Price paid: $ 239
Purchased from: Guitar Fetish
Features — 8
2012 model - Ocean Blue, made in Indonesia. The XV-890HH has 24 jumbo frets on a rosewood fretboard. "Bound" poplar body with a flame veneer top and bound set-in maple neck. The binding on the body is paint I believe, but it has real binding on the neck. A Floyd Rose Special tremolo with GHS "Crunchy Pat" pickups. GHS tuners; one volume; one tone and a 3-way selector switch round it out. It has a Super-Strat look. Seems to be made for metal or shred. A lot of features for little $$. I also got the case for another $60.00.
Sound — 9
It comes with GHS "Crunchy Pats" which are supposed to be PAF-like (which doesn't make sense for a metal/shred guitar) these I give a generous 7 in ratings. I found them bland. I replaced them with a set of GHS RedActives (which I will rate soon). These I must give a 9 because they are AWESOME! Especially for classic & modern metal. They aren't the greatest for clean but neither are EMGs, which these RedActives are similar to in tone. They sort of sound like the white-trash offspring of EMGs & Blackouts!
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
For $239.99, I wouldn't believe the set-up could even be decent, but it was spot-on. The paint job was flawless and the flame maple veneer was nicely bookmatched. It has great action as well. When I got it, I could see right away that it was of high quality. The finish belonged on a guitar costing three times as much. The frets were pretty much perfect. It looks like it was made in the same factory that makes ESP or Ibanez guitars. Right out of the box it played quite nicely. It amazes me that so little money buys so much guitar these days.
Reliability & Durability — 9
As I stated, the guitar itself is very well made. Nice quality workmanship. The hardware is of a very high-quality chrome. I don't normally like chrome hardware but I don't feel the need to replace it either. I know this isn't the fault of GHS/Xaviere, but the Floyd Rose Special had bad saddles that stripped out after ONE string replacement. GHS couldn't or wouldn't replace the saddles so I replaced the whole bridge with another Floyd Rose Special because I couldn't justify spending as much as the guitar cost, for a real Floyd Rose bridge. The new Floyd works flawlessly.
Overall Impression — 9
I use this guitar as a back-up to my EMG equipped ESP V. I find myself playing it quite a bit, at home mostly. My main guitars are a Jackson U.S. Made KV2 with Duncan Custom & JB pups. A Gibson SG with Burstbuckers. Also a 2006, made in Japan, Jackson DK2M Pro with JB & Jazz pups. I play mostly through a Marshall JVM410H Joe Satriani Edition and a stock, JCM900/1960 4x12, with British-made Celestion G12T-75 speakers. I run a Crybaby out front and a TC Electronics original G-Major through the loop, with this I get every tone I could want. I use a Jet City JCA50H as a back-up. At home, I use the Jet City through a Blackheart 1x12 (this was bought with a Blackheart Little Giant 5, which I will also review in the near future) I replaced the stock Eminence speaker it came with with a Celestion G12K-100 speaker because I've never been a fan of Eminence. This guitar sounds comparable with any of my guitars. It doesn't sound or look cheap. This model is unfortunately out of production, but they do have the XV-890 H/S/S still for sale through Guitarfetish.com. Get one before they're gone. I believe it's on a close-out sale for $199.99!