All posts by jefwith1f

The Gear that Should Not Be: 1980 Dean ML

NGD: 1980 Dean ML

This is what a mid-life crisis looks like when you are in your 40's and are into pointy guitars
Jef and his 1980 Dean ML

So I’ve had some money earmarked to buy myself a guitar as a wedding gift. I figured I’d get something classy. Maybe an ES-295,

Gibson ES-295
Gibson ES-295

or something antique. I would really love a turn-of-the-century Gibson Style-O Artist (although they are $8000 these days)

antique Gibson, Style O
GIbson Style 0

and I had a pending offer out on a 1959 ES-125 that would have made an interesting and historic addition to the collection and was closer to my budget, but the seller never called back.

Gibson ES-125
GIbson ES-125

Well, I guess we’re doing the opposite of that.

1980 Dean ML
1980 Dean ML in front of THE ONLY AMPS THAT IT NEEDS

Brazen and obnoxiously pointy then?

My new (to me) Dean ML, beside it's parents
1991 Gibson Lonnie Mack Flying V, 1980 Dean ML, 1996 Gibson Explorer

I’ve admired Deans from afar for some time. I am a particular fan of how they mash classic Gibson designs together, like the Cadillac

Dean Cadillac
Dean Cadillac

(Explorer + Les Paul) or the ML which is a cross of my two favourite body designs (Explorer + Flying V) with additional high end appointments like flamed maple tops and (then new) custom DiMarzio pickups. This model is from the third year of Dean production, when the small factory of about 20-25 staff would have been putting out about 40 instruments a week. You don’t see many Deans from this era because there aren’t many (although they did get into some high profile players hands quickly as rock and roll got to a point where V’s and Explorers fit in a bit better)

At the time, these were also priced higher than their corresponding Gibson brethren, so quality needed to be at a premium to justify it. Whoosh, does this thing sing! It feels and plays great. The case is a bit beat up, but all the latches and hinges work, and it’s done well at protecting its guitar as the cleanliness of instrument belies it’s 37 years of history.

If anything it is somewhat worrying that this doesn’t pass the case test.  The instrument should be in similar condition to the case, and the case is shy of “thrashed”, although is clearly an original ML case (nothing else would fit, and it has details that make it clear that it is orginal), but the instrument is in such good conditions, could it be a replica or copy?

Thing is, while these early Dean’s are worth a decent amount of coin, not so much to warrant the detail that has gone into copying this I’d thing.  Really nice wood has been used, and the pickups and electronics and fit and finish are all wonderful.  As I play it more I think this might be one of the nicest playing instruments I own.  If it’s a copy, I don’t care, as I definately feel like I have an instrument that plays and feels at least as well as it should based on price and build quality.

Best I can tell, it’s either original as is, or perhaps it has become lost from it’s original case, but is mated with another, albeit more beat up version of it’s original case (Trust me, ML fitted hard cases are both rare, and distinct.  you couldn’t fit anything else in this case)

I can think of few instruments less appropriate for a pudgy balding middle-aged man, which come to think of it, also describes the seller pretty well. Dimebag Darryl, eat your heart out. We are your legacy.

In the mean time, I am now officially a fan of early Dean’s and perhaps Dean’s in general. I will certainly be taking a closer look next time I come across one.

Safety First!

There comes a time in a rock-band’s life that one realizes the priority is no longer about landing that sweet gig, getting your instrument perfectly in tune, or finally falling in love and starting a family with one of your drug-addled groupies.


The priority is, and always should have been: Safety.

“As an international traveler, captain of industry, and drummer of some repute, I’ve seen first hand the damage caused to countless organizations caused by lack of safety” said Jay Deen. “If I had a dime for every time I saw safety deficiencies ruin what should have been good times, I’d have….$23.46.”

“As a paramedic who routinely deals with people who have run afoul of their lack of safety I can assure you that the general populace absolutely should be making safety a priority.” says multi-instrumentalist Alex Needleman. “In fact,  if you saw some of the stuff I’ve seen, I guarantee you you’d think twice about roller-blades, lawn-darts and pogo-sticks.”,  adding, “That shit will kill you.”

Bassist Michael Warkentin spoke to us from his home without floors. “As a recent father, I can tell you that raising a child in a bespoke home lacking floors is definitely sub-optimal, and probably not at all safe.”, the sounds of a vomiting child echo off the walls from another room, “Honestly, I should probably go out and get some disinfectant, band-aids, and foam padding.”

At time of writing guitarist Jef Theysmeyer could not be reached for comment, although we are told he has locked himself in a room and is working on an arrangement of Men Without Hat’s classic hit ‘Safety Dance’.

Where The Hell Have We Been?

Believe it or not, we still exist.

The band is on it’s 4rth incarnation, however, we continue to trek along and the line-up contains more founding members than you might think after 20-odd years making music together.

A brief history of Saucer:

V1 – Aaron, Alex, Jay, Jef

Formed in Waterloo in 199<coughs>…we had dreams of conquering the world with rock and roll.  Well…we enjoyed being creative and making noise together and after some initial success (winning UWaterloo Battle of the Band as well as making an appearance on 1997’s CFNY’s New Music Search CD) we migrated to Toronto and cut our teeth on the local music scene.

V2 – Alex, Jay, Jef

Aaron departed and the band continued as an instrumental power-trio.  At the time this was an extremely strange setup for a band, however, having blazed the trail, we realize we were pioneers of an un-named genre charitably described as being “not-entirely-obscure”.  Hipster cred before it was cool!

V3 – Aaron, Jay, Jef, Michael

Alex departed to perform in and tour with the Warped 45s, Aaron came back and we recruited Michael on Bass duty and kept playing music with re-added (?) lyrics.

V4 – Alex, Jay, Jef, Michael

Aaron left again, and Alex, now a talented multi-instrumentalist, returned.  Having redundant bass players is a many splendorous and not entirely needed thing, so Alex is also playing keys and guitar as well.  HE’S AMAZING.

We’re all older.  Most of us have children.  In fact Jay is the only one without children, so when you see him, make sure to ask “HEY JAY, WHEN ARE YOU HAVING KIDS? because if our years of experience in rock and roll and life has taught us anything it’s that people love being asked that.

Rock and/or roll.