Guitar Center to Prioritize “Premium Product” Over “$300 Guitars”

Guitar Center’s new CEO Gabe Dalport has revealed his plans to prioritize “premium” products over “$300 guitars” because he believes stores no longer feel like the “right place” for “the serious musician.”

In an interview with Music Inc Magazine (via Guitar World), Dalport claimed the company has gotten away from their roots by focusing on beginners.

“Our core customer is the serious musician — the gigging artist or passionate player where music is a big part of their identity,” Dalport stated. “Over the years, we’ve evolved significantly into serving the beginner and entry-level customer — which is great — but if you walk through a GC store, you’re going to see an awful lot of $300 guitars and $300 digital drum kits.”

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Dalport continued, “It’s very hard to experience our premium product because we have our best guitars locked on the top row where you can’t easily get to them. So, if I’m a serious musician and I walk into a Guitar Center, it doesn’t feel like the right place for me anymore.”


The executive went on to lay out his plan for changing this perception, which involves shifting the layout of stores to make musicians feel like they’re at “a playground.”

This means having “a much more premium assortment that’s more easily accessible where I can get in and grab a guitar and plug it in and try all these pedals and effects and just geek out and have a great time.”

To justify his vision, Dalport staked claim to his bonafides as a musician. “I think it’s very important that the leadership of a music company understands the customer deeply, and what the customer wants,” he said. “I feel like being a musician and being a customer, I understand the Guitar Center customer on a different level.”

Apparently, the “Guitar Center customer” doesn’t necessarily include beginners on a budget.