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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

How about these new Xavieres from Guitarfetish?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Jack Knife, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. Teiscoman

    Teiscoman Banned

    Mar 23, 2011
    Total newby here, lured in by the XV-950 reviews. I recently purchased an XV-910 in surf green (really more of a blue) and love it. I can't find anything really wrong with it--except for the amazingly cheap strings. I am impressed that they continue to leave black marks on my fingertips after a couple of weeks of playing!

    Anyway, I love the 910 so much that a couple of days ago I ordered the 950--even though I'd read the reviews here, some of which gave me pause. Still, I've owned cheap guitars for many years--and still have my first, a tulip-bodied Teisco. (My user name indicates my mental disease.)

    I appreciate all of the reviews here, especially the video reviews!

  2. slotrod65

    slotrod65 Tele-Meister

    Feb 11, 2009
    The ¢heapo-sphere
    What color XV-950 did you order? Please let us know how it works out...

    And change those cheap strings already! :eek:

  3. Teiscoman

    Teiscoman Banned

    Mar 23, 2011
    I ordered the surf green 950 to match the 910! I have a kind of "band" here where I work, and I may order the other guitarist to play one of the Xavieres when we next perform. Either that, or I'll just swap guitars during the set!

    And, yes, I need to change the cheap strings. I'm just so lazy! I have only had a few chances to fire up the guitar through the raging Epiphone Valve Jr. (I have gotten rid of my larger amps), and the cheapies aren't bothering me when I just sit and play acoustically. I'm trying to decide what to put on, though. I play slide and prefer heavier strings. I have strung up an old Arbor Flying V copy with D'Addario flat-wound .12s and love the feel and tone. I may put flat-wound .11s on the 910.

    Oh, I did make one change to the 910: the polepieces were set very high. I've adjusted them down some and will likely take them down even further. But I've been pleased with the bite from the rear P-90, and I can get some warm tones out of the front P-90, so I'm pretty happy so far. In the middle position, I get a hot tone with good girth.

    I have an ESP Paramount PC-2V that I bought a few years ago from a local shop. It was the second guitar that I ever bought that played beautifully off the shelf. (The shop does a good setup job: I bought the other guitar--a gift for my daughter--from the same shop.) The PC-2V is, I think, one heck of a fine guitar, especially for right around $600. The Xaviere is not quite as good, but it's within shooting distance. For a truly budget guitar it's great.

    I have high hopes for the 950! And I'm very hopeful I can coax feedback out of it more easily than I can out of the 910 . . .

  4. kerc

    kerc Tele-Holic

    Jul 16, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I had a Palomino that I stupidly sold. I had the one with the amazing three-color burst. Palominos are tone factories, but they are heavy!

    Why did I sell it, I'll never know. :(


    Sorry for the threadjack!

  5. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2010
    British Columbia
    That's burst finish is lovely!
    True, but most of the tones I'm finding are very Stratocaster like! Not quite what I was expecting!
    Oh boy, are they ever! I think I could kill the proverbial ox with a blow to the head from a Palomino. (Disclaimer: I love oxen. No oxen were harmed during the writing of this paragraph.)
    Hope you find something else you like as much one day!
    Nah, Palomino's have come up two or three times on this thread, mentioned as an alternative budget-priced archtop with a distant family resemblance to the Xaviere XV-950.


  6. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious TDPRI Member

    Mar 17, 2011

    I had a Guild that looked a lot like the one in the middle but it had what I called "Veg-O-Matic" tone controls - like speed controls on a blender.

  7. jimbcac

    jimbcac TDPRI Member

    Feb 23, 2010
    gold bar wa
    Latest on the XV950

    Well like i mentioned I have two of em. One a "Clearance" guitar.
    The other regular price. I have been playing the one I paid full price
    for a LOT. In fact plan to play it at the memorial service of a friend
    of mine tomorrow (Wabash Cannonball, his favorite tune).
    The "Clearance" guitar is going to need some pretty extensive
    work. However I got a Bigsby B3. So someday when there Is time
    am gonna take the pickups out, redo the wiring a bit, and put the
    bigsby on.
    However as to the "Natural" color 950... I REALLY like it. It is replacing
    my SX G6 as my favorite inexpensive guitar, and is a LOT lighter. Mostly
    due to the fact that the G6 has a Mahogany center post that goes all
    the way through the guitar, and the xv950 just has this 2x3" hunk of
    God only knows what kind of wood - sitting under the bridge.

    There will be some musicians at the memorial tomorrow that will
    look twice at the name on the guitar headstock and wonder why I am not
    playing a "name" guitar. I will hand the guitar to them and say

    "try it you'l like it"


    jim in gold bar

  8. Jack Knife

    Jack Knife Friend of Leo's

    Oct 24, 2003
    Magdalena, NM, US
    This is the best thread I ever started :D

  9. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2011
    Is it just me or are there a lot of xaviere clearance guitars? Mine was clearance. I got a 910 for under $200. It seems that most people reviewing them on harmony central also have blem models.

