Price paid: $ 823.5
Purchased from: Dolphin music
Sound — 9
Incredible sound! I have to disagree with the other reviewer. I think the stock pickups in mine sound fantastic. I played it side by side with my PRS guitar and would say the pickups have a McCarty like tone with similar gain to the Dragon II pickups in the Custom 22s. The tone compares very favorably with the PRS guitars. Vintage tone with high gain, what more can you ask? Sounds great for metal or classic rock, anything with distortion. The tone is thick on the bottom with a sweet, ringing high end. Good distortion tone with definition. As to the pick ups not having enough gain, that is subjective it's true, but I am a gainiac and I'm quite happy. I use a Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster when I want more. This is an amazing! device that I recoment to anyone Who uses distortion. I set mine between 12 and 1 O'clock and it really does what it claims. Boosts the gain without changing the tone.. Incredible. It makes a huge differnce and at $79 is cheaper then putting hot, tone depleted pick ups in all your guitars, plus you can switch it off!
Overall Impression — 9
have been playing for over 20 years. I play through 2 Traynor YCV 50 Blues w/matching extension cabs, I have a stereo chorus which is rarely on (one song right now! ) so the amps are basically run parallel. Boss Super Overdrive. Ibanez Weeping Demon Wah, Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster. DigiTech RP300 (only use for tuner and chorus). I am a guitar wh*re, or so my bass player tells me! I have 7 Paul Reed Smiths (3 Custom 22s, 2 Custom 24s, 2 McCartys, one with rosewood neck), 3 Gretsch hollowbodies (Anniversary, Tennessee Rose HT, Country Club), 2 Les Pauls (1 Deluxe, 1 Special), an SG 90s, a Fender American Deluxe Ash, an Epiphone Korina V, Epiphone Double Neck, 2 Ibanex acoustics. This Black Gold V is better than anything I have ever owned short of my Paul Reed Smiths. It plays great, sounds amazing, no set up was required, and I can say that of only one other guitar I have ever bought. High praise! At $725 with case this guitar is a steal! I am in awe of how good this guitar is. To make a direct comparison between a $700 guitar sn a $3000 guitar is tough, but I can say that it does compare favorably with my PRS guitars and is without a doubt the best value I have ever gotten out of a guitar I've bought. I would have to have another one if anything happend to this one.. might in fact have to get another one anyway! I love it so much. I traded a B.C. Rich NJ, neck through Mockingbird for the Black Gold, and I am completely happy! For basically the same $$$ the Dean makes the B.C. Rich look pathetic. Other than the lack of coil tap, I have nothing but praise for this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have no doubt this guitar could handle whatever. Very, very solid. I know nothing about Dean support, but the owner of the store where I bought this guitar speaks highly of them. It looks solid, would gig for sure, always use a backup, the input jack on mine fell out a few times but I was able to fix it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Off the rack this guitar had lower action than any guitar I have ever owned, without a buzz anywhere. The fret ends are smooth. Everything is tight, finish is beautiful. Flawless guitar. Not a single less than positive item. The finish is beautiful, as far as set up goes, I always take my guitars to my guitar guy who sets em just the way I like.
Features — 9
Transparent black over flamed maple, gold hardware, grover tuners, string through body, block fret board inlays with black gold in block letters at 12th fret. Pretty flat fretboard radius. I give it a nine because I like to split humbuckers, no coil tap.