shell Molded Case
The Vigier G.V. Rock guitar is exactly as it name implies – straight up rock n’ roll style and tone. However, the five-position blade switch gives you a lot of tonal variety that cover a variety of styles.
Straight out of the case, our review model was properly set up providing excellent string action and playability.
The body style, something of a cross between a Les Paul and an SG, was extremely comfortable and balanced due mostly to the rear body contouring, adding to great playability and overall comfort.
The single Volume and Tone controls gave us straightforward functionality, but may seem limiting to players craving the typical Les Paul arrangement of separate Volume and Tone controls for each humbucker.
The oversized locking machine tuners provided extra ease in tightening the string locking mechanism – not to mention the added mass of metal acting as a sustain block. We also appreciated the contoured neck joint, which made it easier to play higher on the fretboard.
One minor gripe: The Tone control displayed somewhat limited usefulness, as only 25% to 50% of the range provided any appreciable audible difference.
Our Vigier G.V. Rock series guitar proved to have a tonal pallet all its own. We tested the guitar through a Mesa/Boogie Lone Star and Bogner Ecstasy. In both cases, we experienced a guitar providing high output with very good sustain and some very cutting high end: the guitar was very bright sounding, especially in the bridge position, but never brittle.
With clean settings on both amps, the clarity and attack of the Amber Custom hand-wound pickups were very prominent and out front. The pickups provided a very well balanced low, mid and high with some extra air and sparkle at the top end. Each note provided excellent attack, clarity and definition.
Switching over to the high gain section of our Bogner Ecstasy, the G.V. Rock bridge position pickup provided very cutting, heavy overdrive with endless sustain while maintaining the clarity of each note. Switching over to the neck pickup still provided that high end clarity but mixed with a bluesy pallet: not as dark and beefy as a Gibson Les Paul, but still warm and expressive. The guitar sounds great and is ideally suited to players in cutting edge rock genres more so than the classic rock crowd.
The five-blade pickup switch gave us some alternate configurations using a split single coil from either the bridge or neck pickup. The three single coil positions provided much of the same tones you would expect from a hybrid mash-up of a Fender Mustang and Stratocaster. We experienced various degrees of bell tone shimmers between the three settings, which provided an excellent base for some spanky funk and rhythmic R&B comping. Switching over to the overdrive setting in the Lone Star amp, we were able to cop some very bluesy tones with just the right amount of breakup while still maintain great attack and clarity.
Documentation and Product Support
The Vigier G.V. Rock guitar comes with proper documentation regarding all the necessities: warranty information, string changing instructions, bridge adjustments for intonation and action setting, and detailed electronics information including pickup configurations, switching, and Volume/Tone controls. Additional information can also be found on the Vigier website including forums, newsletters, and FAQs.
The Vigier G.V. Rock Series guitar (MSRP $3,999) can be found for approximately $3,399 retail. We find the price point on this guitar to be somewhat in line with other boutique guitars on the market today, and not too far off from a high-end Gibson Les Paul, but the specific playability aspects of the guitar make us think that perhaps it should be priced with a little bit of extra value in mind.
Of course, part of the pricing challenge for Vigier is that the guitar comes from France, so this guitar is going to be a better value for players in Europe than it is for players in the United States, where European imports cost more than anything equivalent produced domestically or in Asia.
That said, the Vigier G.V. Rock series may look fairly traditional on the outside, but it definitely has that boutique/custom shop mojo on the inside… and if you tend to play a lot of outdoor gigs, you may really appreciate the carbon-impregnated neck that doesn’t require intonation adjustments.
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