France''s Vigier Excalibur Ultra Blues is versatile, refined and classy
From the first glance after opening the case, this particular Excalibur model is unquestionably stunning: The blue flamed, closely matched maple top is exquisite, as if you were looking into a natural pool of water. Running your eyes over each aspect of the flame reveals a dense range of apparent valleys in the top that reflect elegantly against the light. This, backed with a fine piece of alder, gives the Vigier a nice balanced weight, not too light, yet not to heavy on the shoulder when slung at waist-level. The Vigier finishing process also demonstrates their obsession with detail, as the varnish is dried for a minimum of five weeks. The guitar doesn’t stop at the “eye candy,” though. Attached to the dazzling body is one of the most comfortable necks a player could hope to come across: a one-piece, sealed maple/ carbon composite material with a matte varnish. The ensemble is topped off with a Teflon nut and matching headstock, weighted down by a custom set of Schaller locking tuners made especially for Vigier (oversized to enhance sustain). The Ultra Blues is equipped with a tried-and-true trifecta of Dimarzio pickups, consisting of two Virtual Vintage DP401 single coils and a Virtual PAF humbucker in the bridge position. Interestingly, the fiveway switch employs an unconventional wiring scheme that never coil-taps the humbucker; rather it combines it with either the middle or neck pickup in certain positions.
As you know, some basic unplugged characteristics of an electric guitar that are apparent upon first inspection tend to become major factors in what the guitar will sound like plugged in. If the instrument can sustain well without being amplified, chances are it will sustain very well when projected through a nice combo or stack. The Ultra Blues certainly has these qualities, notably due to the addition of the oversized Schaller locking tuners and the superior bridge design. The bridge pivots on ball bearings, not the traditional knife-style setup. The reasoning behind this is that knife-style pivoting works quite well when the bridge is newer, but wears out rather quickly, and can be very detrimental to tuning strength. Unamplified chords project quite well, and can be discerned from several feet away, while open strings rang out loudly.
I should mention that when we removed the guitar from the shipping box, the handle broke off of the case almost immediately, which resulted in the case, and the guitar inside, hitting the floor from several feet. Granted, this might have been due to the shipping from France, or perhaps a fault in this particular case. Sometimes, however, curses can turn out to be blessings, because the accident helped solidify Vigier’s construction reputation: the guitar was perfectly setup with no fretting issues. On top of that, it was perfectly in tune, even after being shipped halfway around the world only to have the case fall off of the broken handle.
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
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
Belltone P-90 Foil-Tron Pickup
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.