Price paid: $ 365.982
Purchased from: imuso.co.uk
Sound — 9
I play metal and some rock, and this guitar suits me down to the ground. After I changed the pickups this guitar really sounds amazing. I had previously owned a Squier 51 which was more suited to funk, and so I use that for funk and the Dean for everything else. I'm using it with a Peavey Bandit 112 and the cleans are incredible. Also the neck pickup is so good for solos like the four horsemen etc and I think the EMGs/Basswood body work together really nicely. It can do most any style as I have dabbled in Indie etc and it does them well, however it is an out and out metal guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
I really like this guitar and it suits my music perfectly. I've been playing seriously for about 4 years and have had a Squier. I wish I had asked about what playing with a painted neck would be like as I wasn't sure whether it would be harder/easier than the Squiers bare wood but as it turns out I find it more comfortable once I was used to it. If the guitar was stolen I'd track the guy down and beat him to death with it and then go and use it on stage no problem. It has very easy high fret access which I like and the scale length suits me. I compared it to a few other entry levels such as Epiphone Les Pauls etc but this won out as I think the paint job makes it stand out from the crowd. If I was going to buy this I would seriously consider upgrading the pickups as I go for Zakk Wylde style pinches and only EMGs can do them well.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have used it Live and it was really great and I would definitely use it without a backup. It's a solid guitar and the hardware is very tough and durable. The strap buttons keep the strap on well enough for most people however if you are going to try Yngwie-style 360 degree guitar orbits over the shoulder then you should probably look for some straplocks. The finish seems a little flaky, I have had some dings in the finish but nothign serious and it's not really noticeable, and for this price it is good.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
After I received it it had a bizarre wiring problem where the tone control would sound like it was fading out but nobody was turning the knob. However when I changed the pickups I replaced the entire wiring set up on the guitar so it got rid of that. There were a few tiny cosmetic flaws i.e. one of the inlays is cracked and the logo doesn't quite match on either side of the black/white but they are unnoticable unless poitned out. The pickups were adjusted fine for me when I got them and the action was fine as well, I haven't adjusted it since.
Features — 8
My Michael Schenker Standard was made in China, don't know what year. 22 jumbo frets, Basswood body, V shape with a string-thru body bridge. It originally came with Standard Dean passive pickups however I changed these to active EMGs (81 in the bridge and 85 in the neck). It has 2 volume controls, 1 tone and a 3 way selector Switch. Grover tuners, and it came with a guitar cable, allen keys and a pick.