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Guitar Center's King of the Blues

Guitar Center's King of the Blues Brought to you by: guitar.com

THE ANNUAL SEARCH FOR THE NATION'S GREATEST UNDISCOVERED BLUES GUITARIST LAUNCHES TODAY

World's Largest Guitar Competition to feature a performance by Grammy Award-Winning Guitarist Warren Haynes at Competition's Finals + Offers Career-Altering Prize Package Including $25,000 Cash, Gear, Endorsements and Studio Time

Westlake Village, CA, April 2011 - Continuing its support of aspiring artists, Guitar Center, the world's largest musical instrument retailer, today launched its fifth-annual King of the Blues, the nationwide search for the next great undiscovered blues guitar player. Starting today, guitarists can sign-up at any of Guitar Center's 216 stores across the country for the chance to compete for over $50,000 in prizes including studio time with Grammy Award-winning producer Pete Anderson. Five finalists will perform for a panel of celebrity judges at the King of the Blues finals at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, playing alongside guitar titan Warren Haynes.

"Guitar Center's King of the Blues is a celebration of the blues guitar, and it's heartening to be involved in an event that shines a light on undiscovered artists," said Haynes. After seeing past finalists I'm really looking forward to seeing who they find to share the stage with me at the House of Blues."

In addition to impressive prize packages at the local, district and regional levels from Gibson, Epiphone, Ernie Ball, Egnater and Boss, the guitarist crowned Guitar Center's 2011 King of the Blues will land a studio session with producer Pete Anderson, with the total prize package valued at more than $50,000. The full grand prize package includes:

•    $25,000 Cash
•    Studio Session with Grammy Award-Winning Producer Pete Anderson
•    Gibson Vintage Collectors Series Les Paul 1959 Reissue
•    Epiphone 1965 Elitist Casino
•    Egnater Full Stack (Egnater Tweaker 88 Head plus Two 4x12 Vintage-30 Loaded Cabinets)
•    Egnater 112 Combo Amp
•    Boss GT-10 Guitar Multi-Effects Processor
•    Winner's Choice of 2 Boss Single Stomp Pedals
•    Robert Johnson Complete Masters, Centennial Edition Vinyl Box Set
•    Endorsement Deals from Gibson, Ernie Ball, Boss, and Egnater
•    Feature in Guitar World Magazine

The winner will also receive a deluxe copy of blues legend Robert Johnson's centennial box set, celebrating his 100th birthday on May 8th, which features the original masters of his legendary recording sessions from the 1930's. www.thecompleterobertjohnson.com

"King of the Blues continues to deliver on our commitment of providing musicians across the country with opportunities that inspire and enable them to network with like-minded players, expose their music to large audiences and attain recognition for their skills," said Dustin Hinz, Director of Music and Entertainment Marketing.

Local competitions will be held at each of the 216 Guitar Center locations nationwide, beginning May 5th. Each contestant will be required to give a live guitar solo, performed over one of thirty original backing tracks, developed by Grammy Award-winning producer/guitarist, Pete Anderson (all backing tracks are available for free download at guitarcenter.com/kingoftheblues). One winner from each store will be chosen to move up to district competitions (25 locations), followed by regionally hosted semi-finals (5 locations), which culminate in the King of the Blues grand finals.

At the House of Blues on Sunset in Los Angeles, the five finalists will perform in front of a live audience and a panel of celebrity judges opening up for world-renowned guitarist Warren Haynes. A Grammy-winner and 9-time nominee, Haynes is ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone Magazine's Greatest Guitarists Of All Time list. He is the front man for Gov't Mule as well as vocalist and guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band and The Dead. Haynes' new album Man In Motion featuring his legendary signature brand of rock, blues and soul, will be released May 10th on Stax/Concord Music Group available at all Guitar Center stores.

Guitar Center's King of the Blues has a history of changing the lives of its finalists. Hacienda Heights guitarist Randy Scott had hung up his axe for nearly a decade, but at the encouragement of his local Guitar Center rep, he opted to enter the 2010 King of the Blues competition, rather than selling his guitar and closing the door on his passion forever. Scott went on to win the competition, and he now earns a living doing what he loves, crediting Guitar Center for steering him back toward the blues. Blues guitarist Kirby Kelley, the 2009 King of the Blues, is also testimony to Guitar Center's support of aspiring artists as he was selected to play at the Eric Clapton-curated Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010, where he opened for the legend himself.

King of the Blues is one of many Guitar Center initiatives created to foster growth and success within the music community, including its annual Drum-Off, On-Stage and Your Next Record undiscovered artist programs. Guitar Center's Drum-Off, which recently concluded its 22nd year, has been a launching pad for many drummers, including Cora Coleman-Dunham and Tony Royster Jr., two Drum-Off champions who have gone on to become acclaimed professional drummers (Prince and Jay-Z respectively). Guitar Center On-Stage, an unsigned band competition judged by rock legends such as Mötley Crüe and KISS, gives bands a chance to open for their idols while on tour. Guitar Center's Your Next Record with Travis Barker provides emerging artists the chance to win the ultimate career-altering opportunity: record a 3-song EP with legendary producer Mike Clink and have Barker write, record and perform on the winning artists' single - YourNextRecord.com. Past Your Next Record competitions have featured Slash and Keith Urban.

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About Guitar Center

Guitar Center is the world's largest retailer of guitars, amplifiers, drums, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. Our retail store subsidiary presently operates 216 Guitar Center stores across the U.S. We are also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments in the United States through our wholly owned subsidiary, Musician's Friend, Inc., and its catalog and Web site, Musiciansfriend.com. In addition, our Music & Arts division operates more than 100 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students. More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the Company's Web site at www.guitarcenter.com.

The Guitar Center logo is a registered trademark of Guitar Center, Inc. Other brand or product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

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