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Carter Vintage Guitars Makes a Big Move in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Carter Vintage Guitars opened the doors to its all-new brick-and-mortar location on the top floor of the historic Antiques building at SomeraRoad's Paseo South Gulch - just across the street from its original store - on the first of the month. On Monday, March 18, 2024 we met with the organization's CEO Ben Montague for a private tour and visit to the legendary guitar shop that is now located at 606 8th Ave S, Suite 201 and we can report that the retail establishment is now ready to welcome all music enthusiasts, artists and collectors to its impressive, spacious, sparkling and modern showroom seven days a week in Music City.

Ben Montague is all smiles as Carter Vintage Guitars begins a new chapter in Nashville.

Since its inception by industry veterans Walter and Christie Carter in 2012, Carter Vintage Guitars has become a Nashville institution where locals and visitors can admire, trade, consign, buy and sell vintage guitars and other fretted instruments. The company invested in relocating to a larger, custom-built space to continue providing an unmatched experience to its loyal and growing customer base in Nashville and worldwide.

"After over a decade of success, Carter Vintage Guitars had outgrown our storied first home on Eighth Avenue, and it had to be fate that another historically significant building was revitalized across the street around the same time," said Ben Montague, co-founder and CEO of The North American Guitar, which merged with Carter Vintage Guitars in 2022.

The high-end electric guitar room was buzzing with activity.

"Our new home in the Antiques building will allow us to offer the same incomparable customer experience, while displaying more inventory, improving capacity for authentication and repairs and supporting our talented team. We also now have the space to provide a destination for music experiences and support for the creative community that complements our core passion of buying and selling guitars."

Commenting on the progress to date and the nearly seamless transition to their new space - Montague made it a point to give credit to his talented team of 30 experts, players and sales associates that have come together from the Carter roster and the combined forces of previous The North American Guitar/Cotten Music merger to create one of the most expertise staff in the field industry wide.

Together - this new group works and functions at Carter Vintage Guitars' new location which spans 12,500 square feet, and houses over 2,000 guitars. Today they boast a bigger authentication team and the highly anticipated and newly reopened Carter Vintage Repair shop - led by Greg Ellis. With more square footage than before, the company has added an exclusive space for creatives called Carter Studios, a Live from Carter's stage, rooms for private appointments, more lifestyle merchandise and expanded office space.

Prepping a '59 and '61 Gibson SG for a weekly social media promotion.

In addition to Carter Vintage Guitars instruments, the new retail floor will house inventory from The North American Guitar, also led by Montague, and Cotten Music, led by Kim Sherman, providing a physical home for the three merged brands under one roof.

Montague - himself a talented musician and songwriter hailing from the United Kingdom - could barely contain his glee and enthusiasm as he showed us around the new digs that keep many artistic stylings and a nod to its former building with a similar look and murals provided by artist Brian Law.

Recent acquistions get checked, catalogued, cleaned and posted for sale online.

"We wanted to create the same feeling of the old store here," Montague effused as we began the tour outside the entrance on the chilly late winter afternoon as we observed the familiar and friendly color scheme of Carter Vintage Guitars.

"So, Carter Vintage really was known as being Nashville's friendliest guitar store. So, we really take that to heart and want to make sure that we continue that legacy," Ben emphasized as our introduction to the showroom floor started. Montague pointed out the individual sections that expertly highlighted their collection of Martin, Gibson, Guild, Epiphone, Rickenbacker and Fender models along with other vintage makes and a slew of additional stringed instruments. "Customers here can come up and take something straight off the rack and they can play it. They can try out our demo suites and they can choose an amp. It's a full experience."

Montague took a few moments to explain the business side of things and described how the new space perfectly allows for the acquisition and allocation of the company's ever expanding line of instruments that they mostly market and sell on a consignment basis. Every piece comes in and leaves through the same "L" shaped back office assembly line system that allows for cleaning, repairs, cataloging and marketing that ensures that their total inventory is always available on the online store and at the brick and mortar space as well.

The new retail space is bigger and brighter.

"Putting everything all under one roof has enabled us to just better serve our customers," Ben concluded. "We are obsessed with our customers. We want them to have the greatest experience. When they get out of their car, to when they see the murals, to when they walk in and they want to buy a t-shirt or a high-end rare piece. Or, they just want to grab something off the floor - we want everything to be seamless."

The plan for relocation began in early 2022, as the company's co-founders and Montague looked to solidify the physical representation of the brand's growth and the future of the cherished music destination. The goal of Carter Vintage Guitars' merger with The North American Guitar in March 2022 was to preserve the legacy built by the Carters and foster the company's unique offerings for years to come. The Carter Vintage Guitars team will remain anchored by familiar faces at the new location and welcome some lauded instrument experts, including Gary Bohanan. The new location was built by Carter Group, designed by Paul Boulifard and boasts 30 exclusive free parking spots.

The all-new Carter Vintage Guitars keeps its old spirit and style on 8th Ave.

Related Links: For more information on CARTER VINTAGE GUITARS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Carter Vintage Guitars


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