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Vigier - 'The Last Guitar'


ped

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Shame in a way. Exotic beasts from way back. I remember a salesperson in a shop in Denmark Street (Bass Cellar?) taking one in trade for a punter. He inspected it by slapping the stinky poo out of it then offering a derisory amount - should have swept in with a better offer. Instead I bought a copy of the Trace Elliott CD which dates me.

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1 hour ago, thodrik said:

Well, this would be in the 2000s. The fact that Modulus had transitioned to using trussrods was used as proof of the need for instruments to require trussrods!

 

I recall that both Modulus (or at least Geoff Gould) and Status had both confirmed that the necks didn't need truss rods nor were the truss rods really effective in terms of inducing or reducing relief. Both were brought in following customer demand after years of making basses without them. Do they need them? Not really, I don't think. 

 

My Bogart doesn't have one, nor did my Zon or any of the Status basses I've owned. 

 

Shame about Vigier though. The days of their most iconic instruments are behind them, no matter how good their wooden necks were. The classic recipe to me was the full carbon graphite neck. I doubt they sold in the numbers to warrant any interest from someone who could build them under licence. They will always be a part of the technical explosion of the 80's to me, when all these builders were coming up with their own designs and innovations to get away from the hokey, run of the mill Fender-look stuff. 

 

 

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I would just like to put a last point in here about Vigier basses..

 

I have owned now, 7 different Vigiers!

Very very fortunate to still own 3!

 

Three Arpege basses, a series 1V (2005) and two Series 1 (1984) and (1986)  Passion basses. 2 Series 11 (1986) and (1987) and 1 series 111 (1992) and fairly recently an Excess original (2015)

 

Everyone of these beautiful instruments over the evolution of Vigier history, have had the most stable and ridiculously comfortable necks! The early series 1 Arpege basses only needed the minimal amount of truss rod adjustment.

 

You really, if given a chance to play a Vigier, will then wholey fully appreciate just how amazing the necks and these basses are..

 

Good luck again Patrice and thankyou for the giving the pleasure to bass playing👍😃IMG_20211117_135127.thumb.jpg.1d61ceb84617242df51cab29ec8ad191.jpg

 

 

 

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If I remember correctly, truss rods were introduced to graphite necks by various manufacturers around the turn of the millennium to give players the option of setting the relief to suit their taste. Truss rods were to provide adjustment rather than additional strength.

 

 Back in the day, if you wanted a modern hifi hi tech bass then Vigier were one of the very best. Vigier basses played effortlessly,sounded magnificent and they looked beautiful. The complete package.

 

 I remember when I went to the Bass Center at Wapping with a view to buying a Passion or Arpege, but when I played them I found the pickups a bit too microphonic ( ie you could hear your fingers thumping on the pickup cases through the amp) and the strings were a bit too close to the edge of the fingerboard for my taste. Nowadays it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, but back in those days I was still on a quest for perfection.😐

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2 hours ago, Misdee said:

 I remember when I went to the Bass Center at Wapping with a view to buying a Passion or Arpege, but when I played them I found the pickups a bit too microphonic ( ie you could hear your fingers thumping on the pickup cases through the amp) and the strings were a bit too close to the edge of the fingerboard for my taste. Nowadays it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, but back in those days I was still on a quest for perfection.😐


Those might have been Benedetti pickups. I have them on my Excess. Lovely sound but very noisy single coil pickups. I generally run the treble on the preamp almost all the way off which helps with the noise and some of the piercing high frequency response.

My later Arpege (when production changed to bolt on construction) I think has Delano pick ups which are dead quiet compared to the Benedettis.

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Goodness me, glad I stumbled upon this. I was contemplating thinning the herd in the coming months to free up a bit of cash but one bass that certainly won’t be going anywhere now is my Vigier Passion IV. They’re relatively rare enough as it is, let alone what it’ll be like once Mr. Vigier retires for good! 

