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This article was originally published in issue #41
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French manufacturer Vigier has been producing very high end custom superstrat style guitars for quite a while now, designed by ace luthier Patrice Vigier. The company has a wide range of models available within the double cutaway, S-type vein with lots of options for customisation, but up until now those looking for a single cut option have had to look elsewhere. Recently Patrice revealed his take on a single cut design with the GV range, a modern and unique solid body electric that melds the classic singe cut look with a clutch of interesting features that are very much from the Vigier mould.
The GV Rock sports an alder body matched with a bolt-on maple neck and rosewood fretboard. The bolt-on neck design immediately gives a different feel to this single cut design that, in common with all Vigiers, uses only naturally aged woods that are left to dry for three years. The body shape is a fantastic take on the normal Les Paul style guitar with a series of lovely curves and a cleverly recessed upper bout and lower horn giving a very cool, contemporary look. The body is also much thinner than the standard single cut design and, when matched to the three per side headstock, gives a style that is both recognisable and unique.
The hardware is as high end as we've come to expect from this maker, with a pair of hand-wired Amber humbuckers linked to a 5-way switch for versatile tones. Schaller locking tuners, a Teflon nut and high quality Vigier designed hardtail bridge offer very stable tuning and intonation, aided by the medium stainless steel frets and zero fret. Even the strap buttons are of exceptional quality, with brass casings that are inserted deep into the body for extra stability and strength. As with all Vigiers, the bolt-on neck has no truss rod, but rather a carbon fibre strip running down the length of the neck for the ultimate in stability without the need for adjustments. The system is a proven success with plenty of users travelling all over the world without ever needing to adjust their neck to take account of varying climates.
Vigier offers the GV Rock in a range of opaque and translucent finishes but our review model was finished in the incredible Revolution Red Matte colour, a new type of finish for the company without the sheen of gloss finishes. The colour is eye popping and suits the design very well, producing an even more modern look for this single cut guitar. The finish is executed flawlessly with scraped binding around the body and extends across the back of the maple neck and up into the matching headstock. Matched with the chrome hardware and lack of fretboard inlays, the guitar is one of the coolest looking instruments this reviewer has seen in a long time and should very much appeal to players looking to separate themselves from the crowd of traditionalists in the guitar world.
The GV Rock is extremely comfortable to play thanks to the thin body design and very friendly sculpted bolt-on neck joint that almost resembles a glued in neck in terms of its upper fret access. The neck is extremely fast and the stainless steel frets offer a slick and easy playing experience that makes you wonder how you ever got on without them. Unplugged, the guitar has a superb amount of sustain and a lovely high end attack that makes you play very dynamically, but this guitar is meant to rock and does so with a huge authority.
Plugged into our studio amp the clean tones are very versatile thanks to the 5-way switch with split single coil tones available in positions 2 and 4 and full humbucking modes in 1, 3 and 5. The neck pickup is incredibly dynamic and warm and matches well with the hotter bridge pickup. Funk, Jazz and edge-of-breakup tones are handled beautifully by these hand wound pickups that have become pretty much the standard on Vigier guitars. Moving on to higher gain tones the GV Rock continues to impress with a tight low end and masses of pick attack translated through the signal. All five positions work well even with high gain tones and the volume and tone controls do a great job of shaping the sound as required. This is a very versatile instrument that does an awesome job of Rock tones but handles itself very well in other genres too.
Vigier is onto a winner with the GV series, especially with the matte finishes that look so cool on this design. It’s expensive but, with high end components and construction, great playability and a range of versatile tones, the GV Rock should be high on your list of single cut guitars to check out.