The company founded by French guitarist Patrice Vigier has been churning out hand-built, high-spec guitars and basses for just over 27 years. It's pioneered various improvements in instrument construction, including the use of carbon fibre in necks, and built the first commercially available fretless guitar – with a metal fretboard! – in 1980.
The Excess Roger Glover is the result of a long-standing collaboration with the Deep Purple bassist. The body is two centre-jointed pieces of alder capped with a 5mm slice of beautiful flamed maple, and the lush, deep burgundy finish stops just short of the edge to give the impression of binding. The body looks big, but it’s actually no larger than a standard Fender Jazz Bass.
Even rear bouts and a chunky waist lead the eye to a pair of businesslike horns whose cool mixture of clean lines and curved contours form a neat conjunction of new and old design. Although Vigier doesn't include a forearm chamfer, the ribcage cut is as substantial as you're likely to find. There's one other interesting detail: the neck joint is subtly cambered, so rather than coming out from the body in a straight line parallel to its surface and the body of the player, it angles fractionally away from you. This should help in the feel department, but it creates the illusion that the body is thicker at the neck than the bridge.
Six bolts secure the neck to the body, and a combination of reassuring mass and a comfortable contour makes this neck a pleasure to play. Vigier employs its 90/10 System, where maple is reinforced by a dense carbon fibre strip – a strong, stable design that negates the need for a trussrod and minimises costly visits to your friendly tech. The chunky, arrow-tip headstock – finished in burgundy over matching flame maple – has four Schaller tuners along the top edge. While Mr Glover's signature is relatively subtle, we have a slight gripe with the way the larger-than-life Vigier logo impinges on the Excess' otherwise cool, classy vibe. There's decent recessing to create the requisite break angle as the strings cross the graphite nut, and a chrome string-tree is fitted for better D and G tension. A rosewood fingerboard (maple is an option) is decorated with phosphorescent dot markers for visibility and carries 24 medium nickel frets. There’s also a zero fret which, says Vigier, balances open and fretted note volumes, ensures perfect string height and minimises friction. Vigier’s own bridge is a substantial chrome affair with a quick string release system (no threading through required: they pop in and out of sockets) and Allen key saddle adjustment.
Electronically, the Excess is active, with two Benedetti-designed Vigier single coils and five controls, all framed by phosphorescent ‘contours’. Whatever the reason for this, they number Volume, Balance and a Glockenklang-powered three-band EQ which offers up to 20dB of cut/boost and requires two 9v batteries, both housed in two quick-release compartments around the back.
All in all, the attention to detail here is fantastic and the build quality is superb, although at over 4kg (9lbs) the Excess is a little on the heavy side, and some may find it fatiguing on a long gig.
Roger Glover Signature Bass
Description: Solidbody bass. Made in France
Build: Alder body with flame maple top. Bolt-on graphite reinforced maple neck with 24 medium nickel frets on a rosewood fingerboard. Schaller Custom tuners and Vigier bridge. Chrome hardware
Electrics: Active with two Vigier single coil pickups and a Glockenklang active circuit requiring two 9v batteries. Volume, Balance, Bass, Middle and Treble controls
Finishes: Deep Burgundy, Deep Deep Blue
Options: Rosewood or maple fingerboard
Scale length: 864mm/34"
Width of neck:
12th fret 55mm
Depth of neck:
1st fret 19.5mm
12th fret 23mm
Action as supplied:
12th fret treble 2mm
12th fret bass 2.5mm
Contact: High Tech Distribution UK
01722 410 002
Build Quality 19/20
Value for money 15/20