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GUITAR CENTER, THE NATION’S LARGEST INSTRUMENT RETAILER, OPENS NEW STORE IN SARASOTA, FLORIDA

gc sarasota

— Company opens its second store in 2011 with special savings and live music events —

— Guitar Center Sarasota features on-site rehearsals, lessons and guitar repair services —

On February 24th, 2011, Guitar Center opened its newest location in University Park, near Sarasota, Florida. The store’s opening delivered unprecedented product selection, along with the unparalleled knowledge and experience of its dedicated staff. Guitar Center Sarasota features Guitar Center Studios, an embedded lesson and rehearsal facility. To celebrate the opening, Guitar Center hosted a Grand Opening Weekend featuring exclusive savings, including guitar and drum essentials at up to 89% off list price, gear giveaways and free events tailored to local musicians.

Located at 8223 Cooper Creek Blvd., University Park, Florida 34201, the 14,200-square-foot space features extensive showrooms with the latest products for the musician, from guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments and keyboards to pro-audio and recording equipment.

Guitar Center’s Sarasota location goes well beyond offering the biggest selection at the best prices. One of only two Guitar Centers nationwide to feature Guitar Center Studios, an in-house, state-of-the-art lesson and rehearsal facility, the store creates unrivalled opportunities for Sarasota musicians of all ages and skill levels. Guitar Center Studios provides music lessons from beginner to advanced, featuring certified instructors teaching world-class curriculum, as well as courses on one-on-one Pro Tools, Logic Pro and GarageBand. Rehearsal spaces are fully equipped with the latest backline gear, and musicians also have access to a digital recording of their rehearsal sessions. Guitar Center Studios will be the most modern and affordable lessons and rehearsals facility in the city. The store also features GC Garage, offering on-site guitar repair services. Throughout opening weekend, musicians test drove the Garage for free, with any guitar purchased at Guitar Center Sarasota worth $500 or more getting a free, 22-point personalized set-up (strings and parts not included).

Building on their ongoing initiatives designed to educate and inspire artists nationwide, Guitar Center in Sarasota will offer unique opportunities for musicians to craft their skills, maintain their instruments and experience many aspects of the music industry first-hand.

Gene Joly, Guitar Center Executive VP of Stores, stated, “Over the past several years we have tested a number of new design and merchandising principles and placed greater emphasis on high-technology products. A new point of emphasis is on interactive software and recording demo stations with over 200 of the hottest software titles fully demo-able in every store, something that no other retailer offers. In addition, our new stores feature Guitar Center Studios lessons/rehearsal spaces, and open layouts that yield improved traffic flow and more room for customers to test drive products in a comfortable environment. Our new Louisville and Sarasota stores are the culmination of this hard work, and the additional stores we open this year will incorporate most of these new features.?

One example of their ongoing music education-based initiatives, Guitar Center Sessions provides musicians with the chance to network and gain insight and knowledge from their musical influences in a comfortable and intimate setting. As a part of its Grand Opening Weekend, Guitar Center produced a series of Guitar Center Sessions in Sarasota:

• Friday, February 25th at 7 p.m. – Dave Elitch, drummer for The Mars Volta.

• Saturday, February 26th at 1 p.m. – Music Creation 101 on a Mac®, featuring GarageBand and Logic Studio (Attendees learned how to record, create and edit their music in GarageBand, then completed production using powerful tools available in Logic Studio – helpful beginner tips as well as power-user tricks were discussed!)

• Sunday, February 27th at 5 p.m. – Epiphone artist, Guitar Hero’s Marcus Henderson.

Guitar Center Sessions also aims to help musicians further their aspirations and provide tools for career growth by producing an evening of dialogue and music from some of their favorite artists. Past artists to participate in Guitar Center Sessions include Slash, Peter Gabriel, Jane’s Addiction, Joe Satriani, Peter Frampton, Pete Rock, Dave Mustaine and RZA.

In addition, each year Guitar Center offers nationwide programs designed to recognize creativity and highlight the nation’s most promising undiscovered talent. Sarasota residents will now be able to participate in these ongoing national events from their hometown:

• Your Next Record gives artists a chance to record with some of the top recording artists in the country, from legendary guitarist Slash to country superstar Keith Urban.

• Guitar Center On-Stage gives undiscovered bands the opportunity to compete against their peers for a chance to share a stage with their idols.

• Guitar Center’s Drum-Off and King of the Blues are national competitions that highlight local talent from across the country, giving them widespread exposure and the chance to win incredible prize packages.

Guitar Center Sarasota is open seven days a week. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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