Xaviere XV-550 is the semi-hollow Les Paul you want
By default, the Xaviere XV-550 is what guitarists go for when they want a semi-hollow body Les Paul style guitar.
Before getting into this guitar, let's talk about Gibson and Epiphone for a moment.
In the Gibson camp, do they make a semi-hollow body guitar in a Les Paul shape? Sort of. They have two in a double cut flavor, the ES-339 and ES-339 Figured. Both are over $2,000.
In the Epiphone camp, they also have an ES-339 (which is still on Amazon,) but that's technically not listed in their current model lineup. What's out there right now is remaining stock. Furthermore, the models available are single-coil only. No humbuckers.
Something that is listed in the current Epiphone lineup that is a single cut (meaning more like the Les Paul shape guitarists are familiar with) is the Wildkat. But again, single-coil pickups.
In the end, what this means is that neither Gibson nor Epiphone currently offer a semi-hollow Les Paul shape with a pair of humbuckers in it. The one that comes closest in a single cut shape is the Epiphone Uptown Kat ES... but that has mini-humbuckers.
And that leads us to the Xaviere XV-550.
I said at top that the XV-550 is by default the semi-hollow Les Paul shape guitar guitarists go for. The reason I say that is because when you want a Les Paul style single cut shape with a bridge + stop tailpiece and full-size humbuckers with many color options to choose from, the XV-550 is it.
How many color options? Thirteen. Xaviere even offers a couple of maple fingerboard options should you want that.
Is the XV-550 a "true" semi-hollow?
Yes and no. This gets interesting.
From the product page:
The Xaviere XV-550 is a unique blend of solid body and hollowbody. A solid mahogany body is routed to create a hollow interior. No wood is removed beneath the bridge and tailpiece for maximum sustain and resistance to feedback. A SOLID 3/4" maple cap, elegantly carved and bound in cream binding sporting a highly figured Quilt maple top.
If you want to get super nitpicky about it, this is technically not a true semi-hollow. More like a hybrid semi-hollow...
...but you still get that Les Paul style guitar with the Les Paul style bridge and tailpiece and the Les Paul style pickups. That is what matters here.
It does have a 24.75" scale length. It does have a 12" fingerboard radius. The body is mahogany. The fingerboard is rosewood unless you choose a maple fretboard option.
Most importantly: It does weigh under 8 pounds on average (arguably the best selling point of a semi-hollow for many.)
"It doesn't look enough like a Gibson"
Well, that's how Guitar Fetish is able to legally sell these things. You can't have the moon and stars for under 300 bucks.
For the price, you get the semi-hollow Les Paul that neither Gibson nor Epiphone even make. And by that I mean they don't make a semi-hollow Les Paul that has all the stuff Les Paul players want. Xaviere, however, does.
Again, this is why I say that the XV-550 is by default the go-to guitar for Les Paul players that want a semi-hollow single cut version. It's your best low-price option, and not a bad one at that.
[Image credit: Guitar Fetish]
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