    Conspiracy theories welcome.

  10. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 23, 2009
    It makes sense that there will always be some and they sell returned guitars for a discount. But, the XV-440 (LP Jr-style) seemed to turn up a lot of finish blems and there was also a run of bad necks across model lines.

    I regularly look at the clearance section and I can tell you that he moves a lot of this stock. It's probably a healthy sign that he can offer so many of those (that can cannibalize new sales) and not try to pass them as first quality new items.

    This is a great era to get well-built guitars of all kinds . . . .


  11. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2010
    British Columbia
    Just wanted to say "Thanks, buddy!" to Disco Biscuits for that advice. I re-read that and realised I'd been using channel 1, not voice 1 (on channel 2). Channel 1 on the Super Champ XD is the clean Fender sound, while voice 1 on channel 2 is the "tweed Champ" sound.

    I went back and tried out the Dean Palomino, neck PU, amp on voice 1. Nope, sounded close to a Strat set to neck PU and tone turned down a bit. I turned down the treble knob on the amp a bit, and tried again. Nope, that's not it. I turned down the tone on the guitar some more. Nope, still not it, and now it sounds like a Strat set to neck PU and heard through a pillow over your ears - very muffled.

    Somewhat discouraged, I was about to give up and turn the guitars tone knob back up, thinking I'd turned it down too far. But instead I gave it one last tweak - this time I cut the tone on the guitar all the way to zero, and tried again. And voila, suddenly there it was, that midrangey sort of classic jazzy archtop tone I'd been hunting for!

    I have basically zero knowledge of jazz playing, and don't know too many chords more exotic than a major seventh. So I just tried out a short progression of a few of the more exotic extended chords I know - C9, Fmaj7b5, G+. Yup, that's the general sound I was looking for. All I need to do now (!) is learn how to actually play something remotely jazzy!

    So it turns out that to get the tone I was looking for with this guitar (Dean Palomino), this amp (Super Champ XD with a 12" Eminence), and these strings (Ernie Ball .010 electrics), you have to turn the tone knob on the guitar all the way down to zero, and the treble on the amp almost all the way down as well. I had simply not been going far enough in that direction until now.

    Incidentally, the P-90 pickups on the Palomino have a pretty bright and clean tone - they sound closer to Strat single-coils than Gibson P-90's. The P-90 pickups on my Agile AD-2300 have much stronger bass and a darker tone. I'm sure the bright pickups on the Palomino are part of the reason I had to turn the treble down so far to get that jazzy tone.

    Speaking of jazzy tone, I just read in a guitar mag that Gibson had originally promoted the Les Paul guitar to be used for playing jazz, as an alternative to the big archtop jazzers Gibson was selling at the time. I'm guessing that decision is part of the explanation for the darker sound of the original Gibson P-90's, and then the Seth Lover humbuckers that followed.

    I'm liking the Palomino more and more as I continue to play with it. I got all the gunk off the fretboard with 99% rubbing alcohol from a local pharmacist and a few of the cotton wipes my wife uses for removing makeup, then lightly applied some lemon oil and wiped it down before putting on the new strings. The neck is nice and fast now. The one remaining issue is the bridge. I'm really going to have to replace those saddles with the too-wide string notches.


  12. Teiscoman

    Teiscoman Banned

    Mar 23, 2011
    An update: I received the XV-950 yesterday. First impression: filthy! The guitar was dirty--and not in a good way. Clearly, someone had buffed it out and then lazily washed away the final buffing compound.

    It had the obligatory loose volume knob in the box . . .

    It did arrive with an extra: a Xaviere guitar cord, with patented "Tonekiller" technology!

    In contrast with the 910, this guitar has a number of visible finish flaws: a drip (alongside the neck/top joint: not noticeable except when you're looking at it while playing . . .); a small, somewhat bluer fleck in the paint near the pickup selector switch; a small mark in the fretboard binding on the bass side near the ninth fret (perhaps from dressing the frets?); a poorly painted "join" between the face of the headstock and the headstock binding; some visible sanding marks on the fretboard; poorly filed string slots in the bridge (I'll replace that with a roller bridge anyway); somewhat poorly dressed frets; a tone pot turned so that the lugs are visible through the f-hole; a piece of flashing not fully cleaned off from the pickguard; cheaper-quality tuners than the ones on the 910; and one incredibly dry and filthy fretboard.

    I'm trying to figure out the issue of the filthiness of the fretboard. I oiled the fretboard with lemon oil and rubbed it in--and my work cloth began turning black. I cleaned and cleaned it--but, after I finally had the guitar set up, the fretboard still left my fingertips black in very short order. I know that it's not the strings: I can take a clean cloth and rub down the fretboard longitudinally, and the cloth shows black between the strings, and clean where it's pressing down on the strings.

