Guitar Center is an American musical instrument retailer chain headquartered in Westlake Village, California. It is the largest company of its kind in the US. The company oversees various subsidiaries including Musician’s Friend, AVDG, Music & Arts, Woodwind & Brasswind, and Giardinelli.
The company was founded in Hollywood by Wayne Mitchell in 1959 as The Organ Center, a retailer of electronic organs for home and church use. In 1964, after one of Mitchell’s suppliers informed him that in order to continue receiving organs he would have to also carry Vox guitar amplifiers, Mitchell added the Vox amps and changed the store’s name to The Vox Center to capitalize on popularity of The Beatles and their association with the Vox brand. Toward the end of the 1960s, as other guitar instrument brands like Marshall rose in popularity, the company changed its name to Guitar Center.