XV-599 review by Xaviere

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 5
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.4 Good
  • Users' score: 6.4 (39 votes)
Xaviere: XV-599
2

Price paid: $ 239

Purchased from: www.guitarfetish.com

Sound — 9
The GFS Crunchy Pat Zebra Humbuckers are really awesome pickups. These GFS pickups are passive and medium to high output that have a real growl in their natural voice. I am impressed to no end by these pickups, coming in what is essentially a budget guitar, these pickups sound phenomenal. The mahogany body and set neck provide unreal sustain as you would expect from an LP style guitar. I played the Xaviere XV-599 through a Blackheart Little Giant, a Vox Pathfinder 15R, a Toneport UX2 with Gearbox, a Vox Tonelab ST , a Behringer V-Amp 2, and a Maestro by Gibson 4w Mini Amp. I ran the XV-599 through a Artec Duo Drive Blender, an Ibanez Tone-lok DE7, and a Dunlop Original Crybaby. The Xaviere really sounded great through everything, but especially through the Little Giant and the Pathfinder. These Xaviere guitars go a long way in the argument against high end brand name snobbery. The tone produced by the Xaviere is very thick and really has some punch to it. With a little tube distortion it really screams. I play mainly overdriven blues, hard rock and early thrash metal and the Xaviere XV-599 did a great job with each genre. I would say the ideal genre to match this guitar would be modern rock and hard rock. I do have to say, playing some Gary Moore licks through the XV-599, they sounded friggin awesome. I give the Xaviere XV-599 a rating of a 9 for sound and I stand behind that 100%. I expect comments about giving this low end guitar such a high rating in this category, but until you play one of these you just don't understand this guitar sounds awesome. The Xaviere XV-599 may not compete with a Gibson Les Paul in every category but I absolutely believe it competes with tone, punch and sustain.

Overall Impression — 7
The Xaviere XV-599 really gives some bang for your buck. After the initial set up I'm getting awesome tone and the feel of the guitar is really nice. Judging this guitar before a set up is very misleading. For more than what I paid for the Xaviere I could have gotten a low end Epiphone Les Paul that could not have compared in tone, because I have played a few of these Epiphone LP's and they do not compare with the stock pickups. Even after any cost related to getting a set up, etc., I still feel like you are coming out of it with a better guitar for less money. For overall impression I would rate this as a 7, because this is a beautiful guitar with awesome tone but it is still annoying to have to work on a new guitar, even if the price is super low. I am, however, very happy with this purchase today.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I have been playing the Xaviere XV-599 for a little over two weeks now. The Xaviere XV-599 is a very heavy and solid guitar. The wiring was checked out, and all the soldering was well done. The strap buttons are fine, no problems there. The finish seems like it would take abuse well. The Xaviere XV-599 really looks like it is designed to be a hard rock workhorse as well as being a gorgeous guitar. I would trust the Xaviere XV-599 no less than any other guitar for gigging, but I would never gig without a backup unless I had no other choice. The Xaviere XV-599 seems to hold its tuning very well, very solid and heavy guitar not a lot to say about reliability and durability. I would rate this as an 8.

Action, Fit & Finish — 5
This is where the Xaviere XV-599 loses some points. The neck was slightly back-bowed on arrival which caused some fret buzzing. This was very annoying and the truss rod had to be adjusted (loosened almost a full turn). The intonation also required quite a bit of correction. The neck pickup was raised a little too much and the Bridge pickup was too low. I corrected the height of the pickups, etc. I carried the guitar to a luthier because I was still getting a little buzz from the 2nd and 3rd strings in certain positions and they stated that the nut slots were too deep on these strings. I personally could not see this with my eyes, but a new nut fixed this. As an aside, despite the buzz I was getting on these strings acoustically, the guitar sounded fine through an amp, but any fret buzz drives me up the wall. The finish on this guitar was immaculate and the set in neck is tight in the pocket. The Abalone purfing and the maple binding are beautiful. I could find no flaws whatsoever in the finish. The fret edges are smooth, which was a surprise at this price. The neck is comfortably chunky. Not so thick that it is uncomfortable, but not so thin as an Ibanez or a Stratocaster about what you would expect on an LP style guitar. The back of the neck has a very satin-y almost sanded feel. After the set up there is no fret buzzing, action very low, neck is nice. My rating, based off of the condition this arrived, would be a 5. I do have to say that it isn't uncommon to receive a new from the factory guitar in any price range that requires some set up. After set up I would say this would rate at least a 7, and probably more like a healthy 8, but in good conscience I have to rate it in the condition I received it new from the manufacturer, and so it is a 5.

