Stage Series review by Vester

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  • Sound: 5
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 5
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.6 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.6 (8 votes)
Vester: Stage Series

Sound — 5
I play mostly metal, and this guitar is good for that, but the rhythm riffs come through better than anything. Power chords sound beautiful, however it may be just due to my low experience at scales and Standard chords or maybe even amp settings. I run this through a Laney Prism P20. I don't use any outside effects (only the ones built into the amp). Palm muting on this is terrible, it either seems to completely mute or not at all. Again, might just be my level of competence.

Overall Impression — 7
Overall impression is that it's a strong guitar, good for a budding metalhead. The great thing about it is that if it was stolen I would immediately recognise it and be able to get it back. As the guitar has been through so much (with recent large earthquakes) I am finding a replacement for it, not so much because it's a terrible guitar but that it's actually impossible to find an exact replica. The best thing about Vester's is that they all seem to have something different. Hopefully you can find a cheap Vester with some nice features, but I wouldn't pay too much. You can easily find newer guitars with better hardware. In saying that, the Vester's are very well known for their strong necks.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I wouldn't play this guitar live, mainly for tonal reasons. Don't get me wrong she is built bloody tough, but it's more of a practice guitar than a performer (kind of ironic for a stage series). I've had a close call with dropping it because of a strap button issue, but the button didn't come off the guitar, the strap came off the button. It has taken about 30 years for this guitar to wear out, and even then, it's still playable and a little bit of time and effort would see this thing give another 15 years.

Action, Fit & Finish — 5
As the guitar is quote old now, everything seems to be a bit worse for wear. I could imagine that when this came from the factory it would be a lil' beauty. Now that time (and severe earthquakes) have gotten to it she's a bit off. It seems to get a lot of fret buzz and hammer on/pull offs send a very bad signal to the amp and create a wump-wump-wumping sound. When she has a new set of strings, the fretboard is nice and slippery. With a new set of pickups, a new tremolo and a damn good clean (dust gets in the single pickup crevices very easily) she would make a nice frankenstrat.

Features — 7
Not a lot is known about the Vester branded guitars. The Samuel Music company decided to launch their own brand of guitars in the 1980's following the success of Jackson and ESP. In 1994 the Fender corporation took legal action against the Samuel Music company and the matter was settled out of court. Production of Vester brand guitars ceased and all remaining stock was sold. The Vester I own is a superstrat with an H/S/S setup. It has a Floyd Rose style bridge, locking tuners, a single volume knob and a single tone knob. An interesting feature is that instead of a selector Switch for the pickups it has 3 toggle switches. This means I can select the Humbucker and neck pickup, bypassing the middle entirely. I am not sure on any of the details of the pickups. There is no place for a 9v battery for an active pickup, which I have seen on other Vesters. It has a nice and thin neck with a black fretboard and ivory triangle fret markers (like a Jackson Dinky). The body has a glossy finish over what I could only describe as a "Spiderman" finish. It has the effect of three layers of paint (Red/Blue/Black underneath) and a sanded effect to give it a mottled look. All of the hardware is black. This is only my second guitar, but I called it my first as my actual first was a very cheap and horrible POS. The first guitar a basically used as a visual tool to understand what an electric guitar really was and this one has been my guitar for learning sound and technique. I have been playing it for 18 months or around that mark. It feels like a tank, probably the heaviest guitar I've held. It's reasonably old and it has had 4 owners (myself being the 4th), it has some damage to the body, but it looks like it would have taken a massive fall (2m) to give it the chip. In the end, who cares, it gives it character and doesn't effect the playability.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    My family owned a music store (actually 2 of them for a while) starting in the late 80's and through the 90s, we sold a few lines of inexpensive to midrange guitars including Vester which I consider midrange, better than the profiles we sold (hated those!). Family gave me a setup for christmas of 88. Mine was a metallic red stage series electric, strat-like body no pickgard bridge pposition humbucker n 2 singles pu's, 1 volume n tone much like the article. Cant remember full model other than the number 750 (the 770 had active pu's. The fretboard was artificial material they called "ebanol". Ironically the amp was a small Gorilla amp with a "banana" tuner all of which I still have. Mine is fortunately still in good shape needing no repairs other than having the locking nut replaced in the early 90's (has a floyd rose style bridge). Vester made a few different models including a good handmade acoustic and the red / black crackle paint mcnugbugget posted about. nly thing I could wish for in the higher range it's a bit thin tone wise
    I had a black Vester strat when I started playing 25 years ago, lasted me throughout my teenage years, I played that guitar so much and for so long I wore the frets off of it. Vester were great guitars, if you can find one of their "concert" series those are nice as well
    I own a vester accoustic/electric and I find it's a great guitar for the price I payed, I never actually saw another vester guitar!
    I just bought a old Vester snake skin.....stage series..i think. Love it, to be fair I am going to replace the pups as the active system no longer works but apart fron that it's great. Got a real sort of cock rock look about it. I feel a little over confident playing it to be honest....but then the look of it asks for a bit of flare in your playing. At worst no less playable than an Ibanez GIO but I wouldn't trade my Maverick F-1 for it either.
    The Vester I have is different than the pictured one, it's a fat strat copy with no pickguard. I haven't got the ability to upload a pic at present, but it's now out of comission due to one of the large earthquakes we have had here in Christchurch (NZ).
    i recently bought a old vester for $50(NZ) and have already stripped everything off it to start building it from the bottom up. its black with a red crackle through it, looks killer!