Want to start playing the guitar? Into metal and heavier styles of music? In this Dean Vendetta Review we’ll be looking at this exceptionally cheap metal guitar and discussing it’s suitability. Aimed squarely at beginner guitarist, it’s not got the wow of more expensive guitars. But how does it perform as a beginners guitar? Let’s find out more.
Overview of Dean Vendetta
The Vendetta is a full scale guitar at 25.5″. It’s solid body is made from Paulownia wood. It’s a good choice for beginners because it’s so light, however it does mark easily. That’s a particular problem with the Vendetta due to it’s satin finish.
The maple neck is bolted onto the body. Some say that affects resonance, but Fender mainly use the bolt on method for most of their guitars. Of course, the manufacturing process is going to be different from producer to producer. However, it’s not uncommon to find a bolt on neck on a guitar aimed at beginners.
The neck profile is a C-shape. It’s remarkably comfortable making it easy to traverse. Of course that’s important for a guitar aimed at metal guitarists. On top of the maple neck we find a black walnut fingerboard. Black walnut is cheap, which is probably why it’s been selected for the Vendetta. Again it’s quite a soft wood, so there may be problems with fret stability overtime. Something to be wary of.
There are 24 medium jumbo frets, giving plenty of room for shredding. The action is pretty good out of the box, with a minimum of pressure required to fret. Again something that’s to be expected as a minimum for a metal guitar. Pearl doy inalys mark out the key frets.
Moving toward the headstock we find a plastic nut. I generally don’t like plastic nuts, however given the price of the guitar it’d be foolish to expect anything else. You could probably have it replaced, but i’m not sure it’d be worth it in the long run.
The headstock has a nice design with “Vendetta” stamped above the truss rod cover. The die cast tuning machines aren’t anything to write home about. The Vendetta is also available with a Tremolo (the XMT model) but tuning stability when using a tremolo bar is horrendous. I wouldn’t advise going for the XMT unless you’re willing to replace the tuning machines for something more stable.
At the other end of the guitar we find a tune-o-matic bridge, pretty common in beginner guitars. It’s also used in some of the more epensive Epiphone guitars. There are two DMT design humbucker pickups controlled by a 3-way toggle switch. They’re both passive pickups, but produce a decent output.
Again the pickups aren’t anything to write home about, but they do a decent job. I hate the pickup housing. I feel a raised and exposed housing affects the aesthetic of the guitar, but perhaps that’s a matter of personal preference.
The 3-way pickup selector switch allows you to select between the bridge only pickup at position 1, both the bridge and neck pickups at position 2 and the neck pickup only at position 3. As well as the 3-way pickup selector there are two other control knobs, both finished with black dome controls. One controls the master volume and the other the master tone. It’s probably a good thing not to have too many controls on a beginners guitar. It’s much simpler that way.
In terms of tone the Vendetta produces a clean and bright tone when clean at the bridge position. It’s not the same, but it’s reminiscent of the clean tone of a Fender Stratocaster. The middle position is nice when playing clean, giving a nice mix of mid and treble.
When you throw is some distortion the Vendetta reveals it’s metal dark side. The bride position is great for rhythm work and will work for some lead work too. The neck is great for soloing, and again the middle position gives you a nice balance of both worlds. All in all, the tone is definitely suited to those who want to play heavier styles. There’s not much here for blues and jazz guitarists.
The Vendetta comes with a set of D’Addario EXL120 .009’s attached. They’re not bad, definitely a step up from the stock strings you’d usually expect to find on beginner’s guitars. They’re nice and light, good for those wanting to play metal. However you may want to swap them out for your preferred gauge and brand.
One thing that contributes to the price of this guitar is the fact that it’s manufactured in China. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, some excellent guitars are produced in countries where production costs are a lot less. However there is more room for variation from guitar to guitar. I’d always recommend having the guitar given the once of at your local guitar store to ensure that it’s optimally set up.
The Dean Vendetta is a very competitively priced guitar. It’s certainly an option for those who are just getting started and want to play heavier styles. However, given that there’s a real risk of easily damaging the softwood body, and a risk that frets may become loose over time due to the soft black walnut used in the fingerboard, I’d be more inclined to recommend the ESP LTD EC10, which is a similar price to the Vendetta.
Overall the EC10 is built using better materials, and is more comfortable to play whilst still suitable for those who want to play heavier styles. I’m also not sure about the longevity of the Vendetta. The softwood used for the fingerboard is a bit of a concern.
Usually a guitar will last a long time, and a guitarist will only want to upgrade when they’re looking for better features. However I feel that you might be forced to either replace the neck and fingerboard or upgrade out of necessity with the Vendetta.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. Looking for something else? Check out my Electric Guitar Page for more guitars. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page. Want to know more about the Dean Vendetta? Click the link below.
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases, which helps to keep the site going. When you click a link on this page it may go to a supplier with whom I have an affiliate relationship. This won’t increase the price you pay. I don’t recommend any product that I haven’t used myself or thoroughly researched.