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polara

Got a Vigier

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Man, the "Excellent" Monaco SuperPro form Guitar Center, and now this. I'm glad I sold off most of my guitars so I had enough in the slush fund for these two.

I've always had a weird thing with Strats. I think I've owned four (including Strat-inspired guitars) and the ones that are SSS sound kind of springy and sizzly, while the humbucker ones are cool but don't have the jangle. Also I'm not a big fan of the angled output jack, of the usual controls (I know, and yeah I can use a soldering iron) and of the vibrato arms that clunk around. 

However I love the body shape and balance. If I had a brain I'd just get a Strat with P90s and be done with it. I'm not that smart, though. The Tom Anderson Classic S was pretty much perfect except I wasn't crazy about the sound. It was a lot of money to tie up in a guitar that didn't put wind in my sails in every way, and I wasn't crazy about swapping pickups in a damn Tom Anderson, which is such a work of art.

Honestly though, I like to buy a guitar at a good price, enjoy it, sell it, and consider the loss my rental cost. So the Andersons went away, the B-Way went away, a couple others went, and then I saw at a local store a Vigier. I had a vague awareness they existed, and that was about it. It felt really good, the build quality was up there with... well, anything, but it was a little pricey for a "toy to mess with" purchase. We talked, and they came down low enough I'd have spent more on a new Indonesian guitar. And it really was "mint" with the tools and warranty card and stuff.

It's a cliche, but the finish really is mirror-smooth, can't even see the seam in the two-piece alder body. Gibson-y fretboard radius with rolled edges, and medium (I hate jumbo) stainless frets every bit as well-finished as you'd expect for a top-end guitar. There are some cool touches, like the pickguard screws are tiny and countersunk, the output jack is a locking one, the bridge is a Schaller-made unit that locks the saddles in place and has tiny rollers for the string to pass over, plus instead of "knife edges" it pivots on needle bearings. The tuners are probably made by Schaller but unique, and locking. The string guides above the nut are like tiny loops mounted on strings, so there's no friction. There's a woolly caterpillar above the nut to dampen weird vibrations, and the nut itself is a six-piece zero fret (so you can replace any worn bit) with a teflon string guide.

Pickups are kinda low-output by a German company called Amber. The switching is cool, because the middle position is bridge + neck. All the bits and pieces are super-heavy duty, even the pickup switch. The strap buttons are on machine screws that thread into brass inserts. Even the case is over-the top, a Hiscox.

Anyway, it was so cheap I asked if it was hot, but they assured me it was not. Balances like a normal Strat, though I think the body is smaller. Like the balance and the satin-finished neck and smaller frets a lot. I can just go stupid-heavy on the vibrato and it stays in tune. Sound is way more old-school than I expected: I was thinking it would have a very modern Anderson sound, kind of hi-fi. Nah, it's very old-school, quacky and glassy and all those Fender words. I had to program a new set of banks in the Fractal to make it work: Deluxe Tweed model with some different gains and an op-amp Big Muff for the fuzzes, into a Fractal 4x12 cab model. Sounds really good now, very Smashing Pumpkins.

Anyway, I have only one guitar that's a lifetime keeper, so I'll probably sell the Vigier once the honeymoon is over, but wanted to share that the Vigiers aren't just shred machines. I've posted the link for the ad on Reverb after the Music Zoo came back from NAMM. I dunno how many times it's changed hands, but I got it well under half the price in the ad. 

https://reverb.com/item/10847864-vigier-expert-classic-rock-anti-tobacco-burst

Edited by polara
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Cool.  Vigiers have been used by some of the bands I have seen, but I have never seen one in a store.  One day it would be nice to try out a Vigier bass. 

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Congrats! In the ‘80s I lived in West Germany near the French border. There were a couple of small music stores in the area and one of them had a new Vigier. I’d never seen one before.  I remember being impressed with fit and finish, the neck felt great and it sounded really good. Since I returned to the states in ‘88, I’ve not seen another in person. I’ve seen their ads, but that was it. I‘d probably snag one if I ever came across another.

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"Anti-Tobacco" burst, that's a first!  Definitely looks awesome, and sounds like it plays awesome as well. Good luck with it!

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I've eyed the fretless Vigiers for the last couple years.  Congrats on the deal!

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Congrats!

 

5 hours ago, svl said:

I've eyed the fretless Vigiers for the last couple years.

Noticed this one in action recently... I played fretless bass for years, but given the less forgiving shorter scale length of a guitar I suspect that I would sound like a hot mess on that thing! :D

 

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4 hours ago, chromium said:

Congrats!

 

Noticed this one in action recently... I played fretless bass for years, but given the less forgiving shorter scale length of a guitar I suspect that I would sound like a hot mess on that thing! :D

 

I never heard a fretless guitar played well before, I'd always seen them as a bit of a musical 'white elephant' before now.  I thought that piece was a touch Zappa-esque in places and I'm sure Frank would have very much appreciated the 'rubber chicken interlude'! thanks for the intro to this band, I'd not come across them before, excellent!

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48 minutes ago, SSII x 2 said:

How do you get along with the Vigier bridge?  Looks pretty cool in the pic...

I'm sure it is this...

https://shop.rall-online.net/Schaller-Tremolo-2000-black

...but branded as Vigier, with the press-in knife edges replaced by Vigier's innovation: a little hinge that moves on needle bearings. One nice Schaller feature is that the strings emerge from the block and then go over tiny rollers instead of a fixed piece of metal. It seems like German (over-) engineering but really well made, and stays in tune great. Easy to palm chug-chug, and love the Schaller/FR arm, which you can adjust to be fixed or floppy, easy to move or hard to move.

Edited by polara
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Ooooo. Those neck specs are very much like the Yamaha Pacifica 512 series. Meks me go woo woo.

Shawn Lane was another Vigier adoptee...

https://youtu.be/YLEuZXCrgpQ

Edited by JGale
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Have wanted to play a Vigier since discovering Shawn Lane 20 yrs ago. Never held one. 

Local Dibs! 😁

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On 10/28/2019 at 11:03 AM, polara said:

I've always had a weird thing with Strats. I think I've owned four (including Strat-inspired guitars) and the ones that are SSS sound kind of springy and sizzly, while the humbucker ones are cool but don't have the jangle. Also I'm not a big fan of the angled output jack, of the usual controls (I know, and yeah I can use a soldering iron) and of the vibrato arms that clunk around. 

However I love the body shape and balance. If I had a brain I'd just get a Strat with P90s and be done with it. I'm not that smart, though. The Tom Anderson Classic S was pretty much perfect except I wasn't crazy about the sound. It was a lot of money to tie up in a guitar that didn't put wind in my sails in every way, and I wasn't crazy about swapping pickups in a damn Tom Anderson, which is such a work of art.

Honestly though, I like to buy a guitar at a good price, enjoy it, sell it, and consider the loss my rental cost.

I get you on the "renting" thing. I've rented easily a dozen or so guitars in recent years. I've enjoyed the experience but in the process, I've flushed a nice chunk of change. I've still got that itch to try out axes but I'm trying to ween myself off that to focus on keepers both current and future.

I guess your self-fulfilling prophecy of pluck 'em and chuck 'em makes this next suggestion unfeasible but... I've had phenomenal luck with getting exactly what I want in a custom build. If you know what you want and have a trusted builder, have them build ya one. The Spitfire Shane Huss built me is honestly one of, if not THE best playing guitars I've ever owned. And I've played a few.  ;)  I'm certain you could get exactly what you want if you find the right builder.

image.png

 

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