Vigier: Excalibur Special HSH

Oui, The French Do Make Rock Guitars, And Kickass Ones, Too, Judging by the Excalibur Special here. This innovative ax sports Vigier’s unique 10/90 Neck System, which, comprised of 10 percent carbon and 90 percent wood, eliminates the need for a traditional trussrod. Vigier says that sustain and resonance are enhanced by not removing wood in the neck for a trussrod, and another advantage to this technology is that it creates an amazingly stable neck that can endure changes in climate. The double-cutaway body is composed of two center-joined pieces of maple, and features a flamed top with a nice-looking natural finished edge. The amber staining of the top is a little uneven in places, but the clear varnish finish is smooth as glass. Our review model also sports an optional matching headstock overlay of flamed maple.
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The Excalibur is definitely a heavy hitter with its dual DiMarzio humbuckers. The Tone Zone in the bridge position produces excellent crunch with an emphasis on midrange and bass, while the PAF Pro in the neck offers the warmth and clarity of a classic vintage humbucker. The FS1 single- coil in the middle also yields some sweet, Strat-like cluck when combined with the neck or bridge pickups in positions 2 (front coil of neck pickup with middle single-coil) and 4 (front coil of bridge pickup with middle single-coil). You also get a very stringy and open rhythm sound in position 3, which combines the front coils of the neck and bridge pickups. Overall, the system offers good versatility despite having only master Volume and Tone controls.

The Excalibur Special’s playability is superb, with an action that is perfect (for me anyway), and smoothly rounded and polished frets for easy bending and fingering. The zero fret, which Vigier fits on all of its guitars, makes for very consistent string height and also allows the open strings to ring more clearly. The low-profile vibrato bridge is set for detune only, and it features ball-bearing fulcrum points for smooth action. Even with only three springs installed it feels pretty stiff, but you can push the bar aggressively without going out of tune. The recessed output jack makes for a clean look, and it may help prevent damage to the plug and/or jack if the cord is cord is accidently yanked really hard. Just be aware that right-angled plugs won’t fit into this guitar. A happening guitar for everything from aggressive rock to blues, country, or fusion, the Excalibur Special combines excellent performance and quality at a reasonable price for a Euro-made ax.

Vigier Guitars, (011) 33 01690 20101;
MODEL Excalibur Special HSH
PRICE $3, 354 retail/ $2,800 street
NECK Maple (naturally dried for three years), bolt-on
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 25.6" scale (11.81" radius)
FRETS 24 medium
BODY Two center-joined pieces of solid, naturally aged maple
PICKUPS DiMarzio PAF Pro (neck), FS1 (middle), Tone Zone (bridge)
CONTROLS Master Volume, Master Tone, 5-way pickup selector,
BRIDGE Vigier 2010 tremolo
TUNERS Die-cast locking machine heads
FACTORYSTRINGS Vigier, .009-.046
WEIGHT 6.6 lbs
KUDOS Fast and smooth action. Excellent craftsmanship.
CONCERNS Some players may wish to be able to split the coils on both humbuckers individually.