This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Headquarters||Tampa, Florida, United States|
|Evan Rubinson |
(President & CEO)
|Owner||Armadillo Enterprises, Inc.|
Number of employees
Dean Guitars, commonly referred to simply as Dean, is an American importer and maker of stringed instruments and musical products. Its lines include solid-body electric guitars, bass guitars, and acoustic guitars such as the Dean ML, Dean V, and Dean Z—and more recently, the Dean Razorback (a guitar based on the design of Darrell Lance “Dimebag” Abbott, guitarist for Pantera), Dean Stealth, Dean Icon, Dean VMNT, Dean Zero, and Dean Mako Acoustic Guitar. Its headquarters are in Tampa, Florida. The company also distributes resonators, basses, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, amplifiers, guitar cases, accessories, and custom guitar pickups.
The company was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1976 by Dean Zelinsky, but came to prominence from 1978-1988, then again under Elliott Rubinson in 1997 after his company, Armadillo Enterprises, purchased the Dean name. The Dean company today consists of over 100 people: guitar luthiers and techs, sales and distribution staff, customer service, office administration, and marketing personnel. Armadillo Enterprises today is a privately held organization with Evan Rubinson as Chief Executive Officer.
With the advent of the Superstrat and grunge music, Dean Zelinsky sold the business to Oscar Medeiros of Tropical Music, who gained ownership of the brand from 1986, and until 1995 focused on selling to Latin bands overseas. The company had all but disappeared from the American market at that point.
Armadillo Enterprises, under the leadership of Elliott Rubinson, then purchased the Dean trade name in 1997. Rubinson, a professional musician who toured as a bass player for the Michael Schenker Group, Uli Jon Roth, and Michael Angelo Batio expanded Dean's offerings to include a full line of acoustic, electric, and bass guitars; mandolins, banjos, and ukuleles with prices from less than $99 to more than $13,000. Rubinson had previously built Thoroughbred Music, a music retail store, music supply, and music clinic. Rubinson sold Thoroughbred to Sam Ash Music in 1999 so he could focus on Dean.
After getting a number of endorser-user guitarists (including Dimebag Darrell, Michael Angelo Batio, Michael Schenker, Leslie West, Dave Mustaine, Michael Amott, and Jacky Vincent)—and music industry professionals, many of whom came from Thoroughbred, Dean Guitars' popularity surged. Under Armadillo Enterprises the company outgrew its 20,000-square-foot Clearwater location and moved to a new 100,000-square-foot building that includes a custom guitar shop. Today the company also assembles guitar pickups and guitar parts made and painted in locations throughout the country and distributes them around the world.
In February 2017, Elliott "Dean" Rubinson died from cancer. Richard Ash, CEO of Sam Ash Music Stores, said, "Elliott was a true genius. He would have been successful in any business but he went with his passion for music and built his business around it... He was truly one of my heroes. RIP Elliott Rubinson."
The company has also worked closely with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth to offer a line of guitars: the Dave Mustaine Signature Series Dean VMNT, Dean Zero, and Dean Mako. These range in price from around $300 for imports to over $6000 for USA-built instruments. The Dean USA Dave Mustaine Signature VMNT Holy Grail  electric guitar, a more recent incarnation of the V introduced in 2016, is an example of the brand.
The company's bass guitar models include the ML, V, Z, Cadillac, Edge, Metal Man / Demonator, Hillsboro, Entwistle, EVO, Razorback, and Custom Zone. Dean also imports and markets other string instruments—such as resonator guitars, mandolins and banjos.
In 2017, Dean unveiled several new musical instruments to commemorate the company's 40th anniversary.
In 2018 the company formed a partnership between Dean USA Custom Shop and Angel's Envy Bourbon to produce the Dean Envy Series—guitars made from whiskey cask barrels.
- Cadillac or "Cadi"
- Christian Martucci V
- Craig Wayne Boyd Acoustic
- Custom Series
- Dave Mustaine Mako Acoustic
- Dave Mustaine VMNT
- Dave Mustaine Zero
- Demonator Bass
- Edge Series Bass
- Envy Series
- Eric Peterson Series
- Hillsboro Bass
- Jacky Vincent Signature Guitar
- John Entwistle Bass
- Matt Heafy MKH
- Michael Amott Tyrant
- Michael Angelo Batio MAB1 Armorflame / MAB2 Aviator
- Michael Schenker Series
- ML Acoustic
- ML Ukulele
- Razorback V
- RC Series
- Select Series
- Sledgehammer Bass
- Uli Roth Sky Guitar
- "Vinman" Vinnie Moore Signature Guitar
- Dean Z
- Dean ZX
Currently, notable artists from the Dean roster include:
- Bret Michaels of Poison
- Christian Martucci of Stone Sour
- Craig Wayne Boyd
- Dave Mustaine of Megadeth
- David Vincent of Morbid Angel
- Dimebag Darrell of Pantera and Damageplan
- Eddie Veliz of Kyng
- Elliot Easton of the Cars
- Eric Peterson of Testament
- Jacky Vincent of Cry Venom
- John Connolly of Sevendust
- Karl Sanders of Nile
- Kerry Livgren of Kansas
- Leslie West of Mountain
- Michael Amott of Arch Enemy
- Michael Angelo Batio of Nitro
- Michael Schenker of Scorpions, UFO, and MSG
- Rusty Cooley
- Uli Jon Roth of Scorpions
- Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
- Dave Henzerling a.k.a. David Michael-Phillips of King Kobra
- Vinnie Moore of UFO
- Kerry King of Slayer
- Sean Danielsen of Smile Empty Soul 
- Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu of Trivium
- Dave Murray and Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden
- Trey Azagthoth of Morbid Angel
- Rik Emmett of Triumph [note 1]
- Chris Impellitteri [note 2]
- Scott Ian of Anthrax [note 3]
- Used Dean's exclusively throughout the mid to late 1980s.
- Impellittieri was a Dean endorsee for many years until recently signing with Charvel, and was famous for utilizing various spiderweb-like graphics on his custom guitars.
- Ian generally used Washburn equivalents during the time Dean was owned by Washburn
- "Business: Dean gets new digs, designs". 2005-02-27. Archived from the original on 2005-02-27. Retrieved 2017-02-09.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "A Brief History of Dean Guitars". www.streetdirectory.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- "Episode 42: Elliott Rubinson, CEO of Dean Guitars, ddrum, and Luna Guitars breaks down the music biz like few can". www.musicbizcast.com. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
- "Dean Guitars CEO Elliott Dean Rubinson Talks Gigging with Uli Jon Roth, Balancing Life As a Musician". Guitar World. 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- "Security Check Required". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- "www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/1999/04/12/daily3.html". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- "Elliott Rubinson". NAMM.org. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- Jim Aardema (2013-04-08), Branding and Marketing Planning - Dean Guitars, Luna Guitars, Ddrum Drums, retrieved 2017-03-03
- DeanGuitarsVideos (2016-09-28), Dean Guitars USA Shop, retrieved 2017-02-09
- DeanGuitarsVideos (2009-04-29), Dean USA DMT Pickups, Live at NAMM'09, retrieved 2017-02-09
- "Elliott Rubinson: The Man Who Made it Happen - All That Shreds!". All That Shreds!. 2017-02-13. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
- "Sam Ash Music Stores on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- Dean USA Dave Mustaine Signature VMNT Holy Grail
- new musical instruments
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dean Guitars.|