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Dean Guitars Stylist STD
Overall Rating
Submitted: November 18th, 2017
by Eric Harvey
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Sound Quality
See comments below to bring this guitar up to a 5 star rating.
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A rather wildly subjective classification in that everyone's opinion of matching sound quality with price varies upon so many variables that it is in the end up to every musician's own 7th sense as to what insturment sounds good and what doesn't, regardless of the price point. My own Alarez AJ-60S. NAT acoustic jumbo six string went up against Yamaha's, Tacoma's, and Martian's best, and after spending hours in a sound room was by far (w/o regards as to the price) the finest sounding instrument I had sampled, and as the price tag was to reveal, only 1/3 of the cost of the others. I bought not only the instrument on display, but taking my chances, ordered the 12 string version as well, hoping with fingers crossed that it would match the acoustic qualities of it's 6 string sibling. The Longshoremen's strike back in the '90s left my order stranded either on the dock in Korea, or shipbound somewhere in between, and I never did receive it. However, at one point during the many hours spent in the store, I chanced upon another musician playing some Aaron Louis/Stained songs on a Dean Stylist STD GN acousticly and was amazed at the unamplified sound this arch-top fully hollow bodied multiple ply maple flame top arched face electric guitar was projecting, as well as being "eye-candy" with its all natural wood finish with all the exposed parts being goldplated, except for the black pickup mounting rings which were astheticly it's only fault. Unfortunately, it also had a "sold"  tag attached. Fast forward to a month later when I stopped in to check-up on my 12 string order and there was the same Dean guitar up on the rack w/o the "sold" tag attached! A quick test drive of the instrument revealed it's flaws in that when played electricly, the pickups were just too "hot" for the instrument; both feedback and loss of it's acoustic signature being a problem. Along with these flaws were that the pickup pole spacing differed from the string spacing by 3/8ths of an inch, as well as the externally attached tail piece was at least 1/4 of an inch off the projected centerline of the neck. Almost all bad, but the negotiated discounted price was much too good to pass up. Fast forward 18 years to the present in which the Dean and all my other guitars spent 15 years in "protective storage" (which meant that my PRS 22 SE and my Gibson Studio light had the crap beat out of them) and I am currently restoring and upgrading all of them. The Dean Stylist sat untouched the whole time, and the string tunings were still within a 1/2 note in tune, so I know the instrument has "set" into it's sweet spot, and is my latest restoration project. Have recentered the tailpiece and bridge which left the all ready wrong stock pickups to deal with, and seeking that ultimate"jazz" sound as well as exploiting the instrument's unique acoustic signature, I have installed a new set of Gretsch Filtertron 5400 series pickups which match the guitars string spacing, as well as mounting a underbridge and acoustic mic pickups so that I am able to switch in and out of the electronic setup. Joni Mitchell and Nancy Wilson, eat your hearts out! For the reinvestment equaling my minimal cost of the instrument, I now have the guitar I've spent a lifetime searching for. The Gretsch Filtertron pickups when combined with the guitar's natural acostic signature have given me the ultimite sounding instrument that has become my all time play anywhere at anytime instrument. While they once in a rare while show up on eBay or other online sources, my advice to you is that if you are a first time buyer, for the price if you can find one and are willing to put a little work into it, you'll end up with a keep forever guitar. Mine is my #1 go to axe. It's not a thrash metal head banging instrument (although with some gain and some overdrive, don't underestimate what this affordable axe can do). I have to admire the gentleman who bought 1, then 3 more when the production run ran it's course, especially to lock one away from an investment perspective. Having said all of that, buyer beware as quanity was secondary to quality, and I have run across a couple that were beyond redemption, so as ever, buyer beware!! If you are unsure about purchasing a used one, by all means have it checked out by a knowledgeable Luthier before committing yourself to its purchase (and no, I am never going to sell mine, but hope to pass it along through future family generations). Hopefully you will find what you are looking for as I have done.  -Eric-
General Comments
Reviewer's Background
Wish I had been born posessing Satriani's creativity, Paul Gilbert's long narrow fingers and his precision in clairability in his playing, and Steve Via's incredibility of being to do all the above when combined with showmanship. As for me, I play for my inner self, constantly seeking perfection within my limited capabilities.
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