A Majestical Merging of Premium and Vintage
Carter Vintage Guitars and The North American Guitar
by Shelby C. Berry
When you step onto the streets of Nashville, you feel the city’s energy and history — through historic venues like the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe. The artists performing in Nashville know their instruments must live up to the majestic magic of Music City. And this is where Carter Vintage Guitars comes in.
Known as Nashville’s music store with the longest-running legacy, Carter Vintage Guitars was founded in 2012 by Christie and Walter Carter, but their story didn’t start there.
Walter Carter began his career in Music City as a songwriter, musician, and journalist —like many do — before he found himself in the guitar business working for a vintage guitar dealer in 1987.
“I was there on and off for 12 years while I also worked for Gibson as an in-house historian for ten years,” said Walter. “My wife Christie worked for the same vintage dealer for 25 years, starting as a bookkeeper and eventually becoming the general manager and top salesperson. By 2012, we had 50 years of knowledge and experience, plus a guitar collection that was getting out of hand, so it was time to strike out on our own.”
Over the last decade, Walter and Christie Carter have become the experts for vintage guitars. Located in the heart of Nashville, Carter Vintage Guitars has become a beloved shop recognized for its instruments and the well-known musicians who play their instruments.
“Christie and I worked seven days a week at CVG without a vacation for the first six or seven years before we started closing on Sundays,” said Walter. “By the end of 2021, we were ready to start taking more time off, but we were having a hard time doing that.”
An opportunity fell into their lap to make all that, and more, possible — a merger with one of the world’s leading independent guitar stores, The North American Guitar.
Walter and Christie have headed the vintage guitar operations for the last decade at their downtown Nashville store. The merger melds two of the most respected guitar brands built upon the music history of the city called home, allowing both stores a shared mission of bringing the finest vintage guitars and instruments to players and collectors worldwide.
The complementing of companies comes with Carter Vintage Guitars focusing on vintage instruments and The North American Guitar developing a premium guitar market to reshape how collectors source, play, and sell these high-end instruments. This new guitar market creates an unmatched experience for musicians and customers, online and in-store.
Founded in 2010 in London by Ben Montague and his father, Robert, The North American Guitar broke into the Nashville music scene in 2019 when they acquired Cotton Music Centre and relocated their headquarters to Music City.
Nashville’s music and history are like no other. Carter Vintage Guitars and The North American Guitar pride themselves on being part of that history. The Carter brand remains the local historic vintage guitar expert, but they are incorporating under the parent brand, The North American Guitar.
“The merger ensures that Carter Vintage Guitars continues to be Nashville’s number one vintage guitar store,” said Walter. “As you might expect with a vintage instrument store, some of the software and processes at CVG were vintage, too. Most changes have been behind the scenes to make the business run more efficiently.”
Both business websites remain operational while ensuring that all Carter Vintage Guitars inventory is available to purchase online and ship globally. The plan will be to move into the future to eventually operate under one roof, keeping in mind what is the best for both businesses and their employees as they move into the future together. The stores built themselves on customer relationships and will continue being the friendliest guitar store in Nashville, offering the world’s finest collection of vintage instruments to a global audience.
“We have an incredible team at TNAG and CVG, and we are extremely proud to offer our customers a wide range of instruments. Right now, we want to continue learning from each other and providing the best buying and selling experience in-store and online for our customers,” said Walter.