Dean Evo XM Electric Guitar Package Review

Dean Evo XM Electric Guitar Pack Review

Dean is best known for making guitars that are ideally suited for playing heavy metal and other extremely demanding music genres. With the Dean Evo XM electric guitar pack, you get everything you need to play right out of the box, and at under $200, this is one of the least expensive beginner guitar packages that you can buy from a major manufacturer. The package includes pretty much everything you’d expect in a beginner kit like this including a gig bag, shoulder strap, 10-watt Dean amp, and a bunch of picks. There is, of course, the Evo XM guitar at the center of the package. The XM is a decent little electric guitar featuring a solid basswood body, 22-fret bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, sealed tuners, and a pair of humbucker pickups. It also has Dean’s patented angled neck, which makes playing it a bit easier. I reviewed this guitar by itself — you can read my full review of the guitar here — and it is definitely a solid instrument for the price. The aggressive and crazy Dean styling that you see on so many of their guitars is painfully missing on this guitar, but it is also much more versatile than most Deans in terms of genres that you can play with it. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the guitar, but I was pleased with it considering the price, and you can definitely grow with it. You won’t have to upgrade for at least a year or two.

I was disappointed with the rest of the package, however. This package definitely has one of the lower quality starter amps that I’ve encountered, and it did not produce as nice a sound as I have found in other packages from folks like Epiphone and Fender. Also, most other beginner guitar packages include some additional extras like an instructional DVD or booklet, a digital tuner, headphones, or a stand. I’ve seen conflicting information on some websites as to whether this comes with a tuner or not, but the one that I reviewed definitely did NOT. Perhaps they decided to include a tuner in a newer production run, but it is something to be aware of nonetheless.

Dean Evo XM Electric Guitar Pack Verdict

The guitar in this package is definitely a good instrument for the money, but the rest of the package left me underwhelmed. The amp isn’t too great, and it lacks some of the other extras that you typically expect to find in a beginner guitar package. If you have your heart set on a you can get this package, but I would recommend buying the guitar and the extras separately. It will cost a little more money, but it is definitely worth the extra cost in my opinion. If the amp were better, I’d be happy to recommend buying it, but it isn’t so I’m not.

Buy The Dean Evo XM Electric Guitar Package

Guitar Center: Buy for $189
Amazon: Buy for $185

Dean Vendetta XMT Review

Dean Vendetta XMT Review

The Dean Vendetta XMT is a nice entry level guitar, particularly for anyone interested in playing metal. There are two different models of the XMT available — one with the tremolo bar and one without — and I highly recommend the one with the tremolo. You will normally spend between $130 and $140 for this guitar; however, guitar center IS selling this guitar for $99 in the natural satin finish (it also comes in black).

The body of this guitar is made from Paulownia, which is a south-east Asian wood with good resonant properties that is typically used in Asian stringed instruments, but it is less expensive than Mahogany. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the sound from this particular wood, but I was pleasantly surprised. The XMT also features a bolt-on maple neck with a 25-fret rosewood fingerboard. I would be lying if I didn’t mention the tremolo as one of the biggest highlights of this guitar for me. For anyone looking to play metal, the presence of a tremolo bar is almost required, and I don’t know of many guitars that cost ~$100 that come with a tremolo.

The Paulownia body is really light, so the overall weight of this guitar is incredibly low. I was shocked at how light this guitar was. The sound was comparable to other guitars that are in the $150-$250 range, and I was glad that Dean didn’t cheap out on things like the humbuckers and hardware. I feel like most of the cost savings for Dean came from using a different wood on the body, which makes this guitar quite a bargain for the price.

Dean Vendetta XMT Verdict

Overall, I was very pleased with the sound and playability of the guitar. The construction was good, the hardware was good, and the pickups were much better than I would have expected on a guitar this price. The tremolo bar is pretty standard and it is definitely an entry level guitar; however, it is easy to play, and it isn’t something that you will need to upgrade right away. This guitar is perfect for someone just starting out, for kids because of the extremely lightweight body, or for someone looking for a cheap but good practice guitar that can take a few hard knocks.

