thebat, on june 01, 2015 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: A$ 370
Purchased from: pawnbrokers
Features: Made in Japan in 1989
24 frets shark fin mother of pearl inlays
Body is polar, Neck: Quater sawn Rock Maple Thru-neck Fingerboard: Rosewood
Pickups are Bridge J50-BC (replaced with a Jeff Beck Seymuor Duncan Trembucker
Pickups: (Front & Middle) J200 Dual coil, Bi level humbucking (designed for use with active circuitry)
5-way selector switch
1 volume 1 tone 1 midboost
Bridge Made in Germany Jackson JT590 Floyd Rose double locking
Colour is a dark green metallic which I can't find listed in a catalog but have seen plenty on the internet
Jackson tuners and a holder for allen keys is on the back of the headstock
The neck has binding on it.
Sound: This guitar was targeted for the metal market and is often referred to as a high end Charvel built to the specifications of a Jackson Soloist. It is also listed as been very close to a model 6 but with a toggle switch the XL 650 has the toothpaste logo and the model 6 has the older small Charvel logo. I play traditional metal like Purple, Sabbath through to shred like Greg Howe, Paul Gilbert and some technical death metal like Dying Fetus, Carcass. I have this guitar tuned to e flat so have been playing some Racer X Paul Gilbert songs on it lately. I play through a Carvin XV 212 old valve amp with no effects, just the gain on the amp and reverb on it.
This guitar is built to shred and has a chunky sound. A few people have said and I agree that the mid boost is not that great with the bridge but works well with the bridge and middle pickup. It make the bridge pick up a little too middy, a sort of compressed sound. Backing off the mid boost increased the treble of the tone of the pick up.
The XL 650 has a wild variety of sounds and the mid boost circuitry really gives you another dimension of sound. The neck pick up has a nice deep warm sound for solos and there is no drop in volume going between pickups. Since the neck and middle are essentially stacked humbuckers. The toggle switch is smooth and there are no crackles at all from either the 5 way selector switch or the volume, tone or mid boost knobs. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The Charvel XL 650 for me has the lowest action I have found on a guitar the tremolo is excellent and you can pull back for Dimebag squeals that go on forever and it stays in tune very well. All the pickups have been tweaked for height and the hardware is top notch. There is no rust showing on hardware on this guitar and it is 24 years old. Been a neck through access to the higher upper frets is a breeze, there are no dead spots on this guitar, the neck is super fast and it takes no effort to play wide stretching or string skipping runs like Paul Gilbert on it. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This guitar is solid and not too heavy so it is good for playing for hours and hours without fatigue. It will withstand live playing easily, the strap buttons are original and solid as a rock, I have never had a strap come off it, I would use this without back up because the hardware is top notch and I have never broken a string on it. The paint job is a s good as the day it was done. I would say the only thing you need to keep tabs on is the battery for the mid boost circuitry. If it goes flat or is running down you won't get any sound from the guitar. // 9
Overall Impression: I will never actually give any guitar a 10 rating as I always believe anything can be improved upon. The Charvel XL 650 is highly regarded by many as on par with a Jackson Soloist and hence is considered a top of the line instrument. I own a Model 4 Charvel and some Jacksons a PC3, JDR 94, DK2, a Godin G4000, a Peavey Tracer LT, a ESP LTD MH250, a Fender HM Strat and Heartfield Talon, a couple of BC Richs and a Samick.
I would replace this immediately if anything happened to it but they are somewhat rare these days. I have been playing for over 20 years and this guitar will help make any lead runs that I struggle with on another guitar seem effortless on this one. The neck is incredible, it is so even and the action is so low it is a real pleasure to play.
I can't say I hate anything on this guitar with the bi level pickups I have all the grunt I can ask for from a guitar for screaming runs even o the neck pick up. The neck for me would compare to maybe the Jackson PC3 and the JDR 94, it is very thin and comfortable to play. The build quality of this instrument is superb. Sometimes it can be easy to get carried away with the high regard of an instrument you own when you read other reviews online. However it is a revelation when you own the instrument and all the praise is not exaggerated. Of course any review is subjective and I made sure I put in a lot of time playing this guitar before the review and picked up other guitars I own to compare it. All in all the Charvel XL 650 is everything it is reported to be in terms of build quality and playability. If you come across one it is unlikely you would be disappointed if you snapped it up. // 9