If you are older than about 15 years old (preferably 17, but I am not your parent so I will not judge age restriction ratings for you) you have read or seen V for Vendetta at one point or another. Having read it you should know that no vendetta is ever clean or bloodless. Which is why you came for a guitar named after the act of vengeance. You want your instrument to be passionate and powerful. Well, let’s take a look at the Dean Vendetta XM and see if it makes the cut as deep as you want.
Cheap guitars tend to try to go for simplistic designs that have just a little bit of character, so that they can attract the ones looking for a unique look. In the case of the Dean Vendetta XM that idea is thrown out the window outright. Instead we get a guitar with a lot of character. The coloring of the guitar allows the grain of the wood used in the making to peak out. This adds a whole layer of character on top of what is already there. The thin C shaped neck of the guitar is stylish and gives easy access to the pesky, hard to reach frets. Overall, an extra stylish guitar for an extra stylish players.
The body of the guitar is built out of Paulownia. This tonewood is rarely found in the guitar world today. It is a rarely used wood and not many people actually know about; though there are a number of positive things that can be said about it. The sound of paulownia is incredibly hard to pick up on, and yet it does resonate with the mid-tones and low tones really well. Paulownia is also known to be incredibly light, so much so that you barely feel the guitar in your hands. Yet this comes at a cost – the wood is notoriously easy to scratch and dent, so be extra careful with this tonewood!
The neck of the guitar goes the opposite way of the body and picks maple as the hardwood. This allows the neck to be very sturdy and keeps the guitar together for a long time. While maple is known to be heavy, it does not affect this guitar much, since paulownia is just that light. The neck is bolt on, which is not my first choice, yet with cheap guitars there is rarely any other way. Still, there are no alignment issues with the neck, so it should do fine for most players.
The bridge of the guitar is made in a tune-o-matic style, with a through string style. This allows the guitar to be easily re-stringable but sacrifices the potential for a tremolo bar. This is not a big problem for most players buying this guitar since most of them are beginners. You’ll get to have more fun with a tremolo bar in the future.
The nut of the guitar is made with plastic. I have said many a times that plastic is not a good material for nuts and this can be seen in the guitar as well: string buzz is present. The harmony of the strings is fine though, so maybe replace the nut after the nut wears down to a certain point.
The tuning machine on this guitar is, as expected, not as good as you would want it to be. The guitar has a tendency to go out of tune every few days, which is just a tiny little bit annoying. Still, not the worst thing to have to deal with most of the time.
The guitar comes with a couple of very viable humbucker pickups, the result of Dean’s own ingenious design. These two humbuckers have a great pickup power and a very good amplification tendency. The humbuckers battle the string buzz pretty well, and have a very flexible sound, with warmth and clarity being just as available as sustain heavy sound. Good humbuckers that you will someday outgrow and can easily replace, eventually.
The guitar comes with a standard set of controls that are in no way out of this world. Two knobs to control sustain and volume, as well as a level to control pickup configurations. You are allowed three options – neck, bridge and both at the same time.
The guitar is versatile enough in sound to make you feel like you have all bases covered when playing it. Whether you want rock n roll, rockabilly, punk, metal or hard rock, you have the ability to play them all. The guitar sounds great when playing sustain heavy sounds though. Just watch out so that you can tell when the pickups start going flat (they will, eventually) so you can replace them.
Overall this is a sensible instrument. It does not have any out of this world qualities and yet allows you to play good sound for a very low price. Definitely recommended if you are a beginner looking for a cool looking electric guitar. Just watch out, the life of this guitar does not seem too long to me.