Dean Edge Hammer 10-String
A Review by Bob Nimmo
I recently purchased the New For 2004 offering from Dean and was not only pleasantly surprised by the level of quality for an import, but shocked. After owning nearly 40 different instruments over the years Iíve long since stopped being impressed by fancy parts, hot finishes, and boutique prices. I know exactly what I want an instrument to sound and feel like so I consider myself a tough customer whoís hard to impress. Suffice it to say that, despite one initial problem, I was impressed enough to put the Hammer to work alongside my trusty P-Basses right off the bat.Why 10 Strings?
The oil finished mahogany looks really nice and felt great under my fingers. Itís a very classy, natural look that reminds you immediately of a high buck Warwick. One minor complaint is that the finish is very thin and soft. The slightest nick leaves light specks in the finish. (Iíve had trouble contacting the factory, presumably due to their recent disaster, but intend to get some finish recommendations when I get through.) The rosewood board is smooth, looks great, and matches well visually with the body and neck. The 4-bolt neck joint is snug and rock solid. The body and neck both appear to be of 3-piece construction, but donít quote me on that. The seams are so close to invisible that Iím not entirely sure I even see them!
The fretwork is excellent especially for this price point. There are no sharp edges and I was only able to detect one small buzz at the 2nd fret A on the G strings. Well done! The nut is brass, which wouldnít be my first choice, but tone doesnít lie so I canít complain. The bridge design is a 2-piece Tune-O-Matic sort of affair with individual intonation adjustments for each string (yeah!) although I found the travel of the adjustment screws a bit short for perfect intonation. It isnít really noticeable until you get up around the 19th fret, but if youíre up there, take off the bass strings and go over to the dark side! One thing I found strange is that the string anchor is so short in height that the strings break over the bridge saddles and stretch across the back edge on the bridge base. (See photo.) I noticed no particular problems as a result, it just looks not quite right. Also, oddly, the rout for the string anchor is slightly oversized.
The black hardware looks sleek and functions well although, as is often the case with imports, the screws are cheap. Be careful or be prepared to replace them after only a few adjustments. Dean wisely chose not to cut corners with crummy tuners and installed Grovers. The stock strings felt and sounded fine, although a change of the bass strings to my favorite LaBellas immediately provided more punch. The octave string gauges are rather soft by comparison to some of the other manufacturerís basses weíre familiar with, but I have to say that I really like the feel. However, a quick perusal of JustStrings.com showed that it might be difficult to get replacements. Again, once Iím able to contact Dean, Iíll share any info I can get.
When I purchased this instrument, my goal was to beef up the sound of my band, yet still be able to play essentially the same lines I would normally play on my 5-string AND I wanted to continue to play fingerstyle if possible. Thatís a pretty tall order and the Dean delivered 100%. Although the string spacing is a bit snug, itís not much different than a 6-string bass and much more comfortable than a 12. The thing I really dig is that you can pluck the bass strings like you normally would on a regular bass or rake your fingertips slightly across the strings to get that huge octave sound. In a very short time, I was able to adopt this technique to great effect and now play this bass on well over half of my bandís material. Though I no longer play with a pick, I tried it just for the purposes of this review and wasnít disappointed. For those of you who favor the 12-string but want something just a bit cleaner and clearer to play speedier, more intricate lines, this could very well be the bass youíre looking for.
Being primarily a P-Bass guy, I really appreciated the familiar comfort of the Deanís rather conventional shape. The body is slightly larger than my Fenders, but isnít particularly heavy and balances the neck really well. Itís ever so slightly neck heavy, but not uncomfortably so. It doesnít neck dive at all, but rather hangs about level on a quality neoprene strap. (I hate slippery straps.) Iím sure the narrow ďGumbyĒ shaped headstock contributes to the even weight distribution as well. Perhaps itís the fact that I play a P-Bass Deluxe 5 most of the time, but I found the Deanís neck to be just fab. Itís not overly wide and itís flattened nicely across the back. I expected to feel some fatigue upon my return to the multi-stringed world, but after 2 hours of rehearsal with my band, I was still hauliní the mail with none of the cramps or tightness that us old cats who donít practice often get. Yeah!Got play?
