Dean Gold Top V Review
Original Author: RIP Dime
Weapon: Dean Gold Top V (it is a limited run for DOA members(Dean's owners club))
Make: Dean Guitars
Model: Gold Top V
Price: $799 shipped w/hardshell case.
Gold top finish,
Pearl Block inlays,
Pearl logo on heastock,
multi-ply binding on body and headstock,
satin nickle hardware,
Mahogany body & neck,
V neck profile,
custom wound Dean USA Humbucker pickups,
and string thru body bridge.
My Musical Preference
I love rock, metal, prog, and instrumental stuff. But I love to play country for some reason. Anywho, I'll cover how the sound fits genres when I get to the sound section, but looks wise it's got a vintage modren look to it that I love, I could see this guitar onstage with a metal band, or a classic rock band.
Ok, there are 3 thing I find most important in a guitar, Playability, Looks, and Sound. In the ratings, I am comparing it to every guitar I've ever played, for me, a Gibson LP Standard my friend owns will be the standard for playability and sound, so that would be a 10/10. For looks it very opinionated, but my favorite guitar to look at is a Dean USA Hardtail, with a very nice Quilted maple top, and a sweet Aqua blue finish. That would be my 10/10.
This guitar has a V neck, this means it's kinda like a big fat neck, but the sides are shaven down to nice soft V profile, and on this guitar the V profile runs the whole length of the neck, and I can feel that the V profile is more radical at the headstock side, and as I get closer to the body the V softens up. Now, what does this V profile do? I find the V profile sits nicely in my hands when I bends strings, I get more control out of bends than I would with a thin U or C profile. It doesn't feel as fast as a thin U neck, but faster than a C neck. The V body was wierd for me at first, because to play it sitting down you have to sit with the crotch of the guitar on your right leg, and you hold it with your thighs, it's actually a pretty good workout! The fretboard being ebony means it feels a little more slick than a rosewood board, because there is less pitting, and the wood is smoother, so that really lends to nice smooth bends. Another thing worthe mentioning is the scale, it's a Les Paul 24 3/4" scale, that along with the MASSIVE string length created by the HUGE headstock and string thru body design makes the strings incredibly easy to bend. I'm used to the 25.5 super strat type guitar, and on those I would use 9's for E standard, on this guitar I'm using 10's tuned to E standard, and the strings are just as easy to bend as 9's on the strat! Very nice. And the upper fret access is good, but super strats seem to have better upper fret access. Very light(around 7 lbs), saves your back. Playability: 9/10
WOW, the Dean USA pickups are right up my damn alley! No specs were officially released for these pickups, but other owners have tested the DC rating, and they are all around 7.8 NECK and 15.6 BRIDGE. And I am almost certain they both have Alnico 5 magnets. This guitar sounds absolutely wonderfull plugged in. (I am using a ValveKing 212) NECK Distorted: Freaking sweet, talk about the woman tone, this pickup has got it! Very warm, very singy. It actually sounds like a nice strat neck single coil, but thicker and warmer, the bass response is total bliss(blues heaven!), very Gilmour sounding. When playing fast the pickup is so warm you don't even hear the pickstike, like Gaberiel's LP! And surprisingly harmonicly rich. IMO the EQ is like this Hi: 4 Mid: 6 Bass: 8.5 9/10 NECK Clean: Very nice, and clean. You can almost get a jazz hollowbody sound out of this thing! It's a rather medium output pickup so there is no dirt at all! 9/10 BRIDGE Distorted: Wow, this bridge pickup snarls like a pit bull! Incredible bass response, it sounds freakin HUGE! Nice smooth mids but not pushed as much as Dimarzios. Excellent Low Mid response that makes me a happy panda, low mids is where the punch is! Still, this pickup has a good amount of treble to give it crystal clarity. but the highs are never shrill. Rich harmonics. Pretty high output, about 15% less output than Dimarzio SDs. IMO EQ: Hi: 5.5 Mid: 6 Bass: 8 9/10 BRIDGE Clean: Twangy, nice country tone, slight amount of dirt. 8/10 The massive string length also makes this guitar resonate like mad, very loud acousticlly, and sustains for days plugged in! The strings going thru the body, and running the length of the huge heastock has gotto be the secret. Mahogany is nice and warm, but this lower grade stuff just doesn't sound as rich as a high quality geet would. The neck being a V means that the neck is very thick, but doesn't feel like it at all, I've included a pic of how damned fat the neck is, but take my word for it that it does NOT feel like it. I can't imagine the fat neck not having something to do with the fat, thick tone. Sound: 9/10
This is where I can tell it's an import, while the binding, and construction is top notch for an import, the fit and finish is where the import vs USA or handmade custom shop kicks in. There are slight errors on the gold top, you'd have to look very close to tell, but there are 2 little specs of gold on the binding, and some other shop errors. There is a drip of Clearcoat on the back of the neck, it's not in a place where I would feel it alot, but it bugs me when I look at it. I tried to take a pic of this. There is also a crack in the finish on the back of the neck on the joint, you can feel it but it's not deep. This probably happened because of climate changes, this guitar went from Korea, to Florida, to Iowa, to Hawaii, you try doing that and not craking. It doesn't affect playability at all though. Ok, I gotto say something about the Pearl, they are freaking amazing, best inlays I've ever seen in real life, they look so deep I think I could swim in it. Overall: constructed well, feels very solid, minor finish flaws. 7.5/10
Good buy, worth more than what I spent on it. Sounds great, I would definately choose this over any other guitar I have to record with. I have to get used to the shape, but it plays great standing up, so I would definately gig with it. Minor finish flaws, constructed very well. Dean rocks. 8.7/10