I looked at an Epiphone AJ18-12. It didn't have the tone this one has. I sold off my Ovation 12-string to buy this one. The Ovation lacks personality/tone/ a certain je ne c'est qua.
I also tried some 6 string Epiphone SJ models. They sounded dead compared to this one.
The only way I can see buying another guitar is if this one is lost or stolen and the first one I'd want to look at would be this model.
Best aspect: The sound.
Worst aspect [only for electric guitar players who are acoustic guitar wannabes]: The neck/fretboard width.
Price: $339.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Bass & Treble Music, St. Joseph, MO
Made in Korea
Natural gloss finish
Solid Spruce top.
Mahogany back, sides, and neck
Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
Abalone rosette around soundhole
Chrome mini-Grover tuners
Abalone dot fingerboard inlays.
Logo on Headstock is inlaid abalone/mother-of-pearl
I have noticed a trend in acoustic guitar making in which the neck and fingerboard are made to feel as closely as possible to an electric guitar. The Dean does NOT follow the trend. It feels like an acoustic guitar. With plenty of room for someone with large hands like mine to make chords without feeling crowded.
The sound of this guitar is full and rich. It accommodates a wide range of styles. I play solo folk/country/acoustic rock music but this would also work with someone who wanted to work out some blues in the style of Leadbelly or Big Bill Broonzy. Or it would suit someone starting to work on the sylings of a John Fahey or Leo Kottke. It has the bassiest sound of any 12-string I've ever played except for a Martin D12-35 which belonged to a friend [the first 12-string I ever saw up close and personal]. I've played an Ovation and a Guild JF65-12 which cost more and didn't have the tone this one does.
The only modification I am considering is adding an under-saddle pickup.
Given the fact that this has a solid spruce top, I expect the tone to improve with age, although its hard to imagine how it could improve on what sounds like perfection to me.
It is a dreadnaught. So for stage work or studio, one should be prepared to deal with possible EQ problems, although I haven't had any yet.
NA -- I've only owned this one three weeks.