Dean ML79

Price Paid: 
Country of origin: 
Body wood(s): 
Mahogany with flame maple veneer
Neck wood: 
Rosewood with abalone dots
Fretboard Scale: 
Number of frets: 


- Very good feel. The neck is just chunky enough, it plays like butter. Fretwork is fine and allows relatively low action without problem.
- Unplugged, the guitar is very loud and resonant. For a mahogany guitar, it sounds rather bright.
- No problem with tuning stability, probably thanks to the Grover tuners.
- It looks good. You won't go unnoticed with such an axe.  
- Not too heavy, and well balanced. 



- The stock pickups sound surprisingly articulate and they're quite decent to start with, but they eventually lack power and character. They're also sensitive to feedback and hum/electric interference. I replaced them with a set of Duncans (SH1 neck / SH5 bridge), which gave the guitar a cool early '80s tone and vibe. - The nut is low-grade and the fretboard markers are not perfectly centered between the G and D strings, probably because of a poor nut alignment. I'm planning a nut replacement. - There are several finish flaws: the "Dean" decal on the headstock is not well positioned, and one of the rows of tuning pegs is slightly closer to the edge of the headstock than the other. Less important flaws include the junction between the body and neck bindings, which is not the cleanest possible, and a small area lacking paint at the top of a headstock horn, probably due to friction in the factory cardboard packaging. - The strap button located at the heel of the neck can be annoying, like on a SG. The guitar is also really unwieldy because of its size and shape, but I won't complain, since it's pretty obvious to figure this out when you buy such a guitar... - The guitar doesn't come with a gigbag or case. I suppose you can't expect too much for the price, but the cardboard packaging was ridiculously thin and small.


This is a perfectly giggable guitar well suited for late 70s-early 80s stuff (think Iron Maiden, Saxon, UFO…), and tonewise it's a nice match for my DSL head. There's room for improvement, especially with respect to build quality, but nonetheless it's a reasonable deal in this price range. Its main strength lies in its excellent playability.

Overall Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)