Buy The Dean Vendetta XMT

Guitar Center: Buy for $99
Amazon: Buy for $128

Dean Evo XM Review

Dean Evo XM Review

The Dean Evo XM is one of the most inexpensive guitars that I have reviewed so far on this site coming in at $119 from traditional musical instrument vendors (you can get it for less on Amazon). This guitar has what would be considered a standard construction for less expensive guitars with a solid basswood body and a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard. This is not a bad thing; it is just a statement of fact. Down in the $100 price area, you can expect to get plywood construction with shoddy workmanship and abysmal hardware, but that is not what you get with this little guitar. The hardware is quite good for the price, and the pickups aren’t too shabby either. Eric Clapton isn’t going to be clamoring to pick one of these up for his next live performance, but it definitely offers a much better sound than what I was expecting before picking it up.

You can get the guitar in one of two finishes: transparent black and natural mahogany. Visually, the guitar is pretty ho-hum — there is no crazy Dean shape or radical body design here — but the finishes look good. While Dean is typically known for guitars designed for metalheads, this guitar is a much more versatile affair in that it can handle most musical genres pretty well. I can happily report that I could hold this guitar and play without any of the annoying problems that you will often find from really cheap electric guitars like jagged fret spacers, rough wood, and things like that. The guitar definitely played well, it was comfortable to hold, and it sounds pretty good. The guitar’s weighting was a little top heavy in my opinion, but it isn’t oppressively unbalanced. The volume controls could be a little more sensitive and the strings that come with it are pretty bad, but these are small potatoes and easily fixed.

Dean Evo XM Verdict

The Dean Evo XM is a very very good deal. It offers versatility, quality construction, a good sound, and plenty of growth potential without breaking the bank. You don’t get all the bells and whistles that you will get on a more expensive instrument and there are some small problems here and there, but I was truly shocked by this guitar. I did not believe I would play a guitar in this price range that would not feel like it was just a cheap piece of junk, but the Dean Evo XM has surprised me. If you’re looking for a very inexpensive beginner electric guitar, you’ll have trouble finding a better instrument for such a low price.

Buy The Dean Evo XM

Buy for $119
Amazon: Buy for $102

Best Metal Guitars Under 500 Dollars

Buy The Best Metal Guitars Under $500

Dean Razorback DB Floyd
Guitar Center: Buy for $499
Amazon: Buy for $246

B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock
Guitar Center: Buy for $299
Amazon: Buy for $285

B.C. Rich ASM 1
Guitar Center: Buy for $199
Amazon: Buy for $199

My Reviews Of The Best Metal Guitars Under 500 Dollars

Heavy metal is probably the single most demanding genre of music for the electric guitar in terms of equipment. The extreme sounds that are found so often in the music put the guitar under great stress, and not every guitar is designed to function well under these conditions. As heavy metal has grown in popularity over the past 25 years, electric guitar manufacturers have increased the number of instruments they offer that cater to the demands of this genre. Technology that was once only available to professional guitarists like Dimebag Darrel, is now available to everyone. Unlike many middle-of-the-road genres where you can play almost any electric guitar, heavy metal demands certain specific traits in order to get the right sound. In this article, I review the best electric guitar for metal in three price categories: under $500, under $300, and under $200.

Dean Razorback Dimebag w/ Floyd Rose

Dean is one of the names in guitars that are built specifically for metal, and they have been pioneering cutting edge technologies that have revolutionized this genre. The Dean Razorback DB with the Floyd Rose combines all of the most impressive technologies into one amazing and extremely cost efficient package that will set you back $499. The styling on this guitar is simply wicked, and the materials are top-notch with a solid basswood body, bolt-on maple neck, and a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard. The all-black hardware looks wicked, and the specially designed humbucker pickups are absolutely impeccable. This Razorback features a Floyd Rose Tremolo, which means that you can savage the strings and the guitar still stays in tune. This also comes with a guitar case, so you don’t have to hunt for one to fit the unique body design. This is simply the best metal guitar under $500.

