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Reader request review: Dean Custom 350 with Floyd-Rose

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A reader wrote in and asked me my opinion on this guitar in an article, so here it is.

(Note: If there's a specific guitar you'd like me to review, email and ask.)

The Dean Custom 350 with Floyd-Rose is currently priced lower than a Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster by about 25 to 50 bucks, depending on color and availability, so there's your price point. This means the guitar is not mid-tier, but rather classified as an "affordable" model.

Here's the good and bad.

The good

Black nickel hardware. I always like seeing this. It's metal hardware that adds a bit of flare without looking cheap. A very nice look to have. Most of the metal bits on this guitar are of black nickel finish, with the rest being just black.

Proper 25.5-inch scale for a 24-fret neck. If the neck has 24 frets, the scale length has to be 25.5 ("Fender Standard"), because if it's 24.75 ("Gibson Standard"), the frets get too close together past the 19th/20th fret and you miss notes.

Push/pull coil split. Nice to have for the clean tones.

Color-matched headstock done right. On this particular style of Dean, the color-matching works.

Basswood body. I ordinarily don't mind basswood, but on a guitar with a Floyd-Rose tremolo system, that might be a problem. Why? Basswood is soft stuff that dents easily, and some players are really hard on a FR trem system. Hard player + soft wood = not good.

Pickups spaced too close together. As nice as it is that the 24-fret neck has a 25.5-inch scale, the tradeoff is that the 24 frets means the pickups have to be spaced close. This means the rear (bridge) pickup will sound fine but the front (neck) pickup will probably sound bland. Not bad. Just bland.

Possibly may have neck diving issue. A telltale sign that the guitar will have neck dive issues is if the top horn does not extend over the 12th fret. On this Dean, the top horn extends to the 13th, so... I'm not sure on this one. It might have neck dive issues or it might not; this is why I say it may possibly have a neck dive issue. The only way to know for sure is to strap it on and try it out.

Verdict

Looks good for what it is. I'm liking the black nickel and relatively simple electronics; it appears to be a no-nonsense metal guitar.

What I do not know is how good or not-good the trem system is. It might be great or it may be total crap. I'd have to use it in person to know for sure.

Comparable guitars in the same price range at the time of this writing:

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