Price paid: £ 810
Purchased from: Dolphin Music Liverpool
Sound — 9
My musical style is orientated around hard rock and heavy metal but I enjoy everything from grunge to funk too. This guitar is perfect for metal plain and simple, with the Dimebucker providing high enough gain to really hit those Dime squeels effortlessly and the Standard Dean whilst slightly too muddy for my tastes being a fine addition to your arsenal, especially for the chugging rhythm guitarist. I'm using a Line 6 Spider II amplifier and the various effects it comes with. The guitar sounds good in clean, with a slight bit more 'twang' to it than I'm used to with my Epiphone les paul, which provides more 'warmth' in this area, but if your seriously considering this guitar then clean shouldn't be too much of a concern to you. Where the guitar really comes to life however is in the 'insane' setting (heavy overdriven metal to you and me). I'm not tone expert but the guitar sounds very good even through my meagre set up, with no significant buzzing and I can only imagine that this will improve when played though better amps. When it comes to sounds the guitars capable of I'd say plenty. I've been ripping signature Dime squeals for days now thanks to the Dimebucker.
Overall Impression — 10
The guitar like it's creator is wacky and over the top in places without ever outstaying it's welcome. The design has even managed to endear itself to my most conservative of relatives with it's tasteful extremity. If the guitar were lost I'd work my self into the ground in another shitty job just to afford it all over again and if it were stolen I'd definitely be thinking about utilizing the guitar's spikes against the bastard of a thief Who parted me from my 5 months worth of non stop working drudgery to afford it in the first place. What made me choose this guitar was the promise of Dime-like tones as well as it's incredible (and I really can't emphasize that word enough) graphic design on top of an already amazing body shape and to these ends I've been fully satisfied.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I'm in the process of looking for a band to play in so I can't really comment on how this thing holds up during Live play but based on it's build quality I'd say it'd do just fine, although me being me I'd still bring a backup incase of disaster. Just make sure you watch the guitars pointed edges on all of your band mates or you might find yourself amongst the walking wounded mid-set. As for as minor details like strap details go, they seem fine although I'd still invest in strap locks for piece of mind. In short this guitar appears to be very dependable and able to withstand a bit of a beating, but you'll love it so much you wont risk any harm coming to it anyhow.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I understand that the guys at Dolphin went over the guitar before i arrived to pick it up and it was set up with a nice action, low but not too low to effect tone.One area that many people comment on about this guitars 'sister design' if you will, the 'Shards' edition is in its one sticky Switch selection although i havent found this to be a problem on my axe. The slight 'V' bend of the neck allows for fast fretting and plays very smoothly. The Floyd Rose was set up to perfection in Standard tuning. I haven't opened up the back to check out the quality of the circuitry so i cant comment on the build quality there but everything else seems to be in good order across the whole guitar, in short I'm very impressed.
Features — 10
The guitar was manufactured in Korea in 2008, the same year of it's design. Strangely enough this particular model doesn't seem to be available as a 'USA' edition but it makes no difference when you consider that the guitar is incredibly high quality all the way. It comes with a jumbo 22 fret scale and a laminated top body with contoured 'razor' like edging, both the neck and body are mahogany. The finish is truly incredible, the original design was clearly a labour of love on the part of the graphic designer and it really shows up well on the guitar itself. Both myself and the great blokes Who served me at dolphin music liverpool commented on how the finish alone gives the guitar the appearance of a 3 grand plus piece of equipment that you don't often find on 'mid-range' price guitars. I really can't say enough good things about the finish. it's glossy without ever showing up irritating finger marks and goes into beautiful detail on the artwork that keeps surprising you with it's depth and level of attention. Special mention should be given to the fact that the guitars design even incorporates a spectral vision of the great Dimebag himself between the pickups if you look hard enough. Dime himself designed the shape of the guitar (it comes out as a cross between the famous Dean ML line and his Washburn 333's) without ever having played it (ironically he died the night he would have gone on to test it out) and this guitar really feels like the best Dime tribute guitar available next to the 'Dean From Hell' whilst also retaining an individual personality for guitarists to make their own without being confined to 'copying' Dime. The bridge is a quality licensed Floyd Rose that holds up well to a beating, stays in tune really well and feels just right to play. The body features a 3-way pickup selector, 2 volume control knobs as well as one for tone control. The Pickups are a Dean Standard edition (although I'm not sure of the exact name) in the neck and a Dimebucker in the bridge. The tuners are grover with a locking nut to help keep things ticking over without constant retunes and as with all higher up Deans it comes with a complementary plush Hardcase. Some advice for other UK guitarists like myself, if you're thinking of buying this edition then some American websites will offer everything from free shipping to straps, hats and picks to get you to buy with them but I'd warn against buying abroad unless the exchange rate is favourable enough to counter import duty costs, the VAT alone adds around 120 and then there's extra charges you'll incur at the border too.