B.C. Rich Metal Master Warlock

B.C. Rich is the other company along with Dean that is known for its specializing in making electric guitars for metal. The Metal Master Warlock is, hands down, the best metal guitar under $300. The Metal Master Warlock definitely looks gorgeous with its sharp and aggressive styling, and its construction is definitely top notch. You’re getting the same high quality craftsmanship and materials that you would expect from any top manufacturer, and it features a solid agathis body, a bolt-on rosewood neck, and a 24 fret rosewood fingerboard. Everything about this guitar was designed to play metal perfectly. The B.C. Rich designed BDSM humbucker pickups are specifically created to give you that unmistakable metal tone, and they do. I was extremely pleased with the performance of this guitar in terms of sound, quality, and craftsmanship.

B.C. Rich ASM 1

The choice for the best metal guitar under $200 was one of the harder ones to make, because there are a bunch of different guitars from a handful of companies including B.C. Rich and Dean that are quite good. In the end, the features on the B.C. Rich ASM 1 pushed it over the top in my opinion. Unlike most B.C. Rich guitars, you don’t get any crazy styling with the ASM 1. In fact, it actually looks pretty understated. This is probably disappointing to some — especially considering that B.C. Rich is known for their crazy body designs — but the quality of this guitar more than makes up for it. This guitar is designed for metal, and it features the B.C. Rich BDSM humbucker pickups, which are made specifically to be great at playing metal, though they aren’t bad in many other genres of music. The thing that pushed this guitar over the top, however, was the fact that it also has a tremolo bar, which is not a feature you find on too many guitars under $200 and even fewer that are made for metal.

The Verdict

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that B.C. Rich and Dean have won all the categories as they are simply the best two manufacturers when it comes to guitars that specialize in metal. Regardless of what your budget is, you can get an excellent guitar that is made with metal in mind, and each of these guitars is the best of the best in their respective price ranges.

Dean MLX Review

Buy The Deal MLX

Guitar Center: Buy for $219
Buy Fluorescent Yellow version for $299
Amazon: Buy for $219
Left Handed: Buy from Amazon for $219

My Review Of The Dean MLX Electric Guitar

The Dean ML series was created in 1977 in an effort to create a guitar that provided the maximum amount of sustain and the sweetest tone. The theory behind the design was that the more spaced out the mass of the guitar was — hence the large V at the base of the guitar — combined with extremely long string lengths would create excellent resonance and tonal qualities. Having picked up the Dean MLX electric guitar and given it a run through the paces, I can say that it definitely has an extremely pleasing sound. For a guitar that is only $220, this thing looks and sounds awesome.

While the design may be quite radical, I really enjoy the way it looks. The body is made from solid basswood and comes in solid black, the sunburst pattern that is shown, and a fluorescent yellow which costs $299. The neck is well sized and is made from solid mahogany with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard. I had no trouble at all moving from cord to cord or firing off a sick riff, as the neck felt comfortable in my hand. The headstock is classic Dean with the unique V shape, which is definitely a good thing. The stock pickups on this guitar are definitely solid, and you’ll have no trouble playing most types of music on this, though Dean guitars are known for their popularity in metal bands. This thing was made for distortion, but it could never be called a one-trick pony. You’ll be hard pressed to find better pickups on another ~$200 guitar.

One downside about this guitar, however, is that it is fairly heavy. It is on the larger side in terms of body size so that contributes to the weight, but the weight is well balanced and there isn’t a lot of torque being placed on the neck. I found it neither difficult to tune nor requiring too much tuning, so it isn’t going to be problematic in that department. Another small problem is because of the size and shape, you will probably have difficulty finding a decent case for this guitar.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a guitar that is great for metal and hard rock in this price range, you can’t go wrong with the Dean MLX. It has a radical design that looks cool and one that improves the sound quality. This guitar is on a short list of good guitars for metal in the $200 price range.

