Perfectly combining classic design with contemporary features in one decked out and ready-to-go package — the NashVegas Select Floyd from Dean Guitars is one heck of a professional-level guitar that you don't have to break the bank to enjoy. Nick Jennisontells us more.
Florida's Dean Guitars are synonymous with some of the best hard rock and metal players of all time - from metal juggernauts like Dimebag Darrell and recently Kerry King to uber-shredders Vinnie Moore and Michael Angelo Batio and rock pioneers like Leslie West and Michael Schenker. Dean Guitars is also known for the outrageous shapes and finishes that favoured by the aforementioned rock giants.
It's not all spikes and flames though. Dean Guitars produce a whole range of more "traditional" shapes, exemplified by the Nashvegas Select Floyd. It's a rare breed of guitar: a "Supertele". It shares the same combination of bolt-on neck, humbuckers and tremolo that define its more common cousin, the "Superstrat", but with the distinctive silhouette of Leo's "other guitar". It's a look that screams 85'-95’ rock, and that's a good thing.
It's not just skin deep either. With a wickedly fast maple and ebony neck and a great setup from the factory (including a set of 9s - top marks for that, Dean!), the NashvegasSelect Floyd is a joy to rock out on, and shreddy lead passages are a breeze. This, along with the comfort contours on the body and the perfect weight distribution add up to a guitar that practically plays itself.
The simplicity is the name of the game with the controls on this guitar - there's a three-way toggle on the lower horn (a nod to Dean's iconic ML), a master volume and a master tone and that's it. It's such a "given" these days that humbucker guitars will come equipped with coil splits that I instinctively tugged at the pots in search of one and was surprised when I didn't find it, but on reflection, the decision to keep the NashvegasSelect Floyd "humbuckers only" adds a sense of focus to the instrument. Also, the two pickups are different enough to provide plenty of tonal versatility. The Duncan Custom in the bridge is mid-focussed and biting with a pronounced "aw" vowel, almost like there's a Tube Screamer hiding in there. It's a fabulously aggressive and vocal rock voice, and while it's a little obnoxious when set clean, it positively wails through even moderate levels of crunch. By contrast, the Alnico Pro II in the neck is wide open and chiming, with a great vintage character and plenty of sparkle up top and air in the low end. Great for cleans and lead lines alike, this pickup also seems to dominate the middle position, producing a pretty convincing voice for country, soul and even reggae.
The "Floyd" that gives the guitar its name is a Korean-made Floyd Rose 1000 series tremolo that's solid as a rock when it comes to tuning stability, but as lively and responsive as any trem I've laid hands on. Guitarists of a certain age may remember the raging internet debates surrounding the merits of "licensed Floyds" vs "USA Floyds", but if the unit in this guitar is anything to go by I can confidently say that the argument is over.
The Dean Nashvegas Select Floyd is a straight-up, no-nonsense rock machine that plays great and looks eye-catching without being gaudy. It comes with some killer appointments (including a hard case), and it's capable of more tonal diversity than you might imagine. Most of all though, it's a lot of fun.
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