Dean ML XM Review – Metal On A Budget
Despite its limitations, this is a solid entry-level guitar from Dean with iconic metal looks, decent pickups, a lightweight body and neck, and an all-round excellent price – perfect for beginners.
Dean produce some excellent budget guitars that suit beginners and experienced players alike, and this super affordable ML XM is no different. It has its limitations, but what do you expect for around $160?
This is an awesome looking, eye-catching budget electric guitar with a dark, elegant feel that just begs to be played heavy and fast. It sports Dean’s unique ML ‘winged warrior’ shape, which has been used by some of rock’s biggest names – Dimebag Darrell, Michael Angelo Batio, and Adrian Smith to name a few!
There’s a double cutaway, 24.75” scale length body that offers great access to the highest frets. The body is made from solid Paulownia, which is a lightweight, resonant, good looking wood, with the transparent black paint job subtly showing it off. There’s a sturdy bolt-on C-shaped neck made from maple, with a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets, with white dot inlays.
The body V is complemented at the other end with a classic V-shaped 3+3 headstock, featuring the Dean wing logo, and top-notch 14:1 Grover tuners – a good addition.
It’s a durable guitar that feels like it could take some abuse, and – even though it’s highly mass-produced – it shows decent craftsmanship.
At $160, this guitar isn’t oozing with features and naturally has its limitations. However there are still two pickups – Dean-designed humbuckers at the bridge and the neck. Of course, they are basic stock pickups, but they give you enough volume and aggression to enjoy playing the heaviest of metal, while articulate enough to enjoy every note.
There are three control knobs – two volume (one for each pickup) and a master tone control, along with a three-way pickup selector switch. So quite a bit of control and versatility, and good for the price.
The string-through Tune-o-matic style fixed bridge is also very good. What it lacks in a whammy bar, it makes up for in good sustain and tuning stability, especially when combined with the Grover tuners.
Out of the box the guitar doesn’t come with much, and – for such an extravagantly shaped guitar – it’s a shame there’s no accompanying gig bag. However for the price we can let them off.
For such a wallet-friendly price, the ML XM performs surprisingly well. It’s lightweight, which would suit a beginner, and has a fast and comfortable neck. More experienced guitarists on a tight budget would also find some pleasure in this guitar, although some corners are cut to keep the price down.
The stock pickups aren’t going to blow anyone away, but they give you enough power to produce some good metal sounds and, combined with a good amp, aren’t going to give you a problem. It’s also relatively versatile, with clean tones coming across nicely – although played with distortion is when this guitar performs best.
- Very good budget price
- Awesome metal looks
- Lightweight body and neck – great for beginners
- Grover tuners and string-through bridge
- A case is sold separately
- Fixed bridge means no whammy bar