Other Relevant Reviews

B.C. Rich Warlock Review
B.C. Rich Guitars
Dean Guitars

Dean Evo Special Review

The Dean Evo Special is a very attractive electric guitar. The first thing that you notice about it is that it has the quintessential Les Paul styling. Picking up the guitar, you can feel that it is extremely well built. The solid mahogany body feels sturdy and the neck, which is also made of mahogany, feels solid as well. With some guitars, I get a little nervous about whether or not I will snap off the neck if I’m not gentle, but that is not something that concerns me with the Dean Evo Special. The rosewood fretboard looks nice and feels nice under the fingers. The top and hardware are pretty standard and I have no complaints about them.

With many electric guitars, particularly cheaper ones, though at $419.00 this guitar isn’t “cheap”, I have found that the stock pickups tend to be low quality. That was not the case with this guitar. The pickups are very good and this guitar sounds awesome. The resonance is good, the notes are rich and full, and it really feels nice in your hands. If I have one complaint about this guitar, it would be that the neck is a little on the small side. Granted, I do have extremely large hands, and the couple of friends that I had test this out had no complaints about the guitar whatsoever. This is definitely a great option if you’re looking for a guitar in the $400 range.

Buy the Dean EVO Special Electric Guitar for $419. Like the styling but not sure about this model? Check out the Les Paul style electric guitars that have been reviewed!

Best Electric Guitars Under $500

The guitar is probably the most widely played instrument in the world. Every day more and more people want to learn how to play. However, with this in mind, how do you know what sort of guitar to get to start with? Obviously, you are not going to want to get the most expensive Fender or Gibson. Instead, you should aim for something a little cheaper. In order to facilitate this effort, I’m going to give a brief rundown of some of the best guitars under 500 dollars.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Electric Guitar

What best guitars under 500 dollars list would be complete without the Epiphone Les Paul? The answer is none. Perhaps I’m a little biased — I play an Epiphone Les Paul regularly — but I think the Epiphone Les Paul is one of the best guitars under 1000 dollars and this version is under 500. It has the traditional Les Paul styling that is famous around the world, a sleek and high quality mahogany construction, slim neck with a rosewood fretboard, and Alnico Classic humbucker pickups. This is the guitar that I recommend the most to new guitar enthusiasts. You can check out my full review of the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus or buy it here.

Ibanez ARX320

Ibanez is one name that comes to mind when most people think about good guitars. However, a lot of people mistakenly think that these are not affordable for the beginner. This is not true, as you can get an Ibanez ARX320 for about $450. This guitar not only has a unique and classic look, but the sound produced is fantastic too. The majority of Ibanez ARX320 owners have been highly impressed with the workmanship that has gone into this model. There are a huge range of tones that can be achieved with this guitar, which is a definite plus point. In terms of money, this guitar is affordable and an incredibly good value for money. Check out my full Ibanez ARX320 review or buy it here.

Dean Evo Special

For the beginner, this guitar is definitely one to be considered. It is not a well-known guitar, but the Dean Evo Special electric guitar not only offers great value for money, but also brilliant workmanship. The thing that appeals to many people where this guitar is concerned is the fact that it not only looks like a Gibson, but it also has the same rich notes of one as well. In addition, the styling is very reminiscent of the Les Paul and for $420, you really can’t go wrong here. You can read my full review or buy it here.

Epiphone Vintage G-400 Electric Guitar

The Epiphone is highly popular, largely due to the many famous guitarists that have played them in the past. The great thing about this particular model is that it is only a highly affordable $299. For a beginner, this would be the perfect guitar. The rosewood fret board is incredibly easy on the hands and eyes, as is the solid mahogany base. This is one guitar under 500 dollars that a lot of guitarists are raving about, and it is definitely one that should be considered if you really do want to get into playing the guitar.

So, there you have it, four incredibly good guitars for under 500 dollars. Of course, there are so many more. You can get many different Stratocasters for under 500 dollars if you look in the right places. Happy playing!