Made in Central New York: Retro-King Amps

Marcellus (WSYR-TV) - You might not think of Marcellus as a key piece of the music industry but Chuck Dean has made it just that for guitar players all over the world.

What goes on in Chuck Dean's small Retro-King Amps workshop is some of the highest end work anywhere in the field of guitar amps.

What started as a job fixing up local musicians' amps turned into a full time job and then some.

Dean builds them like they did in the old days, with rich sounding tubes and hand built boards. "But the main thing is the tone," Dean tells NewsChannel 9.

It’s attracted some top guitarists including Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, a Retro-King client.

Dean says, "When he first called me he was on the road and he had somebody else call me, I did think it was a joke because the person said this, I forgot his name, would it be okay if Billy Gibbons called you to talk about you building him an amplifier. I said okay, but it turned out he called back a half hour later."

Gibbons, he says, bought seven of them.

Dean's no slouch himself on the axe, but he knew life in a band wasn't his calling.

It sure seems he's found it since.

Tom Wilcox is the only other employee at Retro-King. He says, "The quality of the product that he builds is unbelievable."

Just by word of mouth and the internet, Chuck Dean is about as busy as he can be, taking six to eight weeks to custom build to the customer's desire that special amp that he's shipped to clients around the world.

Dean says, "I want to be successful but it’s an art to me and it's a love that I have."

Another of Dean's clients, Tony Pasko, does the background music for TV shows like “Duck Dynasty” using Retro-King Amps.

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