REVIEW: Dean MDX and Dean Thoroughbred X

Check out the Dean MDX and Dean Thoroughbred X in our store! 


Here’s a transcript of the review:



So the Dean X Series is slightly – I don’t want to say beginner,  because this feels like a more of an intermediate or more entry-level price range, but these guitars really pack a lot and they’re at a more intermediate range.  

Dean Thoroughbred X

The two different models from the X Series that we’re looking at are the Thoroughbred which you see here is the single cutaway style guitar; it kind of looks like the Les Paul style. I think it’s got some key differences that make it look really unique and then there’s also the MD which the X version of that is somewhat like the Strat style guitar; it comes in a hardtail version as well as a floating Bridge version with the Floyd Rose. Two different finishes to choose one to choose from the Blue Burst as well as the solid matte black, two really striking looks. These guitars have some really high-end features that you don’t necessarily expect from guitars in this price range. As you can see this one has a quilt Maple top underneath the blue finish, but it’s just like beautiful.  Also the black Hardware throughout the guitar, both on the bridge and this pickup selector. The straps, the strap buttons as well as the tuners, all feature nice-looking black hardware.  I think these guitars have a really nice look with them, as well as with the black headstock through and through.  I think they’re packing a lot of interesting looks and features as well as construction that you don’t always see from guitars in this price range. I also wanted to shout out the binding, nice white binding on the body as well as the neck and the headstock.  Dean is doing a very good job of charming me with some nice-looking guitar features here, and it doesn’t stop there.  These guitars have a really great construction.  They’re made out of mahogany in the body, which is a fantastic wood for a guitar body.  It’s definitely substantial, it’s not too heavy but it’s definitely got a little bit more weight because mahogany is just a slightly denser wood. It gives you some great tonal properties.  I think these guitars have great sustain. This is a maple neck which is great.  I love Maple for the neck and then Indian Rose Wood on the fretboard and a mahogany body.  There are two different styles to choose from and you’re ready to rock with the Dean X Series so let’s give it a lesson and see what these guitars are all about. 


Dean MDX 

So here you can see the brother of the Thoroughbred in the X Series which is the MD guitar. This is the double cutaway style, a bit more of a strat again, like the Thoroughbred is not quite like an Epiphone, the MD not quite like a strat. I think they really stand sort of on their own playing field. Dean has a real serious Legacy in rock and roll instruments so I think that character really comes through in a unique way.  These guitars are really built to rock.  They’ve got zebra humbuckers featured throughout the entire X line.  These are DMT designed humbucking pickups and they sound really nice.  I think they’ve got a bit more output.  They sound pretty hot and they’re ready to rock in my opinion. They’re super nice and have a broad range. 

There’s a lot of low end in there. Even in a fairly clean amp setup you just really hear a lot of broad full sound coming out of these pickups. They’ve got a little bit more of a higher output, so I think they’re really nice. I think they sound great with distortion, they’re super good for rock and also clean up really well. But you’re definitely going with a more of a souped-up humbucker style guitar with the Dean line here, and I think these guitars really do a good job of building on the Vendetta line which is their entry point into the Deans.  This guitar features some really great improvements.  We talked about the wood types.  I find the wood combination to be right on for this guitar, and then especially with with the two blue ones,  the Trans Burst, I mean these finishes look great and the quilt Maple top is also just coming out. Awesome simple setups both of these guitar.  This guitar has got just the one volume knob, one knob to rule them all. I think it’s about, it does pretty much everything you need and roll it off a little bit if you want to you know get a little bit of the tone cut too.  It’s just one knob that you don’t want to underestimate. I also love that this is knurled metal, I think that’s my favorite knob type.  These Dome knobs with the knurling on the side for the good grip, and then the three-way selector switch which gives you the bridge pickup then both the neck and the bridge together and then finally the up position which gives you just the neck. 

