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History of Dean Guitars

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Dean Zelinsky 

I started carrying Dean Guitars back in 1978 around when Dean Zelinsky first started producing them. Dean was only 17 years old. It was remarkable how good those guitars sounded. As far as I know I was one of his very first dealers. I know I am the oldest one. Most of my customers know that I like to help small companies get off the ground and that I am not in favor of KKK Guitars. Korporation Krappolla, Kruddy guitars.

When I first started selling Dean Guitars I met with great resistance from the typical guitar player. I could never understand how a group of supposedly enlightened musical individuals, could reject a quality item, just because the headstock didn't look like the typical Korporate made snot guitar that they got for their 15th birthday. But I believed in the product and that helped me sell a lot of them anyway. I would literally have to force them into the hands of people. Once the players got them into their hands and the felt that original V shaped neck and checked out the balance, weight, tone and feel it was an easy sell.

Today, 40 years later, many of these same people are still my customers and many of them are still swearing by Dean Guitars. Some of them are so "dyed in the wool" that they are buying new models just because it says Dean on the headstock.   (That's how Gibson survives)

I've got a newsflash for these people. Dean today is a Corporate Mega-Giant with sales rivaling Fender & Gibson. It so happens that they are still offering some really great guitars to the buying public. But be careful and remember. Just because it says Dean on the headstock, It doesn't mean it's good.  They have their share of low end dreck just like Gibson does.  There is one major difference.  Dean's prices are more than fair. They really offer a good deal for your dollar. Unlike some of the other mainstream companies.  Rest assured that if they start hiking their prices to an over inflated level like some other companies Ed Roman will be the first to report it back to the consumer. Even though I truly like the people at Dean, I never trust a big corporation to always offer good deals.

Dean & Hamer were the two pioneer companies that came up with all kinds of great colors, Blueburst, Silver burst, & many other super cool innovative ideas. Ordering guitars from Dean was always fun. It was even more fun when they came in. There was always something new & interesting.  Ordering guitars from the likes of Gibson was always a drag and usually very disappointing when they came in.

Dean has never been a company to rest on one or two successful models and put out 2000 different versions of the same guitar. Instead they have repeatedly introduced many great new ideas.

In the early days (I'm dating myself) if you wanted to be different, (I always do) there were very few well made non Korporate boutique guitar companies. Dean, BC Rich,  Alembic, Hamer, SD Curlee, and maybe a couple of others that I can't think of now.  Remember this was pre Kramer, Jackson Charvel days.

Some companies in our industry are what I call "Sue Happy," (They will Happily Sue Anybody or Anyone) and if there is no one to sue they will actually go out and look for people to sue.  They get free publicity doing this but it cost's millions of dollars a year. Dean does not do that. They spend their money on research and development and that's why they keep coming up with new great ideas. 

Today BC Rich has been bought by Davitt & Hanser, Hamer, Guild, Ovation Jackson, Charvel, Tacoma, is owned by Fender. Valley Arts, Tobias, Steinberger, Epiphone; & Many Others are owned by the same people who bought Gibson. SD Curlee, Rick Turner,  Jim Jaros, Gary Jacobs, Rick Gledura, have all gone under. 

Stay tuned for more details on the  History of Dean Guitars.

In the Late 80's and early 90's Oscar Medeiros owned the Dean name & trademarks.  He initially instituted the American Custom Shop. I purchased and sold a large number of these models from him. The basic quality was quite good. I dealt with that reincarnation of the Dean company for several years and sold a tremendous amount of product.

When Armadillo Enterprises purchased the Dean company in  the late 90's the owner wisely sought out Dean Zelinsky and brought him back into the picture. Dean ran the production for all the USA made guitars available.
He is no longer with the company today, He is off building some new guitar line.

 
The company is also bringing in from Japan & Korea some of the best looking import guitars I have seen.  Many of my long time readers can attest to my dislike of most imported guitars. Dean however is selling them at such incredibly cheap prices that I have to give them a high mark.  ML, V's Z's as low as $499.00 now that's what I call a good deal. When I bash imported Asian guitars like ESP for example it's because they are selling pretty much the same stuff for 5 to 6 times as much money.

Dean Guitars has acoustic guitars with full electronics, custom inlays and beautiful finishes for dirt cheap. Their Bass line has taken "Best in Class" year after year by most of the magazines who have rated them. One of their Basses is my favorite low end Bass on the planet.

Example of an Original 1981 Dean Vee

I have been selling Dean Guitars for close to 33 years, I believe them to be an excellent product and I believe the people at Dean are interested in the well being of their customers, before and after the actual sale. The people at Dean have organized a museum in Florida to celebrate the original Dean Guitars.  If you have any old Dean Guitars sitting around I would truly like to purchase them
Ed Roman
702-875-4552

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