Roger Giffin is a guitarmaker to the stars, having built for Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle, Mark Knopfler, Andy Summers, David Gilmour, and many others. He also ran the Gibson Custom Shop in California for many years before striking out on his own. Now producing his own models under the name Giffin Guitars, he designs solidbodies that are built by a group of craftsmen called the Premier Builders Guild. Giffin’s latest is the Vikta, a classy axe with more than a few familiar appointments.
A single-cutaway guitar with a pleasing look, the Vikta is a straightforward rock-and-roll machine. Our test guitar had a maple neck, solid alder body, and 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with a 24.625″ scale and 12″ radius. Its 7.4-pound body had a flat top and no binding, and DiMarzio P-90 pickups. Other details included abalone “vertical line” inlays along the top of the fingerboard, nickel Sperzel tuners, a Graphtech Tusq nut, five-ply pickguard, two knobs for Volume and a master Tone, and a TonePros AVT wraparound bridge.
In the hand, the Vikta has a nice, beefy neck that brings to mind Gibson necks of the ’50s. Plugged into a small combo, it rocks as you’d hope, P-90s delivering feisty attitude, singing tones, ample sustain, and snarl for everything from Chuck Berry to the Faces to the Black Crowes. The guitar had an immaculate setup and great resonance, though the control configuration – with the knob closest to the pickups wired as neck Volume, bridge Volume below it – requires a bit of reorientation, as does the proximity of the three-way pickup toggle, which seems a little cramped at first.
The bottom line on the Vikta, though, is that this is a kick-ass rock slab that’ll sound great through small combo amps or raging half-stacks. If you dig vintage Gibson Les Paul Specials and Juniors, consider this plank. It takes the best qualities of those classics and ports them into a modern design that exudes craftsmanship and design ideas.
This article originally appeared in VG December 2012 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.