At A Glance
The neck is the centerpiece of any fretted instrument in terms of both sound and comfort. Vigier has always concentrated its efforts on developing new concepts to improve the performance of our necks. The necks are machined by CNC, but final shaping is handled by our master luthiers. Each and every instrument receives special attention and no part of the neck or body is overlooked.
The Fingerboard, The Frets and The Fretless
In 1980, Vigier presented to the world one of his earliest innovations – the metal fingerboard fretless guitar. Over forty years have passed and to this day we refer to it as “the only fretless that works.” Maximizing sustain is paramount to making a playable and aurally pleasing fretless instrument and or metal boards are one in a series of innovations that help provide this.
The Surfreter is a guitar for innovative guitarists.
The Surfreter is a bass for bassists craving sustain and tone.
Fingerboards and Frets
Our fingerboards are milled to within 1/100th of a millimeter guaranteeing perfect feel on all of our necks every time.
The frets are then installed, dressed and carefully polished. They are made of stainless steel, ensuring a lifetime 5 times longer than traditional nickel frets. Additionally, the stainless frets provide improved comfort while playing. The strings glide over the fret effortlessly, making bends and vibrato are much easier.
Soft Scalloped Fingerboard
We named our scalloping technique “Soft Scalloped” because the depth of the scallops are kept to a minimum in an effort to remove as little wood as possible from the fingerboard. The depth is also asymmetrical – we remove more wood from the treble side than from the bass side. In effect, you get the same stability and tone as you would on a normal Vigier fingerboard, but with the additional playability from scalloping.
We Take Our Time
Give the Wood Time
The maple used to make our necks is sourced locally in France and is hand selected to match our exacting standards. The makeup of the wood, the cuts we make and the conditions it is stored in is all strictly controlled in the factory. It is air dried for a minimum of three years before being considered for use in an instrument and after it is selected, it will be another year before it becomes a guitar.
We put as little finish as possible on our guitars; just enough to protect them well, but not so much as to transform the wood into plastic. As with our woods, we take time as we finish the guitars. All stains and paints are dried at least five weeks before our Master Varnisher applies the gloss or matte finish.
Consistency and Tone
The 90/10™ System
Contrary to popular belief, the neck is truly where the tone of your instrument comes from. The 90/10™ system, exclusive to Vigier, consists of a wood neck reinforced with a carbon slab – the ratio between the two is 90% maple and 10% carbon fiber. A normal wood neck is too flexible, resulting in the strings losing energy when played, reducing both the sustain and impact of the note. The 90/10™ system alleviates this problem. Additionally, the carbon prevents the neck from deforming due to climate or a change in string gauge or tuning. Normally, this is why a truss rod is used, but with the 90/10™, there is no need for one.
It’s All In The Details
Our strap buttons are not held into the body by simple wood screws, but by a machined insert. During intense touring, like those embarked on by many Vigier players, they simply do not fail.
The Set Up
On guitars in our price range, this should be the norm – with Vigier, it is. We machine our fingerboards to 1/100th of a millimeter and as a result, the action is extremely low. On request, we can set your instrument up with the strings and height you like. The set up doesn’t end there, though. We adjust the pole pieces of every single pickup to ensure even signal and output from each string. We beat on the 2011 vibratos to verify that it holds its tuning as well as any Floyd style trem and we run each instrument through its paces to ensure it meets our standards. We check every component after it’s been check and then we check it again before cleaning each instrument and checking each component… again… just in case.
Whenever a guitar gets moved, whether it’s on tour, in shipping or just for everyday use, it undergoes shocks which can offset the strings. To help prevent this, Vigier has created the NeckLock system which keeps your neck straight in its pocket.
The use of a Zero Fret allows us to minimize friction across the nut, which reduces the chance for detuning when using a vibrato. The height of the strings is more precise and your open and fretted notes maintain the same tonal characteristics.
We use teflon for our nut because of its non-stick properties. This, along with the ZeroFret-S minimizes friction and avoids tuning problems with the use of a vibrato. Like our Zero Frets, it is designed to be easily replaceable (if you change string gauges for instance.) A simple notch keeps it in position without glue.
Our String Dampener™ is located behind the nut and kills unwanted noise at the source. It is another component along with our ZeroFret-S, Teflon nut and Flexretainer™ retention system which combine to provide our most refined and friction-free non-locking vibrato. The tuning stability is unparalleled.
Guitars featuring fixed bridges and Vigier 2011 vibratos tend to experience tuning problems as a direct result of poorly designed string retainers. We managed to solve this problem thanks tyo our FlexretainerTM. The Flexretainer actually moves along with the string when tension is slacked, providing less friction.
The locking tuners found on all Excaliburs without a locking vibrato and all GV guitars are specifically made for Vigier. They are oversized for two reasons. The first is that they increase the mass of the headstock – this reduces vibration in the headstock and provides greater sustain. Secondly, the tuners are bigger for ease-of-use. Plain and simple, they’re easier to see and grab when you need to!
The Pivot Point
This vibrato system is found on the Excalibur Original, Custom and Bfoot models. It is the ideal solution for tuning issues with extreme vibrato use. Our system pivots on needle bearings instead of knife edges. Knife edges wear out over time, but our bearings have been tested at over 10,000 RPM to ensure they’re virtually indestructible.
The bridge found on our G.V. models is a precision piece, machined bronze. The tailpiece is set at an incline to match that of the strings. Each and every component on these bridges is lockable with a small set screw, ensuring that once you set your intonation and action, you never have to do it again. Finally, it’s a softer shape than typical stoptail designs. It is as comfortable on your hands as it is on your eyes.
The Vigier 2011 non-locking vibrato is the ideal solution for guitarists looking for a rich, full-bodied sound. Like our other vibrato, the 2011 pivots on same needle bearings as the Vigier Floyd instead of knife edges making them virtually indestructible. Like the G.V. bridge, each component on the Vigier 2011 vibrato is lockable, including the saddles. The saddles are barrel style ensuring minimal contact and therefore minimal chance for friction.
This high-mass bridge has been designed especially for our Excess basses. They make changing strings a snap – all you do is detune your string and lift them out! The bridges have independent height, intonation and spacing adjustments which are all lockable once you find your favorite spots.
Our entire lineup includes locking output jacks so you don’t accidentally lose your cable on stage.
Pickups are obviously an essential part of the electric guitar’s sound, even moreso than the luthiery involved. What our manufacturing process brings to the table is a blank canvass – the cleanest and best possible acoustic tone and sustain of the string. Then, the color is added by the pickups we use.
We have no preconceived notions about sound or allegiances to any one brand. We pick what we feel is the best brand and model pickup for each individual model we produce.
Available standard on the Bfoot, Special 7, and Thirteen models, it is discreet and ideally positioned.
All Vigier cavities are shielded with a copper-based paint, which guarantees a barrier against electrical interference.