maker of Vline guitars, France.
Information and images (Salomé and épée (sword) courtesy of Romain Bidaut and Daniel, France (March 2009). Also thanks to Rob Timmons from James Trussart Guitars and Rej E for info and images.
“Vincent Berton was a French Avant Garde luthier in the early 1980s. He made guitars in Chalais, France.
In December 1979, he lived in Othis (north of Paris). His motorbike a Guzzi 850 Le Mans had a car radio on the fuel tank.
The first guitar Vincent made was the VLINE, ‘ La péniche’ (the sword). During a TOTO concert he gave that guitar to Steve Lukather. [Source: Daniel]
Eric Lovett reports seeing the Sword in the Lead Guitars store in Paris in the late 1980s and communicated with Vincent in the mid 1990s. At that time Vincent was working on a flying car.
According to Romain Bidaut of Foxyguitars “He was the protege of James Trussart, who recognized his art was beyond anything that had ever been done. He was completely brilliant, maybe too much for sanity, as he would spend months building one a kind creations and built every single detail by hand. He would build the knobs, the saddles, the control plates all from solid blocks of brass. He also built his own revolutionary pickups hiding the secret of his custom design by integrating them inside the body, he also built his own cases, but even down to the smallest of details like the hinges and the handle, also built by hand from solid brass. The guitar bodies are made from resin.
“During his Chalais period ,Vincent Berton was not alone , but built his guitars with the help of a friend of his . It changes all for the value of his surviving instruments’ [Source: Franck from Grenoble, email 8/2/2013] and a further update:
“the 2 dozen quantity in Vincent’ production is a wrong info. Personally I ‘ve registered 24 pieces, but an another link on the net talks about something like 100 pieces .In almost 20 years of activity , it seems more logical.
For example , in the mid 90′ I’ seen a wonderfull Astaroth evolution in a second hand guitar store of grenoble ( black and green finish with inlay compartments constitued by full green paint ).
It was cost something like only 900 euros, and believe it or not… I didn’t buy it ! In cause :I think heroic fantasy style is a tremendous error in guitar design ( in term of commercial success ).
As you can think , I have today a lot of regrets …
Some times later, I’ ve seen 2 models ( Astaroth and Salomé ) in the guitar museum of Montluçon …a lot of pieces seems to exist. (also a guy on the net talk about an 8 string guitar made for him by Vincent).
Note we can find on the net all the (crazy ) patents of Vincent’ inventions… a real sort of genius … [Source: Franck 10/2/2013]
Vincent Berton patents including one for guitar locking vibrato.
Insanity caught up with this genius, and unfortunately Vincent Berton, after he built a reported 2 dozen instruments, all unique, committed suicide in the mid 1990s.?”
Examples of his craft are shown below: The thumbs will enlarge.
Vline, Concorde supersonic jet guitar. See it being played by Laurent Voulzy in 1985.
If search web for Laurent Voulzy Mes nuits sans Kim Wilde (1985)
V Line Salomé
These two images below of a bronze or golden Salome (click to enlarge) were sent to me by Rej E (email 24/11/2012). He received the guitar as a gift in France in 1987.
Supposed Salomé model bass guitar
Astaroth last evolution
The following scans from 1980s French guitar magazines and information correcting some of my made up names on the previous page is courtesy of Franck Chanut, from Grenoble, France email 4/2/2103 .
The images are scans from Guitare et Claviers 1987, 1989 and Guitarist 1989. Click thumbs below for a full page scan of each magazine page (French language magazines)
From Franck’s second email ” Please receive my last document (pin-up guitar). The real name of “evil rouge guitar” model is :ASTAROTH. Also available for the guitar you named “black brother” and the guitar with integrated aquarium .
The real name of the “lyre” guitar seems to be: Salomé . It’s written on the advert you showed . Two of these models I’ve sent to you were from the Francfortmess 87′.
The page with sword is a James Trussart interview (credited by error on the picture). Finally, note that the gun on the last page was kept in functional use by Vincent, and for that reason …not for sale.
The Concorde guitar is reputably in France with french singer Laurent Voulzy. A video of him with this guitar is available on the net is you want to search a little …
Another great video on you tube is : M ma melodie ( solo). You can see and hear a baton model at its best! So, Please try …
I thank you so much for your work and interest for the real pioneer ( I think ) who opened the way to peoples like : Teuffel , Spalt ,XoX, Di Donato,etc…in the search of futuristic hollow body designs.”