Originally in the pedal steel manufacturing business, Ben Jack opened his music retail store in 1963 following a fire that consumed his BEJAY pedal steel plant. Ben not only manufactured pedal steels but was also an accomplished player, performing and with Hank Thompson and Bob Wills.

Ben reflects, "I came off the road with Hank when I got married. My wife worked the front counter and sold strings and accessories, while I did repair work and refinishing, which in those days was about 80% of our business. At the end that first year we tallied up the books and she had made a hell of a lot more money with her 20% in retail than I did with my 80% working my ass off. That was the first year I took on the Epiphone brand and I've had Epiphone and Gibson instruments in my store now for 41 years. At one time I had four retail stores, three in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma. We also had a large recording studio patterned after RCA's studio A. When we opened for business in 1963 the store was called Ben Jack's Guitar Center and was until '88 when I decided to change the name, due to the Guitar Center chain stores. Rather than muddy up the water I changed the name to Ben Jack's Arkansas Music but we were Guitar Center way, way before they were. Currently we have 3 locations; one franchise in Fort Smith, Arkansas, this store in Fayetteville which is the one I work out of and one in Bentonville which is even bigger. We serve everyone from garage bands to semi-pros and we have a large teaching program with lots of students who are just getting started. These days, across the board Epiphone is our number one selling line. Last year we sold 1611 stringed instruments out of this location alone which is about five a day... and we've been doing that for over forty years. That's pretty good for this "chicken country" where we are located! I think the Epiphone line is better now than it has ever been. We have very little trouble with them. We just order 'em, sell 'em and order more."

Up until 1992, Ben had what was once the largest private collection of vintage guitars in the world, according to Guitar Player magazine, who have featured Ben's extensive collection more than once. His collection includes 60's Rivieras, Casinos, Emperors and a Texan. The collection also includes vintage Epiphone banjos as well as rare Epiphone Electar steel guitars.

Ben continues, "We try to display 100 pieces of Epiphone guitars at all times…display, not in the box at some warehouse" Even though Epiphone guitars come to Ben Jack's 100% USA set-up and inspected, he goes the extra mile with every instrument that comes in the door and provides a second inspection to insure the instrument is ready to display. "I will say for sure that the Epiphones that come in here are near-perfect tweaked and far above any other brand that just rode in on the truck, and I know because we look at every guitar that comes in before we put it out to sell."


A momento from Ben's days with Bob Wills.


Ben doing what he loves best in 1951.


Ben accepts the Featured Dealer Award from Epi's Will Jones.


Ben and his staff ready to help you find that perfect Epi!