Dean Tradition S12 Reviews 4

This is an addendum following up a review I had published about three years ago.

The sound is even more incredible now that the top is "played in."

In hindsight, I'm not sure the the pros of this product outweigh one overwhelming con. THE NECK IS NOT STABLE. Every time I need the strings changed the tension/truss bar/rod in the neck has to be adjusted to keep the intonation correct. I never had this problem with my Ovation.

If you want a 12-string, save up the extra $$ and buy an Ovation, or better yet, a Guild F512R. Although the Ovation utilizes only a single tension bar, that bar sits in an aluminum channel, in effect, doubling it's stress reduction capacity, which reduces the likelihood of having to constantly adjust the neck. I never had to adjust the neck on my Ovation during the three years I owned it. Guild utilizes a double-truss rod arrangement in their 12-strings, which does allow for their 12 strings to be tuned to concert pitch without having to adjust the neck.

Dave rated this unit 3 on 2004-08-11.

I purchased this dreadnaught body 12-string at Bass & Treble Music in St. Joseph, Missouri. I have played 12-string since 1975. Before this, I had been playing Ovation 12-strings for the past 15 years and was unhappy with the lack of personality of Ovation's "tupperware" guitards. I wanted to get back into the sound of wood. I paid $339 for it.

First, the neck feels like an acoustic neck. So many acoustic guitars of recent make have a neck which feels like an electric guitar. They're great if a person doesn't have large hands. I have large hands and like a fingerboard I can stretch out on to make chords. Second, the sound is killer. The Ovations have a very thin trebly sound when played unamplified. As I sing solo or duo with my wife and have a tenor voice, I want an instrument that adds some bass. The Dean has the sound I want. Probably the only 12-string guitar in its price range that comes close to sounding like a more expensive Martin or Guild 12-string. Third, the appearance is visually appealling without being flashy. The guitar has no pickguard. The rosette is abalone inlay, as are the dot position markers on the fretboard and the logo on the headstock. The appeal is enhanced by Dean's unique bridge design which is designed to enhance the bass without losing anything in the treble range.

What's not to like? I love it. I have a guitar with personality like my first love [a Conn 12-string I owned in college].

The construction is flawless. No gobs of dried glue on the interior. Even seams. The frets are filed evenly. The top is solid spruce. The back sides and neck are mahogany. The fretboard and bridge are rosewood. The finish is very durable. While loading it into a case at the shop, the proprietor accidentally dinged it against the edge of a cymbal from one of the drum kits on display. It didn't leave a mark. Given the solid top, I expect the sound to improve as the unit ages.

If you don'y play 12-string, this guitar should make you think twice, especially at such a low price. If you already play 12-string, this one will provide a good knockabout to have for the road while you leave that precious Martin or Guild at home for the studio.

Dave rated this unit 5 on 2001-06-20.

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