|Body And Neck:|
If it’s the wow factor you are seeking, Dean tend to deliver in all price ranges – as the Custom Zone proves! This affordable model features aesthetics that just scream to be unleashed on stage. However, coming in at under $300, does the hardware allow it to? Let’s find out…
Starting with the elephant in the room – the colors! The Custom Zone come in two extroverted neon finishes, in shades of nuclear green or shocking pink. Compared to the photos, the colors in real life are slightly darker, although still prove incredibly eye-catching. This is probably because the fretboard matches the body paintwork, so it’s very in-your-face. Along with the absence of markers on the fretboard and the cool all-black pointed headstock, there’s actually a slight boutique feel about this one.
As for materials, the tonewoods used for this guitar are pretty good for this price range. You’ll find the body is made of solid mahogany, while the C-shaped neck is a satin-finished maple that is bolted onto the body. The back of the neck shows the maple in all its glory, although the fretboard – as we’ve mentioned – is completely enrobed in paint and a glossy finish, which hopefully adds some durability to the painted frets.
With 22 jumbo frets and a smooth feel, it’s easy to move around and bend strings. In all fairness, for a budget Chinese-made model, the fit and finish are very commendable.
The Custom Zone features two humbuckers in the bridge and neck position, which are nothing more than stock Dean designed pickups. Basic, but very functional – as are the controls, with a simple volume and tone control for the whole guitar, as well as a three-way pickup selector switch.
It won’t win any awards for its generic tuners, but the closed-gear machine heads it comes with operate smoothly and hold tuning pretty well. Back on the body, we see an adjustable tremolo bridge that features an included whammy bar.
The basic pickups lead to a sound that’s quite middle of the road, proving not as well-rounded as some of its peers in the under $300 category. However, for one of the lower-end models in its price range, it’s not bad at all. The tone is clear and punchy, with enough thickness to make metal and rock rhythm and lead sound pretty sweet providing you have a decent amp or distortion pedal.
For some sound samples of the Dean Custom Zone, check out the video below:
The value for money with the Dean Custom Zone is in the design – so unique and striking, it just demands attention. The hardware is reliable and the pickups, while basic, lead to a decent tone. It could be a performance guitar as it is, although anything bigger than casual gigs and cracks in the tone may start to appear. But for a jamming, practice or modding guitar, this is a solid choice – just don’t forget to pick up a pair of shades to go with it!