Dean Classic Palomino Electric Guitar

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Affordable Jazz hollowbody electric guitar

Apr 10, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Three pickups, five position switch, gorgeous blonde body.

Cons:None at this price.

The Bottom Line: If I didn't already have a great inexpensive quality Ibanez jazz guitar, I would buy this Dean hollowbody in a second.


Today, the two moderately priced full hollowbody ES-175 guitars that are common with all the appointments are the Epiphone ES-175 and the Ibanez Artcore series hollowbody.

In the same price range, but not as common is the Dean Palomino.

Affordable Jazz:

What makes the Palomino different than the five hundred dollar Ibanez Artcores or the Ephiphone ES-175 is that it does not have the standard dual humbucker mode. Instead, the similarly priced Dean hollowbody has three P-90 single coil pickups controlled by a five way Stratocaster type switch. To simply things, there is a volume knob and a tone knob. So for the money you are getting five disticntive sounds instead of three. The adjustable metal bridge sits on a nice rosewood base which resonates into the hollow body of the guitar. I like the vintage top hat knobs and they hearken to the days of old when Gibson and Epiphone put out their great jazz boxes.

Gorgeous Wood:

The laminated blonde maple on this model is worthy of a jazz guitar at twice the price tag. It's hard to know how Dean does this when it's not as common in an Epiphone or Ibanez unless one pays a couple of hundred more than what Dean is asking for.

The maple neck is solid and not too thick and the rosewood on the fretboard is nice and does not appear to be dyed. The frets, while not spectacular, are good for the price. They might have done better with a slightly thicker and taller fret. The white and black binding pulls this guitar all together. The parts, while chrome, may have looked better as gold plated parts but that is a small matter. I like the way the trapeze tailpiece with carved out treble clef looks against the beautiful polyurethane finished blonde body. While polyurethane does not breathe as well as a varnish or nitro finish, it adds incredible durability.

The 20 fret guitar has a combination block/split-parallelogram set in inlays on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, and 19th frets. They are very visible and striking on the rosewood fretboard. I wish they were a little shinier to get a more high quality look.

 Versatile Sound:

In the neck pickup alone, this jazz looking guitar has a standard be-bop tone, but that's where the similarities of this guitar and a dual humbucker jazz guitar end. The other four positions (bridge, bridge-middle, middle, middle-neck) are actually decent rock and roll tones. This guitar is especially suited for '50s rock and rockabilly. Being fully hollow does limited the amount of volume this guitar can take in front of an amp before achieving feedback due to the open f-holes on the upper and lower bout of the guitar.

The in between 2 and 4 positions on the switch give this hollowbody guitar an almost Stratocaster type of sound and this makes an already easy to play, versatile guitar that much more desirable.

On a $500 dollar jazz guitar, I would usually call for an upgrade of replacing the pickups to some Gibsons or Seymour Duncan/Dimarzios, but in this care, the P-90 pickups do the job just fine.

Besides the cheap looking block inlays on this instrument, Dean has otherwise cut fewer corners than Ibanez or Epiphone in such an affordable instrument. It's too bad that Dean does not have the recognition that Ibanez and Epiphone do in the hollowbody jazz and rockabilly department. That being said, Dean has no problem with their visibility in hard rock and heavy metal in their solidbody offerings and that stays true to Dean' s original hard rock pedigree not unlike Charvel or Jackson.

Due to the three P-90s pickups, and five positions and versatility to boot for a street price of $500 dollars, I must give this excellent value of a guitar 5 stars.

Kudos, Dean!


Recommend this product? Yes

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