Xaviere is a company that imports its guitars from China, sets them up in its Massachusetts shop, then sells direct.
The company’s XV-JT90 Offset Hybrid is a solidbody with a body shape reminiscent of a Jazzmaster, yet it has a bridge pickup more like you’d find on a Telecaster, making it more adaptable for everything from surf to twang. The Xaviere-branded GFS pickups are the Alnico Fatbody 10k in the bridge and a Mini Crunchy mini-humbucker in the neck. The neck is maple with a rosewood fingerboard and graphite nut. It has 21 frets and a curvy, old-school radius of 71/2″. In that vein, the 251/2″-scale neck is pretty beefy, much like a vintage Fender – no skinny shred neck here. The body is alder, constructed of several laminated pieces.
The Xaviere XV-585 Chambered Mahogany Carved Top single-cutaway has a GFS Alnico VEH Zebra humbucker in the bridge and a Alnico Soapbar P90 pickup in the neck slot. Its mahogany neck has 22 frets on a rosewood fingerboard with 243/4″-scale and 12″ radius. The body is also mahogany, and has a chambered back and carved top – most likely, this is one of the most affordable guitars on the market with this kind of construction. Not surprisingly, the body is also very light, weighing a mere 6.2 pounds. And as with the XV-JT90, the bodies are constructed from several pieces of wood.
Plugged in, the guitars sound good, with both guitars displaying a useful mix of twangy and humbucker-ish tones. The necks were set up reasonably well, but there were some fretted-out notes on the XV-585 around the 17th fret. I also heard crackling when trying to engage the P-90 neck pickup with the three-position selector, suggesting a weak solder joint (the company does offer excellent customer service.) Ultimately, both guitars would be acceptable for younger players, though many pro bands also use them. They could also serve as a backup or one set up for slide. Considering their ultra-low prices, you might even look at them as a subject for your own guitar experiments, swapping out necks, pickups, tuners or whatever you have in mind.
Xaviere XV-JT90 and XV-585
Price: $239 (list, XV-JT90), $249 (list, XV-585)
This article originally appeared in VG December 2010 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.