Build Quality:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.6 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.6 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars
Average:4.7 out of 5 stars

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Dean C850X CBK Custom Series

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Glossy Finish
  • Decent Sound

Cons:

  • Tuning Stability Issues
  • Basswood Body
  • Bolt on Neck

It is often said that the cheaper the instrument is, the more likely it is to underperform as compared to the other instruments in a higher price range. This is true most of the time and is rather unfortunate. My hope for an instrument that actually overdeliver on what its price promises is something of a dream at this point, I guess. Unless, the guitar we are about to take a look at is exceptional in any way.

Body Quality

The body design of the guitar goes in the way of the so many 8 string guitars. It takes the familiar double cutaway of the Stratocaster and applies the design to itself. Something to be expected out of an affordable guitar, since unique and new designs tend to be on the expensive side of unaffordable. The solid coloring of the guitar adds a layer of enjoyable handsomeness, while the glossy finish of the instrument provides an interesting, if a little cheap, twist on the look of the guitar.

The body of the instrument is of basswood. This hardwood has a lot of attractive and ugly qualities to talk about. The first and foremost of the qualities is the effect of the tonewood on the tone of the guitar. With a nice resonance with the bass tones of the guitar, and a stable mid tone and high ones, this tonewood can be said to provide a great level of tonality to the instrument. The lightweight nature of the hardwood is also a great detail to have in an 8 string instrument. The one problem you might have is the softness of the body, susceptibility to dents and scratches, as well as a possibility of a shorter lifespan.

The neck of the guitar is made out of maple. This provides the guitar with a nice level of resistance to the warping and breaking of the neck. Durability is definitely something everyone should be looking for in their instrument. The neck is bolted onto the body of the guitar, though this does not affect the stability of the instrument by much. The fretboard of the guitar is made out of rosewood.

Hardware

The guitar comes with a fixed bridge. This provides the guitar with nice string stability. The guitar also has some nice action.

The nut of the guitar is of moderate quality. This is a requirement for the instrument, because any lower than that would produce too much string noise even for a humbucker.

The tuning machine of the guitar is nicely designed, but could do to be a bit more useful. The tuning stability on the instrument is not as good as we would like it to be.

Electronics

The guitar, just like any other 8 string guitar, comes with a dual humbucker setup. This allows the guitar a deep, heavy sound and some nice sustain. The pickups are of DMT design, which allows the instrument to have great sustain, powerful output and decent enough detailing in all of the tonal ranges.

The controls on the instrument are fairly simplistic. You get one master volume knob, one master tone knob and one three way pickup configuration lever.

Sound

The sound of the guitar is fairly decent and much better than the price would imply. The output is powerful, with each note being reasonably detailed during play. The sound has a very nice, low tone bias that many players will enjoy. The higher tones of the guitar are less well defined and yet have a decent power and expressivity themselves.

Conclusion

The cheapest 8 string guitar I will consider a good instrument and recommendable at this point. Over-delivery on what the price promises. Good stuff, good for players not looking for the best instrument or to drop a wad of cash on one.

Click here to find out more about Dean C850X CBK Custom Series.
Click here to view more from Best 8 String Guitar.

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