Shawn Lane Vigier

gman2015

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Does anyone here have either of the models by Vigier? Or played one? Pros vs cons? Looks like it would be an excellent guitar and I love low action on my guitars. TIA
 

BucketheadRules

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A friend of mine has a Shawn Lane Vigier, it's wonderful but not really my thing feel-wise. The fretboard is so flat it actually feels concave, which is odd.
 

shadowlife

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I owned a Master version for a while, and a friend had the regular one and lent it to me for a bit. Thoughts:

-the totally flat neck felt weird at first, but i got used to it, and really liked it.
-i HATED the stock pickups on the Master (DiMarzio Air Classics); not sure what pickups my friend had in the regular one, but i liked them.
-like all Vigiers, fretwork is impeccable, there is no truss rod, so relief is not adjustable, and there is a zero fret
-Vigier's trems pivot on needle bearings, and feel a bit different than a regular trem that pivots on knife edges. I really like the VIgier trem- i'd say it's my favorite.
-the scale on the Lane model is 24.75, so tuning down more than a step may be an issue. I play in standard, so it wasn't a concern.

Overall, they are incredible instruments, but if i were to get another Vigier in the future, i'd rather have an Excaliber Original, as i'd want the locking trem, the longer scale length, a maple fretboard, and the standard 12 inch fretboard radius.

One important thing to consider is that Vigiers have low resale value in the US, so if you buy one new, you will take a bath if you try and flip it.
 

marcwormjim

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+1.

Once I got my Shawn Lane Master, my Parker Fly stayed in its case for about six months, prompting me to (regrettably) sell it.

I prefer lower-output pickups, and the Air Classics sounded more like a strat than anything. My only gripe with the circuitry is that the 1M pots seemed unnecessarily harsh, and the pickups were too weak to do any practical splitting or parallel mods with.

My other gripe was to do with tuning stability: For a $3,000 guitar, it should be perfect. That my $300 Ibanez's ZR trem held tuning better, due to slight binding in the Vigier's nut slots, was a sticking point. I too would have preferred a locking nut.

The ultimate dealbreaker was that the guitar arrived with a small crack in the mirror pickguard. Over the course of a year or so, the crack grew until I needed to order a replacement pickguard. The cost of the official replacement (fabricated in and shipped from France) was over $100. If you own a Vigier, you'd better replace the pickguard with a cheap one immediately, and save the original in the Hiscox case for reselling.

Honestly, the 2016 Kiesel Holdsworth is a cheaper fix to the problems I found with the more expensive Vigier Shawn Lane: Better pickups, No nut, lighter weight, and you still get the carbon-reinforced neck, (nearly) flat fingerboard, and awesome playability.

That said, I want to buy my Vigier back; and will likely come up with some excuse to buy the 2016 version with the Neutrik jack, in Natural.
 

Emperor Guillotine

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I had the Shawn Lane Vigier Master Excalibur for awhile. I got it at a great deal and really loved it. The ultimate reason that I sold it was because I had to pay for college tuition. (I was also a kid who didn't know much about gear at the time.) Some days go by now (almost four years later) and I just wish that I had never sold it. The Master Excalibur really was a special guitar, but maybe I'll get another one down the road. Here's my list of pro's and con's.

Pro's:
- Lowest action of any production model guitar on the market
- Infinite radius (I believe this made me a better player. My sweeping and legato were nonexistent before I got this guitar. I developed a light touch with my fret hand. If I ever get a custom guitar, it is going to have an infinite radius.)
- Impeccable fretwork
- No truss rod

Con's:
- Dimarzio Air Classics (Just too weak of a pickup for my liking, and I was considering replacing them. These pickups do have their purposes though.)
- Neck is thick (Playability is super smooth, but the neck was far too thick for my liking. It caused a lot of tension between my thumb and index finger and induced fret hand fatigue very quickly.)
- Fret buzz may become an issue. (This is just due to how low you set the action - nothing to do with Vigier's awesome fret work. You have to develop a light touch with this guitar.)
 

shadowlife

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Both of the above posters are also spot-on with their pros and cons.
I don't remember having tuning issues though.
I will also echo that the pots used aren't the best- having to replace pickups/pots on a guitar this expensive would be a deal-breaker for me.

One thing i didn't mention is that i liked the finish of the natural one better- bare wood with an oiled finish, as opposed to the varnish used on the Master version.

