Paul Dean II review by Hondo

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (2 votes)
Hondo: Paul Dean II

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Underground-Vintage

Sound — 8
I play through a series of different rigs depending upon on my locations. If you need more in depth information, look at the instrument page on my profile, if not, then you can take a look at my instrument page, otherwise, I'll provide a condensed version here. AT HOME - I usually run A Behringer V-AMP Pro with a Behringer 2024P Virtualizer Pro through the post DSP Stereo Effects loop. If this sounds like greek, basically, most of my effects minus the transient DigiTech Whammy on the floor are in stereo. LIVE - I run a big SKB PS-45 Pedalboard with a chain of a Sennheiser Freeport wireless, DigiTech Whammy, Boss Super Shifter, Zvex Fuzz Factory, Crybaby Wah, EHX PolyChorus, Behringer PH-9 Phaser, Behringer Multi-Effects Unit, and a Boss DD-7 Digital Delay into a Bugera 333XL head running EL34 power tubes and a Peavey 412M Celestion GKB-85s speaker equipped cabinet. GIRLFRIENDS - Technically a live rig for the home consisting of a Peavey Rage 158, and a DigiTech RP250 digital effects processor, simple and efficient, programmed by a laptop (the RP250 that is). Through all three of these of these rigs, I try to get my sound as consistent as possible, sort of an Edward Van-Halen type tone with a glassy Fender-like top end. That's what the base of my sound is, and the rest is just embellishments (IE. effects). My musical style is a mish-mash of 80's hard Rock with 90's alternative attitude, not a whole lot of premeditiation, but the tapped harmonics and whammy bar (when availible) is there. Think of Edward Van-Halen if he were Jamming with Nirvana and you'd get the idea. As far as this guitar goes, it's a GREAT jamming out guitar. The overall tone with the Hondo humbuckers is pretty darned close to the $60 DiMarzio upgrade, so I see no point in upgrading the guitar. It's not at all noisy, actually, it's amongst the quietest of my guitars, however, as far as tonal variety, the neck pickup is pretty much a variation on the same sound as the bridge, just more square wave as opposed to sawtooth wave, or for those of you unfamiliar to scientific oscilloscope observations, the bridge is just a more cutting version of the neck pickup, and with both pickups on, it's got that middle position super sweet flavor to the sound - akin to a Les Paul in the middle position. From the guitar itself, I hear resonant overtones I have never heard out of any other guitar, overtones that give that guitar the early 80's "loverboy" sound, it's probably the first case that someone's signature model actually sounds like the artist regardless of who's playing it. Clean it's very crisp with minimal midrange, a blaring ton of lows, and glistening highs, but distorted is the buzzy Paul Dean sound complete with hollow almost vocal-like sound to it. I'll give this guitar an 8, even with the cheaper Hondo pickups, it exceeds what one expects from a Hondo. Once upon a time, I thought Hondo only made cheap plywood Strat copies and explorers with neck joint issues, I guess I was wrong.

Overall Impression — 9
As I mentioned before, I play 80's style rock, with a 90's Alternative rock style atttitude. This guitar matches, especially for rhtyhm parts, or songs where that vibrato bar is not something I feel like using at the moment. The primary reason I'd started chasing this guitar for 10 years is a multitude of reasons.... 1.) I'm a fan of Loverboy's music 2.) Paul Dean was an influence on my sound 3.) The body style is awesome, sort of a Fender Lead III with bulbous horns like a Rickenbacker 4.) I love the sound Dean had on the Keep It Up and Get Lucky albums, and to be honest, I have a harder time telling the Hiwatts from the Marshall than I do the Hondo/Odyssey/Paul Dean from the other guitars he uses. I've been playing about 16-17 years, and own a ton of guitars ranging from cheap Harmony planks to professional grade Fenders with hot-rodded pickups, and some fairly decent amps and effects to run those through. This guitar was more of a "collectors item" as if not already obvious. Honestly, if it were lost or stolen, I would be terribly hurt and bothered since finding one of these guitars is like finding a needle in a haystack. Hondo only made the Paul Dean series for about a year. Kind of a shame since it's a really good guitar that deserves some respect.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Given that this thing is 28 years old, and looking as new as it is, I really do trust that it will hold up to live playing, The Hardware is rust free, the only change I made was my Standard set of Schaller Strap lock strap buttons, only because I just don't trust those little basic strap buttons everyone has used since the 50's since I saw a friend turn his B.C. Rich into a glorified Lawn Dart many years back. I'm sure I could use this guitar without a backup given that I've been playing it the past week on questionably old crusty strings, and am getting a great sound in spite, and not having a single string break. Now THAT is quality, I have a Squier tele that's newer that has broken more strings in a day that this 28 year old Hondo has in a week.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
For a 28 year old guitar, this thing is looking ace. Only one or two dings, the neck is straight, no buzz, no dead notes, the action is sweet and low, and surprisingly, the apparently 28 year old strings on it are still good enough to last through several jam sessions. Oh come on now, before one of you tells me "c'mon dude, put some new strings on that poor thing!", you'd have to be there to understand, what did Hondo use? I have Fender bullets that are 5 months old and deader than those 28 year old strings on that Hondo! Presuming I'm right, after all, the G, B, and high E are all blacker than a midnight rain storm. On the negative side, the volume pot was loose, the input jack needed cleaned and tightened, and the pickups needed lowered, other than that, not much else needed to be done. About the only flaw I could find (besides the well blackened and used up strings) was some small warps on the pickguard where the pickups screwed in, but I worry less about those since they seemed to level out when I dropped the pickups down a couple hairs to clear up the tone. Other than that, there's not much I can critique or praise, it runs just like a good guitar should, at 28 years, or 8 months old. No complaints.

Features — 8
Ah yes, you might think this is a cheap guitar given the name Hondo, but back in the early 1980's, it was not really true, given that Hondo had lines in Korea, Japan, and elsewhere. Somewhere about, the lead guitarist of a Candian band called Loverboy, you might have heard of them, crossed paths with Hondo guitars, who were then stepping up their game to the "this will be my 2nd guitar ever" market instruments made in Japan, and alas, their first (and only) celebrity endorsement was born - The Hondo Paul Dean series, named of course, after Loverboy's guitar player. This one being the elusive Paul Dean II, and another being an even more rare and hard to find Paul Dean III. SPECS - 3 piece maple neck with tone channels routed parellel to the truss rod, maple fingerboard, 24.75" Scale, 21 jumbo frets, black Dot inlays on the top, pearl Dot inlays on the side, six on a side sealed gear tuning machines, and a boxed-off telecaster-esque headstock tilted back about 10 degrees to avoid having to use string trees as Dean felt this would mess up tuning. - the body is a 2 piece maple body (non booksmatched), with a 4 bolt recessed attachment to the neck. Attached to that is a textured plastic pickguard routed for 2 humbucker pickups, either Hondo, or DiMarzio (the DiMarzios are Super II pickups used by Dean on the second and third Loverboy albums/tours, and costed $60 extra to have them factory installed by Hondo). The strings lead to a Leo Quan style tailpiece, known by a name best abbreviated here as B.A. since cussing seems to not be allowed. I got this guitar with it's original hardshell case, all for 200 bananas on E-bay whilst bored at work one afternoon. But we'll talk more about that later in this review. So for features, I give it an 8, as it's about as basic, easy, and simple as a guitar can be, but holds up well to the elements that 28 years gives it.

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