REVIEW: Dean MDX and Dean Thoroughbred X
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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.
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 FretZealot.com 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.
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