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Mandolins currently built overseas in China, Korea, and/or Japan since 1999. Distributed by Armadillo Enterprises of Tampa, FL. The Dean trademark was introduced in 1977.
The original Evanston, Illinois-based company was founded by Dean Zelinsky in 1977. Zelinsky, fond of classic Gibson designs, began building high quality electric solid body instruments and eventually started developing his own designs. Originally, there were three models: The V (similar to the Flying V), the Z (Explorer body shape), and the ML (sort of a cross between the V and an Explorer - and named after the initials of Matt Lynn, Zelinsky's best friend growing up). As the company's guitars gained popularity, production facilities were moved to Chicago in 1980.
In 1986, Dean closed the USA Shop, leaving all construction to be completed overseas. The U.S. market had shifted towards the then-popular bolt neck super-strat design, and Zelinsky's personal taste leaned in the opposite direction. Zelinsky sold Dean Guitars in 1990 to Oscar Medros, founder and owner of Tropical Music (based in Miami, FL). The Dean Guitars facility in Plant City, FL was run by Tracy Hoeft and Jon Hill, and new guitars were distributed to markets in the U.S., Japan, Korea, and Europe. In 1995, Armadillo Enterprises or Clearwater, FL bought Dean from Tropical Music. In 2000, Zelinsky came back to work for Dean. They currently produce several lines of guitars overseas and they also have a high-end custom shop that builds several original models. Most acoustic models are produced overseas (with the exception of a few custom shop models). Dean did produce a few acoustics in the early 1990s, but the bulk of acoustic guitars were first introduced in 1998. Mandolins followed shortly thereafter in 1999 with a few models. Dean also produces resonators and banjos. For more information, contact Dean directly or visit their website.

From Blue Book Publications:

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