Introduced in 1983 and modeled excatly after the original Candian built guitars by Odyssey guitars of Vancouver B.C., the Hondo Paul Dean II was the less expensive version manufactured in Japan (and later Korea) by Hondo. The Paul Dean II model w...
Introduced in 1983 and modeled excatly after the original Candian built guitars by Odyssey guitars of Vancouver B.C., the Hondo Paul Dean II was the less expensive version manufactured in Japan (and later Korea) by Hondo. The Paul Dean II model was $349.99 w/ OHSC and came with the option of DiMarzio Super II DP104 sealed cover Humbucker pickups just like the Canadian originals at a $60 upcharge. THe model was discontinued sometime in 1985 - after Paul's Kramer endorsement started.
SPECIFICATIONS NECK: 24.75:" Scale 3 piece maple neck with maple fingerboard, 10 degree headstock tilt, sealed gear tuning machines 16:1 ratio, offset 4-Bolt attachment, and 2 Resonance slots under the fretboard parallel to the truss rod to give it it's unique, vocal-like tonal quality BODY: Paul Dean original design body with tapered neck joint, routed HH with a acoustically tuned resonance chambering PICKUPS: Either 2 Hondo Ceramic Humbuckers (around 7.4K each), or 2 DiMarzio Super II DP104 humbuckers for $60 more CONTROLS: 1 Volume, 1 Tone, 3-way Selector BRIDGE: Leo Quan Badass style bridge PICKGUARD: Haircell Anti-Scratch Black Plastic ABS FINISH: Transparent Red, Black, or Zebra Stripe CASE: Chipboard Hardshell Case
The Hondo Paul Dean series guitars are guitars designed by Canadian rock guitarist Paul Dean (obviously), best known for this work in the band Loverboy.
Paul had a 64' Fender Stratocaster he smashed and rebuilt imitating Pete Townshend back the late sixties/early seventies, and after it's intentional destruction, it was rebuilt and had amazing resonance - that guitar became Paul's favorite, but also became the basis upon which these Hondo Designer Series guitars were derived from from a sonic standpoint.
The Hondo Paul Dean II version of this guitar features a Sen Ash 2 piece, non-bookmatched and specially tuned body with a tapered, unplated, 4-bolt neck joint for easy upper-fret access, a 3 piece maple neck with a maple 21 fret fingerboard, featuring a pair of 1/4" resonance slots routed parallel to both sides of the truss rod, and a 10 degree headstock tilt and straight string path to avoid the need for string trees. It also features a single volume, tone, and 3-way switch setup, ABS plastic haircell textured black "Anti-scratch" pickguard, Leo Quan Badass-style wraparound bridge, and the choice of the base level Hondo 7.4K Ohm ceramic humbuckers, or for $60 more you'd get DiMarzio DP104 Super II Humbucker pickups just like the ones the original Odyssey version came with.
The Hondo Paul Dean II's biggest draw would be the sound of this guitar. It's very unique, very thick and warm like a Gibson, but the Spank and clarity of a Fender, with a hollow upper midrange "yowl" to single notes that gives solos sort of a vocal like quality, almost like a slow-moving Wah Wah pedal. There is a small difference between the stock and upgrade pickups. The stock pickups are a bit thinner sounding due to the lighter wind, more inline with a Fender sound like a Jazzmaster, while the Super II's add more bottom end to the mix but the sharp crystalline highs are retained and there's a small spike in the midrange.
One impressive thing about this guitar though is the neck. If you like fat necks, don't bother, this is probably the skinniest neck of ANY production guitar I've ever played or heard about - only 1" at the nut! And the back profile from fretboard to neck back is very thin as well. While out of the box the fret leveling leaves some to be desired, if you give a Paul Dean a good fret level, it will give back in spades. AFter doing this, the action was lowered to PRS levels - with about 2/8" at the 21st fret.
Despite the thin profile of the neck, and the fact it has a tilt headstock with no volute, it surprisingly is an EXTREMELY Strong neck. Stringing this guitar up with .013's does not even pull the neck enough to need more than 1/8 turn on the truss rod to keep the relief just right. Most of the time it just stays perfectly straight and just barely tightening the truss rod will put it in good territory for .009s. Too loose though and the nut will rattle, so some might not handle light gauges (.010 or less) very well - which is how I Found out Hondo actually DID the "resonance slots" like Paul designed, that rattling nut makes it sound like there's hornets living in your neck, LOL.
I bought mine in 2010 and it's got to be one of the most well built guitars in my collection. I've only set it up twice in the years I've had it and it does not need to settle at all. I've gigged it multiple times and the only thing holding me back from gigging it more often is how bleedingly rare these guitars are (I'm working out plans to build a few copies of this one, with some special updates). It only seems more Paul Dean II's and even the Odyssey versions came out of the woodwork as soon as I started posting a bunch about them on social media and forums in reply to curious guys looking for Paul Dean's guitar tone or looking to figure out what that "Fender Lead III looking thing" was that he was playing on the 2nd and 3rd Loverboy records/tours.
I find also this guitar, with the Super II pickups, does GREAT for metal. With the low action, skinny neck, and good medium output pickups, it really growls, shreds, and sings with the best of them. And the sustain happy string path, paired with the chambering, make this guitar almost like a "poor man's sustainer" at stage volumes.
The only downsides are no whammy (Which could be worked around using the Schaller Les Trem or similar non-destructive to install device), the electronics (pots, jack, switch) are not the best quality, but they are not bad either, and the original hardshell these came with was the same Korean cheap junk Hondo sent out with their Plywood strats. Also, the pickguard does have a tendency to warp under the stress of the pickup springs in some cases, mine had this when it had the original pickups in it.
Otherwise, great guitar, 5 out of 5, highly recommend, assuming you can even find one.