As you can see from the photos, I personally have no use for bridge pickups, but for those of you who like that smooth J-bass type flattening of the tone you can only get with both pickups wide open, the Dean does it perfectly. The bridge pickup also blended nicely with the neck pickup and has the sweet high end necessary to really light up a multi amp setup. I wasnít crazy about the bridge pickup soloed, but then again I never have been by any bass ever, so my opinion here needs to be taken with a grain of salt. (Stingray? Madness!) The one single thing that just blew me away was the sound of the B-string(s). Itís extremely clear and present with a wonderfully evil grinding tone you can just feel in your bones. My drummer grins from ear to ear every time I get down there and start moving some air. That, in itself, was worth every penny.So?
Mahogany Body with Mahogany Bolt-On Neck, Oil Finish
Rosewood Fingerboard, 34Ē Long Scale
Two Dean Humbuckers with Active (9v) Bass & Treble, Volume, Blend
All Black Hardware with Grover tuners
Neck Dimensions: 1 7/8Ē at the nut, 2ĹĒ at the 12th fret, 2 25/32Ē at the 24th fret
String Spacing: Bass Strings 9/16Ē at the bridge, String pairs 3/32Ē Ė 1/8Ē depending on string gauge
G .045 / .016
D .065 / .020
A .085 / .025
E .105 / .035
B .125 / .050
The Dean Edge Hammer 10-String Part II
originally reviewed what was then the new Dean 10-string bass in 2004, I was
attempting to provide an unbiased playerís opinion of a new instrument
and, to that extent, I believe I was reasonably successful. Despite a
bit of ďHey, new bass!Ē over-enthusiasm, I still stand by my initial
assessment. However, after spending a couple of years with it and making
some modifications along the way, I thought it might be worth another
A (Very) Brief History
By Bob Nimmo
The opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own based on personal experience, preferences, mistakes, etc., or, the ravings of a complete lunatic. You be the judge. I realize that tone is a highly subjective issue, so I ask that you use the info contained here to realize what is possible in your own quest and not as my declaration of what is or isnít correct. I am NOT a compensated endorser for any products or services. Iím not even a wanna-be. What I am is a truck driver from Illinois who beats the hell out of a bass now and then when it doesnít get in the way of my fishing.
When Dean first introduced the Rhapsody model in 8-strings and 12-strings, there was quite a bit of interest in our community. How will a bolt-on neck hold up? Does it have one truss rod or two? (A glaring oversight in my original review. Oops! It has two.) Dean?! They havenít made a cool bass since the 80ís! The Edge Hammer 10-string model came out shortly thereafter and, although it did not feature EMG-HZ electronics, it was basically the same pieces / parts on a more basic body style. So, how did it hold up after all this time? Letís see.
When I first put my 10-string to work, I quickly became comfortable with the playability of it and saw the potential for what it could do to give my bandís overall sound a new dimension on certain material. As I do with all new instruments, I spent several gigs, rehearsals, etc. evaluating it in stock form to determine what I could do with it to get what I wanted out of it. That, along with certain design/construction issues with the instrument itself, led to a bit of research and a trip to see my longtime bass tech for the heavy lifting.
The Dean Edge Hammer 10-String Part II
When I originally reviewed what was then the new Dean 10-string bass in 2004, I was attempting to provide an unbiased playerís opinion of a new instrument and, to that extent, I believe I was reasonably successful. Despite a bit of ďHey, new bass!Ē over-enthusiasm, I still stand by my initial assessment. However, after spending a couple of years with it and making some modifications along the way, I thought it might be worth another look.
A (Very) Brief History
The Electronics & Tone
Repair & Retrofitting
My bass guy evaluated the mess I brought him and came up with a game plan. He ended up cutting a new self lubricating type nut that he recommended, re-setting the neck angle and shimming it properly with nice, snug wood shims to set the bridge height adjustment in the center of itís travel to allow future adjustments, touching up the frets, and setting it up to my specs.
He also did all of the electronic installation. We did have a few minor issues to deal with here. The first was that an 18v preamp obviously requires two batteries and, due to the location of the stock single battery box, there was no way to rout in a double battery box without cutting into the bridge and rear pickup routs on the front of the body. We solved this by simply placing the second battery in the control cavity. The second was that the preamp came with a blend control which we didnít need, and I insisted it be removed as I refuse to have useless circuitry in my signal path. This necessitated a call to Seymour Duncan who worked with us to rewire the preamp for our needs.
The next thing was merely a disagreement, as he wanted to leave the stock bridge pickup in for aesthetic reasons and I wanted it removed. He was horrified at the big gaping hole, but whoís payiní who here? Lastly, I had the input jack moved to one of the empty control holes on the front, which is simply a personal preference.