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Dean Zelinsky guitars review

Dean Zelinsky Tagliare

This is a reader requested review.

(If there is a particular guitar or other piece of music gear you would like me to review, email me.)

Marc writes:

Could you review Dean Zelinsky guitars?

To be completely honest I am not necessarily shopping for guitars, I am happy with what I have for the time, but I am still incredibly curious about one guitar specifically (LaVoce) and the pick up he is promoting the "sidekick".

Before getting this email, I had never heard of Dean Zelinsky guitars. The photo above is the Tagliare model.

I describe Dean Zelinsky models as mid to upper-mid tier guitars, pricewise. They don't appear to have any super-boutique models, or at least not yet.

The "SideKick" pickup Marc stated in his email is supposedly a major selling point of Dean Zelinsky guitars, as it is touted to be the "first pickup to achieve true single-coil and true humbucking tones - all in a single pickup". That's their words, not mine.

Dean himself best describes how this pickup works:

Here's my take on the SideKick:

It's a good idea. I definitely like how the SideKick keeps the volume consistent whether using one coil or two. That is a genuine innovation in pickup tech. I'm also very appreciative of the fact it's a passive system and not active, because I personally can't stand guitars with batteries in them.

My favorite part of the SideKick in the Tagliare seen in the above video however has nothing to do with the pickup but actually the positioning of it. I really like the fact that in the way it's positioned, the rear coil matches that of a Fender Stratocaster traditional SSS layout. This means that yes, the positioning is correct and you can achieve true Strat-like tones out of the Tagliare with SideKick equipped in it.

Does position of a pickup mean everything? To me it does. If that SideKick were positioned even 2mm further back or forward, it simply wouldn't sound right in single-coil mode. Fortunately, it is positioned correct in the Tagliare model.

As for the LaVoce model, that's a single cutaway shape (sort of like a Les Paul,) and I'm of the opinion that the sound of humbucker-to-single split or a tapped humbucker does not work on that body shape. If you're going to have singles on a single cutaway shape, P90 is the only one that really works for that real-deal single-coil tone there.


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