Comparing that to the Thoroughbred, the Thoroughbred has got sort of the classic four knob configuration, where each humbucker has its own set of tone and volume knobs. So it’s kind of an interesting choice between the two because you’re going from one guitar which has four different knobs to this one which is more of a minimalist, but definitely very effective knob configuration.  I think they were kind of smart to go for this. I personally do like the single volume knob setup with these kinds of guitars too. I think it does a great fit for more of a rock and metal style guitar like these.  Speaking of this guitar also comes with a version that has the Floyd Rose. Let’s grab that and take a look. 

The X Series gives you the option of getting into a guitar with the Floyd Rose-licensed floating bridge. It’s pretty smooth.  I think it’s a pretty nice floating bridge, and it gives you a lot of different fun things that you can learn with the guitar whether or not you’re a floating bridge person.  I think it’s awesome that Dean put this option in this price range because having this sort of bridge is something that is sought after for a lot of different genres. It’s definitely something that I personally um you know and familiar with from the Dean line.  I know they have a long history of really cool guitars and guitar players that make great use of the Floyd Rose tremolo and so this can be a nice way to get into a guitar that’s got a Floyd Rose from Dean. Also, these guitars are 22 frets with jumbo frets, and I think that’s just another thing that’s a shout out to all those kinds of guitar heads and people who really like rock music like jumbo frets.  These different features that they put in here are sort of catered to awesome rock instruments and sort of that legacy of rock and roll metal guitar playing that Dean was one of the leaders in. So this is an awesome guitar series that gives you a lot of that spirit at a nice price range, some great features that are awesome. You’re not going to be compromising on the look. I think the finish types that were chosen will be suited to a lot of different tastes.  You got the beauty of the transparent blue with the quilt Maple, but also a more refined or mysterious look with the matte black.  I really like the matte on this finish. It is easy on the eyes and it doesn’t pick up fingerprints the way that gloss finishes do.  I think this is a fantastic matte.  I think it might be a little bit of an underdog compared to the blue but this is a really classy look and a bit of a dark horse vibe all the way up to the headstock again with the alternate looking headstock this is more of like the standard six on one side with the tuning tags compared to the Thoroughbred which has the three and three. 

I wanted to talk really quickly about the two different bridge options.  Side by side, you’ve got on one end the Floyd Rose, which is your whammy bar option, and then on the other end you’ve got the tried and true Tune-O-matic bridge, which is your hard tail.  The Floyd Rose is a unique design because it’s a floating bridge, which means that if you can run this you can bend this bad boy down or back to give you drops or dives. 

So if you’re into that, you’re definitely looking to get the Floyd Rose.  It also comes standard with the locking bridge, which is definitely a necessity for a Floyd Rose guitar with all that extra string tension. They put the locking bridge on the guitars that come with the Floyd Rose once you lock your bridge down with these hex nuts, then you’re good to go crazy with the whammy bar and you can also use these fine tuners while your bridge is locked to get the guitar into tune with the fine tuning adjustments. It’s a bit more meat to chew when it comes to the Floyd Rose.  You know for me, I really enjoy it, but it comes with a little bit of extra work in terms of maintaining the guitar changing your strings and things like that. But I’m really happy that you know Floyd that the Floyd Rose is available on these Dean guitars in this range taking a look you know here this guitar is going to be a little less fussy. You can slam on this guitar and it won’t fall out of tune quite as easily. You’re sort of weighing two different options. It depends on the kind of style you want to play. In some ways maybe Dean meant one version to be more of a rhythm style, the other one to be more lead,  but I really think you know the Floyd Rose bridge is used in either style and so the option is just there for you no matter which way you want to go. I think that’s what’s awesome about the X Series, that you’re kind of getting all of your rock arsenal in a concise little lineup by Dean.  Between the Thoroughbred and the MDX, which one would you choose? Which finish choice would you go after? lLet us know in the comments. Let us know what you think about these guitars.  They’re available on and we’re super stoked to have them in stock.  So check us out and let us know what you think about the Dean offerings.


REVIEW: Yamaha Pacifica 112V

REVIEW: Elmore Pedal

The easiest country songs to learn on guitar

If you’ve learned a few chords on guitar, you can play a ton of songs! Many well-loved country songs can be played on acoustic guitar with just a few chords. Here are some of the easiest country songs to learn on guitar: 

Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash 

This three-chord song was made popular by the Man in Black – but it was originally recorded by June Carter Cash’s sister Anita in 1963. June wrote the song with Merle Kilgore.

Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show

This song, popularized by Darius Rucker, is made up of a simple four-chord progression. The chorus and melody were written by Bob Dylan in the 1970s, and Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show wrote the verses 25 years later. 

The Gambler – Kenny Rogers

In 1976, 23-year-old songwriter Don Schlitz penned “The Gambler”, a ballad about a train passenger who gets advice from a gambler. He recorded it himself and shopped it around to other artists, including Johnny Cash, but Kenny Roger’s version became a hit and crossed over into the pop charts, a rare occurrence at the time. 

Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver 

This simple song is one of West Virginia’s four official state anthems. It was selected to go in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2023. 

Strawberry Wine – Deana Carter

The “wine” referenced in this song is Boone’s Farm Strawberry wine, a cheap, sweet wine preferred by teens, according to songwriter Matraca Berg. Berg wrote the song in less than four hours.

Jolene – Dolly Parton 

It only takes four chords to play this Dolly Parton hit. Parton said she wrote both “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” on the same day! 

It’s Your Love – Tim McGraw and Faith Hill 

“It’s Your Love” was the first duet by a married couple to make it to the top of the country charts. 

Family Tradition – Hank Williams Jr. 

You can learn to play the rhythm or the lead part of this song with this lesson! 

Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks

“Friends in Low Places” – a play on “friends in high places” was the last demo Garth Brooks ever had to make!

Country Girl (Shake it for Me) – Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan said that he and his co-writer on this song, Dallas Davidson, were inspired by hip-hop music.


The easiest rock songs to learn on guitar

Songs you can play with just three chords

These are the most unusual Fret Zealot courses

Fret Zealot has courses for every skill level and interest, from complete beginners to pros. We also have some unique lessons that will teach you skills outside of the box. 

Rockabilly Guitar for Beginners

If you want to play 1950s Rockabilly and Rock ‘n’ Roll the right way, then this course is perfect for you. It will take you through the Nashville Number System, teach you to recognize the key of a song, and help you through chord progressions.

How to Solder for Guitar Repair

Take guitar repair into your own hands with this beginners’ guide.


Diminished Lightning – Gypsy Jazz Guitar

Diminished harmony creates tension in music. This course will teach you the diminished chords and how to use them in your own playing. This joins about five other Gypsy Jazz courses we offer, so lots to continue with if you enjoy this unique style!

Flamenco Guitar

If you’re looking for a challenge, why not try flamenco guitar? This course breaks the style down by component so that you can utilize it in your own music. There’s also a course for Flamenco Ukulele!

Musical Meditations

Need to relax? This course uses beginner guitar techniques to help you reach a space of meditative peace. It’s a well known fact that music is good for you. Embrace that and give these “meditations” a try!


Ultimate Guitar Maintenance Guide

It’s not necessarily a unique course in general, but it’s a neat course we offer! Being a guitarist goes beyond just playing well. This course will teach you how to keep your instrument in perfect condition. 


Five courses that will take your guitar playing to the next level

These are the top ten Fret Zealot courses of 2022

Songs that guitarists always get asked to play

If you’re a guitarist, chances are you’ve had someone request that you play one or more of these songs. Whether you oblige them or not is your call – but here’s a list of songs that guitarists are constantly asked for. 

Free Bird – Lynryd Skynryd 

The classic heckle most guitarists will hear at some point in their career is “play Free Bird”. The Southern rock standard consists of a fairly simple chord progression, so you can learn a few bars to shut the jokesters up. Or, do what we do…


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Fret Zealot (@fret_zealot)

Mr. Brightside – The Killers

If you play in a cover band, chances are someone in the audience will loudly request to hear this 2004 hit. And for good reason – “Mr. Brightside” was The Killers’ debut song and was named “Song of the Decade”. 

Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

As soon as you take your guitar out of its case you’ll likely hear a request for this 1967 classic. Find the lesson here. 

