Price paid: $ 750
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 10
This is a Korean made import produced for 2012, it can be found on page 4 in the downloadable version of the Dean Guitars catalog & is a Limited Run of 333 worldwide. It has a scale length of 25 1/2 w/ a C shape bound neck which feels really close to the '90s Jackson neck. The fretboard is made of rosewood and has 24 frets and sports "Sledge" pearl inlays, also known by the rest of us as sharkfins.
**Note** The Dean Guitars website specs this guitar with no binding, that is a typo. The cream binding can clearly be seen on the neck in the stock images.
Also the guitar in the images is not part of the 333 run, it is in fact the prototype which MAB plays in the video demo of this powerful beast! Notice the US (Un Sung factory) Serial # and NO, X of 333. These do not have the US serial #'s stamped on the back of the head stocks like normal production run guitars.
At the time of this review the instrument is also discontinued from production, but there are still a few to be purchased on the net. \m/
The body/top and neck wood is Mahogany, but you cannot see any natural wood due to the glossy "Concrete" grey-ish paint and graphic, which are stunning in person and POP in any environment on the Dean ML body. The hardware is black and it starts with the Grover non-locking tuning machines mounted to a really cool looking reverse headstock. The original style Floyd Rose 1000 series tremolo is top mounted and non-recessed.. It's also Korean made but just like the rest of the guitar quality does not suffer due to origin of manufacture.
The pickups are a HH configuration the DMT (DimeTime) USA in the neck position and the Bill Lawrence X500XL in the bridge. I'm not very happy with the DMT in the neck, but that's mostly due to my unwillingness to break the tape over the screw heads to adjust the pickup height. This is a low # collectable and I'd like to keep it as original as possible. The Bill Lawrence will be melting your face if you've never used one before, over all it is a bright pickup with that crunchy tone that'll make you GRIN while you're chugging, I would definitely now buy this pickup stand alone to put in other guitars.
The controls are 2 Volume and 1 Tone with a 3 way switch. The 2 Volume are DBD traction knobs Dime was known for and the tone knob is smooth. You get a custom deluxe case with this one boys and girls! The case is wrapped in grey tolex with the Dean Wings logo at one end and the DIME logo on the other. Once you open this case, the black soft molded interior will put your mind to rest about the guitar sliding around in the case. Usual case candy (tags and catalog) and a COA signed by Vinnie Paul come with, you also get a set of allen wrenches to set your guitar up, lock it all up with the case keys for safe keeping.
Sound — 9
I think we all know this is a metal guitar and so it fits that style. This isn't going to fit the image of a bluegrass, county style player, but you'd definitely stand out! I'm currently playing this through a Carvin MTS 3200 head with a 5150 slant cabinet; I'm also using a GSP 2101 w/ artist upgrade. Jacking the guitar straight to the head and my settings on the dials, it delivers that deep bass crunchy-punch while mixing with the bright tones of the X500XL gives me that old school thrash sound I love! Plug in the GSP2101 and the presets I have, the tones and styles are endless.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was not setup from the factory, the neck needed some under-bow and the action was high, also the pickups where all the way down. So once I completed the setup, it was ready to rock! Most guitar players have their own setup preferences, so I'm not docking too many pts for that. As I said above the neck pickup has not been adjusted due to the DIME config with the tape. I have other guitars so it's not that important or need to use item. The craftsmanship for the paint, graphic & hardware are as you would expect for a NEW instrument, flawless and beautiful.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I do not play live or gig, but yeah, if you bought one of these for the purpose of playing live it would handle the abuse of regular playing, the hardware is high quality components we all know Grover, Floyd Rose, Bill Lawrence, DMT, Dean Guitars. No slips with the buttons with a quality strap. If you want it to last you'll have to take care of it, just like anything else it requires maintenance. It is an ML body which is a little bigger than standard guitar bodies, so you'll need some room to move and play or you'll nix & chip the body.
Overall Impression — 10
I bought this for occasional play and to look at, it's a great match for my favorite music style. I've been playing on and off for more than 20 yrs now. I have a pretty good collection of gear just check out my profile (I still need to shrink and upload more images). I do not like the tress rod cover, it's the only part that comes off as ugly to me, but I can over look it. If the guitar was stolen I'd be pissed, but I would replace it if I could get another one. I did compare the neck on the Sledge to my Kelly XL Professional and like I said before they feel pretty close to me. I love the way this guitar looks, feels and sounds... it's well balanced while standing with hands free. Dean Guitars made a fine product overall and I am pleased with the guitar. I hope this review provides some insight and guidance toward your purchase of one of these fine axes.