NAMM 2009: Vigier releases their first single cut electric

Here’s something very cool I saw on

Vigier is preparing to release their first ever single cutaway electric guitar. It obviously seems to be very much Les Paul-inspired, with that general outline and pair of humbuckers, but check out what appears to be a stylish-as-heck carve on the bass side (it could just be a trick of the light and I’ll be on the lookout for a proper photo for confirmation), and an aggressively pointy treble side cutaway.

Over to you, press release (I always feel like Jason Lee saying ‘NOW, Silent Bob’ in Mallrats when I say that).

Vigier introduces its first single cut electric guitar

Vigier has introduced a new addition its family-the very first Vigier single-cutaway electric guitar. This elite baby will deliver the hottest sounds of all guitars in Vigier’s product line. The single-cut body design reflects a combination of modernism and tradition, which is exactly what this new Vigier model is about.

Like all Vigier instruments, the new single-cut guitar features a wood neck reinforced by a carbon-fiber bar that utilizes the company’s exclusive 10/90 system (10% carbon fiber/90% wood). The guitar is equipped with the new Vigier nut made of Teflon, which dramatically reduces friction at the nut, where most tuning problems typically occur. With a carbon-fiber reinforced neck and the new Teflon nut, overall tuning is greatly improved and the instrument itself is extremely reliable.

This sharp-looking babe has a solid alder body with a beautiful flamed maple top.

The bridge and tailpiece are Vigier’s original design and include a unique feature that makes it possible to lock any pieces of the bridge in place once the setup is done. This useful attribute guarantees an improvement in tone, greater sustain, as well as better tuning. The new single-cut model is equipped with a pair of humbuckers, a 5-way pickup selector switch for a variety of sounds, volume and tone controls.

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FEATURE: Timbers for timbre

Whether you’re putting together a parts guitar, having a custom built or just buying off the rack, knowing what each type of guitar wood sounds like can be an important part of getting closer to the sound you hear in your head.

The original theory behind the electric guitar was that it didn’t matter what it was made of – the pickups were only supposed to gather information from the vibration of the string itself. But the vibration of the string is affected by the qualities of the material it’s attached to – how the string energy dissipates or is amplified, for instance.

Guitar bodies are typically made of mahogany, alder, ash or basswood. There are other woods used, of course, but these are by far the most common. Next week we’ll look at different materials used in fretboards, and the effect they have on the tone.

Alder (Alnus rubra)
Alder has a closed grain, which prevents the finish from seeping into the body and makes it easier to paint and finish. Tonally, it has an even mix of frequencies, giving the tone a slightly warm quality. It’s been used by Fender since the dawn of time, and is the body wood of the Ibanez Jem7VWH. Alder sounds especially lively with single coil pickups, as Stevie Ray Vaughan demonstrated, and tends to sound at its best with thin finishes as opposed to thick shiny polys.

Ash (Fraxinus americana)
Ash is also used by Fender and has more treble than alder. It is known for its high levels of sustain, and is particularly successful when used for Telecaster style bodies. It’s very light too.

Basswood (Tilia americana)
Basswood is a lighter wood often used in metal or shred guitars by brands like Ibanez, Jackson and ESP, as well as many Japanese Fender Strats and Telecasters. It’s a lighter weight wood with a closed grain, but paint has a tendency to sink into it so after a decade or so your nice crisp shred machine may have a few visible lines in it. Some companies glue on a thin layer of another type of wood to prevent this happening. Sonically, it has a round midrange and is especially suited to lead guitar.

Korina (Terminalia superba)
Korina is an African wood used in the original Gibson Explorers and Flying Vs. Hard to find and notoriously hard to work with, it’s a heavy wood with a tone similar to mahogany but with more midrange. If you’re trying to nail that early Van Halen tone, half of the first album was played on a korina Ibanez Destroyer, an Explorer-style model. Eddie then ruined the guitar by cutting chunks out of it for looks, only to realise he’d robbed it of much of its tone.

Mahogany (Khaya ivorensis)
Mahogany can be quite heavy and is used for the Gibson Les Paul and SG, as well as the razor-thin Ibanez S series. The tone is warm and full, and it is often complemented by a maple top to add treble and cut. It’s often used as a neck wood as well in guitars that already have a mahogany body.

Maple (Acer saccharum, Acer macrophyllum)
Maple is more commonly used as a neck or fretboard wood, or as the top of a body mostly comprised of another wood like mahogany. It’s frequently used by companies like Paul Reed Smith for its attractive grain in quilt or flame form. Some lower budget guitars which look like they have flamed maple tops actually have a very fine veneer instead, or even a thin plasticy film that emulates the three dimensional shifting patterns characteristic of flamed maple.

Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Poplar is another wood commonly used in metal guitars, especially by Jackson. It has a greyish colour so it’s never used with transparent finishes.

Rosewood (Dalbergia baroni)
Rosewood is most commonly used as a fretboard wood on everything from Fender and Gibson classics to modern hi tech axes and everything in between. George Harrison famously played a Rosewood body Telecaster on “Don’t Let Me Down.”