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Reviewed by Dave Burluck in Guitarist
Issue June 2002
Dean EVO Phantom Guitar
Dean EVO Phantom
PRICE: £479
TYPE: Single-cut, archtop solldbody electric
BODY: Mahogany with arched top
NECK: Mahogany, glued in
SCALE LENGTH: 628mm (24.75-inch)
NUT/WIDTH: Graphite/42mm
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 is £569
FINISHES: Classic Black only
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 substitute.
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.

The initial 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 well indeed.
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 styles.

VERDICTDean EVO Phatom Test Results 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

Guitarist RATING ****