Roger Calhoun

Roger Calhoun with a bass guitar inside the showroom at Guitar Wishes on East Main Street. 

Guitar Wishes and Sound Factory Studios is already making waves in the music industry despite having only been open for a little over a year.

Last summer, Guitar Wishes made the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) list of Top 100 dealers. According to the NAMM website, the award honors retailers “who demonstrate exceptional commitment to their stores, neighborhoods and customers, and share in a vision of creating a more musical world through their local communities.”

Not too shabby for a what Roger Calhoun calls an accidental guitar shop. He thought the shop would remain small, with one employee. Their goal was to sell 50 guitars in the first year. They ended up selling over 1,300. The showroom, which once featured guitars from Calhoun’s personal collection, now features one-off guitars that belonged to artists such as John 5, formerly of Marilyn Manson’s band.

“It’s a big thing because when stores get in that Top 100, that’s when you attract the artists to come and do signings and things of that nature,” Calhoun said.

Guitar Wishes has gotten compliments from locals as well. Calhoun spoke of a luthier who paid the shop a complement by calling it “what guitar shops used to be.” Calhoun thinks that matches downtown Lincolnton.

“It’s really a town that’s the way things used to be in a good way,” Calhoun said. “It [Guitar Wishes] fits right into it.”

Because of artists’ contract restrictions, Calhoun can’t talk about all the artists who have recorded in the Sound Factory Studio. The names he divulged was a who’s who of musicians and songwriters that may be surprising. He’s looking forward to some big names in the music industry stopping by in the coming year. Calhoun was invited to partner with Norman’s Rare Guitars in Los Angeles that could result in a visit from Joe Bonamassa, who toured with B.B. King at just 12 years old. The studio still accommodates local acts, like Dirty Grass Soul, Camryn Wilson and Matt Engle.

Work is underway for four local radio stations to broadcast from a studio adjacent to the recording studios. Calhoun thinks about 250,000 people will tune in to listen daily when it’s up and running by the end of next week. The public will be able to watch radio broadcasts live when Calhoun builds a glass studio on the main floor facing Main Street.

“The biggest thing is that Lincolnton has been absolutely amazing in how they’ve worked with, not just us, but all the other businesses downtown,” Calhoun said.

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