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Even though I got this news via a press release, it doesn’t surprise me at all that DBZ won the Best In Show award this year. I’ve been quietly following DBZ since they hit the scene, and I’ve appreciated what Dean Zelinsky¬† (founder of DBZ and famous for Dean Guitars) has been trying to accomplish with his guitars from the start; that is, build great looking, great sounding, and great playing guitars at a GREAT price. Yeah, that’s a common formula, and lots of people try to do that, but Dean has accomplished that.

Take, for instance, the Imperial Premier model to the left. I had the chance to hold and play around with one of these exact models in Transparent Wine a couple of weeks ago (didn’t get to plug it in, though hopefully the DBZ rep will let me borrow one for a review). The Imperial has some classic styling – it’s shaped very similarly to a Gibson SG, but that’s where the similarities end. If you look at the picture to the right, you’ll see how incredibly thin the body is. That makes for a super, super, super light weight. All I could say when I first picked it up was, “Wow!”

Now you might think that that would never fly, but I have to tell you, that guitar felt absolutely wonderful, and I could feel the string vibrations resonating through the body as I played. The soft v-shape of the neck stands for Very comfortable. The fretboard is nice and smooth. DBZ calls it “ebonized” rosewood – not sure what that means, but it’s as smooth as ebony, and I just love the feel of ebony fretboards.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to plug it in because I was busy picking up my Fishman Solo Amp. But just based upon my initial inspection, and just holding it it in my hands, if I wasn’t getting the Fishman, I wouldn’t have let the rep leave the shop with the guitar. Yup, I was THAT impressed! Even the store manager was completely blown away by the guitar. He’s a jazz player, and while he said he prefers archtops, he loved that guitar.

Here are some specs:

  • Construction/Scale: Set Neck 24.75″
  • Body: Mahogany/Maple Top
  • Flamed Maple Top
  • Natural Scrape Binding
  • Fingerboard: Ebonized Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany Soft V Neck
  • Frets: 22
  • Inlays: Premier Series
  • Pickups: DBZB/DBZ5
  • Electronics: Vol/Tone/3-way
  • Tuners: Grover
  • Hardware: Gold
  • Bridge: DBZ Custom Stop Tail

Pretty nice features. You can see more pictures and other information on the DBZ site.

Here’s the real kicker: You can get this guitar for $649 online!!! Fat Tone Guitars outside of Chicago has these in stock. So how is the price so low? Simply put, it’s due to technology. Dean Zelinsky isn’t shy nor embarrassed by this blatant use of tech to build guitars. And why not? With computerized routers, you can ensure build consistency. Plus, I believe all the heavy work is done overseas, so that keeps the prices down. Even though I try to stick to US-made gear where I can, in the end, geographic location is far less important to me than how the gear plays and sounds.

DBZ is still trying to build its dealer base, but I encourage you to check one out if there’s a shop near you.

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