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Guitar Center, Inc. today announced the launch of Drum Off 2006, the world's largest and most respected drum competition. Now in its 18th year, Drum Off continues to bring together thousands of the nation's top undiscovered drummers for the chance to compete for incredible prizes, national recognition and the bragging rights of being crowned Drum Off Champion.

"Drum Off, our longest running talent promotion, provides a platform for drummers around the country to achieve their career dreams and to obtain the national recognition they deserve," said Dustin Hinz, manager, brand programs, Guitar Center. "Our goal is to give every undiscovered musician the opportunity to be successful at doing what they love."

Sign-ups for Drum Off 2006 are underway at all Guitar Center stores nationwide (open as of August 1st). Store-level competitions, at which drummers showcase their talent by performing a three-minute drum solo, begin on Sept. 19. Contestants are judged on originality, technique, style, stage presence and overall performance. Drum Off is open to contestants 18 years of age and older.

This year's winner will take home a grand prize package worth more than $38,000 including a 2006 Scion tC, a $2,500 Guitar Center shopping spree, Roland V Pro electronic drum, custom designed SoBe Adrenaline Rush drum cases, a PC laptop computer with a $250 download card from Napster and a one-year drum and cymbal endorsement deal.

Previous Drum Off winners have gone on to enjoy successful professional music careers, record albums and achieve notoriety by hitting the road with bands on tour. Cora Coleman, Drum Off 2002 winner, went on to tour with Prince and has since played nationally and internationally with some of today's most recognized musical artists. Drum Off 2003 winner Eric Moore II achieved notoriety performing with psychedelic funk band Sly and the Family Stone as well as singer Bobby Brown.

Partners for Drum Off 2006 include Toyota Scion, SoBe Adrenaline Rush, Napster, DW Drums, SABIAN, Tama, Yamaha, Pearl, Zildjian, REMO, Evans, Pro-Mark, Vic-Firth, Roland, Modern Drummer Magazine and the Guitar Center credit card.

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