The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff LIVE at Guitar Center Hollywood. For the induction of Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Grandmixer DXT to the “Guitar Centers Rockwalk.” Hosted by DJ Jazzy Jeff. What a great night!
Guitar Center is the largest chain of musical instrument retailers in the world with 315 locations throughout the United States. Its headquarters is in Westlake Village, California.
Guitar Center’s sister companies/subsidiaries incorporate Music & Arts, Musician’s Friend, GuitarCenter.com, LMI, Giardinelli, Musician.com, Private Reserve Guitars, Woodwind and Brasswind, Music 123, and Harmony Central.
Founded in Hollywood by Wayne Mitchell in 1959 as The Organ Center, a retailer of electronic organs for home and church use, it became a major seller of Vox electric guitars and guitar amplifiers, changing its name to The Vox Center in 1964. Toward the end of the 1960s, Vox—whose sales derived largely from its association with The Beatles, who made extensive use of its amplifiers—fell in popularity as Marshall amplifier users Eric Clapton and others captured musicians’ imaginations. Accordingly, Mitchell once again changed the name, this time to Guitar Center.
The popularity of rock and roll in the 1970s allowed Mitchell to open stores in San Francisco and San Diego, as well as several suburbs of Los Angeles. Ray Scherr, previously the general manager of the San Francisco store, purchased the company from Mitchell in the late 1970s. Scherr owned and operated it until 1996 from its Westlake Village headquarters.
Although synthesizer-driven disco and new wave pop sapped rock’s audience in the late 1970s, the 1980s “guitar rock” revival led by Van Halen and a concurrent influx of Japanese-produced instruments brought guitar sales to unprecedented levels. Guitar Center took full advantage of this sales bonanza, and by the end of the decade began an ambitious program of expansion across the entire United States. Using its size as leverage over the musical instrument business, it developed into the largest musical instrument retailer in the country, and made an initial public offering of stock in 1997.