Price paid: C$ 200
Purchased from: Used
Sound — 8
The EMG HZ4 pickups are a good passive pickup, suited for an 80's metal sound ala Scorpions. I play metal, prog, classic and blues rock, so this sound suits me fine, and is one of the few used guitars I've bought that I haven't swapped out the pickups. Really clean electronics and nice sustain (I have blocked the trem, though). Nice full sound, but with nice highs thanks to the pickups. The mahogany body really gives it a good punch and low end for power chords. Leads are nice and cut through the mix quite well, and play on the neck pickup for really good soaring notes that just ring on and on.
Overall Impression — 8
For playing rock of any kind, I think this would be a decent choice of guitar, depending on your sound preference. For playability, it is really nice and fast, with an updated bridge it is now really cool. I have been playing for a long time, and this guitar was great bargain at the price I got it at. Since it was discontinued around 2005 I think, it would be a good choice for a quality used instrument, as the quality of initial construction should give it nice life span. I have a few guitars in my collection, but most now are basic models that I have upgraded to suit my needs, but I have not done a lot to this Dean, just the needed bridge swap. She is great sounding as is. If anything evey happens to her, I am sure it would be a near impossible search to find another, and that would be a shame. I am not a huge whammy bar guy, so I was just looking for one to use in studio, but I came to have a real love for this guitar, just based on its sound and playability for Scorpions, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and similar types of classic metal.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This is a well made, solid guitar, and with the bridge blocked, it can go a long time without a major tuning. Strap buttons and hardware are holding up fine, but I am not sure who to blame the issues the guitar had with the bridge on, the former owner or Dean. It was an older snip off string version of a Floyd Rose, so I would have swapped it out eventually anyway. Finish is holding up well so far, and I think it could gig night after night no problem. I would not use a tremolo bridge guitar without a backup, as trems break strings and need to be retuned bigtime if dive bombing too enthusiastically.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Guitar was bought used, so I'm not sure of the set up from Dean, but I know the kid I bought if from had taked to one of the worst places in town to get the Floyd Rose set up. I actually had to replace the bridge and do a little work to the frets, but that was not Dean's fault. The guitar itself was constructed quite well, and once set up was really awesome to play. Thicker than my Ibanez necks, but fast, and a real nice finish to the frets and bound board. You can tell that this model was close to $900 new.
Features — 8
The guitar was made around 2004 in Korea. The model I have is the metallic charcoal finish. Arched figured maple top on a mahogany body. Neck is mahogany set, 25-1/2, 24 medium jumbo frets, bound rosewood board with abalone dot inlays and Grover tuners. It has a licensed Floyd Rose locking tremelo, 2 EMG HZ4 pickups, 1 volume, 1 tone and black hardware.