Dean ML XT Reviews 4

I always liked Explorers and Flying Vs. Since this is a hybrid of the two, what could be better? The reverse-V headstock is also WAY cool. I'd seen these before, and wanted one for a long time. I could never really afford the $700 US price tag. I bought this particular guitar on ebay for $175 US, and figure I got a great deal.

If you bought a Dean ML, you play Heavy Metal or hard rock, and you bought it for the look. That body shape is quite a sight to behold. This axe has a high "oooohhhhh" and "aaahhhhh" factor when people see it. The large body promotes good sustain as well. Stock Dean pickups are pretty good, although I swapped them out for my beloved EMG 81 / 85 combo (like all my other guitars). This thing sounds like a ton of bricks. Enough power here to make Metallica run away like scared little girls. The action is great too. The neck is nice and fast, and the frets nice and large; just the way I like 'em.

The body is rather thick, and blocky along the edges. This can lead to some arm fatigue after playing it a while. Nice beveled edges or a Strat-style curve on the back of the body would certainly help here. The body thickness also makes reaching the upper frets a little more difficult.I can play up to the 19th fret easily, but it's a struggle past that. However, I play mostly rythm guitar, so that's not much of an issue for me personally. Also, the long 'wings' are very prone to getting bumped and dinged. Extra care is required to keep this puppy in good condition. However, this is a minor quibble and is certainly no reason to diss this axe.

Contruction of this guitar is as solid as can be expected from a Korean-made guitar. The 22 fret neck is a very nice curly maple with that cool Dean reverse-V headstock mounted with excellent Grover tuners. The fingerboard is a nice tight grain rosewood with Mother of Pearl dot inlays. The neck is nice and meaty where it counts, without making it hard to hold. The body is a transparent blueburst which nicley shows off the grain in the nice, light basswod body. The high-gloss clear coat is very nice. The Floyd Rose licensed tremolo does an acceptable job of holding the guitar in tune during 'regular' tremolo use. However, sustained Slayer-style 'dive bombings' will put it out of tune slightly. The trem unit and locking nut are both made of nickel, which isn't the best material for transferring the string resonance to the body and neck. I switched to a brass locking nut, and saw immediate improvement to my sound and sustain. The new nut also helps keep the guitar in tune MUCH better. Also bear in mind that this is NOT a very versatile guitar. The sound is way to powerful and 'in your face' to play anything other than rock or metal.

Overall I am very pleased with this guitar. While it certainly has it imperfections, it more than makes up for it with it's monstrous sound, playability, and very high cool factor of the body style. The stock hardware is of acceptable for a Korean guitar in this price range, although a little upgrading can make a huge difference. I'm very happy with this guitar and I plan to hang on to it for quite some time to come. With me, guitars come and go. I buy them, try them, then sell them. However, this one has earned a permanent place in my collection. The only guitar I could see replacing it with would be a USA-made Dean ML.

Joe Gilker rated this unit 4 on 2002-12-18.

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