Yes, the weird, whacky and wonderfully flashy world of the Dean Guitar glitterati. Championed by metal-masters the world over. Wouldn’t you just love to get your hot little hands on one of these crackers, just to try out? If this is you, then form an orderly queue down at Polyrhythm. Bodmin’s innovative music library and jam central.
I was fortunate enough to have such an opportunity when attending an open mic jam session there one rainy Saturday. After a quick registration at the desk, I checked out that afternoon with my prize, a genuine Dean ML Explorer. Could it really be this easy? All I was asked in return was a written review and a few pics. Bring it on.
Back at home and dizzy with excitement, I wasted no time Strapping up and plugging into my stack. What followed after some minor adjustments yielded a surprisingly mellow full bodied tone instead of high octane thrash, although the latter was readily achieved with a quick tinker on my pedal board. The guitar despite its ace outlandish shape was really comfortable to play, and the Floyd Rose Special locking-trem was pitch perfect despite enthusiastic dive-bombing. In fact this guitar responded well no matter what style I played. Incredibly versatile, and responding effortlessly whether giving it stick, or gentle rhythm picking. The solid mahogany body with its flame maple top resonated perfectly, delivering rich full sustain, and my fingers flitted effortlessly across the ebony fret board. This guitar has class, and sounds as good as it looks.
It was going to be difficult to contain myself at band practice later that afternoon, what would the others make of this metal-monster? We are a covers band, not death-metal. Then again, we include numbers by Iron Maiden, Bad Co and ZZ Top in our set, some extra pep would be good, just as long as I didn’t go too ballistic with this crutch-rocket.
At band HQ, the Dean’s eye catching shape got plenty of attention, and by the end of our session my band members were fully on board. Our drummer, Frank, told me afterwards that he had been sceptical at first, but was won over after just a few numbers. Even when I gave it some proper punishment during solos, it sang as sweet as a bird and fully justified its price-tag, for cheap they are not.
The only slight detriment is the guitar’s nearly four foot length, and the wide split-vee headstock did get caught on my mic stand once or twice. One does need a fair bit of space wielding this pitchfork, and I’ve knocked over a fair few cups of tea and glasses of vino. So give it plenty of swing room and don’t light any candles okay?
Yet this is mere nit-picking. This axe is a sure winner, and gigging with it has given me a massive boost in both confidence and stage presence.
Colin J Stuckey. Stone River Band.