Price paid: C$ 400
Purchased from: Axe Music Calgary
Sound — 10
The Dean MLX's Zebra pickups make great pickups for a $400 guitar, and the bridge pickup is great for the kinds of music I play(mostly speed metal a la Judas Priest and Megadeth, classic rock like Led Zeppelin and stuff like Pantera):loud, bright and angular, while the neck pickup offers a less-great-but-still-good tone, sort of bluesy in my opinion. I'm running it through a Randall RX75RG2 75-watt combo and with the stock amp Drive it sounds fine, and if I use a BOXX MT-2 Metal Zone disto pedal I can get a cutting, loud tone with more crunch than a box of dry Rice Krispies. And that's a lot of crunch. So I'd give it a 10.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a lot of old-school metal, 80s hard rock and classic rock, and this guitar is a near-perfect match for me in my opinion, sound-wise, feel-wise and looks-wise. If it were stolen, I'd be a very unhappy person, and I'd probably buy another. I've been playing for about 2 years now, and the only other guitar I've OWNED was a late 80s model BC Rich Assassin(I might add that I can't stand it since I've got my Dean), but I tried an Ibanez RG of some sort, a Reverend Volcano, an Epiphone Explorer(if only it had decent pickups... D=) and a BC Rich Masterpiece Bich before ordering it(I had to order it from the workshop because it was lefty, I tried out a righty which was soldered correctly and didn't have a barely-slitted nut, praise the souls who made that one). The only thing I really wish it had was maybe a better neck pickup, or maybe a tremolo bar of some sort(not a Floyd Rose though, my BC Rich has one of those and I find it to be rather difficult to keep in tune even with those tuning locks in).
Reliability & Durability — 10
ASIDE from the people who put it together seemingly being under the impression it was to be a training dummy for guitar tech students, this guitar can take a real beating. I've hit it off walls countless times, got stuck walking to lessons in the rain with it twice(once without a case) and had it caseless in the trunk of a car for a 4 hour Drive on the highway, and it's still pretty much mint condition aside from some dirt that's amassed from my playing. I'd say this guitar'd last someone a long time considering the bashing it's been through in the year I've owned it and how it's still pretty much mint. I'd definitely play this guitar live, without a backup too. The finish seems good to last, it's all still there after my rough playing for at least 30 minutes every day. =P
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The way the guitar was set up at the factory was unfortunately horrible. The action was messed up, one pickup was too low to pick up anything and the other was almost touching the strings, they never soldered one of the pickups to the pickup switch, the port was soldered on poorly and ended up breaking after about a month of playing when I accidentally tugged the cord(however, that was easily fixed and now it sounds better than ever) and the nut was just barely cut, causing me to have to take a knife to the slits so the strings wouldn't pop out when I put them in(could've been because I use.12s with a wound G, but still, they shouldn't just pop out... ). I'm assuming I just got a bad apple, but since I got the guitar in August I've fixed and soldered it quite a few times. =/
Features — 9
The Dean MLX has a rather spiffy-looking body style that's like a classic V on bottom and a Gibson Explorer on top. It has 2 Dean Zebra pickups humbuckers, and the neck's maple with a basswood body and a Tune-O-Matic string-through bridge. It's a very lightweight guitar, and has a tone Switch and a volume Switch for both pickups. I think mine was made in China but I'm not 100% sure, and I'm pretty sure it's a 2008 or 2009. Overall, I love the body shape, the neck's nice and fast, and it's surprisingly light for its large size(by far lighter than my BC Rich Assassin, even though it's probably half a foot longer and the headstock's far bigger) so I'd give it a 10 for features, seeing as how I wouldn't modify anything except maybe the neck pickup, which isn't too much to my liking(not saying it's bad).