Features — 8
The Xaviere XV-599 has a solid Mahogany body with a solid Maple top with a Quilted Maple Veneer. The neck is Mahogany with a Rosewood fretboard. The binding is maple and the purfing is hand cut Abalone. The neck radius is 12, which compared to the 9 radius I am used to is very flat. This has a Standard HH configuration with a pair of GFS Crunchy Pat Zebra Humbuckers. There are 2 volume knobs, 2 tone knobs and a 3 way pickup selector. Mine is the Aged Lemondrop finish, which is really stunning, and is very gently antiqued with a transparent matte finish. The volume and tone knobs even have a nice antiqued look to them. The tuning keys are sealed non-locking with a 14:1 ratio. They work well for non-locking tuners and I have no complaints. The fret markers are kind of a classic looking Diamond shape that I'm not explaining very well, which look much nicer in person than on the stock pictures from the website. The Aged Lemondrop finish darkens to almost Orange around the edges and is really stunning, with the wood grain showing through the finish. This guitar came with some maintenance tools and an instrument cable. I opted for this guitar to be shipped in a deluxe hardshell case for an additional $54. The black hardshell case supplied is very solid, no glue smell and looks nice. The Xaviere XV-599 has everything you would expect in an LP style guitar and is well executed in design. This is a very aesthetically pleasing guitar, and feels very balanced when worn standing with a good strap. I give this category a rating of an 8. Locking tuning keys, and the option to coil tap to single coils would have brought this up to a 9 or 10, but you can't expect those types of options at this price.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    BrokenDstring
    The fact that the user rating is at 5.1 is kind of embarrassing. I think most Xavieres make Epiphone and definitely Squire look silly. I've owned 2 guitars from GFS, and my friend had another. Great guitars, amazing guitars for the money!
    Sparkfire
    I happened to get a bad one. Somehow the neck got cracked in shipment. The guys at GFS were great at having it picked up. Aside from the obvious, this is one good looking well made copy. I have seen and played a lot of copies and this one is wonderful. The one thing you wouldn't expect is it only weighs in at a couple of ounces over 8 pounds. Frets were dressed so well you couldn't hang a panty hose on the neck. The pickups will floor you compared to the mush you hear from most copies double this price. The finish quality was really nice. A sweet guitar for the bucks.
    dadams18
    Just to throw my experience into the mix. Received my XV-599 five days ago. Flawless finish, flawless fretwork (no levelling or crowning needed), good relief in the neck. Had to adjust the action (came way low) and the intonation. Needed to flip the saddle on the D string to intonate properly, but it worked out fine. Pickup height was spot on. This guitar is amazing value -- I've played Epiphone, Vintage, Cort, Dillion, Indie, and other LP copies, but none had the mojo of this guitar. I'm a blues player (got the Tobacco Burst model -- fits my style better than lemondrop), and this guitar can be articulate when clean, overdrives a tube amp beautifully, and the bridge pup has a bite that other "budget" guitars seem to me to lack. Buying online is always a bit of a gamble, but for $239 not much of one! Great guitar.
    TST2469
    New brand to me but it looks legit. nice price too hopefully i'll get to check it out soon ayye.
    jean_genie
    I'm with the camp that says cost doesn't matter as far as QC goes. I can accept the fact that a Squier, BC Rich, or other brands will warp and become a worse instrument over time. This is expected with the quality of woods and metals used. But a brand new product that doesn't work properly is unacceptable at any price, whether it's a guitar, a vehicle, or a coffee maker.
    ma_tt11
    rv_phoenix wrote: BrokenDstring wrote: The fact that the user rating is at 5.1 is kind of embarrassing. I think most Xavieres make Epiphone and definitely Squire look silly. I've owned 2 guitars from GFS, and my friend had another. Great guitars, amazing guitars for the money! I believe you got two good axes from GFS, but the problem with Jay and his guitars is the quality gap between guitars: in the same batch, advertised at the same moment on his site, there can be a great guitar and three crappy pieces of firewood. Epiphones and Squiers, without being brilliant, are more consistent on this matter. You can check on other reviews sites and you'll notice the same thing: some are very happy with their Xavieres (including experienced players, who know what to look for when testing a guitar), other people are very disappointed. Hence the 5,1 might be quite accurate...
    I have one of the jazzmaster clones. The neck is awful (frets are very poorly crowned), the action is unusably high, and dropping the bridge or adjusting the truss rod, or even shimming the neck only result in a lot of buzz. The wiring is already shot, and ive had it for less than 6 months - its never been gigged and has spent the majority of it's life here in a case. 5.1 is a VERY accurate representation of the quality control of these guitars. An overall rating of 7 or 8 might be appropriate on a "good" Xaviere, but the only thing that got a 7 or 8 with mine was the price.
    rv_phoenix
    katalyzt13 wrote: jpnyc wrote: Well, from what I gather from my interaction with Jay's team is that if something is wrong they make it right. Most people dont buy a guitar intending to work out major setup problems with the vendor. A backbowed neck is understandable, especially in winter, but a bad nut and pickups set to the wrong height is stuff that should be getting caught before the guitar goes out. If these guitars were priced for anywhere near as much as comparable guitars are, then I would agree with you - about the nut, anyway. I haven't seen many guitars new that don't need the pickups to be adjusted a little unless they are bought in a store/shop where they set up their guitars before selling them.
