Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Clawson music
Sound — 8
I play lots of heavy metal and when I first got the guitar it definitely wasn't suited for it, pickups were too muddy, palm muted riffs quickly turned into a blur of fuzz, swapping out to better pickups remedied this immediately. I play through a Peavey 6505+ with matching cab and its a monster. Good tone, some of the frets buzz out but getting it reset up should remedy that, I haven't done it in years. With the stock pickups it was good for a classic rock tone, clean was a little lacking, it was also surprisingly noisy. With the EMG pickups its really a metal monster, its always had a full sound but if you get this guitar do your self a favor and swap out the pickups.
Overall Impression — 8
I play death metal and thrash, some classic stuff and she stands up, I have a lefty Jackson DK2, a Fender Strat, and a Schecter Solo 6 with blackouts and this is still a goto guitar for me. For the price it's hard to complain and if someone stole it I wouldn't know what to do. I'd end buying another V that's for sure but I don't know if I'd start cheap and build it up like I did with the Dean. I love classic V shape of the guitar and the Dean headstock oozes stage presence, people come talk to me about my guitar all the time after shows. I chose it because I could afford it and its a lefty V. I honestly don't know if I'd go down the same road again but for how long I've had it and how well it plays I love having it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar can and will stand up to live play, I've used it for 6 months now doing shows and I takes it like a tank. haven't had a problem with most of the hardware in 8 years and It's not showing signs of breaking down yet. It's dependable but I'm always sure to have a backup just in case. The finish is only wearing in certain parts of the body and I'm ok with that, the strap buttons are a little small and I'm thinking of swapping them out with some locking ones but it hasn't ever been an issue. The stock bridge hasn't rusted under my sweaty hands or anything yet. I'm pretty happy with how the Dean has held up.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action was super low when I got it and over the years its stayed pretty well, I think it just needs a tune up. The stock pickups were trash like I said swap them out as soon as you can. Everything was actually pretty well done, I'm thinking of swapping out the nut for a graphite one and changing some more hardware out but that's more because of limitations of the cheap hardware more than its badly done. The only major issue I had the hardware was my fault, stepping on my cable and ripping out my output jack, Its been fixed and all but the flush output jack has been a source of paranoia ever since!
Features — 7
22 frets, crappy pickups, bolt on neck, those terrible knobs that have numbers on them and pop off all the time and the numbers correspond to absolutely nothing haha. The finish is a gloss black, going into its 8th year of service its starting to see some wear, its a really thick finish too. Strung through body is nice, the guitar was well set up when I got it and it being a lefty model V that I could afford was really exciting. I've since changed out the knobs and the Grover tuners for locking tuners. I've swapped out the stock pickups with EMG 81 bridge and 60 in the neck. Out of the box this isn't a terrible guitar but not a great one either. It was well set up and everything but just stock parts were lacking, but what do you expect from a 300$ guitar.