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6 hours ago, Misdee said:

 I remember when I went to the Bass Center at Wapping with a view to buying a Passion or Arpege, but when I played them I found the pickups a bit too microphonic ( ie you could hear your fingers thumping on the pickup cases through the amp) and the strings were a bit too close to the edge of the fingerboard for my taste. Nowadays it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, but back in those days I was still on a quest for perfection.😐


Funnily enough I’ve also noticed this to a certain extent, like Thodrik I tend to crank the treble right down on my Passion and have forced myself to get used to the strings being close to the edge of the fingerboard. The rest of the bass more than makes up for this though 🙂

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They were indeed Benedetti pickups. Nowadays noisy pickups wouldn't be the deciding factor me, nor would the strings being a bit dicey in relation to the edge of the fingerboard. I would buy the bass anyway and accept the idiosyncrasies.

 

The good things about Vigier basses  from the 1980s far outweigh the drawbacks, ie they are relatively light, easy to play and sound as punchy as a kangaroo in boxing gloves. Back in those days however, I could only afford one bass in that price range, so I felt under pressure for it to be perfect.

 

(In case you're interested, in over 40 years of buying and often subsequently selling lots of basses I have only really found one bass that was perfect to my sensibilities. I still have it but never really feel like playing it. It's been in its case for years. I can only conclude that perfection is overrated. What is that old adage about it being better to travel hopefully than to arrive?🤔)

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9 hours ago, Misdee said:

...in over 40 years of buying and often subsequently selling lots of basses I have only really found one bass that was perfect to my sensibilities.

And that instrument is...?

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It seems a shame that there was no-one who shares Patrice's vision for him to hand the business over to.

I wonder what will become of Status and other similar-sized enterprises when the original owners retire;

 

Do you sell up and risk diluting the brand?

Find like-minded individuals to continue the business in a similar vein?

Shut up shop and allow new manufacturers to fill the niche that now exists?

 

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9 hours ago, itu said:

And that instrument is...?

 

4 hours ago, Chris2112 said:

I know, I want to know what it is too after reading that!

The bass in question is a Yamaha BB2024( ie the one without a scratch plate ect). It weighs 8.8 pounds, sounds great, feels great and plays perfectly in every respect. It looks nice, too. I really can find nothing to criticize about that bass.

 

I have got other basses that are also perfect from a manufacturing point of view, I just don't like them as much as that one. I don't play those other basses either, truth be told.

 

The reality is that for the  last eighteen months I've mostly been playing a Harley Benton, I'm a little bit embarrassed to say. Why you may ask? Well, partially because  nowadays I want to focus on putting my time and energy into doing some intense study and practice on the bass. Having nice basses around inevitably leads to me adjusting them, comparing them, or obsessing about some other superfluous "problem". Playing a cheap but functional bass makes me much more productive in terms of improving my playing. I suppose I have reached a point in my life where I have realized that material things are not as important to me than less tangible things, like knowledge. Anyone can buy a bass, not everyone can play it well.

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1 hour ago, Chris2112 said:

AIUI, Status have a team already working there for when Rob and Dawn decide to pack in (as he has over 40 years in the business, it could really come at any time). 

I really hope that is the case, because Status Graphite are an excellent company run by thoroughly decent people. It would be a big loss if they packed it in.

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I still haven't seen any announcement from Vigier through its social media channels or website providing any details that last orders are be given by 11 March. I also haven't seen any announcement on the HTD Facebook page or their website. In fact I have not actually seen the press release in any of the normal guitar press that usually cover Vigier announcements. 

Any web search looking for further information just leads me back to this thread. 

I don't doubt that the press release that Ped received is legit but is all a bit strange to be honest.

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Comms have never been their strong point! My message came from Bet Whatsley who is UK Sales Manager at HTD. I think it may have only been sent to endorsing artists in the first instance (We've been given a few extra weeks to order)

 

I wonder if they're slowly releasing the info to avoid a rush on orders just when Patrice wants to exit!

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5 minutes ago, ped said:

Comms have never been their strong point! My message came from Bet Whatsley who is UK Sales Manager at HTD. I think it may have only been sent to endorsing artists in the first instance (We've been given a few extra weeks to order)

 

I wonder if they're slowly releasing the info to avoid a rush on orders just when Patrice wants to exit!

True, I have dealt with Ben in the past. Always a good guy to deal with.

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On 01/03/2022 at 15:53, ped said:

I just received a press release from High Tech Distribution to say that after more than 40 years of guitar and bass making, Patrice (Vigier) has made the decision to stop manufacturing by the end of 2023. There will be no new orders beyond March 11th 2022.

