The spirit of a legendary player lives on in this sleek axe.
By Ara Ajizian
When you think of legendary guitarists, it's a safe bet that you most always picture them playing an instrument that's as storied as the players themselves – Hendrix's cream-colored Strat, John Lennon's stripped Casino, Ace Frehley's sunburst Les Paul, Angus Young's SG. Although he played many guitars over the years, when you think of Dimebag Darrell, you no doubt picture him shredding on – and perhaps launching bottle rockets from – the one and only Dean From Hell. With its blue finish, lightning bolt graphics, KISS sticker, and Dimebag's own scrawl on the headstock proclaiming the guitar's name, the Dean From Hell is as much a part of Dime's legacy as his playing.
At 16, Darrell had his sights set on winning a local guitar contest and the first prize of a maroon Dean ML. As luck would have it, his dad had already saved up and ordered his son an ML Standard, which arrived the same day as the contest. After easily winning the competition, young Darrell became in one day the proud owner of two of his favorite guitars.
Dime soon found himself in need of some wheels, and a particular Firebird had caught his eye. Needing $600 to get the car, he weighed his options and decided to sell the ML he won in the contest. It was a decision Dime would find himself regretting not long after, since he preferred the sound of that guitar to the one his dad had bought him.
Dime's ML finally ended up in the hands of guitarist Buddy Blaze, who had the axe custom-painted with the blue finish and white lighting bolts we all know and love. After getting to know Blaze, Dime often asked Buddy to sell the guitar back to him, but Blaze wouldn't part with it. After failing to deliver a different custom guitar to Dime as a trade for a Flying V, Blaze finally relented and sent the ML to Dime. It is this pure version of the Dean From Hell – as it appeared on the album cover of Cowboys From Hell – that Dean has painstakingly re-created as the Dean From Hell/CFH.
The Dean From Hell/CFH is not just an extraordinary tribute to Darrell, it's a guitar that you will treasure owning and playing. Built to the same specs as the Dean From Hell, this guitar sports a mahogany body, rosewood fretboard, and 24-3/4" scale. The finish is remarkably accurate; I actually got a bit of a chill when I looked at it for the first time. Every fan of Dime knows this guitar, but to actually experience that legendary lightning bolt finish up close is something that's hard to put into words. The chills continued when I plugged it in and let it rip.
It doesn't take long to figure out why Dime loved this guitar so much. In the bridge position sits a Bill Lawrence L500XL humbucker, complemented by a Dean humbucker in the neck position. From a tonal perspective, this dichotomy really makes anything possible with this guitar. The L500XL is perfect for killer harmonic squeals and blazing leads, while the Dean 'bucker provides warmth and crunch that's ideal for chugging riffery. A simple flick of the three-way toggle takes you from one to the other or combines them for the ultimate in metal tone.
So we've covered looks and sound – now you're probably wondering how it plays. The simple answer is that it plays how you'd expect it to play – fast, furious, and superbly responsive. The licensed Floyd Rose trem is capable of the baddest bombs you can drop without going out of tune. Rip out a harmonic and take it to outer space – Dime-style!
The Dean From Hell/CFH is one of those guitars that makes you feel like you're 10 times the player you think you are. The action is perfect and the neck just begs you to play your fastest. There are also touches here and there that really make this a player's axe, including Dimebag traction knobs that prevent slipping once the sweat starts to pour and tape around the neck pickup to prevent the strings from getting caught when you're working the trem – two modifications that the man himself created and implemented on his own guitars.
The original Dean From Hell went through quite a transformation over the years as Darrell not only played the hell out of it, but made it part of the show. The Dimebag Dean From Hell/CFH offers you the shiny original, and it's up to you how you want to Dime-ify your own. Whether you want to keep it pristine or fire some bottle rockets off the headstock [check your local ordinances], this is one guitar that you'll definitely getcha pull off!
Features & Specs
- Mahogany body and neck
- Rosewood fretboard
- Bill Lawrence L500XL bridge pickup
- Dean humbucker neck pickup
- Licensed Floyd Rose tremolo
- 24-3/4" scale
- Grover tuners
- Blue finish
- Lightning bolt graphics
- Built using original Dean From Hell's specs
Tags: Electric Guitars