Sound — 10
I play anything from jazz to blues to hard rock, all the way up to crazy death metal style stuff. It reacts perfect to any form of music. The EMG's are naturally suited to heavy metal, the bridge pickup provides an incredibly solid and well balanced rock tone for rhythm, while the Bridge/Neck combo combined with a boost (I'm currently using a Line 6 CrunchTone) provides a shred/sweep/solo tone exact to some of the pros of metal. I rarely use the neck pickup solo, but that's simply because I find the combo with bridge too good. It does still however provide an extra thicker and more than useful solo tone to the guitars arsenal, effective for soaring bends etc and weird effects. I'm currently playing it through a 15W Marshall, using amp distortion and the tone is amazing. The single solid mahogany body effectively makes it a hotted-up Les Paul, and it actually sounds better than some of the Gibson's played in the past, particularly when played through a timeless amp brand like Marshall. EMG's typically won't back off well as I've found in a Jackson I own also fitted with them, however that doesn't seem to be the case as much with this. I don't know why exactly, but possibly again due to the Les Paul style mahogany body, the EMG 707's can actually back off really nicely, and can provide some very nice clean tones which I've used for even Blues and Jazz recordings in the past. Just don't underpower them too much when using distortion, or they can sometimes not react too well under certain situations, like all good rock pickups. However, unfortunately nothing is built to cover everything perfectly! The Bridge is mounted perfectly and allows the strings to vibrate very clearly and sharply, unlike some cheap Floyd Rose copies. Overall an incredible and very versatile sound, and I've played top of the range Fenders Gibsons and ESP's in the past.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for 4-5 years, and played numerous top of the line guitars through stores and long time professional mates. Although this isn't necessarily listed as Dean's top of the top, I would argue that it is up there. I would've easily agreed to pay double the money I did for this, I do believe it's worth a fair bit more than what I paid anyway. I play Hard Rock/Soft Metal predominately, but branch off into just about anything. It's very versatile, sounding and acting a lot like a hot Les Paul as I said before. Can play just about anything semi-professionally. Would definately replace it if it was ever lost or stolen. If I become rich and famous, I would have several in my arsenal! The best way to describe it is as a typical Dean product, it is a Standard line but feels as if you're playing something out of the low end of a custom shop. Overall amazing, it turns heads, and that's before they even set eyes on it! I would urge you get one yourself if you relate to my playing at all.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Every feature of the guitar is 100% solid. There is no point me making a huge paragraph going over every feature as the the thing is immaculate. It's the first guitar I've had where I haven't fitted locking strap buttons to it, yet I've never had a single problem with losing the strap off it. I will still maybe do it if I can find some to match, however it will most likely never need them. I would play huge gigs confidently on this thing without a backup guitar, however we all obviously have them there anyway, it is still mortal like every guitar. Only notable problem is the sharp corners. They're tougher than they look, however that isn't saying much. A really solid knock on any of the pointed corners will chip paint off easily, however you just need to be careful and you won't a problem, I thought mine would be owned by now and yet it's survived numerous close calls scratch free. You can't really downrate it for this though, you go knocking any guitar about and you'll mark it, I'm just note that you have to be slightly more careful with this one...
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Guitar came setup perfectly from the factory, and it even came with a nice set of strings on it, not some cheap crap. I changed them to Ernie Ball's within the week but that's only because I use them exclusively on all my guitars. Normally I would have done it straight up however! Action is at the perfect height to allow for clean rhythm, but still low enough to suit the extremes such as shredding and sweeping perfectly. Tremolo bar is not 100% secure and can fall out if you try hard enough, but definately won't do it by accident. It very slightly loose in it's fixing, but that's good as you can hold it while playing with out moving the Floyd Rose and changing pitch. I've noticed this can't be done with most Floyd Rose's I've played. Absolutely no flaws in the hardware's finish. I can't find a fault with the action and finish, and neither can't my 60+ year old ex-guitar teacher who hates metal guitars! That's saying something!
Features — 9
Mine is a 2008 model. I believe it is USA made but Korean assembled to save costs. Plays like a USA guitar 100% however. It has 24 frets, and has the unique 25.5" scale, a very nice scale if you like room for solid rhythm, but still want the high end to be very quick and shred'able! It is also the 7 string model. The seventh string is setup perfectly, and in no way feels like an uncommon and unperfected add on, like some cheap 7 stringers. It is available exactly the same in 6 string models. The neck and body is one solid piece of top grade mahogany, provides great sound and sustain. The fretboard is made of good quality rosewood, and the inlays are beautiful white pearl. Inlays are in the shape of arrow heads, except for the 12th fret which is aptly a double sided razorblade. It has a solid black finish with thick yellow bevels around the outside, providing an almost lightning like appearance, very catchy to musicians and citizens alike! It is a typical Razorback shape, halfway between a V and an Explorer. It has the spiked, sharp corners like the 'Shards' Razorback model, as opposed to the rounded razorback models. It has a double locking licenced Floyd Rose, unfortunately not the real thing. 100% active EMG 707's in both bridge and neck positions. It has two volume controls (for each pickup) and a single tone control. All are dime-traction knobs (or named something similar) which are very smooth and easy to use. Has a three-way Gibson style pickup selector located on the bottom spike. Configuration is Bridge-Both-Neck, very Standard. I believe it has good quality Gotoh tuners, tunes as smooth as a top of the line Fender. Hardware is in a very unique gunmetal-esk silver. Finishes the guitar perfectly, however is a pain when trying to match in new hardware, such as locking strap buttons. I don't believe even Dean make supplement hardware in the same colour unfortunately. Mine came with a hardcase as Standard. The case is molded very well for the body, but provides little headstock protection. I very simple and effective modification can however fix this as I found out, contact me if you wish to use it yourself.