Sound — 10
Well I was looking for a guitar, actually the Dean USA Soltero, that would be more of an in-your-face sounding guitar than a Standard Les Paul Custom. Did not want another Paul, ESP, PRS wanna-be Les Paul, or anything of the sort. Something unique. Something that was not so clearly another clone that they all make these days. Needing a guitar that would fit in with my classic rock playing stye I heard about the USA Soltero and found an authorized Dean USA dealer in Miami that had all of these Dean guitars to choose from. They showed me their top notch USA Solteros and when I told them it was about a grand out of my price range they brought out this Dean Soltero SL model that is made in Japan, looks the same, exact copy it seems. Feels the same but cost a bunch less. A whole lot less. I plugged it in and found that it was an in your face guitar that has plenty of rich/full sound with a lot of sustain. They had a Roland tube amp that I plugged into and I just tore up the place to the point where the owner told me, brother try turning it up another notch and try to make the glass counter break. He was not joking. I am glad I did not do that, it might have happened. I was very impressed with the sustain in this guitar. Rings outta this world. Depending on the amp you have you will be able to cover a variety of styles from fushion to really ass-kickin rock from the '80s. Jazz is something that you will indeed be able to cover. I knew I had to buy it when I cranked up that amp and the feedback started. A Nugent kinda feedback. Those guys over there love Nugent. Pictures of him everywhere in that store.
Overall Impression — 10
Classic rock, slamming jazz, rock'n blues. That's what I'm all about and this guitar covers it well. I have been playing for right at 13 years and have been known to be very picky about the guitars I choose to play/buy. I am glad I found one to try out. The guys at Pantera were nice enough to let me really tear the place up with that Cherryburst deamon and I simply thanked them by purchasing it, simple as that. Oh, lost or stolen, well it won't be lost so as far as the stolen thing is concerned, the mofo that takes this will be swinging from an oak tree by nightfall.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will withstand more than just Live playing. It will make you forget your pauls and any other single cut you thought about bringing to the show. Very dependable from what I can tell, just had it since Saturday but I know a well made six string when I see one. Right along with the USA model or any custom shop PRS you might like to compare it to.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Guitar was set up very well. I would expect that from a Dean USA guitar model or Japan made Dean. Understand that many of their imports are Korean and are quite nice but make no mistake, this is not a Korean guitar. It's absolutely custom like quality and setup. I have played many of their guitars but this new Soltero SL kicks. Pickups were adjusted well as was the intonation. Bookmatched maple top is really, really nice considering you are not getting a veneer top. This top is real, real thick and matched up well. Very good wood. Not too heavy and certainly not too light. Solid, really solid guitar.
Features — 10
Dean Soltero SL is a new 2007 model from Dean Guitars. Simply designed to be a much more affordable version of the Dean USA Soltero, about $1, 000.00 more affordable to be exact. It is a very well made Japanese version of the Dean USA made Soltero model. It has a C-shaped neck, very nice abalone inlay, 22-fret ebony board, 3/4" highly figured maple top that is really nice being that the binding is simply it's unstained maple top. Absolutely beautiful. Mahagony body and neck mate up perfectly without any visible seams. Very well done, about as nice as the USA model which I have looked at closely. DiMarzio custom wound pickups made only for these two guitars. These pickups will wake up he neighborhood if you want them to. Nice binding along the neck that is rounded and perfectly ajoined to the board. No seams at all on this guitar. Controls are of Les Paul likeness. Tuners are Grover. Comes with a very nice Dean case. Same as the USA model arrives in.