Gibsonguildgretsch! Cumbersome as it may be in word form, Xaviere’s XV-950 gracefully combines attributes from the “big trio.”
The XV-950 employs a classic Florentine cutaway body measuring a small-ish 15″ at the lower bout, 2″ thick at the edge, (25/8" at the arch), and is made with hand-laid laminated maple front and back. There is no center-block; instead, the 950 gets added strength below the bridge with a ½" wide “trestle” of wood to help prevent unwanted feedback. Even at high volume, the guitar holds its ground and does not squeal (though you can still get some pretty sweet controlled feedback on various notes). The neck is solid maple and carved to a comfortable medium C shape, and the 12″ radius rosewood fingerboard is graced with “cloud” position markers – a nice upgrade for a budget guitar. The 14:1 tuners feel nice and sturdy, as do the fully adjustable metal floating bridge and trapeze tailpiece.
Electronics are straightforward. The two Guitar Fetish GFS Nashville Retrotron pickups each have Volume and Tone controls (the chromed-top metal hat knobs are another cool upgrade) with the three-way toggle on the upper bout.
Though it resembles a jazzer, the XV-950 is rockabilly at heart. The lead position is twangy enough for chicken pickin’ with enough high-mid boink to rise above even the most raucous band. In the mid position, chord-melody and rhythm passages are nicely balanced. The neck pickup delivers a full-bodied tone perfect for comping behind a soloist. As good as it sounds clean, it also handles distortion very well. All settings were very musical, making this an extremely versatile guitar at any price.
The XV-950 played great out of the box and was nicely set up, so no tweaking was necessary to get this guitar gig-ready. The smaller body feels comfortable, and at only 6.5 pounds, it’s as easy on the back as it is on the eyes.
Our tester was finished in vintage sunburst, and five other colors are available, including white and black with optional gold hardware. And each is available with an optional Guitar Fetish vibrato.
If you’re in need of a rockin’ hollowbody, the XV-950 is worthy of consideration. Beyond being simply a nice addition to any collection, it offers very high value.
This article originally appeared in VG July 2016 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.