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The music lessons facility inside GC's Louisville, Ky., store

GC Adds Lessons Business With Louisville Store

Guitar Center has officially taken its music lessons program to the retail store level.

The company's new 17,500-square-foot Louisville, Ky., location, which opened to the public on Jan. 27, features GC's first in-store lessons and rehearsal facility, Guitar Center Studios. It offers music instrument lessons for all skill levels and one-on-one Pro Tools, Logic Pro and GarageBand classes. The rehearsal space is equipped with backline gear and will give musicians access to digital recordings of their rehearsals. Previously, GC Studios was confined to a non-retail facility in Woodland Hills, Calif.

GC opened the Louisville store with a weekend-long celebration featuring giveaways and exclusive sales, including guitar and drum essentials at up to 89-percent off list price. Events included clinics (dubbed Guitar Center Sessions) with Dave Elitch, drummer for The Mars Volta, on Jan. 28; Avid, makers of Pro Tools, which hosted "Music Production 101" on Jan. 29; and Johnny Hiland, Nashville, Tenn., session guitarist and solo artist, on Jan. 30. The store also features GC Garage, an on-site guitar repair and service facility.

Several other Louisville music retailers commented on the opening to The Courier-Journal.

"It's going to be tough, no doubt about it," said Bill Himbaugh, vice president of operations at Doo Wop Shop. "I don't think anyone in town is going down without a fight."

"Part of the common belief is that [Guitar Center will] go into a town and generate more interest in playing the guitar, but that remains to be seen," said Jimmy Brown, owner of Guitar Emporium. "As my Taylor rep put it to me, 'Every Taylor guitar they sell is one you don't get to sell.'"