Ibanez JEM Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I’ve been looking into a new guitar and have come across a Vigier Excalibur with 90/10 neck made of maple and carbon fiber eliminating the need for a truss rod and Floyd Rose trem which pivots on a needle bearing instead of knife edge. I think the body is alder. Are these really worth the extra $ ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
***NOTE*** This is MY opinion and stance on them. We all have different tastes and standards, so please keep that in mind.

The joys of subjectivity Im afraid. Some people swear by them. I got to jam on a used one at guitar center for a bit... felt extremely generic and I personally didn't see any value in it; certainly not the 2 grand price tag they wanted for it... and thats for a used one. It honestly felt gimmicky; and I thought it was ugly to boot. For that kind of avant garde type guitar; I'd point people to a parker wayyyy before a vigier. Another problem I could see is setting the relief. Some people prefer higher relief; and the vigier is pretty much thats what you get and you cant change it.

The one thing that really confused me was these things get rave reviews for fit and finish quality, and frankly I didnt really "get it". I've seen plenty of images of vigiers online, and their tops always sucked, and the one I tried was no different. What bugged the crap out of me, is theres a techinque for doing figured maple. You do a black or very dark base color stain and let it dry. Then you sand it back almost all the way; then you put the primary color on top. If you sand poorly, you create what makes the maple to look "dirty"; not the intended effect (at least for most people working with figured woods). The vigier I was playing on wasnt sanded "right". If this was "intentional", I gotta say its real not pleasant to look at either way.

Ill give you some specific examples of "issues" I have with these things. And keep in mind this is a FOUR THOUSAND DOLLAR guitar; so yeah im gonna be real nit picky here.

https://images.reverb.com/image/upl...upersize/v1602243276/dfh8fwu5uxaang1q8twa.jpg

- So first up, that fret work is unacceptable to me for a guitar of this supposed caliber. The 14th and 15th frets arent even crowned, thats crap. The "polishing" work is crap.
- they didnt nip the tang ends and back filled like oh... basically every high end luthier
- 15th fret inlay dot is out of round... seriously?
- the pickguard is rough cut, theres no finish detailing on the chamfering
- im sure its probably lighting here, but that neck joint isnt looking super hot from that angle at least.

then ->
https://images.reverb.com/image/upl...upersize/v1602243276/v7y2z4zlyeothbyy64ki.jpg

- that faux binding job they did is crap. Its uneven, sloppy, and the horns and interior curves are a joke
- that neck joint still isnt inspiring from this angle either; but I am willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt.
- .... the side dots arent even centered lol

https://images.reverb.com/image/upl...upersize/v1602243277/js4kdlkqvaxm9ylbq50u.jpg

- again that neck joint lol
- HOLY COW theres super glue squeeze out they didnt clean up on the frets! Thats not great lol

https://images.reverb.com/image/upl...upersize/v1602243276/tdondutjxsllmcygksby.jpg

- is recessing the back cover really that much to ask? lol. Also, using cheap plastic on a 4000+ instrument seems tacky to me, but thats just a personal thing.

https://images.reverb.com/image/upl...upersize/v1602243276/ci6nfhyeifrwk7qfnvpf.jpg

this is EXACTLY what I mean about the "dirty maple" I mentioned earlier. I understand its intentional on this finish, but this is EXACTLY what it looks like.

https://images.reverb.com/image/upl...upersize/v1602243276/wndnb4pohn0t1is031ba.jpg

- this fret work is crap. Im sure it plays fine, but for a guitar of this price and caliber, I dont personally find it quality at all.

Im sure this t hing plays and sounds amazing; I really do. The thing is, after a certain price point, you begin to pay for boutique features, and part of that entails some modicum of finish quality that should be incumbent of that prestige. The problem is I can do this with critique with basically any vigier just by photos alone. Finding defects like this on a PRS CU+ (custom 22/24 or higher), EBMM or J custom (just to name a couple) is going to be VERY difficult. The one thing I'll give credit due here, is the one I played did play VERY well and the neck felt amazing... but nothing above an average american fender either.