Mustang Sally – Wilson Pickett

Wilson Pickett’s 1965 R&B hit is still one of the top-requested songs for guitarists. It was originally called “Mustang Mama” before Aretha Franklin suggested it be called “Mustang Sally”.

Hotel California – The Eagles

Hotel California Fret Zealot

The oft-requested 1977 song has lots of different guitar parts – luckily Fret Zealot has lessons for them all. 

Oasis – Wonderwall

“Anyway, here’s “Wonderwall”’ is a popular running joke among and about guitarists. But with a fairly simple chord progression and a catchy chorus, it’s an easy one to have on hand for requests. If someone asks you to play Wonderwall, you can say “maybe”. 

What other songs are you always asked to play? Let us know in the comments! 



 What’s the difference between lead guitar and rhythm guitar?

REVIEW: Elmore Pedal

We reviewed the Elmore Pedal, which makes it possible to start, pause, and go back five seconds in Fret Zealot lessons without taking your hands off of the guitar.

Watch the review here:

Read the review below:

“So right now I’m using the Elmore pedal to control the Fret Zealot guitar lessons and it’s doing two things for me – it’s playing and pausing my video, but it’s also playing and pausing the LED segments on my Fret Zealot system.

So what’s really cool about this is when I’m playing and pausing my my Fret Zealot course, it’s also playing and pausing the LED strip on the guitar.  So this button is play and pause and then this button on the left side is your rewind and it just does it you go back in five seconds increments. 

I can just pause and I got my chord right here and then when I’m ready to move on I just tap the pedal. 

It makes all the difference – you can pause it and it’s like the difference between a minor and a major chord you could play pause go back and check out the different parts of your Fret Zealot lesson. You can go at the pace that you want to go and I have it up here on the desk but you can put it on the floor and it’s just an easy, two buttons so you can play and pause and rewind your video. I paused it, I’ve got my minor chord playing on the guitar and then when I’m ready to go to the major chord that I’m learning here I’ll just press the play button again and then boom, pause. 

I’ve got my major chord playing on the guitar now I just use the pedal deposit so I can just rock on that on that major chord as long as I want now until I’m ready to press play again and continue the lesson just like that. 

You can use the Elmore pedal with any Fret Zealot course, there’s hundreds of different topics and genres specific songs that you want to learn you could play and pause those song courses as well all with this pedal.  It’s a really sweet sync up with the Fred Zealot system you’ve got two devices talking with your computer with the web browser version of the Fret Zealot app you can go full screen and just watch all of those courses while having the individual notes and phrases light up on your guitar and then it all connects back so you can play and pause with the Elmore pedal and that that just kicks up the learning another level or it’s just another way to navigate the ecosystem and learn how to play.”


REVIEW: Yamaha Pacifica 112V

REVIEW: Gibson Tribute series – Les Paul and SG

REVIEW: Yamaha Pacifica 112V

We reviewed the Yamaha Pacifica 112V, an affordable electric guitar with a lot of history.

 Check it out in our store here, available in Black, Natural Finish, Old Violin Sunburst, Sonic Blue, United Blue, and Vintage White.

Here’s the transcript of the review: 

Today, I’m going to be showing you the Yamaha Pacifica 112V by Yamaha and it’s the tried and true all-around guitar in my opinion. So I’ll be walking you through what this instrument has to offer for you.

Yamaha released this model of guitar the Pacifica in 1990, and the name sort of is reminiscent of the West Coast makers of Strat style guitars where this style sort of originated in California and on the west coast. So the Pacifica name sort of speaks to that legend of guitar we’re talking about – Strat styles with the bolt on neck and the double horn body and of course the whammy bar with the blocks tremolo and this guitar really captures all of that essence in a super diverse sort of all-arounder style guitar.

The Pacifica 112v features a bolt-on neck construction with 22 frets. The neck is made out of maple on the neck and then the fingerboard is rosewood, so really nice woods being used in this guitar. The body is also alder which is a great body material, so we’ve got a really nice selection of three different woods that are the main composition of the guitar. The joint on the neck is really typical for a Strat-style guitar. Provides you nice access all the way up to that 22nd fret and then we’ve got on the bridge a block style tremolo which is very nice. You can use the whammy bar in a few different ways with this guitar and then above the the nut we’ve got six our typical closed back tuners on the Yamaha.

