Phil Maneri’s
BASS
LAB

This article was publish in #Issue 18 in winter 2016

This bass could easily garner the highest of marks of the instruments we’ve seen over the years. It flat-out sounds great. Big sound, balanced up and down the neck. Clean and clear. It has plenty of midrange punch to define its space. It’s got enough low-end authority and high-end sizzle to solo up and make a statement. I just wish it had a truss rod.

I know they feel justified in their point of view that they control the relief and adjustment in the factory enough to not need field adjustments, in the same way you don’t have them on Violin family instruments. And they may be right. This bass plays great, and sounds outstanding. Double basses don’t have one, and we’ve learned to work around that concept.

But at it’s core, this is a bolt-on electric guitar. Even Martin, the venerable guitar maker around for 100+ years longer than Vigier, acquiesced to adjustable necks. You can accurately control relief for a wide variety of styles, string tensions, tunings and preferences. Here, you cannot. I have clients that play in crazy low tunings with super-low-tension strings, and others that play in standard tuning with unbelievable high-tension strings, and everywhere in between. I question the argument that one neck tension profile is good for all those circumstances. I could be wrong about this.

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This instrument is wonderful. I love the subdued look. The feel in hand is great. The alder body with bolt-on maple neck and rosewood fingerboard points this instrument’s tone straight at Fender. The electronics are lively and clear and responsive, and propel it way past your average J-bass. The hardware is what you’d expect on this level of instrument, with high-end bridge and tuners. The construction is true to the price point. There is a slight neck gap, but this is not relevant, in my opinion. The fretwork is great, save for the zero fret, which has a shorter tang or deeper slot and reveals a gap in the cut of the fingerboard. Here, too, this isn’t really significant, but one wonders why this couldn’t be addressed. The finish is subdued, but well-applied. This is not a flashy instrument; it’s a working person’s axe. It’s priced competitively for the level of construction and tone it produces.

Short of my truss rod issues, which reduce the overall scores, I like this bass quite a bit and encourage players to check this one out when shopping in this price range. It’s tone and playability might win you over.

bass test
Kinal Guitar

Vigier Excess 5

CONFIGURATION

Strings:5
Style:Double cutaway
Overall Length:46”
Body Dimension:19 3/4" long x 13 1/4" wide at lower bout
Body Contouring: Moderate
Weight:10.1 lbs

NECK

Scale length:34”
Neck width at nut:1.854"
Neck width at 12th fret:2.544"
Neck width at joint:2.777"
Neck thickness at nut:.950"
Neck thickness at 1st fret:.846"
Neck thickness at 12th fret: .970"
Neck thickness at joint:1.056"
String spacing at nut:.370"
String spacing at saddle:.675"
Fingerboard radius:12"
Descriptor for neck shape:flat D
Peghead break angle:4 deg
Bridge break angle:11 deg
Afterlength at nut:7.5 – 2.25"
Afterlength at saddle:1.25"
Attachment:Bolt-on
Pocket gap:.012"
Truss rod type/access:no truss rod
Fret count:24
Fretwire:100 x 45

ELECTRONICS

Pickups:Proprietary humbuckers
Pickup location(s):11 1/8", 14 7/16" from the 12th fret
Electronics:Proprietary (PCB-based)
Controls:Volume, blend, bass, middle, treble
Shielding:Paint
Preamp circuit voltage:18v

CONSTRUCTION

Body Woods:Alder
Neck WoodsMaple (with carbon bar)
Fingerboard:Rosewood
Body Finish:Anti-Tobacco Matte
Neck Finish:Clear Satin

HARDWARE

Strings:Ernie Ball Slinky 40-120 Stainless Steel
Gauge:.040, .060, .075, .095, .120
Attachment:At bridge
Bridge/color:Vigier Quick Release/Chrome
Nut:Teflon
Tuners/color:Schaller/Chrome
Knobs/color:Metal knurled dome/Chrome
Pickguard:n/a
Control cavity cover:Black plastic

GENERAL

Company:Vigier
http://www.vigierusa.com/
http://www.vigierguitars.com/
10-12 rue de l’abbé Grégoire,
Z.A.C. des radars,
91350 Grigny, France
Tel: (33) (0)1 69 02 01 01
Fax: (33) (0)1 69 02 02 68
County of origin:France
Warranty:2 years, non-transferable
Price:$3,908 (list), $3,321 (street)
Options:Maple, Rosewood, or Fretless Rosewood fingerboards, black hardware
Accessories:Hard case
Available colors:Various natural, stain, and burst finishes in either matte or gloss.
Acquired from:Vigier USA (Highland, NY)
Dates:Fall 2015
Locals:Illinois, Ohio
Test gear:Gallien-Krueger Neo112-II, Gallien-Krueger MB 800, Aviom in-ear monitors, TecAmp Puma 900, TecAmp S212.

TEST RESULTS

1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)

In-hand

Features: 4
Tonal Flexibility:4
Ease of Use: 5
Aesthetics:4
Ergonomics: 4
Tone: 5
Value:5

In-hand Score 4.43average

On-bench Score 4.30average

On-bench

Overall construction4
Wood choice4
Materials choice4
Joinery5
Fretwork4
Fit and Finish of adornments4
Quality of finish work5
Ease of repair 3
Potential range of setup3
Balance on knee4
Balance on strap4
Overall electronic quality5
Solder joints, wire runs5
Clarity5
Noise5
Shielding5
Quality for Price Range4

SONIC PROFILE:

Low: Big, clear, and round
Mids: Smooth and full, not overly aggressive
Highs: Crisp and Crystalline


TONE-O-METER:

This bass is somewhere between a “modern” bass and a J-style bass. It doesn’t have quite the same edge as a J’s bridge pickup provides, but still has a broad spectrum of tones that would be great for the vast majority of musical styles.