Dean Rhapsody 12-String Basses

Early Rhapsody 12 on the left next to a 2nd series Rhapsody; there are some minor design differences.

The Dean Rhapsody 12-string bass was introduced in 2000 by Dean Musical Instruments in Tampa, Florida. The Rhapsody design was created by designer Ben Chafin. Chafin stated, “I had the design on the wall for a while and it finally came together when Dean wanted to do an 8-string and a 12-string bass. I designed the Razor 4-string bass at the very same time and introduced them at the same time as well. The Rhapsody just seem to have the right body for a 12-string. It has a slightly arched top, kind of boutique looking. It just all seemed to come together - what the boss wanted and what I had in mind.”

Chafin continued, “It was just a matter of finding the right Korean manufacturer who knew how to do it. The problem with the Korean manufacturers is a lot of them will say they can do something, and then they figure out how to do it after they get the contract. They just don't want to turn down business. I make working models and we string them up and everything. I let guys take them to gigs. We like to build several different models and put them through the paces to find out what they do or don't like about them. We get great feedback from the guys that work here too - just about everyone that works here is a guitar or bass player. Once a design is selected we send the working model to Korea. They basically reverse engineer it."

Stephen Jay and Pete Gallagher performing as the duo ‘Ak & Zuie’.

When asked about why he wanted to design and build a 12-string bass, Chafin stated, “Kings X! I just like the sound of the 12-string bass and I think they are really cool. You should hear a guy like Stephen Jay of Weird Al Yankovic’s band play one. He stopped by right after we got our samples in. The guy is a great bass player. He's got a couple of solo project CD's out. He has some music that he has written that is Celtic sounding, which was originally composed on a 4-string and he played it on our 12-string basses and he was floored by the sounds he was getting out of the 12. He said he would have a hard time going back to playing his music on a 4-string."

As of late 2008 the Rhapsody 12-string bass was discontinued and no longer appeared on the Dean website. Sources told us it was due to the Korean builder going out of business and no replacement had as yet been found. The 12 returned to the Dean website a year or two later and it remains a current production model. The Rhapsody 12 has remained relatively unchanged since it was first introduced. It is only available in the Transparent Black finish.

Early Rhapsody 12’s have the Dean logo centered on the headstock between the tuners.

Current Rhapsody 12’s have the Dean logo positioned on the end of the headstock


The Rhapsody 12 incorporates relatively wide spaces between the string courses.


Dean sells the Rhapsody 12 through a variety of online musical instrument retailers as well as from their own website. Due to it’s 20-year longevity, the Dean Rhapsody 12-string bass is far and away the highest selling model of 12-string bass ever produced.

While the bridge and tailpiece on most Rhapsody’s are black, chrome hardware has been seen.

Brass nut. Note: The truss rod covers on current Dean 12’s are not the same size or shape as the early 12’s.

Due to how the necks are bolted onto the body, it’s not unusual for there to be a small gap between the body and the underside of the neck.

The 9-volt battery compartment is separate from the electronics cavity.

Grover tuners