Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Dancing Dragon Music
Sound — 10
I've been playing for about 12 years and I've honestly always liked Dean guitars. Sound is simply the reason. I like the way the stock pickups in this thing sound. I've heard a lot of people complain about the pickups, but they really do have a nice tone to them. I've got it running through a Roland Cube right now and it sounds good on every channel. On Metal Stack, this thing screams. I switched it to the Acoustic channel w/ coil tap and I was really impressed, it sounds better than many real acoustics. The sound is really versatile, which is what you should expect with a guitar with a coil tap.
Overall Impression — 9
I play rock and metal mostly and this guitar is perfect for that - but it's really versatile. I've been playing about 12 years and I'm really picky about my guitars. Of the ones I own, this is my favorite. I love the Floyd Rose, I love the coil tap. I'm mad that the screws in the back are crooked as hell, but I was still able to get the height and action perfect, so I guess that's not too big of a deal. I'd say this has by far the most features to price ratio of any guitar out there right now. Overall, very nice guitar. For $200 new, can't beat it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I'd say it's pretty reliable. It feels as good as my Schecter. The whole thing is light but feels solid. Strap buttons are one tight, hardware is good quality. I'd probably bring a backup to a show, but I'm paranoid. I'd bring a backup even if I was playing a $1000 guitar. The last thing you want is to get excited and break a string on a Floyd with no backup.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The pickups were adjusted well from the factory, but the rest of it required some set up - not a big deal though. I wouldn't have kept the stock strings on it anyway, they were junk. First thing I did was change to some Ernie Ball Slinky's. I had a little trouble though with the plate the springs attach to. I switched to a higher gauge string than what came on it, so I needed to increase the spring tension. But when I was adjusting the screws, they swiveled pretty bad. They were in crooked. This made adjustment pretty annoying. The screws should have been in straight and even. Other than that, the rest of the guitar was in perfect shape - no real issues.
Features — 10
This guitar really has a lot of features for the price. It's got a Floyd Rose special, coil tap, and the basics (volume, tone, 3 way switch). The next best alternative I found with those features was about twice what I paid. The hardware on mine is black nickel, which looks amazing. Other stuff: 24 fret, rosewood fingerboard, dual humbuckers, flame maple top, basswood body, bolt-on maple neck.