Shred king Ron Bumblefoot Thal uses a thimble for tapping and sliding up beyond the fingerboard. Could Vigier find a suitable place for it? Review by Richard Purvis
They love a bit of a revolution, the French. So when Ron ‘Bumblefoot‘ Thal said that his signature guitar must include a place to keep a thimble – yes, a thimble – Vigier probably took it on board with the merest of shrugs. Would monsieur also care for a pin-cushion?
Aside from the neat magnetised recess by the lower cutaway to hold said thimble, the Vigier Bfoot is no gimmick but a classy, restrained guitar. The double cutaway and 25.5" scale put us in ‘superstrat’ territory, and at 3kg it’s no spine-crusher.
Finishes are matt black or sparkle black, which is – cough, splutter – £500 extra. The two-piece alder body is bolted to a silky Vigier maple neck with no truss-rod, just a strip of ultra-hard carbon. The set-up is perfect, and it should stay that way pretty much forever.
The Bfoot’s light, ringing acoustic sound is carried through to a DiMarzio ToneZone and a rail-type Chopper.
The pickups are well matched and the five-way switch offers a useful range of clean sounds, all grounded in Fender territory but somewhat overpowered at the bottom end and ever so slightly mid-scooped.
Not much vintage character here, but it’s all very smooth and it will get you by between scorching solos.
Turned up, the Vigier shows where it really belongs. The D-profile neck is a joy to scamper up and down, and all five pickup settings offer clear and rewarding lead tones.
The Floyd-Rose is a dive-bomber’s dream and absolutely impossible to put out of tune, short of dropping the guitar into a live volcano – though it does return to rest with a mild clunk. As per Mr Thal’s request the back of the bridge is not held aloft by string tension, but sits against the guitar’s body.
That might take some getting used to, and upward bends are impossible. One last feature: a tidy little killswitch just below the bridge pickup, which works fine. Oh, and the thimble is included.
Thimble or no, this is a modern rock guitar of the highest quality. Its overdriven sounds are hot but not overcooked, it's easy to play but not excessively slick, and the impression is that it's been built for serious players rather than wide-eyed kids who just want to be louder, faster, crazier. There's no mistaking its hard-rocking purpose, but this is one superstrat that hasn't forgotten its roots completely.