AudioRumble rating 82/100
What We like
Beautiful wood grain.
Very good electronics.
Solid hardware that won’t let you down.
What We don't like
Does not include a case with the price of the guitar.
Distinctive sound may not be for everyone.
If you walk into a music store and a Dean Exotica Quilted Ash is hanging on the wall and your eyes aren’t drawn to it, then you are dead inside. This is a beautiful guitar with a rock edge.
The Exotica Quilted Ash by Dean is a steel-string acoustic/electric guitar. The body shape is in that of a grand auditorium with a cutaway.
Laminate quilted ash is used for the top, back, and sides. This is the focus of the guitar from a visual standpoint, and it effects the sound as well. It is bordered on the top and back with celluloid binding. It has a gloss finish to show-off the wood grain of the ash. The scale length is 641mm (25.25”).
The set neck is made of mahogany. It has a C-shaped profile and a rosewood fingerboard. The 21 frets are adorned with abalone dot inlays. The headstock sports the Dean name and logo. The neck joins the body at the 14th fret with a dovetail neck joint.
The rosewood bridge is carved into the unique “wing” shape has a compensated saddle. The rosette is inlaid wood.
It is loaded with the Dean DMT 12NR preamp. The controls include a 3-band EQ and presence. There is a built-in tuner that works whether the guitar is plugged in or not. There are two outputs, which are a balanced XLR and a standard 1/4” jack.
There are four available finishes, which are: Gloss Natural, Trans Black, Trans Brazilia, and Trans Cherryburst. There is also a 12-string version (it is only available in the Gloss Natrual). There is a left-handed model, but it is only available in the Gloss Natural. All the colors accent the wood grain of the quilted ash, except the black which mutes the most distinctive aesthetic of the guitar.
The hardware is chrome, which includes six Grover tuners and two strap buttons.
There is no case included in the price of the guitar, so one will need to be purchased separately. Dean suggests their HS DA, HS DA BLK, or LL D cases.
There is no denying that the Exotica is a beautiful guitar. The signature Dean elements of the headstock and bridge give the guitar a definite rocker look. The tuners are very stable, which is no surprise given that they are Grovers.
I own an electric that has an ash body, but this is the first acoustic I’ve run across made with ash. The ash gives it a different tonal quality that is hard to describe, it’s like trying to dance architecture attempting to describe tone at times. There is a crispness to the sound that doesn’t quite sound like anything else. It is well balanced between the registers with good dynamics. The electronics are very good as well.
If you are looking to stand out from the rest, then the Dean Exotica Quilted Ash is an excellent choice. It is both beautiful looking with a distinctive voice that should draw both the eye and the ear.
AudioRumble rating 82/100