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Cheap guitars are great, especially when they sound, play, and feel good. The Xaviere line of guitars from Guitar Fetish are definitely in the budget category, but they seem to deliver quite well in tone and playability.
Xaivere JT-100 Specs
- Body: Solid Alder
- Neck/Fingerboard: Maple/Rosewood
- Hardware/wiring is not name brand – not sure where these parts are sourced.
- Pickups: GFS JM90 Alnico Vintage Wound
The JT-100 is their Jazzmaster copy (they offer models based off popular guitar designs – mostly from Fender, Gibson, and Gretsch). It’s shape is different from a Jazzmaster – the Xaviere is significantly smaller, and the rhythm circuit found on Fender Jazzmasters is not found on the Xaviere. The pickups and tremolo system are pretty spot on, though.
The guitar has a solid alder body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard. The electronics and hardware are not name brand, but they feel surprisingly solid. I wouldn’t see any need to replace the nut, tuners, or even pots, bridge or tremolo. It works. The pickups are Guitar Fetish’s own GFS Jazzmaster style pickups, they sound pretty much spot on for the typical Jazzmaster sound.
I think these GFS pickups on this guitar nail the jazzmaster sound. The Jazzmaster has a pretty unique tone, so that’s something to consider if you want one of these just because they look cool (like I did, ha). Would you get better tone from a $200 set of custom wound Jazzmaster pickups? Yeah, but probably not THAT much better.
They have sort of a punchy sound to them, and they sound pretty cool when driven. I go through several different sounds in the video above.
What I really like
The highlight of the guitar for me is the neck – it’s extremely comfortable and it just feels great. It’s not too thin and definitely not really chunky, either. To me it feels pretty close to the neck profile of an American Standard Tele – the fingerboard has a bit flatter radius, though. It’s honestly one of the better playing necks I’ve ever played, which is shocking given the $229 price tag.
Some negatives would be the fit of the tremolo arm and the string alignment (I’m assuming the string alignment thing is just on my copy). The trem arm falls right out of the holder – you’d need some tape or something to hold it in place. For the string spacing, all the strings on mine were shifted toward the high E side of the fretboard. I was able to space them correctly with the slotted saddles, but the high E is all the way over in order to get it right. Not a huge deal, but not perfect craftsmanship, either. The only other little nit-picky thing would be the finish – it’s not perfectly smooth (especially noticeable on the back). You can kind of see lines here and there, presumably where multiple pieces of wood have been glued – but this is a budget Chinese-made guitar we’re talking about, not a custom shop Fender.
Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend the JT-100 for someone looking for a Jazzmaster on a budget. It’s a lot of fun to play, and it’s got that cool offset vibe that is becoming more and more popular lately.