After separating from DBZ Guitars, old friend of TheToneKing.com Dean Zelinsky isn’t waiting for the ink to dry on his divorce papers before jumping into his new endeavor. Dean Zelinsky Private Label guitars. The concept is simple. If you want a guitar from Dean Zelinsky, you buy one directly from Dean Zelinsky.
The idea of a direct sale or “farm to table” or “factory direct” or whatever the hell else you want to call it is not new, but it’s not exactly common. The most notable manufacturer that’s using e-comerce as their sole means of distribution is Carvin Guitars. There’s no such thing as a Carvin dealer. If you want a Carvin, you go to CarvinGuitars.com and buy a guitar directly from them.
Fender has also been making moves to direct e-commerce sales. Fender has offered their gears and other parts through their website for years, but it’s only been since June of this year that they’ve started selling bodies and necks. This created some controversy with many of their dealers who are concerned that this will pull customers away from stores.
Dean Zelinsky hasn’t exactly had the easiest time since he’s been in the guitar business. As a young guitar-building prodigy, he started Dean Guitars in Chicago in 1976. Everything went well for Dean even after he left Dean Guitars in 1991 to be with his family. When he tried to come back, though, things weren’t the same.
For the full story on Dean Zelinsky, go here: The Name Behind the Guitar: DBZ and Dean Battle it Out in Court
After a rough time trying to return to Dean and start DBZ guitars, Dean is trying his hand at a third incarnation. Dean Zelinsky Private Label boasts high quality, innovative designs, and low prices.
One of the significant designs that DZPL offers is the “Z-Glide” neck. The premise is simple; the less wood your hand comes in contact with, the less friction you have slowing you down. To combat this, DZPL etches a “carefully tested” pattern into the back of the neck, which eliminates up to 70% of contact with the neck. Essentially, your hand is floating on air.
With every guitar except for one – the StrettaVita Hollow Body goes for $4,499 – ranging between $279 and $649 USD, it’s pretty clear that DZPL is saving money somewhere. To give you an idea on how much is being saved by going direct, the Suggested Retail for the StrettaVita Custom is $942. If you were to buy that in the store, MAP would be $659. DZPL is selling the same guitar for $519 with shipping. So, you’re saving $140 by going direct.
Some shops might say that for the $140 bucks, you’re getting a relationship with a shop that offers services beyond just selling the guitar. Repairs, adjustments, lessons, and most importantly, advice. Of course, you can probably get that anyway if you just walk into that shop. But, don’t complain too much when that shop closes its doors.
Retailers have been fighting manufacturers in regard pricing for years. It’s always a strain on the relationship between manufacturers and retailers when pricing policies aren’t enforced. If a retailer is told that the lowest price they can advertise a JCM 800 is $2,399 and they see some other retailer on eBay selling them for less than two grand, they’re going to be pissed.
The “factory direct” model is a complete severance of that relationship between retailer and manufacturer. Whether that’s good or bad for the industry is still left to be seen. But, it’s hard to argue with saving $140 bucks.
You can shop and purchase Dean Zelinsky Private Label guitars at DeanZelinsky.com
Is it good? Is it bad? Let us know what you think of “Factory Direct” in the comments below.
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About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.