DEAN ZELINSKY - Famed Guitar Maker Blogs About Starting Dean Guitars As A Teenager
April 24, 2017, a month ago
World-renowned guitar designer, Dean Zelinsky, writes about his extensive 40-year career as a guitar builder; including his early days and humble beginnings, the start of Dean Guitars as a teenager, the highs and lows of the music industry, and much more. The blog series can be found on his website, here.
Zelinsky has become known over the years for making stage-worthy guitars for a plethora of iconic players including; Johnny Winter, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell, Michael Schenker, Elliot Easton of The Cars, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, Leslie West, Kerry Livgren of Kansas, and many more.
Detailing his early years in the music business, Zelinsky repaired guitars in the basement of his family home prior to setting up the Dean Guitars factory in 1976. Zelinsky shares many never-told stories of Dean’s past including infiltrating the Gibson Factory for sourcing knowledge, designing iconic guitars like the ML, and scrambling to get to his first NAMM Show all by the age of 19. Zelinsky exclaims, “My life truly reads like a book. For years friends and family have been coaxing me to write my story.”
As a teenager, Zelinsky was going up against the corporate giants of Gibson and Fender. Zelinsky recalls, “While I had been in the repair business for a while, the entrepreneur in me had sights on a bigger prize; becoming a guitar manufacturer and going up against the ‘Big Fish’ - Gibson. They were making terrible guitars in the mid-70s…owned by Norlin Industries, which was so diverse they even harvested nuts in South America!”
40 years later, the man behind Dean Guitars is still building and innovating with his new line, Dean Zelinsky Guitars. Zelinsky says, “I felt a desire to share my story and return to my roots,” building guitars with uncompromised quality, unique designs and his latest technology at accessible pricing.
As his blog continues, Zelinsky promises to feature more stories of his rocking and rolling career as a guitar builder during the formative years of Rock Music…building guitars for famous artists, groupies, the advent of the Dean Girls and marrying a Playboy centerfold.