Dean Cadillac

Dean Cadillac

Guitar Gavel Lick Of The Week with Marc Stamco - Freebies from pull-offs

Marc tells us a lot in this lick, without having to say too much.

Bonus, a free vocabulary lesson too. 

Marc has an amazing YouTube channel filled to the brim with original music. @marcstamcosoundscapes3834

You can also find him on Spotify.

From disassembling electronics to repairing and flipping busted guitars Dean Zelinsky was employed by his local music store as a guitar “repairman” by the time he was 16. 

Before he graduated high school Dean had a legit storefront repair shop, Doubleneck Dean Custom Guitars in Northbrook, IL. However, the repair shop wasn’t going to support the lifestyle Dean had in mind. He had to build guitars.   


By the time he was 19, Dean Guitars unveiled their first three models at the 1977 winter NAMM show.  

Those models were the V, Z, and ML and started shipping in 1978. The first order he wrote at the show was for Jerry Ash (owner of Sam Ash Music). Three guitars, one of each model.

Later in 1978 Dean introduced the second of his original designs, the E’lite and Cadillac. Both featured a set neck and a molded heel. Generally speaking the E’lite was a dressed down version of the Caddy. 

For technical sake…

There was also the Golden E’Lite that had similar higher-end options as the Cadillac and often the lines are blurred with a general reference to the Golden as a Cadillac.

However, without a doubt the Cadillac was the fanciest and sported a trio of Dimarzio humbuckers and 24-karat gold plated hardware. Dean gets a lot of flack for the giant headstock, you either love em’ or hate em’. Of the early body styles, the headstock looks the most disproportionate on the Cadillac and E’lite, but I believe some grace is warranted. Dean was 20-years-old when he released this design and was in the process of building out a guitar factory. I think back to what I was doing at age 20…

1979 Dean Cadillac: Mahogany body, Mahogany neck, Multi-ply fully bound, Ebony Fretboard, Mother of Pearl Block Inlays, DiMarzio Super Distortion, Super II, and PAF pickups, Built-in pre-amp

Dean has nothing to do with the current iteration of Dean Guitars as he sold the brand in 1986 and basically went on hiatus from the guitar industry until 2000. Since that time he was a consultant at Dean Guitars (current ownership group), started and exited DBZ Guitars, and created a successful direct to consumer guitar company, Dean Zelinsky Private Label in 2012.

Dean has recently started a podcast going over the early days at Dean. If you are a Dean fan, definitely put this one on your watchlist-

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