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Guitar Center, the nation's leading music instrument retailer, today announced "King of the Blues" '07 — the world's largest guitar competition. Geared towards promoting players with deep passion and commitment to the craft, "King of the Blues" is an annual celebration of a genre that is the root of today's music.

Registration for the event begins February 1st at Guitar Center stores across the nation. 199 locations will be holding in-store competitions this year. Following the initial in-store competitions, winners advance through store, district and regional elimination rounds before reaching the grand finals, which will take place in June. Additional information can be found at www.gckingoftheblues.com.

"'King of the Blues' is more than a talent contest," said Dustin Hinz, Manager of Event Marketing and Promotions for Guitar Center. "This is about finding someone who loves making music and helping him or her become a working artist. The Blues define today's music—from Robert Johnson to The White Stripes and B.B. King to John Mayer, this genre forms the bulk of what people are listening to right now. By tapping into this rich and deep musical form, our goal is to find true original talent—not clones of great guitarists, but rather great guitarists in their own right who deserve a place alongside the legends."

This year's grand prize winner will receive:

  • 7 days in the studio with Grammy Award winning producer and guitar aficionado Pete Anderson
  • 2007 Ford Mustang
  • Gibson '59 VOS re-issue Les Paul
  • 1-year Gibson endorsement deal
  • Write-up in Guitar World magazine
  • Gibson GA40 Amplifier
  • Apple MacPro 2.66 GHz computer with 23-inch Cinema HD monitor
  • $2500 Levi's Shopping spree

Esteemed musician Hubert Sumlin will be honored during this year's event through a set of interviews that will run exclusively on gckingoftheblues.com, and will also perform at the finals.

Named one of Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time," Sumlin developed a passion for the instrument at age six when he plucked one guitar string that his brother had crudely nailed to the wall of their home. Since then, Hubert has achieved iconic status as the guitarist for blues great Howlin' Wolf and has been acknowledged as a key influence by such guitar greats as Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Page.

"Mr. Sumlin personifies what the "King of the Blues" is all about and we're delighted that he's participating," said Dustin Hinz, Manager of Event Marketing and Promotions for Guitar Center, "We're looking for original talent, and Sumlin is an incredible example of just that."

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