Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
This is NOT the sound of a top of the line Martin, Guild, or Taylor - HOWEVER - it is very well balanced, loud, and crisp. The frequencies are pretty distinguishable - and they're actually improving with time.
Overall Impression — 10
I wanted an Acoustic-Electric guitar, and only had a couple of possibilities in mind when I showed up at GC - I was willing to spend up to 4 or 500 tops. I played Epiphone, Ibanez, Fender, Yamaha, Seagull, Ovation, and probably a few more in my 2 hour stay in their acoustic room. The Dean's flashy looks at first deterred me - all show, no go, right? But when I played it, it was just comfortable and incredibly solid. I play Alt Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Acoustic-Folk - and this guitar does fit the bill. Even if at some point I do get a $1000+ Martin or something like that - I will keep this guitar. It's just too good for the money.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Well, I have to say - I've had this thing for 3 and a half years, suffered one small ding - but it's probably not the guitar's fault. Everything is working just as I unboxed it yesterday. The finish is a thick gloss so there are a few scratches and scuffs which may be easy to take care of, but I never really tried. I would absolutely depend on this to play well, stay in tune, and serve me in anyway.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
From the factory, it was set up very well - from what I can remember, the action may have been a tad high, but action and setup is something I take with a grain of salt these days - it's not a custom shop model so it will need adjusting. As far as living up to the craftsmanship - this is a "10" all around. Every detail from the "Features" category is tip top (surprisingly). Everything feels nice, and the guitar as a whole is super solid (nothing feels out of place, loose, or sloppily assembled).
Features — 10
I'm unsure about the year - but it was bought new in summer of 2008. This is a 21 fret Acoustic-Electric with a 3-band EQ and tuner. Of course when you look at this guitar - it's flashy - abalone inlay on the headstock, a quilt ash body (hence the name), celluloid binding on the neck and body, a mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, sealed die-cast tuners. I read somewhere this is a grand orchestra bodystyle - which I'm not sure about, but sounds right. Even an XLR output as well as the 1/4"- Relative to price - there are a ton of features on this guitar.