Ever since Dimebag Darrell saw Dean guitars, he was instantly in love with them. As most are probably aware, he used Dean guitars for the majority of his career. The model in question? Dean ML.
In a way, Dimebag Darrell is largely responsible for Dean being in business today. His love for this specific model has made the owner of Dean restart the company, and continue making these awesome guitars. Nowadays, there are numerous Dean ML variants on the market. So much so that it’s hard to figure out which one to get.
With that said, one particular version has proven to be the best in terms of value for the money. Dean Dime From Hell CFH is what most consider to be the closest carbon copy of Dimebag’s Dean he used to love so much.
For a mid-range guitar, it brings a bunch of great features and the type of performance that fans of Dimebag are searching for. Without further ado, let’s dig right in.
Dean Dime From Hell CFH Review
When you look at Dimebag’s Dean ML, the one he used for the majority of the live shows, you will see it’s a lot different from what Dean used to offer at that time. The reason for this is Dimebag’s constant search for the perfect sound. He loved to experiment with different pickups. He removed the original humbuckers his Dean ML came with almost as soon as he got the guitar. Dean Dime From Hell CFH was designed to replicate the final state of Dimebag’s Dean. It’s safe to say it’s nearly a perfect match.
The story of Dimebag’s Dean ML is an interesting one. He won that guitar on a contest but has later decided to sell it in order to buy his first car. By his own words, he regretted that decision almost instantly. As luck would have it, the guitar changed hands several times, only to end up with Dimebag’s friend who kindly accepted to sell it back to Darrell. The guitar he received had a custom lightning paint job, which Dimebag liked a lot. The Dean Dime From Hell CFH comes with the same finish, replicated almost perfectly.
The body of the guitar is made of Mahogany. The neck is a set piece also made of Mahogany and comes with a Rosewood fretboard that features white binding along with standard dot inlays. In terms of hardware, you are looking at licensed Floyd Rose tremolo bridge on one side, and Grover locking tuners on the other.
Electronics are where things get interesting. Original Dimebag’s Dean ML had a Bill Lawrence XL500 at the bridge and Seymour Duncan ’59 at the neck. Dean Dime From Hell CFH comes with slightly different configuration. It still has Bill Lawrence humbucker at the bridge, but it’s an L500XL. The neck pickup is not a Seymour Duncan, but a Dean humbucker which offers a very similar tone. Pickups are controlled by two volume knobs, a tone knob, and a standard three-way pickup select switch.
Here’s a closer look at the Dean Dime From Hell by way of YouTuber FlyingTex.
Dean Dime From Hell CFH is simply built for speed. The neck profile makes it so easy to shred until your fingers are sore, and the fretboard is fast as they come. The guitar is perfectly balanced. Even if you have never played a Dean ML before, you will find Dean Dime From Hell CFH to be extremely comfortable. Floyd Rose type bridge that comes with this guitar is solid. It can take whatever abuse you throw at it, without dropping out of tune.
That is something you don’t often get to say about licensed Floyd Rose tremolo bridges. Seeing how dive bombs and squeals were a large part of Dimebag’s playing style, it would be crazy for Dean to put a weak tremolo bridge on a Dimebag Darrell tribute guitar.
The tone you get from the Bill Lawrence/Dean pickup combo is near perfect copy of what the guitar they’ve tried to emulate could deliver. When put together, these two humbuckers have so much range. It’s a perfect metal guitar, there’s no question about that, but it excels when you start driving fast thrash riffs. Combined with a decent amp, tone variations are almost endless.
That Bill Lawrence L500XL is capable of delivering some killer harmonics when you start to shred away. On the other hand, Dean’s humbucker has all the beef necessary to dish out fast driving riffs. In all honesty, this is probably the closest thing you can get to Dimebag’s Dean unless you want to personally customize a regular Dean ML.
With that said, it might not sit right with everyone. Being a tribute guitar, it offers the type of tone which made Dimebag Darrell famous. Obviously, it comes with some limitations. On the other hand, this guitar was designed for a niche group of people, so we can’t really call that unique sound color a flaw.
Dean Dime From Hell CFH is a very special guitar. For the most part, the whole Dean ML range was made popular by Dime, but people don’t realize just how different his own guitar was. The absolute best way to mimic his sound would be to build an exact replica on your own. Not everyone wants to do this, nor are they in a position to. That’s why Dean Dime From Hell CFH was created. It’s the closest carbon copy of Dimebag’s ML you can pick up in a store.
Whenever a brand releases a tribute guitar, you will have the most vigilant fans inspecting it very closely. In some cases, the guitars don’t pass this practical test and are labeled as a money grab attempt by the brand which designed it. That is not the case with this Dean.
It actually brings both the aesthetics and performance of Dimebag Darrell’s customized ML. With that in mind, we have to respect Dean for going above and beyond to produce such a guitar, even though they already offer a Dimebag signature lineup that includes a large number of models.