Price paid: $ 732
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 9
The two Dean designed pickups sound similar to Dimarzio super distortion types, but maybe a bit less aggressive. Having said that, they are great for almost any kind of music. On the clean settings, you get a warm, rich tone, although with the bridge pickup it can be a bit harsh. This is great for blues and jazz. However, this is clearly a guitar designed for distortion, and it does not disappoint. The neck pickup has a good rhythm guitar sound, lots of crunch, but is hard to get too excited about. The bridge pickup gets a great lead tone, it can wail, but also provide a sharp, bright sound for gentler solos. The pickups are not noisy at all, there is absolute silence when you are not playing. One thing which really pleased my about this guitar was the variety of styles it can play, the sounds ranging from 'Little Wing' to 'Symphony of Destruction' with no effort at all.
Overall Impression — 10
If you buy this guitar you will fall in love with it. Simple as that. I have been playing it almost constantly for a while now, and my hand is so sore, it feels like it belongs to a 12 year old Who has just found his Dad's porn stash. I cannot say enough times how good the paint job looks, and it certainly makes this guitar stand out. I had been saving for a Gibson Gothic V but this guitar beat it hands down: half the price, way more comfortable to play, looks much better, sounds much better and was 300 pounds cheaper. To anyone looking at a picture of it and thinking 'huh, looks cool' I can say it is 100 times better in your hands. All in all, this is the guitar of my dreams!
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar feels completely solid. The hardware, strap buttons and pickups feel like they have been cemented into place. Holding this guitar, I feel I can trust it not to break. There is no worry when playing about doing any damage to it, and it can certainly withstand Live playing. I am still a bit cautious with this guitar, because I hate seeing my greasy fingers smudging the gorgeous paintwork. However, straplocks are certainly needed because the strap can slide of the lower strap button.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The Korean guitarmakers in the Dean sweatshops had done an exceptional job of putting this guitar together. The action was nice and low, the pickups were just the right height, everything was in perfect condition, not a scratch or smudge on it. The flame paintjob looked incredible when I first opened the case. No problems here at all, so a perfect rating.
Features — 8
This guitar isn't overloaded with gadgets, just your basic Flying V style guitar. A thin, 22 fret maple neck with flame inlays. It has two humbuckers, two volume knobs, one tone knob, and passive electronics. No whammy bar, but I never really use them on other guitars anyway. The tuners which come with this guitar (grovers) are awful, the higher three strings come out of tune far to often. Change these as soon as you can if you buy this guitar. It also came with a deluxe hard-shell case, which is great for storage, but incredibly heavy and bulky. I would definitely recommend the Dean 'softcase' to anyone, because it offers the same protection but is much lighter.