TYPE: Single-cut, archtop
BODY: Mahogany with arched top
Mahogany, glued in
SCALE LENGTH: 628mm (24.75-inch)
ELECTRICS: Two Dean humbuckers, three-way toggle
pickup selector, master volume and tone
WEIGHT (kg/Ib): 3.7 /8.6
RANGE OPTIONS: Other EVOs include the EVO X
(£259) and the EVO Special Select (£549). The EVO Special 7-string
FINISHES: Classic Black
Bill Lewington 01268 413366
|Dean guitars has finally
found the right distributor in the UK and the huge catalogue is now fully
available. As with the vast majority of models bearing the Dean name, the EVO
range comprises no less than 11 similar-looking guitars at widely differing
price points and, arguably unlike the remainder of the names featured here. the
Phantom is aimed at the heart of the nu generation.
Although the EVO is a
new range, we would have initially assumed that the influence of its single-(w
design lay at the door of Gibson. But, with a beautifully shaped archtop and
extended lines to the solid mahogany body, the look is far more towards that of
the PRS Singlecut. This is probably a happy coincidence but, with the latter
guitar finding itself in the hands of many a top nu-metal guitarist, this fact
will surely not escape the notice of players on the look-out for an affordable
The finish is a deep and glossy classic black, a vibe that's
backed up by the use of black hardware - a tune-omatic-type bridge, stud
tailpiece and Grover tuners. The headstock, subdued by Dean's usual split-V
standards, bears a very classy logo and winged trademark, faultlessly fashioned
from what certainly appears to be genuine mother of pearl.
US-only incarnation of the Phantom featured a pair of humbuckers with rails
rather than six pole pieces, but this 2002 version is loaded with two Dean HBs
that take their look from EMG. These are controlled by the simplest array of
all: a three-way toggle, a master volume and master tone.
Dean has also
opted for mahogany as the neck material and the general feel is akin to that of
a speedy Les Paul, if such a thing existed. Although of a standard width all
the way down, the actual profile is one of the shallowest of the six guitars
we've featured and, with a set-up out of the box that includes .010 gauge
strings and a nice, low action, the shorter Gibson-style scale length makes for
a comfortable playing experience.
It's certainly worth mentioning that the
heel allows for an almost thruneck, rather than a traditional glued-in,
arrangement, and has surely been hand-finished such is the quality of the work
here. Whether there's room in the nu genre for `thumb on the back of the neck'
widdling is a discussion for another time, but the Phantom would doubtless
assist rather than hinder anyone trying this technique.
SOUNDS: The straightforward control array sacrifices
versatility compared to some of the other guitars here. But for brute force
-thanks perhaps to the large mass of mahogany -the Phantom does the grind very
Through our Boogie, the amp's characteristic high-end dive
coupled with its massive bass response finds itself well suited to the guitar
as its pickups possess enough signal to fulfil all crunch requirements.
String-balance is something of a problem area, as the treble three tend to get
lost in the aural hurricane at the highest gain settings. Mind you, this is
more than made up for the performance of the neck pickup, which roars,
especially when we tuned down to C-sharp. Ouch!
Soloing is a joy, thanks to
the set-up, neck profile and heel construction we mentioned earlier - and the
frets are just big enough without falling into the `rail tracks' category, thus
allowing a nicely musical vibrato.
Cleanly, the Phantom does its job
without too much fuss, and we found that the middle position selection offered
the best of both worlds, pickup-wise: the bridge pickup's zing coupled with a
nice dollop of warmth from the neck'bucker is just the ticket for a wealth of
VERDICT The `none more black' finish
ensures that the Phantom's vibe factor rides high. There are other models -
with different specs and finishes - available in the EVO range but, for playing
numetal, the Phantom has to be the pick of the bunch.
Although we'd have
liked a slightly better performance from the Dean humbuckers, the feel of the
neck and the look, courtesy of a genuinely classy carved top and headstock
inlay, make this particular ghost an impressive instrument.
The EVO Special
7string option features thru-body stringing, which would have made the Phantom
a clear winner here but, even as it stands, you could do a great deal worse
than plump for this black beauty. Dean EVO Phantom