Price paid: C$ 300
Purchased from: Amazon
Features — 7
The Zero X is a Chinese-made bolt on version of Dave Mustaine's Zero explorer. It features a 24-fret 25.5" scale with rosewood fretboard and medium-jumbo frets. The body is a mahogany explorer style shape with a decent finish, except for one small spot where the paint was worn away but the factory clear coated over it anyways. Overall a decent finish for a Chinese produced guitar. The guitar has two DMT-Designed chrome covered humbuckers, two volumes one tone and a three-way selector switch. The TOM (tune-o-matic) bridge on the string through body is of fairly good quality and came out of the box properly intonated and the action was ALMOST where I like it. With its black Grover tuners I was surprised when the guitar was still very close to being in tune when it arrived. For features, this guitar came surprisingly well equipped for a Chinese produced guitar.
Sound — 7
The pickups in this guitar are designed to be more suited to high gain music styles but produce quite a nice clean tone, especially in the middle position when you have more options because of the two volume knobs. In a high gain setting the pickups are nice and loud and handle the distortion nicely but (as with most cheap stock pickups) lack the clarity you want for more articulation. Although it may not be what some people would be playing with this guitar, the clean tones on this guitar are great for low end pickups. In the short time I have had this guitar so far I have played it through an Orange MT-20 Micro-Terror (plugged into my 100 watt 1x12" cab) and a 30 watt Marshall MG30DFX. The best sounds came from the hybrid Orange amp.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
When the guitar arrived to my house, I was pleasantly surprised that the guitar was only slightly out of tune and the action had been lowered almost to where I set it myself. Once I had set the action where I wanted it, there was absolutely no buzz, even with the low action, so I was impressed with the fret work done by the Chinese factory. The fret ends had been finished fairly nicely and didn't have any sharp ends. The finish on the neck is a nice semi-gloss satin feel to it. The only issue with the neck is that the fingerboard edges were very squared off/sharp and could use some rounding. Overall, other than the little adjustments I did to the action, the guitar came in good shape!
Reliability & Durability — 8
Being that this is a Chinese-made guitar, I will say that the feel of the guitar is fairly solid but I'm not sure how well it would stand up to being swung around on stage, only time will tell how solid and durable it is. By saving production costs by using a Chinese factory, Dean was able to have this entry-level signature model come with some good hardware (with its grover tuners, good quality TOM bridge and decent electronics) so i feel like the hardware will last a good amount of time. The only thing I would replace would be the pickups. The strap buttons were quickly swapped out for strap-locks! I imagine that the finish will be the first thing to wear away.
Overall Impression — 7
I play all types of music, but most of the time I play heavier styles of music so this guitar fits in that spot very nicely, it suits itself very well for classic thrash style. I've been playing for 9 years now and have had many different guitars (including other Deans in the past) and currently have 6, and this Zero X is a nice addition to the family, even with the tiny flaws I found on the guitar, it feels a lot nicer than many of the guitars I have played that were produced in Chinese factories. This is the type of guitar that comes at a good price and with the nice hardware I would definitely replace it if it were lost or stolen. Once the pickups are swapped out, I'm sure that this guitar will be one that I play often and will keep around for a long time.