Price paid: $ 93
Purchased from: Best Buy store closeout
Sound — 8
Depending on the equipment used this guitar is very versatile and can create the gentlest tones much like a pipe organ to hard and heavy distortion. I run them through a Pyle Pro 300w amp and love playing them both but I think the 'J' unit will get repackaged and placed into storage considering it appears to be an extremely early issue unit with potential for future collectability.
Overall Impression — 7
Play Christian classic and modern, Old school honkey tonk country and rock / metal. Not sure I would pay retail price for another if anything happened to mine. Dean guitars are well crafted and have a great Tradition behind them. My X's are just a portion of my Dean stable.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Play every day and both seem to be well built. Super overall fit and finish. The 'O' unit appears to be slightly better in quality components and assume it will last for quite some time. The 'J' unit still has a tale to be told once the mystery has been solved regarding exactly when it was built and by who.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Considering I have two totally different Deceiver X's the 'O' unit's neck and frets feel and play extremely fast and effortless with a perfect set-up from Dean USA. The 'J' unit's neck is fast and near effortless but not like the 'O' unit. The 'J' unit was missing one screw from the truss rod cover. There were differences in the color of the bodies of both guitars. The 'J' is a very nice Charcoal Metallic and the 'O' unit appears nearly black rather than Charcoal but still has decent metallic properties.
Features — 8
I have two Deceiver X's in Metallic Charcoal. Both were made in China and were de-tuned by one note at each string from the factory. I purchased both at the same time from the same store and both were in identical factory sealed dual boxes. That is where the similarities stop. One has a 'O' mfg plant code and the other a 'J' code. The 'O' unit appears to be exactly what the factory web site advertises, while the 'J' unit has many differences such as non-Grover tuners, small truss rod cover, neck extends full length of the fret board, back of body is not back cut or styled - it is more like the slab back of a LP, it has OEM Chinese soapbar style pick ups rather than Dean humbuckers, it has a Chrome neck mounting plate with Dean script engraved on it and the guitar body where the neck meets is square like the plate, the lower access plate on the back is bean shaped unlike the trapezoid shape of the current line, and the guitar strap anchors are different as well and last but not least the color is a true Metallic Charcoal unlike the 'O' unit which almost appears black metallic. I've been told each were made at different factories. Initially I was told that the 'J' unit was made in Korea but it had a Made in China sticker at the base of the neck heel where it meets the body. Both sound great with or without heavy distortion but the 'O' unit seems to sound clearer and cleaner than the 'J' unit. I wish some one would disclose the serial number breakdown codes. I believe the 'J' unit was the 374th Deceiver X manufactured. It has so many differences from the current model advertised by the factory.