This thread has me gassing for another Vigier! :D
 

gman2015

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Great info everyone! The pots issue kind of concerns me. $3000 for a guitar, it better be perfect! :) And come with an ass wiper! LOL

I'm wondering about the pickups, though. On one of Shawn's REH vids, he said that he didn't like the high gain you get with active pickups and that he preferred weaker ones that pick up more of the natural wood sound of the guitar. IIRC. Maybe just a preference issue?

Emperor Guillotine, when you say the neck is "thick", what exactly are you saying? Are we talking width & depth of the neck? Or just width?

Very interesting about the tremolo, too, shadowlife.

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the responses. I need to get on here more often!
 

Emperor Guillotine

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Great info everyone! The pots issue kind of concerns me. $3000 for a guitar, it better be perfect! :) And come with an ass wiper! LOL
I actually got mine used at a deal of the century price that I couldn't pass up, even as a broke kid. Haha.

Emperor Guillotine, when you say the neck is "thick", what exactly are you saying? Are we talking width & depth of the neck? Or just width?
I play 7s and 8s that have wider necks. So when I refer to thickness, I mean depth. The highest frets (past say, the 15th fret) where the heel flattens out and the neck becomes ever so slightly wider was perfectly comfortable. But otherwise, the neck was too thick. The roundness of the profile was fine, but it was just too thick for me personally.

One thing I miss about the Master Excalibur that I had was that the neck had a wicked deep flame to the maple. When I would play on a stage that had those purple UV lights, the flame would pop like crazy under the UV lights and you could see the depth and contrast in the flame. It literally looked like a tiger with deep stripes.
 

shadowlife

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FWIW i thought the neck thickness was very comfy, and even though i normally prefer 1.687 nut width, the 1.65 on the Vigiers didn't bother me.
Even though Patrice calls his neck shape a "D", all the Vigiers i owned had what felt more to me like a comfy C shaped neck.
 

Dyingsea

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Thers a lot of good things about the guitar however the one thing I really think it needs are jumbo frets. The shallow medium frets coupled with the low action and flat radius making any bending difficult as you just can't get underneath the strings at all.
 

marcwormjim

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Funny how much a feature like that is a matter of preference and technique: Marshall Harrison had his SL Master refretted jumbo, and regretted it - Claimed it just made things feel off. And for me, the guitar made me realize I prefer medium stainless over jumbo.

I have to say, though, as a guy who does fretwork, that jumbos should be standard for the industry; so as to maximize life between refrets. I recently acquired a first-line Indonesian Ibanez with the worst factory-signed fretwork I've ever seen. What it needs is a full feet replacement, but the stock jumbos have enough material to level through, for the time being.
 

marcwormjim

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I'm wondering about the pickups, though. On one of Shawn's REH vids, he said that he didn't like the high gain you get with active pickups and that he preferred weaker ones that pick up more of the natural wood sound of the guitar. IIRC. Maybe just a preference issue?

That's actually a sticking point for some: At the time of his death, Shawn was supposedly using Lace pickups. Despite adding Neutrik jacks and other components Lane didn't use, Patrice insists that Dimarzio Air Classics will remain the stock pickups because "It's what Shawn wanted." I'd prefer he be more upfront concerning it merely being impractical to have a Lace contract for one model, vs the range of Vigiers utilizing the Dimarzio contract - But I still enjoy the Air Classics.
 

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I have owned one for about 6 years now, and I must say that it is my favorite guitar. I have never had any tuning issues (that's just a nut problem). I do like the stock pickups, I just find I have more headroom for gain! The reason people think the fingerboard is concave is simply an optical illusion from the strings being set at different heights. They are pricey, but you can find them used for less. I like the "70's style" fat neck. It's very nice for chordiing. If you are plying yngwie runs all day your hand may get fatigued, but if you are playing more chord oriented material you may really like this guitar! The action is really just the cherry on top, it won't make you a better player obviously, but it's just nice to have. I will never let mine go.
 

Maniacal

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I've owned 2 Excaliburs. Amazing guitars. For alternate picking they are super comfortable.

I always wanted the white Shawn Lane but can't find it anywhere.
 

shadowlife

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I always wanted the white Shawn Lane but can't find it anywhere.

Well, they only made 10 (11 if you count the one with no serial # that was given to Shawn's family), so i think they are unlikely to pop up for sale...
 

Maniacal

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I had the opportunity to buy one of them, but couldn't justify the price at the time.
 

marcwormjim

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Same. I had very recently sold my Master, and figured I could just paint the natural version.
 


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