The Guitar Center story began in 1959 when Wayne Mitchell purchased a small appliance and home organ store in Hollywood, California. By 1961, he'd changed the name of the company to The Organ Center. In 1964, Joe Banaran, President of the Thomas Organ Company, approached Wayne in search of an outlet to sell a new line of guitars and amplifiers, called Vox.
The timing was right, and Wayne saw the chance to seize a new retail opportunity. He was in the midst of relocating his original Hollywood Organ Center location to a new site, and he agreed that rather than closing down the old store, he would stock it with Vox guitars and amplifiers. Wayne named the store The Vox Center. By the late sixties, it had become evident that the future of musical instrument retailing lay in guitars and amps, not organs, and The Vox Center was re-christened The Guitar Center.