Guitar Center's King of the Blues, the nation wide search for the next great undiscovered blues guitar player is back! Think you have what it takes? Are you inspired by the blues in a way that comes across in your playing? Do you have the skills, style and substance to be crowned Guitar Center's King of the Blues? Here's what you need to know to get started.
Sign-ups for King of the Blues start April 1st and run until each of the 30 contestant spots per store are filled. You must be 16 years or older and a lawful permanent resident of any of the forty-eight (48) contiguous United States to compete in this year's competition. 216 Guitar Center stores across the U.S. will be holding competitions this year. You can get your hands on a complete list of participating stores by visiting www.guitarcenter.com/kingoftheblues. You must sign-up with a guitar department sales associate at your local GC store. There will be no phone or Internet sign-ups available. You'll sign up for one (1) of the three (3) weeks of preliminary competitions.
Each contestant will perform live to 1 of 30 original backing tracks, developed by Grammy Award winning producer, Pete Anderson. All backing tracks are available for free download at guitarcenter.com/kingoftheblues. Pete created 5 new tracks for this year; be sure to check them out! Contestants may bring and use any 3-, 4-, 6-, 7-, or 12- string acoustic or electric guitar, cigar box guitar, lap steel or pedal steel guitar, any audio pedal effects that can be set-up in 5 minutes all, which will be plugged into a selection of amplifiers, provided by Guitar Center. THE ONLY PERSONAL PIECES OF GEAR A CONTESTANT MAY USE IS HIS OR HER GUITAR, PEDAL EFFECTS, CABLE, PICK, SLIDE and STRAP! WIRELESS SYSTEMS, BASS GUITARS, LOOPING EFFECTS, AND POWER AMPS ARE NOT PERMITTED AT ANY LEVEL OF THE COMPETITION. That means don't bring your own amp!
Each contestant will receive 5 minutes to set-up and will perform to the track of their choosing. If you have the skills to make it to the finals, you'll receive an additional 2 minutes to solo on a brand new Gibson Acoustic guitar. Plus, you won't just be playing to a backing track at the finals; you'll be fronting a live backing band!
All contestants will be judged by a panel of 3 independent and credible judges on the following criteria, AUTHENTICITY, ORGINALITY, SKILLS/TECHNQUE, STAGE PRESENCE, and OVERALL PERFORMANCE. Any ties result in a 2-minute play-off in which contestants will solo without a backing track.
A random drawing determining the order in which contestants compete will be held 30 minutes prior to the start of the competition. If you are not present at that drawing you WILL be disqualified…so don't be late. Make sure to confirm all details with your local Guitar Center representative.
Now, that you've gotten the scoop, grab your guitar, polish up those licks and get your self ready to be recognized for your talent. Remember, innovators not imitators but keep it authentic and most importantly have fun! Good Luck!