Price paid: $ 150
Purchased from: Rainbow Guitars in Tucson
Sound — 9
The instrument was okay sounding, but having the low B, was very welcomed. For the music I was doing back in 1999, which was a John Zorn/Mr. Bungle inspired, it was nice to get low notes below the standard E. Much of my sound at the time had an overdrive/distortion, so I didn't mind the pickups were sub-par. But after dropping a couple of DiMarzios and adding a super five-way switch, the guitar has come to life with new possibilities and sounds. The five-way super switch lets you combine the inner and outer pickups in interesting ways, while still having full humbucking modes. See DiMarzio wiring diagrams for more details.
Overall Impression — 9
Style-wise, I have covered about everything under Sun from classical guitar, modern contemporary music, Jazz, Rock, Alternative, Blues, Latin music and everything in between. I mean, I have two freaking degrees in music with a masters and bachelors in composition, and have taught college courses and privately, while gigging and recording across this country. I also have Fenders, and Gibson, USA and or otherwise. It is has only hit me lately that it is really the pickups and setup that make the difference. If you want a piece of sculpture, then go buy that relic Strat for $5K+ or that Custom Shop Les Paul, but I guarantee you that I could match and surpass those instruments with the cheap Epiphones and this Dean when it comes to sound and playability.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have played a lot gigs with the guitar live, It is has never let me down. Yeah, it is solid guitar overall, and I have never have had any reservations about it. Yes, I would gig without a backup. Generally non-tremolo guitars are the least troublesome instruments when playing because if a string breaks, then guitar will stay in tune. The headstock is a scarf joint, which in my opinion, is far superior to any one-piece headstock. If you don't believe me, just do a search to find how many Gibsons and other one-piece necks have broken. The whole one piece neck is more about aesthetics than anything else. In fact, Gibson even tried three-piece necks back in the '70s and '80s as a way to counter all the headstocks that kept breaking.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar well made, and since it was used, I have no idea how it came from the factory. It had a few chips and dents, but nothing major. All the electronics work, and it There wasn't much to adjust except for string height. Pickups would be the only complaint about the instrument. See above about the change. It currently has tens, but I will probably switch to nines because I am bending strings lately, something that I've been avoiding for a long time in terms of styles. Truth be told, most guitars you get on the cheap wise are pretty great except for the pickups.
Features — 9
The Dean Avalanche 7. - Straight String Pull Headstock - Basswood Body - 25-1/2"" Scale & 1-7/8" Nut - Grover Tuners - Chrome Hardware - Direct Mounted Pickups - Tune-O-Matic Bridge - Bolt-on Construction - Maple Neck & Rosewood Fingerboard - Dot Inlays - 24 Frets - Colors: Metallic Black, Transparent Red,Metallic Charcoal - Lefty: Classic Black Mine is the Metallic Charcoal with a good chunk of wood missing on the headstock. Nothing serious to affect the structure or tuning, but it is noticeable. I bought in 1999, and it was used at the time.