To celebrate and honour their 25th anniversary, Vintage has launched three (very special and limited editions based on the very popular Vintage V6, V75 and V100) electric guitars to mark this milestone in the company's history and success within guitar craftsmanship. Tom Quayle reviews the Vintage 25th Anniversary V100 Silver Burst.
We live in a golden age for guitar players. Never before has so much fantastic gear been available at such affordable prices across the entire spectrum of guitarists tonal needs. Here at Gi Magazine, it's incredibly rare for us to find a product in the 'budget' bracket that doesn't excel at its intended purpose. However, this hasn't always been the case. 25 years ago (when this reviewer started playing) it was very rare to find more affordable products for guitarists that didn't have significant flaws or compromises and a gulf between 'pro' and 'budget' priced guitars in terms of quality and features
Back in 1995 buying a guitar for £199 that could rival one costing three to four times as much was practically unheard of, but when Vintage released their Encore Vintage VC1, sporting and Alder body, Indian Rosewood fretboard, Lace Sensor Pickups, Grover Tuners and a Wilkinson VS10 bridge all of that changed. To this day the company is producing some of the best price to performance guitars on the market and this year celebrate their 25th anniversary with a limited edition run of three custom versions of their most successful models, the V100, V6 and V75. With only 100 pieces of each model available to buy, they represent a great piece of history whilst staying true to Vintage's core ethos of affordable guitars with pro-level features and playability.
The V100SVB is based on the Vintage V100 model, a classic, single cut, dual humbucker design in a custom two-tone Silver Burst finish. Following the tradition for this style of guitar Vintage have chosen hand-selected Mahogany for the body and neck with a carved Maple top and Rosewood fingerboard. Having genuine classic woods at this price point is a fantastic plus point for the V100SVB and shows how much value Vintage are aiming for in this limited edition run of guitars.
The finish is beautifully executed with a subtle sparkle and the addition of cream binding running all the way around the body, neck and headstock for a striking monotone look that wouldn't be out of place at a jazz or rock/metal gig. The design is completed with an Anniversary headstock decal and '25' truss rod cover logo, Trapezoid inlays, black control knobs and pickguard and chrome hardware.
Speaking of hardware, the V100SVB excels in this department too thanks to Vintage's long-running association with hardware legends Trev Wilkinson and Grover. A pair of Wilkinson WOCHB ceramic humbuckers offer up some superb tones at any price point, let alone a budget one and a Wilkinson Tune-o-matic bridge provides rock-solid intonation with individual string adjustments. Grover 102C Rotomatic tuners are included, providing a 14:1 ratio for accurate and consistent tuning whilst the GraphTech NuBone nut ensures friction-free bends and vibrato. This level of hardware is normally reserved for the most expensive guitars in a manufacturers range, but Vintage is offering all of this at a price point that pretty much any guitarist can afford.
None of this would matter if the playability and build quality was compromised to satisfy spec sheets, but the V100SVB excels here too thanks to excellent craftsmanship and a playing experience normally the preserve of much more expensive instruments. Fretwork is expertly finished, and the neck is comfortable with a nicely carved neck joint for upper fret access. This is a heavy guitar, especially compared to the other two guitars in this limited edition range, but for Mahogany single cut guitars, weight is often seen as a bonus from a tonal perspective, and this is a fantastic sounding guitar.
The Wilkinson WOCHB pickups are pretty high output thanks to their ceramic design, but maintain lots of air and clarity even with buckets of gain applied. They clean up nicely with the volume rolled off and have great dynamic range considering the output strength.
Vintage has really knocked it out of the park with this 25th-anniversary celebration line up. Each guitar comes with an embroidered canvas gig bag and individually numbered certificate of authentication. Many companies would charge a premium for their limited run guitars, but Vintage have stuck to their guns and produced some truly professional level and historically significant instruments at a fantastic price point. Highly recommended if you can get your hands on one.
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