Fret dressings are nice and I want to draw your attention to the electronics. This guitar has a really versatile pickup configuration. It can give you a lot of great variety for heavier music like rock with the humbucker or cleaned up tones for that sound funky and clean or bright with these two single coil pickups. So this is an HSS where the H is a humbucker and then the next two S’s are for the single coils. So that’s a really nice pickup configuration to have, it gives you a ton of tonal variety to choose from and you control those pickups using this five-way selector switch. There are five positions to choose from the first one all the way up is the neck position and then the next one position number two. It’s one of my favorites, it’s both of the single coils together which gives it a bit more of this “quacky” sound that sounds kind of unique to Strat- style guitars and it also cancels out a little bit of the hum that you get from single coil so this is a very popular position to use.

Position three is the middle pickup alone a nice warm single coil sound. Position number four is the middle pickup along with the humbucker together and then position five is just going to be the humbucker. Now there’s a secret feature of this guitar that is unique to the 112 and up in terms of the different Yamaha Pacificas, and that is the coil top which is controlled by pushing and pulling the toe knob in and out. And what that does is it actually splits up the coil in this humbucker to give you um the full humbucker sound or a single coil style sound so this gives you two options as to how to configure this humbucker and that is toggled by changing pushing and pulling this tone knob. Speaking of the knobs, you’ve got really nice knurled Chrome Dome knobs. I like the style of these knobs a lot and there’s the volume knob right here and then the tone knob here, which is your master volume, master tone and then the pickup um coil tap in the tone position and actually you can hear the change, right?

It sparkles a little bit, like it’s a little bit more um bright and some of the high-end tones come through a little bit more in my opinion, but the with the when you tap that coil like this compared to having it pushed in the down position you get a thicker more humbucker sound.

So right away, you can start to hear a little bit of the variety of sounds you can get out of this guitar, and that’s just using this pickup by itself. You know I like to come up here to the neck pickup too, it’s got a little bit more of a rounder sound very bright as well and then again the one of my favorites that I talked about is these two together the neck plus the middle position.

Smooth as can be, I mean the guitar sounds great. These pickups are actually El Nico 5 magnet pickups, they are the Yamaha El Nico 5 pickups the humbucker and the two single coils. It’s a slight upgrade from what you get with the 012, which is the ceramic pickups. I think these provide a little bit more output, a little bit more clarity in my opinion. El Nico 5 has been the standard for modern pickups for for a while now and it’s nice to see some some good sounding pickups in this guitar.

They really did a great job of making a guitar that is tried and true to the to the bolt-on style, the Strat style, it gives you all that versatility and familiarity that you want from a Strat style guitar and it really feels great this guitar does a great job of performing at its price point. It doesn’t set you back, you don’t need to take out the second mortgage to to get this guitar. it’s a really affordable but reliable instrument and I think it offers you a lot. I think Yamaha did a really good job again like they always do in my opinion of packing the right features into this guitar and giving the right attention to the quality in the right places – like the wood, the feel of the neck is really smooth and comfortable to play. It’s a c-shaped neck kind of similar to a Strat. It’s um kind of Speedy feeling it’s not overly chunky I think the neck is really really quite nice and sort of easy to to grasp. I think this would be a great guitar to learn on, it’s super comfortable but it also gives you that confidence to play comfortably and when you’re feeling comfortable like that it’s just easier to play like more difficult riffs and kind of push yourself to new places when you’re learning. So I’m finding this guitar super nice as an all-arounder and one that can hit a bunch of different tonal options and give you that comfortable playing experience definitely a strong advocate for the Pacifica you can check it out on where it’s bundled with the Fret Zealot LED system. So one thing that Yamaha did a great job of as well would be providing this guitar in a variety of unique colors there’s six different colors that this guitar comes in comes in Black, Natural Finish, Old Violin Sunburst, Sonic Blue, United Blue, and Vintage White.”


Songs that started off as jokes

Songs you can play on one guitar string