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The guitar continued to shine when plugged into a 1973 Marshall Superbass, and then a Vox AC30 reissue. Make no mistake: the Excalibur Ultra Blues is a highly versatile guitar. The pickup switching system allows for a multitude of useful tones, especially with the added combinations of the full humbucker tone with either single coil pickup. The bridge position combined with the middle produced tones that were very suggestive of another highly sought-after instrument: the early Ibanez Iceman models with the triple coil pickup arrangement. Steve Miller-esque tones abound with this guitar, as do many of the sounds that fit perfectly with contemporary styles of music. The neck pickup provides a very nice setup for deep, droning, single note riffs—go heavy on the tremolo and reverb with this one. When combined with the bridge pickup, the sound is massive, and every note can be discerned from the densest of chords. The tones are powerful, well refined and anything but raw… which leads me to another point.
The Ultra Blues is certainly a superb electric guitar, the result of painstaking research to correct every flaw that has affected those instruments over the past several decades. Ironically, this might be its downfall with a lot of players. While it might seem trite to fall back on saying it’s “too perfect,” a lot of players might feel that way when holding and playing it. Guitarists are a finicky bunch. They like to establish their own sounds, and are in a constant battle to stand apart from the pack. Embracing the “flaws” in certain instruments have forced guitarists to develop those unique sounds, which in turn give them their own voice. Jimi Hendrix turned the feedback issues with his setup into an instrument all in itself. More recently, Jack White has taken the raspy, pawnshop guitar tone to new heights, grabbing the attention of millions with it. That’s not to say that the Ultra Blues couldn’t achieve any of this, but just that a lot of players might be put off by how refined it sounds, and how well it’s put together. Those guitarists who are used to an instrument that requires a bit of effort and coaxing to get their own sounds out of it might find the Ultra Blues a little too accommodating. Clearly, this is a guitar built for the guitarist who has spent years upon years honing his craft, and is looking for just the right instrument to be their tool of expression.
Undoubtedly a Jack-of-all-trades, the Vigier Excalibur Ultra Blues is a product of skill, dedication and patience. Every concern in the design of this guitar has been worked and reworked, and it surely shows. If you see one hanging in a shop, I highly recommend you try it out. While they are slowly gaining more ground with dealers in this country, Vigier is still a brand that’s unknown to a lot of players, which is an indignity considering how well-designed they are.
you’ve got the funds for one of the finest guitars around, with refined, polished tones and effortless playability.
your desires are less extravagant, or you prefer an edgier, rawer tone.
MSRP $3691 Street $3138 - Vigier Instruments - vigierguitars.com