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Dean guitars vs. Gibson.

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  • Dean guitars vs. Gibson.

    To be more specific, how do the Dean Hardtails compare to Les Pauls? You know, quality of contruction/materials, playability, overall feel, pickups, etc. I am out to find THE guitar (hopefully) once and for all. I've played some very nice Les Paul Studios lately but have never tried a Dean. Hopefully this weekend I can try some. Thank's.

  • #2
    Re: Dean guitars vs. Gibson.

    I have three Hardtail's, and two Les Paul's. The build quality of the Dean Hardtail is very good. The necks can very, I've found that the older ones are bigger than the newer ones. The neck feel is similar to 50's Les Paul neck. There are some limited edition Hardtail's available with V necks. All Hardtail's use Duncan pickups. The bridge is a JB, and the neck position can be either a Pearly Gates, or a '59. The USA Deans, have some of the best fret work I've ever seen. Bass & Treble Music, ( in St. Joseph, Missouri has one of the best Hardtail selections in the country. They are very fair with prices too. I got all three of mine there.

    Collings: '08 001-mhsb
    Dean: '02 Hardtail
    Fender: '63 Jazzmaster, '74 Telecaster & '11 American Special Telecaster
    Fender Custom Shop: '16 1962 Custom Telecaster
    Gibson: '78 Les Paul Deluxe & '99 Les Paul Standard
    G&L: '87 Asat, '02 Asat Classic
    Guild: '81 X-79 Skyhawk
    Heritage: '09 H535 25th Anniversary
    PRS: '97 Standard 24 & '99 McCarty


    • #3
      Re: Dean guitars vs. Gibson.

      I have to chime in on the quality of the Hardtails. I've not owned a Gibson Les Paul, but have played many LP standards. They are fine guitars...but have some quality issues from time to time. I still want to own a Les Paul is the original.

      I played about a half dozen Hardtails before I bought mine. With the exception of the finish...all were identical. The attention to detail was suberb on every single one. From the neck joint to the inlays to the hand rolled edges on the frets....everything was superb. I bought my Hardtail off eBay sight unseen because I was so impressed with every single one I had touched. It did not dissapoint me in the least. I am still looking for the color and quilt top that I want...when I find it I will buy it sight unseen also because I am that confident in the quality.

      I believe what Dean has done is take a formula for a hand crafted "masterbuilt" or "custom shop" or "one off"...whatever you want to call it...and perfected it on a production basis. Dean is not cranking out the number of guitars that Gibson is...but it's not custom shop limited production either. It's more in line with what people consider the heyday of PRS guitars...pre mass production.

      The bottom line is that I have not played a bad Hardtail...and every one I've seen has a "10" top plus some. I still want to own a Gibson Les Paul...I just think I'll have to play a bunch of them to find the one I want. I've played a bunch of what I would consider "dogs" at Guitar Center and the like. Rough frets, bad inlays...questionable looking fingerboards, finish flaws, binding issues...ect. I would hazard a guess that to find a Les Paul that I really could fall in love with...I'd have to play at least a half dozen. One out of that crowd would stick out.

      I'm sure Dean has built a few "dogs" in the Hardtail line as well. Nothing is perfect...Dean is no exception. I'm just saying that my experience is that Deans quality assurance is at a higher level than Gibsons standard line of LP's.

      As for sound....the HT is damn close to a LP. Again...LP's are the standard. The Hardtail is a very thick and meaty guitar, just like the LP. It may be a tad more versital...but that's all personal opinion. If I had the money to spend on just one...I'd buy the Hardtail every time. Less money...better quality...nearly the same tonal properties.

      Just my $.02
      My Sound Clips


      • #4
        Re: Dean guitars vs. Gibson.

        Thanks for the info guy's. Actually, I did play a Dean but it was a Korean, not a USA one about a month ago. A Les Paul copy for around $470.00. I don't know what the guitars materials were bit it really was a VERY nice looking guitar and I was very impressed with it's playability. But I thought the pickups were weak compared to the pickups on a Les Paul Studio, but you can always change pickups. The only thing that made me leary was the nut. The bottom of the nut did'nt sit entirely flush on the face of the headstock. There was a noticeable gap, nothing huge but enough to make me go.."hmmm." I was just at the Dean web site and noticed a new line of Hardtails called the Professional Series for a list price of $1,199.00. Might also be worth checking out.


        • #5
          Re: Dean guitars vs. Gibson.

          I can't speak for the quality of the new ones, but I do own a 1979 Z Standard. The workmanship on it is impeccable, much, much better than Gibson was doing at the time, and to be honest, is still better than what they're building now. The frets were flawless, the finish second to none, the playability outstanding. Again, I haven't played one of the new ones, but they look very nice.


          • #6
            Re: Dean guitars vs. Gibson.

            Dean, very hard to find a company that can even compare to the quality of Dean guitars(usa)