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The ML ain’t exactly new - this is the model that gave a young Dimebag the horn as he flipped through the Dean catalogue in the ‘70s. But you’ve never seen one quite like this before.
Depending on how much you read into it, the exotic spalted maple top is either a sexy cosmetic trimming or a bid to reposition this model in the market.
“The thing about the ML,” notes UK distributor Bill Lewington, “is that it tends to get perceived as a metal guitar. So I think Dean is looking to aim at a different market - people who like exotic woods and want something more classic.”
Like Zakk Wylde in a double-breasted suit, it’s surreal to see this metal icon sporting a sophisticated spalted maple top and that brushed nickel hardware, and surprising how well it works.
If metallers are unsettled by the face-lift, they’ll be coaxed back by the feel. For kinetic reasons, the ML is the ultimate shape for shredding, and here it’s consolidated by a quicksilver profile.
‘Own-brand’ pickups tend to be a snooze, but Dean has always been the exception and the ML scores again with its twin humbuckers. Crank the gain and an old-school roar hits you between the ears as the spalted maple and mahogany combine into a Molotov cocktail. If you’re growing up, but not growing old, this could be your dream ticket.
Pros: Classic vibe, stunning spalt top.
Cons: Slightly primitive.
BUY: Dean ML Exotic Spalt currently available from PMT Online