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Guitar Center

Leading retailer of guitars and music equipment.

5795 Lindero Canyon Road
Westlake Village, CA 91362
Employees: 10,000
CEO: Mike Pratt
Privately held

Website: http://www.guitarcenter.com

Career Site

Guitar Center is the leading United States retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment.

The retail store subsidiary presently operates more than 256 Guitar Center stores across the United States. In addition, the Music & Arts division operates more than 100 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students. The company is also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments in the United States through its wholly owned subsidiary, Musician's Friend, Inc., and its catalogs and websites, including www.musiciansfriend.com, www.guitarcenter.com, www.wwbw.com and www.music123.com.

Private equity firm Bain Capital Partners acquired the company for approximately $2.1 billion in cash and assumed debt.


The Guitar Center story began in 1959 when Wayne Mitchell purchased a small appliance and home organ store in Hollywood, CA. By 1961, he'd changed the name of the company to The Organ Center. In 1964, Joe Banaran, President of the Thomas Organ Company, approached Wayne in search of an outlet to sell a new line of guitars and amplifiers, called Vox.

The timing was right, and Wayne saw the chance to seize a new retail opportunity. He was in the midst of relocating his original Hollywood Organ Center location to a new site, and he agreed that rather than closing down the old store, he would stock it with Vox guitars and amplifiers. Wayne named the store The Vox Center. By the late sixties, it had become evident that the future of musical instrument retailing lay in guitars and amps, not organs, and The Vox Center was re-christened The Guitar Center.

In 1972, the second Guitar Center opened its doors in San Francisco. San Francisco was a city amidst an explosive musical transition, just exiting its heyday as the 60's "flower power" capitol. The old Guitar Center building had a charm and character that attracted musicians from all over San Francisco. In 1973, Guitar Center San Diego opened its doors. This location proved to play a pivotal role in the growth of the company, as this store was to become the home of the company's first Central Management Office.

In 1997, Guitar Center went public. Soon after, they purchased the catalog company, Musician's Friend, and have seen solid revenue growth with the acquisition.

In 2005, the company's acquisition of Music & Arts Center brought 62 new stores throughout the US, catering to a completely new instrument market.


Following benefits are for full-time employees:

Management Opportunities
Guitar Center is rapidly growing and needs good people to move up the career ladder. Opportunities for advancement in all departments, operations and store management are increasing as the company expands.

Technical Training
Guitar Center prides itself on having the most knowledgeable sales staff in the industry. Employees are continually provided opportunities to enhance their product knowledge and achieve their career goals by way of company-sponsored training classes and certification as well as manufacturer-sponsored seminars and clinics.

Medical Insurance
No matter how careful we all try to be, life's full of surprises. With the high cost of modern health care, medical coverage is essential. Medical, dental, vision and life insurances are available to eligible employees for a small fee.

Profit Sharing Plan
As Guitar Center grows, we want to "spread the wealth". Our employees can share in the success they helped create.

Paid Vacation
It's nice to get some time off for all that hard work. Paid vacation time increases based on employee's tenure.

Employee Discounts
Need we say more....

Updated February 28, 2014