Dean Guitars is a manufacturer of musical instruments. Primarily famous for their electric guitars they also make acoustic guitars, electric and acoustic basses, amplifiers, jazz guitars, resonators, banjos and mandolins.
Dean Guitars was created in 1976 by luthier Dean Zelinsky who began building guitars at an early age. Zelinsky thought that rock guitar design had stagnated and decided to do what he could to change things. The first Dean guitars were released in the mid-1970s and featured designs including "pointy" guitar bodies and large V-shaped headstocks. These designs quickly gained in popularity because they looked great and because they were designed and engineered to improve the tone and sustain of the guitar. They also have a unique fast-playing "V" neck. (A different style "forked" headstock was used by Gibson designer Ted McCarty on prototype Explorers and Flying V's, but was dropped from production due to the company's unease with such a radical design feature.)
In 1986, Zelinsky decided he did not want to continue making guitars and sold the company to make furniture. He has attributed his decision to the popularity of the "superstrat", which he derides as a "Floyd Rose trem with a guitar attached to it." In the late 1990s, Armadillo Enterprises revived the brand name, later bringing Zelinsky back aboard as an executive and creative consultant.
In the late 1990s, Dean introduced the Exotica series of acoustic guitars, many of which feature exotic hardwood tops and modern electronics. The Exoticas have been one of the reconstituted Dean's most successful products.