    You're wrong when you introduce the price factor. It doesn't take more than two minutes and it costs nothing to adjust the pickups properly. So you can actually sell the guitar at the same small price, but with a good pickup adjustment. As for the truss rod, it is true winter can make the neck bow a little, but as far as I'm concerned I can't accept season for an excuse. My Yamahas, bought a decade ago, were both badly set up (action and intonation), but their necks were perfectly adjusted. So was the nut, so were the pickups. I agree it's not such a bad thing to work with the vendor and improve things, especially in this price range. But I feel Jay isn't very earnest in his involvement: why should you fix the things after you sold the guitar, when you could solve them before? If you compare Jay's attitude with the attitude of the guys at Hodson (wonderful axes in the same price range), you can seize a huge difference. Hodson sells via Internet too, but all their guitars come perfectly setup (check for their reviews, don't take my word for granted) and double-packed in pristine condition. You take the guitar out of the box, tune it to pitch and play onstage. And it's the same price range: budget guitars.
    katalyzt13
    jpnyc wrote: Well, from what I gather from my interaction with Jay's team is that if something is wrong they make it right. Most people dont buy a guitar intending to work out major setup problems with the vendor. A backbowed neck is understandable, especially in winter, but a bad nut and pickups set to the wrong height is stuff that should be getting caught before the guitar goes out.
    If these guitars were priced for anywhere near as much as comparable guitars are, then I would agree with you - about the nut, anyway. I haven't seen many guitars new that don't need the pickups to be adjusted a little unless they are bought in a store/shop where they set up their guitars before selling them.
    jpnyc
    Well, from what I gather from my interaction with Jay's team is that if something is wrong they make it right. Most people dont buy a guitar intending to work out major setup problems with the vendor. A backbowed neck is understandable, especially in winter, but a bad nut and pickups set to the wrong height is stuff that should be getting caught before the guitar goes out.
    katalyzt13
    rv_phoenix wrote: BrokenDstring wrote: The fact that the user rating is at 5.1 is kind of embarrassing. I think most Xavieres make Epiphone and definitely Squire look silly. I've owned 2 guitars from GFS, and my friend had another. Great guitars, amazing guitars for the money! I believe you got two good axes from GFS, but the problem with Jay and his guitars is the quality gap between guitars: in the same batch, advertised at the same moment on his site, there can be a great guitar and three crappy pieces of firewood. Epiphones and Squiers, without being brilliant, are more consistent on this matter. You can check on other reviews sites and you'll notice the same thing: some are very happy with their Xavieres (including experienced players, who know what to look for when testing a guitar), other people are very disappointed. Hence the 5,1 might be quite accurate...
    Well, from what I gather from my interaction with Jay's team is that if something is wrong they make it right. Some people just seem unwilling to work with the manufacturer to get problems resolved. If you work with them, even if you have to swap your guitar out, etc., then you can still end with a super nice instrument for cheap. I have a hard time not thinking that the low user rating more comes down to brand name snobbery.
    rv_phoenix
    BrokenDstring wrote: The fact that the user rating is at 5.1 is kind of embarrassing. I think most Xavieres make Epiphone and definitely Squire look silly. I've owned 2 guitars from GFS, and my friend had another. Great guitars, amazing guitars for the money!
    I believe you got two good axes from GFS, but the problem with Jay and his guitars is the quality gap between guitars: in the same batch, advertised at the same moment on his site, there can be a great guitar and three crappy pieces of firewood. Epiphones and Squiers, without being brilliant, are more consistent on this matter. You can check on other reviews sites and you'll notice the same thing: some are very happy with their Xavieres (including experienced players, who know what to look for when testing a guitar), other people are very disappointed. Hence the 5,1 might be quite accurate...
    katalyzt13
    Vabolo wrote: SEALSniper1152 wrote: Vabolo wrote: If only it didn't come with that abalone purfling... there are models that don't. i have an XV-500, and there is just simple cream binding. What's the difference between these two models, aside from the purfling?
    From what I've been able to tell is that the XV-500 doesn't have the purfing, doesn't have the contour in the cutaway, the frets aren't hand-dressed like the XV-599, etc. It is mostly cosmetic differences. The XV-500 also has more options in regards to pickups. I think the XV-599 only comes with the Crunchy Pat Humbuckers.
    Vabolo
    SEALSniper1152 wrote: Vabolo wrote: If only it didn't come with that abalone purfling... there are models that don't. i have an XV-500, and there is just simple cream binding.
    What's the difference between these two models, aside from the purfling?
    SEALSniper1152
    Vabolo wrote: If only it didn't come with that abalone purfling...
    there are models that don't. i have an XV-500, and there is just simple cream binding.
    crice6505
    its a gfs knockoff guitar, they appear to be very nice though as many gfs components are solid budget replacements.
    nick_b
    never heard of the brand, but it looks pretty solid from the review.
    awifal
    meh, just another les paul look-alike with no real original features. not bad, just average