Vigier G.V. Wood 90 ReviewG(ood) V(ibrations) Guitar
Since the beginning of the 80's, Vigier has been earning itself an exceptional reputation as a music instrument manufacturer. Instead of dull and tasteless mass production, the brand is committed to premium quality standards, thanks to a manufacturing process in which every step is carefully controlled — and is "Made in France". Wood selection, after 3 to 7 years of aging, is a key step in the manufacturing process of each instrument.
The G.V Wood 90 is delivered in a wonderful flight case embellished with the brand's logo. The guitar is available in five different finishes: amber, burgundy fade, ebony fade, purple fade, and stowash blue. Don't trust the pictures on the manufacturer's website: they don't really do justice to the instrument's wonderful varnish in daylight!
Once you open the flight case, tears of joy will start flowing from your eyes. The overall body shape is inspired on the famous Les Paul. The instrument has a massive alder body and weighs 7.3 lb. The maple top is not as beautiful as the wonderful Les Paul Standard top. Nevertheless, you'll be able to admire the grained wood under the thick but translucent varnish. The back and the neck also have the same glossy finish.
The neck has a 630-mm scale, 22 frets and a headstock stamped with the famous pearly "V" logo. It has been reinforced on the back of the headstock to provide it with more sturdiness, in case it falls down. Notice the famous "zero" fret (typical Vigier) which gives open notes the same timbre as fretted ones. The Schaller locking machine heads are mounted in a 3+3 configuration on the headstock. The combination of the tuners, Teflon nut and tune-o-matic/tailpiece guarantees that the guitar will stay in tune. The neck boasts a D profile. Its thickness ranges from 19.5 mm to 23 mm at the 12th fret, and it is fixed to the body with four screws. One of the numerous Vigier innovations is the neck-reinforcement system with carbon (90% maple, 10% carbon) that ensures an optimal resistance to variations in humidity. The fingerboard is made out of phenowood.
In case you didn't know, phenowood is compressed wood impregnated with a phenolic resin. The result is a high-density synthetic material conceived to withstand wear and tear over a long time. The glossy black color looks wonderful. The fingerboard's feel is very special. It feels more like gliding your fingers over tiles rather than on the fingerboard of an instrument. Nevertheless, after the first contact you'll feel right at home with the guitar. The only thing that makes us a bit uneasy is the uncertainty of how the fingerboard will age... and how expensive is it to mount new frets on such an instrument? The neck has medium frets and circle inlays only on the edge. It feels very pleasant and allows an easy access to the upper frets.
The chrome hardware has a modern design with rounded shapes. The electronics are quite simple. It has a master volume pot, a tone control and a five-way toggle switch. The tune-o-matic and the tailpiece with adjustable height have been both conceived by Vigier. Each of them is mounted on the body with a pair of screws. The tailpiece uses the top-load system, which means that the strings don't pass through the body. The belt clips are secured by two plugs going deep inside the wood.
Old/New Uncompromising Approach
One of the particularities of the instrument is the mix of highly modern features in the construction with pickups originally conceived in 1947...
The two pickups are Soap-Bar Alnico-V P-90 by Swedish manufacturer Lundgren. Since these pickups are coiled manually, each of them has its own and unique sound color. Each of the six polepieces can be adjusted individually, allowing an extremely precise adjustment of each string's timbre. All cavities in the body are shielded. The P-90 is a single-coil pickup, so it produces a brighter and a thinner sound than the humbuckers of a Les Paul. However, the response is quite different to the crystal-clear and twangy sound of typical Fender single-coil pickups. A blind plate held to the back of the instrument with four screws gives you immediate access to the heart of the electronics. The five-way toggle switch offers very different sound possibilities. The guitar's sound is crystal clear! Even though the pickups deliver a typical rock sound, they will also allow you to play other music styles thanks to the toggle switch pickup combination.
After having described in detail this French beauty, let's discover its most inner secrets...
Position 1 means bridge pickup only. The sound is thick, powerful and sharp but not too twangy in clean mode. Ideal for crunch sound!
In position 2, both pickups are wired out of phase. This means that signal components which are common to both sources are canceled out and only the difference between both signals is audible. The result is a hollow sound with cut mids and additional harmonics in the high end. This position sounds interesting, somewhat "aquatic", but it certainly can't be used everywhere... Beware all amateur guitarists!
In position 3, the two pickups are summed. The sound is very twangy and funky!
In position 4, both coils are wired in series. The result is an impressive output level, a powerful sound with thick lows, regardless of the mode (clean, crunch or distortion).
Position 5 means neck pickup only. The sound color is very warm and perfectly round.
Just listen to the sound samples we recorded with The Valve amp and our Torpedo:
- milieu clean00:24
- chevalet disto00:20
- chevalet clean00:24
- position 2 clean00:25
- position 4 disto00:11
- manche disto00:08
- position 4 clean00:23
- manche clean00:24
Vigier offers a guitar with a modern look and a state-of-the-art design that distinguishes it from "mass-market" manufacturers. It's a combination of innovation and well-proven technology, like the P-90 pickups. We regret the lack of a dedicated volume control for each pickup, which would allow us to adjust the out-of-phase wiring of the pickups. Even if it's for a rather high — but justified — price ($3,600), you can get a top-notch guitar fully manufactured in France. Rock, jazz, blues, metal: you can play anything with this guitar! However, do try to play as best as you can because even the smallest imperfections are audible!