Price paid: A$ 450
Purchased from: Ebay Store
Sound — 8
My main reason for getting this is that all the guitars I currently use with my band are bolt on neck, floyd equipped guitars and while I have no problem with this at all, I wanted to get a string through so as to have one guitar for several different tunings. The first thing this guitar reminded me of when I picked it up was sustain. After playing pretty much nothing but floyds for 10+ I forgot how nice a crazy long sustain can be. I'm playing this through an Engl Ritchie Blackmore at the moment, which sounds great. Being a set neck/string through mahogany body it is very responsive and clear sound. You can really fell it resonate. I play mostly metal, but also alot rock and blues stuff. My band has alot of thrash/melodic death/ groove influence and even though I'm not really into the standard pick ups it still sounds great running through the hi gain channel of an Engl. I was kind of surprised at how good the cleans are with this too. The neck pick up doesn't have any of the "boomyness" to it and to start off with I had to knock back the tone knob on the bridge pick up to get a nicer sound, but after a bit of height adjustment it works fine with everything to 10. The volume/tone/switch config to a little while to get used to, I had to start thinking of it like a Les Paul with only one tone knob and less like a super Strat/shredder guitar to really use it to its best. But after an hour playing around with it and a nice tube amp you can start to get some cool sounds out of this thing.
Overall Impression — 9
My overall impression with this guitar was that it exceeded my expectations and has given me what I was after in this situation. When you see guitars with these outlandish paint jobs, it is usually there to draw attention to a low quality, poorly made instrument. These guitars look tough, play really well and if you see one in a store you should pick it up and play around with it, I can tell you now it will be different to play as how you would imagine it while looking at it on a stand. One thing I forgot was the Mustaine spec neck, these are a blow out. Down around the first fret etc it is a well rounded D shape that makes chords and riffing feel really good and as you move up the neck it flattens out to become more like that of a Jackson, real shredder territory. This guitar as a whole feels a little different to most other guitars I've played when you mix the weight/size/shape and layout, but once you get it together you find it is actually a well designed and thoughout axe that begs to be plugged into a cranked amp and wailed on.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have only had this guitar a couple of weeks at this stage, but if deans other models are anything to go off it will last a while even with gigging and daily use/abuse (I have a bunch of friends that use various razorbacks and ML's). I biggest concern firstly was how amazing light the guitar is, It's become a little bit of a joke to hand the guitar to someone and see their reaction to how much it weighs, this makes alot more sense when you see just how huge the guitar is with your on eyes then pick it up. I always had that idea that guiatrs that weigh more sound better and last longer, but I have a good feeling about this axe and it may be one of the exceptions.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action was OK when I first got it but there was one issue that took me a little while to deal with. When I first tried to adjust the bridge I couldn't even move it. Who ever had set it up at the factory had misaligned the tune o matic to the point where the threaded poles were jammed into the sockets so hard I couldn't move it by hand, and even after using rubber grips then resorting to a cloth and multigrips it was not any easy thing to get it unbound. The finish and how this guitar all fits together is alot higher quality then I expected. When I was first looking at getting a string through I first looked at the 2 brands I swear by, Jackson and Ibanez, and never being a big fan of deans I was a little reluctant to purchase this, it was the price that changed my mind (retail is now about 3-4 times what I payed) and I have no regrets. To get a Jackson or Ibanez with these options and build quality would have cost alot more but I think that the price range it now falls into, it would be a good match with similar models from the other companies.
Features — 7
Mahogany Top/Body - 25-1/2" Scale - Mustaine Spec. Set Mahogany D Neck - Rosewood Fingerboard - Mini Grover Tuners - Black Hardware - Tune-O-Matic Bridge - DMT Design Humbucker Pickups - Finishes: "Angel Of Deth II" Custom Graphic The features on this guitar while great, still leave some things to be desired. I'm not a big fan of the pick ups (after adjusting them and the string height a little I can get a decent sound out of them, but will be replacing them in the future with BKP's) and as of yet it is impossible to get a Dean case to fit them. The American Mustaine Zero's are the only models that offer a hardcase with the sale and these cases are yet to be sold as an extra,. But since I only payed 450 $aus I don't feel I can complain all that much. Also I was a bit worried as I have never bought or played an Indonesian axe before, but this thing is put together really well.