|Body And Neck:|
Dean is not a brand known for making instruments that blend in – and the Dean V Metalman is no exception. It’s brash, unapologetic and quintessentially Dean in its attitude. If you are looking for a bass guitar under $300 that stands out from the crowd, it’s one worth taking a closer look at. Let’s do that right now…
The first thing we need to comment on is the iconic flying V-shaped body. If you are looking to hide at the back of the stage then stop reading now – this is not an instrument for introverts!
In this case, the body is made from basswood and constructed in China. Alarm bells may be ringing, as basswood often gets dismissed as cheap and nasty, as does Chinese mass production. However, while this keeps the price down, the lightweight nature of the wood combined with a surprisingly good fit and finish, offers a nice playing experience.
On that note, the bolt-on neck is made from maple, with a C shape and has a 34” scale. This is all pretty standard until you reach the classic Dean V cutout headstock. It comes with a nice walnut fretboard with a 16” radius, 22 frets and pearl dot inlays. Everything about this bass is designed to look intimidating but feel comfortable to the user – and it succeeds in this respect.
This bass features one single-coil DMT soapbar-design pickup, which sits almost on the bridge. This type of pickup will attenuate the mid-range, making it very suitable for a bass built for metal.
The bridge is die-cast, meaning it’s created from a mold. Some players will say they prefer a machined metal bridge for better durability. You can replace this bridge if that bothers you, but it’s unlikely to cause any problems as it is.
It also comes with volume and tone control knobs that feel well made and expressive. The tuning machines are sealed die-cast and all hardware is black – that should be no surprise on this metal-fueled bass!
The soapbar pickup gives this bass a very bright sound with plenty of mid-range. Meanwhile, the basswood in the body lends itself more to a warmer tone than a bright tone. This is an interesting combination, although it’s the brightness of the pickup that still shines through.
The mid-range is fantastic for driving high tempo tracks or doubling up with guitars. The downside is that, when you really dig in at the bottom end, it can get a bit muddy. Considering it’s built for metal, you can accept that to an extent, but you still want clear note distinction. Making the notes growl more or adding some rasp is good when you can control it. Having it when you don’t need it isn’t.
With the aggressive sound and the extroverted edgy design, it’s hard to argue that this bass isn’t built for metal. Lacking versatility in the sound department we have to say it’s not a great all-rounder, but chances are you aren’t buying this bass for jazz or funk anyway. For under $300, it still shows good value.