Guitar World Presents: Guitar Center's King of the Blues Grand Finals

Last week 214 aspiring guitar players came one step closer to becoming future guitar legends as they were crowned local winners of Guitar Center’s King of the Blues, the nationwide search for the next great undiscovered blues guitar player. Beating out thousands of competitors from around the country, these lucky winners must now battle it out in the upcoming District Finals, taking place September 30 in 24 Guitar Center stores around the country (locations listed below).

Tickets also go on sale today for the King of the Blues Grand Finals, which are scheduled for November 12 at the House of Blues Sunset in Hollywood, CA. In addition to showcasing the top five finalists as they compete for the King of the Blues crown and $25,000 cash, the King of the Blues Grand Finals will also feature performances by renowned blues guitarist and Gibson artist Joe Bonamassa, who has been awarded “Best Blues Guitarist” by Guitar Player Magazine for the past three years, as well as Grammy Award winner Pete Anderson. Tickets for this very special event are just $20, and are available at or the HOB box office.

King of the Blues is part of Guitar Center’s ongoing mission to provide emerging artists and musicians with career-altering opportunities and vehicles to achieve success. Introduced in 2006, King of the Blues is more than just a competition to find the most technically skilled players. King of the Blues is designed to seek out the most passionate, innovative and authentic undiscovered guitar players and give them a shot at stardom. For example, the winner of Guitar Center’s 2007 King of the Blues, Aaron Loesch, was invited to perform at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival in front of over 25,000 attendees.

Each contestant must perform live to 1 of 25 original backing tracks, developed by Grammy Award winning producer, Pete Anderson, which were made available for free download at Contestants may bring and use any 6, 7, or 12 string acoustic or electric guitar, lap steel or pedal steel guitar, plus any audio pedal effects that can be set-up in a 5 minute time limit, all of which will be plugged into a selection of amplifiers provided by Guitar Center.

Local competitions took place over the past four weeks, culminating in one winner being chosen from each store. These winners now move up to district competitions (24 locations), followed by regionally hosted semi-finals (5 locations) and culminating in the final King of the Blues Grand Finals competition in Los Angeles in November.

Guitar Center’s King of the Blues champion will win an impressive package of prizes, including $25,000 cash, along with a Gibson Guitar ’59 Les Paul reissue guitar, a $2,500 Levi’s® shopping spree, a Marshall Vintage Modern 50 watt half stack, a Boss GT-10 Guitar Multi Effects Pedal, a feature in Guitar World magazine, worldwide distribution of their music in iTunes and more, plus endorsement deals from Ernie Ball, Marshall Amplification, VOX Amplification and Gibson. Additional regional, district and local prize packages will also be awarded, thanks to the generous support of Gibson Guitar, Levi’s®, Ernie Ball, Marshall, Boss, VOX, Guitar World Magazine and TuneCore, all of whom are proud partners of Guitar Center’s King of the Blues

  • District finals: September 30th
  • Regional finals: October 21st
  • Grand Finals: November 12th

Locations for District Finals (Sept 30):

•Boston, MA
•Brooklyn, NY
•Detroit, MI
•Englewood, CO
•Fountain Valley, CA
•Hallandale, FL
•Indianapolis, IN
•Lawrenceville, GA
•N. Olmsted, OH
•Nashville, TN
•North Chicago, IL
•North Dallas, TX
•North Houston, TX
•Northridge, CA
•Overland Park, KS
•Pasadena, CA
•Phoenix, AZ
•Plymouth Meeting, PA
•Rockville, MD
•San Jose, CA
•Seattle, WA
•Springfield, NJ
•Twin Cities, MN
•Winter Park, FL

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Guitar World Editors

Since 1980, Guitar World has brought guitarists the best in-depth interviews with great players, along with exclusive lessons, informative gear reviews and insightful columns that help guitarists grow and excel on their instrument. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is your guide.