The Dean TE MBP Six String Guitar: Review

  • 12/16/2016
  • JamPlay, LLC
Dean Guitars were initially founded in 1976 by a man by the name of Dean Zelinsky who resided in the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. Zelinsky was a luthier but eventually became well known for being an innovator in the design of electric guitars (interestingly, he was the man who designed the spinning fur guitars for ZZ Top's "legs" video) and innovations like custom wound pickups. But after ten years of production, Dean made the monumental decision that he no longer wished to manufacture guitars and sold his legacy to a man by the name of Oscar Medeiros who held rights to the trademark until the mid 1990's. Madeiros, after contributing his own brand of genius to the production of guitars for a period of time then passed the company on to another man by the name of Elliot Rubinson who breathed life back into the faltering company and continues to own and operate the Tampa-based company to this day under the name "Armadillo Enterprises." Despite the fact that the company has changed hands numerous times, quality Dean guitars are still played and cherished by many well known artists ranging from Megadeath's Dave Mustaine to Pantera shredder Dime Bag Darrell.

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The Dean TE or Tradition Exotic MBP (Mapa Burl) model is composed of a solid spruce top with veneer burl wood back and sides, a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. The guitar is sealed in a polyurethane nitro finish and employs Ping sealed-die cast tuners on the wing-laden headstock (the wings were introduced by Dean Zelinsky himself and have remained on the headstock to this day). This guitar also features pearl dot inlays on the finger board and a woodcut rosette that graces the sides of the instrument. The body of the Dean MBP is considered a dreadnought by industry standards. The neck measures 1 and 5/8" at the nut and features a 20 fretted fingerboard, 14 of which are accessible.

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As mentioned previously, this particular model of guitar makes use of laminate sides and back which have proven to be stronger than solid wood and may prove to be a better choice for the musician who may be traveling about exploring the world, or someone who tends to be a little rough on their gear. Laminate compositions tend to pull up and bubble less than solid woods, utilize cross-grained connections as well as a whole lot of glue to pull the whole thing together. A guitar with this type of construction subsequently tends to be more durable, can take more punishment over time and might even be less prone to damage when not in the protective shelter of a guitar case. The polyurethane nitro finishes are durable as well but seem to lack the ability to wick away moisture or allow moisture to enter back into the instrument. This process may inhibit the guitar from aging well and may cause problems as the guitar ages.

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The Dean TE MBP is currently available for around $215 dollars and can be obtained either on-line or through your local vendors. The TE model is considered an entry level guitar and is more reasonably priced for the beginning to intermediate player. Considering the fair sticker price as well as its ease of play this model seems worth the expenditure.

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The Dean TE MBP has a bright, yet slightly tinny sound to it. It lacks any real mid-range or bass tones but feels light to the touch and is easy to play. On the down side, the guitar lacks projective quality and doesn't resonate as well as some other guitars in a similar price bracket. This lack of projection is likely due to the use of laminate woods and polyurethane finishes, and although there are some distinct benefits to using such materials such as affordability and durability the downside is a palpable sound differentiation. For the money though, the Dean TE MBP is a good value and a sound buy for the fledgling guitarist.