 

Vigier have always been one of my favourite bass manufacturers, and I've had the pleasure of owning several instruments. It's sad to see another well regarded company close shop but Patrice won't have made the decision lightly. I'm sure you'll all join me in wishing him all the best for the future and thank him for his contribution to the development of the instrument. 

 

 

I remember several years ago l had a very helpful discussion with a Vigier expert on Talkbass, coincidentally also called Ped.

I'm sad to say I've still not had the pleasure of playing one - the bolt-on range just didn't have the same appeal.

 

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23 hours ago, ped said:

Comms have never been their strong point! My message came from Bet Whatsley who is UK Sales Manager at HTD. I think it may have only been sent to endorsing artists in the first instance (We've been given a few extra weeks to order)

 

I wonder if they're slowly releasing the info to avoid a rush on orders just when Patrice wants to exit!

Hi Ped..I have emailed Ben at HTD last Friday to see about a potential last chance order..and yes Patrice is retiring, and will be announcing very soon.

 

He is completing existing stock model spec orders..So there goes my one off imetal fretless passion 1V in transparent Black with gold hardwear! (lol) 👍🤔😃

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22 hours ago, Cosmo Valdemar said:

I remember several years ago l had a very helpful discussion with a Vigier expert on Talkbass, coincidentally also called Ped.

I'm sad to say I've still not had the pleasure of playing one - the bolt-on range just didn't have the same appeal.

 

I definitely found the series 2 basses have a preferable neck relief for me. I confess i've never tried a series 4 bolt on bass.

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38 minutes ago, ped said:

I definitely found the series 2 basses have a preferable neck relief for me. I confess i've never tried a series 4 bolt on bass.

The Series IV Arpege I have has 'a little bit, but not much' relief, which is pretty much the same as my Excess bass. I do understand that the Series 2 models had even less relief and were more of the 'dead straight' variety. 

The Series IV basses are/were great. They do lose a little bit of 'specialness' by not being neck through. Whether the new Delano pick ups are as gutsy as the old Benedetti pick ups is up for debate, but to my ear they are certainly less noisy and more easy to work with.

 

Going forward I think that the Series II and III Arpege and Passions will be known as the 'classic models'  over Series IV models.

Edited by thodrik
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2 minutes ago, thodrik said:

The Series IV Arpege I have has 'a little bit, but not much' relief, which is pretty much the same as my Excess bass. I do understand that the Series 2 models had even less relief and were more of the 'dead straight' variety. 

The Series IV basses are/were great. They do lose a little bit of 'specialness' by not being neck through. Whether the new Delano pick ups are as gutsy as the old Benedetti pick ups is up for debate, but to my ear they are certainly less noisy and more easy to work with.

 

Going forward I think that the Series II and III Arpege and Passions will be known as the 'classic models' rather over Series IV models.

I think bolt on construction would play well with the Passion pickup layout. It might lend the G string pops a certain stubbiness. I really like the sound of the Benedetti pickups but they were indeed a little noisy when used in an unbalanced manner. They have tons of range but have a naturally sweet top end, never harsh. I found some of Pascal Mulot's demos quite 'clicky' and artificial sounding although I know that's one extreme of the spectrum. My own S2 Passion sounds as warm and smooth as anything; it just responds very evenly and has that velvety clank which makes graphite necks so addictive - although mine has different pickups and pre to a standard S2.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, ped said:

I think bolt on construction would play well with the Passion pickup layout. It might lend the G string pops a certain stubbiness. I really like the sound of the Benedetti pickups but they were indeed a little noisy when used in an unbalanced manner. They have tons of range but have a naturally sweet top end, never harsh. I found some of Pascal Mulot's demos quite 'clicky' and artificial sounding although I know that's one extreme of the spectrum. My own S2 Passion sounds as warm and smooth as anything; it just responds very evenly and has that velvety clank which makes graphite necks so addictive - although mine has different pickups and pre to a standard S2.

 

 

I think that some of the artificial sound with the Pascal Mulot demos is down to the composite fingerboard on the Series IV basses. I don't think that the Series II and III had the Phenowood board but I might be wrong. I personally would have preferred a rosewood or ebony board on my Arpege. The attack and immediacy of response is amazing don't get me wrong, it just takes a bit of work to get any kind of 'warm and earthy' type tones.

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