    And this is also not the lemon oil. I played for a moment before oiling the fretboard, and my fingertips were immediately rendered black. My oiling and cleaning efforts made the fretboard cleaner--but it's still not clean.

    I assume that the fretboard is either incredibly dirty as a result of the work done on it or has been dyed to make it darker. And that would be interesting, because the fretboard was not particularly dark before I oiled it up.

    Also, I changed the strings on my 910 to D'Addario flatwound .11s--and it is still leaving my fingertips dirty. It appears that I'm gradually cleaning the gunk off the fretboard as I play, though.

    So that's pretty much all of the bad stuff. The good things are this: I put some elbow grease and Martin guitar polish into the guitar, and it cleaned up very nicely. And after I spent some time on intonation and action, it played very nicely--even though the stock strings are pretty heavy. I'd guess them to be .11s. I love the light weight, and the guitar balances well. (But I'm using a wide strap that stays glued well to the shoulder.)

    The guitar has an interesting sound acoustically. I swear that it sounds a bit like there's a filter in it--like a half-cocked wah pedal. It's not as loud as I'd have expected, but then it does have the "trestle" under the bridge, and I suspect that the coating of polyurethane paint is damping out the sound. (That may introduce the "notched" quality that I hear.) I imagine that the guitar will be louder acoustically in a year or so, once the polyurethane has a chance to off-gas more.

    I haven't gotten to fire it up yet through an amp. My wife and three-year-old have been sick, and I didn't want to subject them to my sonic explorations. I'm not too worried about the amplified sound, though: that's why they make replacement pickups!

    And here's the best thing: I was sitting across from my wife, quietly messing around on the guitar. She looked at it and said, "That really is a pretty guitar."

    So there! It looks good, and it's quite playable. For less than three benjamins, it's all right by this ol' country boy!

  13. Jack Knife

    Jack Knife Friend of Leo's

    Oct 24, 2003
    Magdalena, NM, US
    Teiscoman, which finish did you get again? I believe you have nailed it on the fretboard making your fingers dirty. I think they've dyed the wood to make it darker. I cleaned mine with my usual Formby's deep cleaner and it still left my fingers dirty. Fortunately it does play away, so you'll be clean in a short time :D

    I'm completely happy with mine now that it's setup and cleaned/adjusted. Sweet guitars once you do the final setup that the factory skips.

  14. Teiscoman

    Teiscoman Banned

    Mar 23, 2011
    Hi, Jack Knife--

    I got the XV-950 in surf green. It's a little greener in hue and a bit more saturated than my surf green XV-910. Very pretty!

    I'm thinking about getting a natural-finish 910 at some later date and swapping in some of the GFS Dream 90s in the surf green guitar--and putting a Bigsby and a roller bridge, pinning the bridge . . .



  15. Teiscoman

    Teiscoman Banned

    Mar 23, 2011
    A couple of additional notes about my 950: First, I don't like the knobs. I thought that I would, but they look a bit too bright. I'll swap those out. Second, the pickguard has to be made of the softest plastic that I've ever seen. After thirty minutes of playing, mine had visible scratches in it from my pinkie finger moving across it. I'm not sure that I'll do anything about it, but it's remarkable how little it took to affect it. (I am tempted to cut a piece of ebony veneer to the shape of the current pickguard . . .)

  16. PraiseCaster

    PraiseCaster Poster Extraordinaire

    I agree.

    But I hate you too, for you are the one that started this bubbling, ever expanding GAS for the Nuge fix that I can only get with this guitar!

    Ok, I dont hate you. But I do hope a flea bites you in your arm pit while your sleeping.

    My wife is gonna kill me when I buy this guitar.......

  17. tonetime

    tonetime Tele-Meister

    Jun 14, 2008

    The entertainment value of this picture is off the charts, for some reason. Thanks for posting. I haven't laughed this long in quite a while. :eek:

  18. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 28, 2010
    SE Michigan, USA
    Whoa, hang on there! This guitar was obviously built by/for a vintage Ducati enthusiast. It's a 750SS tribute guitar! :p

  19. Teiscoman

    Teiscoman Banned

    Mar 23, 2011
    The bug photo is amusing. And then when you go over to the Guitar Fetish website, you can read about the "ultra-finicky luthiers" at GFS who set aside guitars with cosmetic blemishes . . .

    And, with that said, I'm loving both my XV-950 and my XV-910--even though the 950 is still leaving my fingertips black . . .

  20. tonetime

    tonetime Tele-Meister

    Jun 14, 2008
    The hilarious bug facet is certainly not going to deter me from leaping on one of those Xav. Telemasters. (In fact, I will request an embedded firefly in mine if possible.)

    I'm sure this photo has already inspired someone to at least 'envision' a Bug-Laden amber finish on a future build.

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