But as I said, some people swear by them; I think we have our own ears and haptic responses that drive us towards one guitar instead of another. My biggest gripe with vigier is their detail work is frankly crap; and not just for a 4000$ instrument; its just flat out lazy cost savings. Id argue youre better off getting a mayones if you want something more boutique.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed response. Even if it is subjective I'll definitely look it over closely if I decide to buy it. I'm like you in that I expect to get an above average decent quality guitar for that amount of money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
709 Posts
I remember finding out about them back in the mid-90s, I think, around the time the Indus model came out. They're still on my bucket list of axes to try, they seem like a cool take on S/super S style, with their own proprietary elements, like the neck build and hardware. There's also the Surfreter, which I believe is one of the first production guitars with a fretless metal fingerboard (wonder if they borrowed the concept from instruments like the sarod).

As for why they're pricey, well, we can ask ourselves then why CS Fenders cost the same or more. Vigier is a smaller operation on the whole (i.e. a few hundred instruments per year), which is why you don't see them much, and they probably don't spend mega bucks on advertising and trying to court players like the big guns. They've been around for 41 years, so they must be doing something right.

The idea with the 10/90 system is that the neck won't move at all, and yes, the trade-off is that it has pre-set relief which cannot be changed (it tells you on the website what kind of action the guitar comes with). I also agree that the non-recessed trem cover is stupid, one of my pet peeves on any guitar.

Side dots not being centred, Henning, is that you ;)? Regarding top figure, well, they source their maple locally, so this probably diminishes their ability to consistently get quintuple A tops.

Are they worth it? Depends on what you want. The 2-4k market is fairly competitive, with makers like Mayones, Aristides, ESP, Schecter, Jackson, and, of course, Ibanez having all sorts of offerings. With Vigier, I think you're paying for proprietary features which most other companies don't offer, an instrument that has more handwork (supposedly it takes 3-5 months to complete one), and is set up to play impeccably from the workbench. Play it if you're able, of course!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
709 Posts
Now that I think of it, Suhr is perhaps a better example as comparable to Vigier in terms of style and spec, as a modernized and refined S/super S type. Would you say a Suhr is overpriced? A Modern would be interesting to compare with an Excalibur - HSH, Floyd or non-locking, figured top options, stainless steel frets etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I looked at the Vigier today and it was just not up to snuff based on the price. The neck felt nice but there were some problems I could see in the paint that turned me off. Considering the money they cost they need to pretty close to flawless. I think I can get a much nicer finished guitar for the same price or less if I stick with Ibanez (or even ESP or PRS). Thanks everyone for the feedback. I had never heard of them or seen them before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
Wow, thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed response. Even if it is subjective I'll definitely look it over closely if I decide to buy it. I'm like you in that I expect to get an above average decent quality guitar for that amount of money.
I will always take time out of my day to rip on vigier :D A pleasure for me, really haha

I looked at the Vigier today and it was just not up to snuff based on the price. The neck felt nice but there were some problems I could see in the paint that turned me off. Considering the money they cost they need to pretty close to flawless. I think I can get a much nicer finished guitar for the same price or less if I stick with Ibanez (or even ESP or PRS). Thanks everyone for the feedback. I had never heard of them or seen them before.
Haha, yeah I told you. Its a really common problem with Vigier, and as you said, for that money, yes it needs to be "perfect".

Now that I think of it, Suhr is perhaps a better example as comparable to Vigier in terms of style and spec, as a modernized and refined S/super S type. Would you say a Suhr is overpriced? A Modern would be interesting to compare with an Excalibur - HSH, Floyd or non-locking, figured top options, stainless steel frets etc.
Heavens no, Suhrs are amazing. John is a really awesome guy, and he will break his back to make sure you have quality service and that your guitar is perfect. He's extremely brilliant, and a great person to learn from as well. Thats not even talking about the quality of the guitars! Those are more or less "perfect"; if they arent, they will make it perfect. I dont think Suhr should be compared to Vigier in any regards honestly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
709 Posts
^^ Not what I meant. On paper, they offer similar options for some guitars in broadly the same price bracket, how that translates to actual instruments you pick up in the store and look at is a different story. You'll find one that's better than the other, whether in fit/finish or how it feels/sounds to you.

I don't doubt Suhrs are good, I particularly like the SL68 amp from what I've heard, it seems to be a good interpretation of an old Plexi, with a built in Variac to boot.

So, the OP might want to check them out also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
I have zero qualms saying Suhr is superior to Vigier in every possible way lol. They are also cheaper haha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The nearest Suhr shop is a couple hours away so I'm going to have to make a day trip one of these weekends. They look reasonably priced without any of the custom features of the Vigier. Just need to see how it feels and plays now. Thanks folks!
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top