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New studios added to renovated Guitar Center

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Lo Huot, studio manager at the Guitar Center, practices in one of the new studios at the store. A "grand reopening" of the renovated space is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 10.
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By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A "grand reopening" to mark the addition of new studio, rehearsal and music-lesson space at Guitar Center Columbus on Morse Road took place Thursday, Jan. 10.

This is welcome news for musicians who aren't also weightlifters, according to studio manager Sopheap "Lo" Huot.

"You don't have to lug around your own piano," he said last week, noting that the keyboard room comes equipped with two 88-key digital pianos.

The Columbus store at 4661 Morse Centre Drive is the 31st in the 240-plus nationwide chain to have a Guitar Centers Studio, according to Huot, a West Side resident.

It's the first in Ohio, according to the announcement of the reopening event.

The concept for including studio and lesson space in the stores was in response to customers who would buy instruments and then say, "Now where do I go to learn to play it?" Huot indicated. The first of the studios opened four or five years ago, he said, as a standalone location, but now they are combined, mostly in the construction of new outlets.

Guitar Center Columbus is one of the new outlets to have the studios added as part of what Huot called a "retrofit."

"We did have a chance to do this a few times, but I think right now we've got the right formula for GC studios," Huot said. "It's an amazing part of the store."

Guitar Center is the world's largest retailer of guitars, amplifiers, drums, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment, according to the announcement.

"We are updating the store with a Guitar Center Studios to provide lessons to the music community," store general manager Patrick Scott said.

He has been a Guitar Center employee since 1999.

Huot, a native of central Ohio who first started with Guitar Center when the Columbus store opened in 2002, said his main job as studio manager is to put students and instructors together. A dozen instructors, out of 35 to 40 interviewed after Huot came back on board at the Morse Road location in December, will be paired with students eager to learn how to play their new instruments.

The new space will allow for some new programming, according to Huot, including a two-month "rock show" offering in which a guitar player, a bassist, a drummer, a vocalist and a pianist are teamed up to form a band. At the end of the two months, Guitar Center personnel will book a gig for them.

"I'm really excited about that," Huot said. "I can't wait to do the first one."

He said Guitar Center Columbus will offer "jam nights" the last Friday of every month during the two hours prior to closing. The first hour is reserved for people who become members of Guitar Center Studios to "jam out," according to Huot, while the other hour is open to anyone.

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