Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dean Custom Zone 4-String Bass Review


Well, today we are looking at a series of the homeliest basses that I have ever reviewed on Rex and the Bass. Nobody would argue that the Dean Custom Zone basses are certainly an eyeful, no matter how you look at them!

You will not find many Dean instruments on my blog, because I find most of them to be really hard to look at, so they are not what I play. But, that being said, most of the ones I have tried have been playable and capable of getting the job done. And that is what Dean has been about since 1977: getting tools into the hands of musicians, and usually for a pretty good price.

The Dean Custom Zone basses are available in incredibly garish colors, including Yellow (which I have never actually seen), Nuclear Green, and Fluorescent Pink. To put the appearance completely over the top, the color extends form the body to the fretboard, which is a breathtaking visual effect.

Once you get past the hue, these basses are pretty standard fare. The bodies have sort of a Precision Bass profile with point horns; they are carved from basswood, which is a soft wood that is easy to work with and still has nice tonal qualities. The body is loaded up with a passive P-bass style pickup that is wired through a tone pot and a volume knob. As there is no pickguard, there is a control cavity in the back, which would make adding active electronics quite a bit easier.

The 34-inch scale maple neck has a 1.5-inch wide nut, and there are black block inlays and 20 frets stuck into it. On the back of the headstock there is a set of black die-cast tuners, which match the die cast bridge. Everything does with black, apparently.

The Zone basses are made in China, and the build quality of the one I tried out is acceptable. The finish is a bit rough on the fretboard but the neck binding is clean and the frets are reasonably level. The one I tested was brand new and the set-up was really bad - it took an hour of fiddling around to get the intonation and action into the acceptable range. One this was done, there was not much to complain about. The neck has a comfy C-shape to it, and is very Jazz Bass-like, and the output of the pickup was strong and pleasant. As a bonus, this one was really light, weighing just a bit over 8 pounds. This would be a good rock bass, particularly for novice players.

Dean did ok with the Custom Zone bass, and they are certainly cheap enough, with a street price of $199.99 (list is $337.99), which includes a 5-year warranty. No case is included, so you will have to find your own (or not). Certainly you will want to try before you buy, as the pictures do not do these justice!


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