Vigier Bass Guitars:: Stock, Arpege V 5 string, Burgundy :: Custom hand made basses, exclusively at Bassdirect: For sale UK, EU usa



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ARPEGE V Burgundy (B stock) (list £3469)


+ £30 EU (Outside UK) shipping

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  1. Export price outside EU £1959. Please contact us for international shipping rates

Patrice Vigier pioneered graphite neck construction in the 1970s and 80s, and after much research and fine tuning Vigier moved away from the colder and brittle sounding solid graphite necks to a composite of 90% wood and 10% graphite - this yields the same strength and rigidity famed on graphite necked instruments but with more depth and warmth in the low and mid range and is smoother in the upper registers. This bass features a super slim, fast neck with piano like clarity and wide frequency response, the rigidity of bass helps gives a super playable B string that feels more like an E string - a stunning five string bass!

Actual instrument shown, click on pictures to enlarge;

  1. Burgundy trans gloss Finish

  2. Alder Body with Flamed Maple top and back

  3. Exclusive Carbon reinforced bolt on neck (ensures total stability of the instrument in terms of sound, action and resistance to even the most extreme climate changes. Flame Maple/Graphite

  4. Phenowood Fingerboard

  5. Custom Split Coil Pickups

  6. Exclusive 3 band active pre amp (3 bands for each pickup) plus Volume and Blend

  7. Fitted Hard case

Gear Vigier Arpege 5-string Bass

Vigier Arpege 5-string Bass

A French blonde is guaranteed to turn a few heads so when this full-bodied beauty arrived there was no shortage of willing testers. Mike Brooks draws the lucky straw...

This Arpege model from one of France’s premier luthiers has a slightly different specification to the Vigier Passion recently reviewed, and being a five-string instrument has a different feel whilst placing greater emphasis on the weight and balance characteristics. Patrice Vigier’s incorporation of graphite to increase rigidity in the neck design of his instruments is really brought to the fore with his five-string instruments, particularly in helping to project the extended range of the low-B string. Vigier basses have a look and identity all of their own and are instantly recognisable, which is no bad thing. With an ever-growing endorsee list, these revered instruments are increasing in popularity so what is it about them that makes them the first- choice for many players?

Quality And Features

This particular model combines maple and alder body timbers to produce an impressive warm-looking instrument that is further complimented by the chrome hardware, dark phenowood fingerboard and matching maple headstock facing. The mother of pearl Vigier logo inlay adds a touch of class to an already visually appealing instrument. The two-piece flame maple front and back facings are impressive but the colouring of the timber actually reduces the impact of the wood figuring, which is a shame.

As with other Vigier models, there are a number of small but interesting features and inclusions that set this bass apart from other bass manufacturers. The jack socket is recessed horizontally into the bass so the lead isn’t left to hang down from the bass making it prone to being ripped out accidentally. The Teflon graphite nut improves sustain and is situated before the zero fret that is intentionally hardened to reduce the degree of string wear. Schaller machine heads have been included and were reassuringly sturdy and responsive. The seven-piece laminate neck is made up of five strips of maple with two strips of graphite to improve sustain and to bring a solidity to the neck’s construction therefore restricting the potential for neck movement, twists and warps. The graphite strips form a T-section and run all the way in to the back of the phenowood fingerboard. The neck, like the rest of the bass, is coated with a gloss finish that is left for five weeks to dry: the maple timbers are dried for three years! The five-bolt neck attachment looks and feels very secure.

The active circuit is powered by two 9-volt batteries (housed in easily accessible flip-top holders) whilst the control cavity is superbly shielded and very neat and tidy. Individual monorail bridge units have been used for each string that should improve tuning stability and harmonic response which is particularly beneficial on a five-string bass such as this. The control layout looks a little busy but in use it actually isn’t. The Volume and Pickup Pan controls are followed by a 3-band EQ set up comprising Bass, Mid and Treble. The three controls are stacked with individual EQ controls for each pickup, an interesting alternative to the norm that should provide greater and more varied tonal flexibility than we experience with many instruments here at BGM.


I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to move around the neck, the 19mm string spacing gave the Arpege a very playable feel and at no point does the neck feel cramped or restrictive. The neck profile is quite shallow, which improves the instrument’s playability even further. The strings felt quite supple, as one would expect of a bass with a scale length just under 34 inches. Whereas some manufacturers prefer to opt for a 35-inch scale length on their five- string instruments, this bass, and in particular the low-B string, doesn’t sound as though it suffers from having this scale length. The low-B response is very good, the notes being well defined and thorough with plenty of punch and I think the benefits of an increased string length that a 35-inch scale would offer is compensated for by the Arpege’s bridge set up, electronics package and EQ options.

Although the bass is a little weighty, it balances very well and I suspect the headstock design helps to counterbalance the obvious weight of the body. But I’m not doing the bass a disservice by pointing this out as it is contoured very well and feels like an instrument whose weight contributes to its excellent balance, playability and tone. The pickups offer a meaty bass signal but I was surprised by the extent to which the tone can be shaped and adjusted; rolling through the extremes of each tone control and the pickup pan highlights the array of sounds on offer here. Having spent several days with this bass, I have to admit that I’m now a convert to this level of EQ control and to me it makes perfect sense. As a player, if you prefer the sound and tonal characteristics of the bridge pickup in order to obtain a tight fingerstyle sound, you shouldn’t have to forego the bass frequencies that can make your overall sound harsh and perhaps a little ‘weedy’ in places. With this set up, you can increase the bass EQ of the bridge pickup without increasing the overall bass response of the entire instrument, the neck pickup already being quite bass dominant due to its position. By the same token, it is possible to boost the treble and mid settings of the neck pickup to improve attack and emphasise fast fingerstyle passages when played over this pickup where the strings are slightly looser.


Having heard so many good things about Vigier basses over the years, I can now appreciate why they are held in such high esteem. There is no doubt that a lot of time and effort has been put into this design as it combines an extremely varied range of sounds and tones with effortless playability, comfort and desirable looks. Obviously, this all adds up to a serious price tag and in this bracket there is pretty serious competition for the attention of players with serious money to spend, but with a choice of finishes and fretless options also available it should certainly be on your list of exotic 5-string basses worthy of investigation.

Mike Brooks

Vigier Arpege 5-string

Neck: Seven-piece maple and graphite Fingerboard: Phenowood Pickups: Vigier custom split-coil x 2 Electronics: Vigier 3-band EQ (designed by Glockenlang) Controls: Volume, pickup pan, neck/bridge bass (stacked), neck/ bridge mid (stacked), neck/bridge treble (stacked)

Nut Width: 42.5mm Neck Join: Bolt-on, five-bolt attachment Scale Length: 33.8 inches Frets: 24 Weight: 4.5kg

Contact Details

High Tech Distribution (UK),

Tel: 01722 410002

What We Think

Plus: A playable and comfortable bass with an extensive array of sounds on offer. Good low-B response and wise use of graphite to enhance neck stability.

Minus: Serious competition from other manufacturers in this price range. Overall: A bass worthy of further investigation if you are looking for a quality five-string instrument.





Powerful electronics draw on 18v supply


Tel: 01926 886433

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