Dean Play EVO Guitar, Metalic Silver Review

Posted by Sherrie Kearney on Monday, November 28, 2011

Dean Play EVO Guitar, Metalic Silver
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First off: The official title for this guitar is; "Dean EVO Playmate P". There is also a "J" version so mind your Ps&Js. The only major difference I can see is that the P type has a Gibson style stop tailpiece and tuneomatic bridge. The J has a Fender style combination tailpiece and bridge. With the P you have a choice, black or silver finish. I chose silver.
For the cheaper price, you get just the guitar and NOT the package deal as shown in the photo. I already have an amp and all the trimmins'. I bought mine from Guitar Audio via ebay for $130 and it seemed the best deal at the time. They offered free shipping. Do some shopping around. I've seen the Playmate J selling for $100

Me: I've been messing around with guitars for over forty years. I've had my share of axes. I'm a woman (I'm a Gibson SGgirl who, more or less, aims to sound like Billy Gibbons) and I have smaller hands so regular scale guitars like Gibson and Fendercan be a bit of a stretch for me. I've wanted a decent short scale guitar for a while but there really isn't much out there that's reasonably affordable or set up as I've come to prefer. Both Dean and Fender have "mini-Strats", too, but I'm used to the Gibson stoptail and bridge layout and 3+3 tuner arrangement.

Guitar: Dean has been in business for over thirty years and they have have a reputation for quality while aiming at the metal shredder market. I'm no shredder so I wasn't particularly looking for a Dean product. I sort of stumbled across this and decided to give it a shot 'cause it looked cool and not so radical. I figured that if it turns out to be a dog, I'm not out too much. Well, Guitar Audio is a good dealer and I got my puppy within a week. I've been playing with it for nearly a month and I'm real pleased with my puppy. BTW, the guitar is made in China for Dean.

The body is basswood. Basic budget guitar wood. Nicely finished. I'm assuming the finish is urethane and it's sprayed on smooth and polished out well. The routings look clean and the control cavity looks like it's been painted with shielding paint. The cavity cover has a strip of metal foil underneath to add to the shielding. Nice detail touch for a budget ax.

The neck is two piece maple with a rosewood fingerboard. The neck glue joint looks solid. The neck is finished in a satiny clear and feels very silky. The neck profile is slim and fits my hand comfortably. After about a month, the neck hasn't done anything cheap like bend or twist. The truss rod is adjustable and comes with the proper size allen wrenchThe frets look average size and properly dressed. I don't feel any sharp edges.

The tuners look like they're Gotohs and should hold up with normal use. I tightened the buttons down just a little and there's a nice sense of precision when I tune up. FYI, Gotoh uses the same size of mounting hole as Grover or Schaller should you ever want to change. The pickups are said to be made by Dean. How could you tell?. Anyway, they sound good to me. They're F-spaced humbuckers so you have alot of options available if you ever want to mix and match. The bridge and stoptail also look like Gotoh and well made. The volume and tone controls seem a little stiff but smooth in action. The knobs are metal with plastic inserts and have a good, solid, feel in the hands. The output jack is side mounted on a metal jack plate. Looks pretty sturdy.

Set-up: Most guitars need a tweak before you play them and this one is no exception. Like many bolt-on necks, this one is set too shallow. The bridge bottoms out and you still have a high action. I have some 30 thou. brass shim stock, trim to fit and glued in at the back of the neck pocket. While I was at it, I got just a dab of moly grease with a cotton swab on the bridge studs and pins. Just enough to keep the bridge adjust mechanism from binding. Neck back in place and I could get the action as I like it without any problems. You can get a pretty low action on this neck before you start to hear fret buzz. This being a short scale neck, you might consider using slightly heavier gauge strings. There's less tension so light gauge strings tend to fret rattle.

Beefs: If I have one, it's a personal taste thing. I don't like where the pickup switch is. As a SG girl, I'm used to having the switch near the bridge. I keep hitting the volume knob instead. Moving things around is a little work and I haven't done anything about it just yet. When I do I'll probably replace the switch, too. The lever arm feels a little wiggly-wobbly to me.

The guitar comes without a case or gigbag. I bought a bag from Gator that they claim is for 3/4 size guitars (39 inches). It's about 2 inches too short for this guitar. I found one on ebay that fits. Look for one that is 41 inches long. (This just in: Road Runner makes a nice semi-hard case for about $55-60. This guitar fits perfect in it.)

Conclusion: OK, this is no Gibson Custom Shop work but I'm really impressed with the quality of this guitar for the price. (I only hope the Chinese workers got paid fairly.) Whether you are a beginner or have played a while and want a short neck I really suggest you give this model a close look. "So how does it play, Phyllis?", they shouted!Ham handed chunka-chunka style as I play, I like how it plays, too! Some chords that required a stretch across the fingerboard seem easier to finger, for example.

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Product Description:
Dean Playmate EVO is a perfect blend of vintage design, old world craftsmanship and decades of guitar building technology. This affordable yet stylish member of that family has a lightweight basswood body in a High Gloss Finish for a "high-end" look, with a maple neck and 22-fret rosewood fingerboard.A set of Dean high-output humbuckers deliver the sonic goods, while the adjustable TOM-style bridge keeps you in tune for the length of the gig. Great for players of any level, but is truly ideal for the beginning guitarist who wants an attractive model as their first guitar. Case not included.Available in Classic Black and Metallic SilverPlayEVO~Solid Basswood Body~24 3/4" scale~Maple Neck~Rosewood fingerboard~SealedTuners~Pearl DOTinlay~Black hardware~Tune O Matic Bridge~Dean Pickups

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