P.O. Box 1855  |  Martinsville IN 46151  |  Phone: 765-342-4880   

About Us

Hello, I am

Dennis Eugene Champlin,

and I am


I was raised in a musical family; we all sang, and my Dad played guitar (left-handed, upside-down).  I first began playing guitar in 1964; I turned pro and began teaching in 1974, adding bass, drums, and theory to my guitar skills.

After graduating from Martinsville High School in 1970, I enrolled in the world famous "School of Hard Knocks", later graduating with a degree in "Music Performance and Music Education".

I apprenticed under some of the finest professional musicians and teachers in Indiana, including jazz pianist James "Step" Wharton; jazz bassist Mingo Jones; jazz / blues / singer / pianist Jonathan Wiggs; jazz drummer Roy Huston; jazz drummer Clem Tiggs; classical / ragtime / dixieland pianist Bill Hastings; jazz bassist / singer Ray Schrader; Nashville studio guitarist Jim Ray Pryor; country / western artist Lawrence "Red" Martin; and master music educator Dr. Milton Stewart.  I am an active member of the American Federation of Musicians, Indianapolis Local # 3.  I started this business as a teaching studio in 1980, later moving from the farm into town in 1984, adding retail sales, service, and repairs.  

I am now "semi-retired": Besides taking private music students, I have taught rhythm sections in the Martinsville High School Music Department under Band Director Frank Battaglia and Choral Director Tim James.  I continue to play solo and combo gigs.  I am an ordained Christian Lay Minister and Music Evangelist.  My wife Jackie teaches third grade at Paragon Elementary, and is an active partner in both my music business and my music ministry.  I was the Chaplain at Ken-Mar Apartments for five years.  I was also formerly a contributing editor and columnist for a local weekly newspaper, the Express News.

My areas of experience and expertise include guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and music theory.  My background is 20th century popular music.  I sub-contract with area teachers and repair technicians.  Besides tutoring individuals, I also conduct clinics on Show Choir, Jazz Choir, and Jazz Band rhythm sections, along with Church Praise & Worship Teams.

I started this business because of my love of music, and my desire to help others fulfill their musical dreams and ambitions.  I believe in this age of impersonal chain stores, there's still room for the American dream of owning your own small business.  While I may not have the variety and depth of a chain store, I believe I can offer personal service, based on my professional experience, and help you make the best selections to meet your musical needs, while the low overhead of my Christian family-owned business will help your budget, too.

Note: My musician friends started calling me "Denny" and it stuck as my stage name!

(Photos: left, courtesy Bernard Ewing Studio; right, courtesy Olan Mills Studio)


Dennis Eugene Champlin

Résumé 2018

Guitar - Bass - Drums - Theory

Musician 54 Years

(Since 1964)

Pro / Teacher 44 Years

(Since 1974)

Dealership 38 Years

(Since 1980)

Ministry 28 Years

(Since 1990)

How it all began: February 9, 1964, I saw the "Beatles" on the "Ed Sullivan Show"!

12-million kids bought a guitar in 1964; only 2-million learned how to play it (including me)!

My First "Guitar"

My first “guitar” was a Sears & Roebuck “Silvertone”, purchased in 1964.  I thought that “guitar” was long ruined, as it had fallen apart at every glue seam, but a friend of mine, luthier B.B. Stultz, took it to his shop and restored it as a favor to me.  It is officially "retired" and hangs on the wall in my store as a "museum" piece.

In 1964 this “guitar” cost me $20, as I could not afford a “real one”, which cost $75 at the local music store.  This is in reality a “toy”, not a “musical instrument”, and we jokingly refer to them as "I.S.O." ("Instrument Shaped Object"), but I learned to play in spite of this handicap, and have gone on to own many quality guitars, including several professional models.  It is my desire that my students start on something nicer than I did; the better the instrument, the better the musician!

Denny Champlin

(Photo by Bernard Ewing Studio)

Check out our vintage 1975 jazz audio LP / CD Jazz

Denny Champlin

(Photo by Jackie Champlin)

Playing a vintage 1964 Hofner Beatle Bass!

Denny Champlin

(Photo by Erricka Jones Studio)

Vintage Alvarez jazz guitar; check out my teacher & student videos on YouTube

Denny Champlin Quartet

(Photo by Erricka Jones Studio)

Through the magic of the modern photography studio, I appear to be playing all of these instruments at the same time.  I have made several recordings via the multi-track recording studio, layering all of the instruments and vocals for a blended result.  One example can be heard on my original gospel recording, "Lord of My Life" Lord

Honored by the April, 2011, "Morgan County Business Leader"


Naptown's # 1 Jazz Bassist

Mingo Jones

Jonathan Wiggs Trio

"The Lion's Den" 1974

Denny Champlin - Jonathan Wiggs - Roy Huston

Check out our vintage 1975 jazz audio LP / CD Jazz

The "Lion's Den" was my first-ever jazz bass gig; notice the medical tape on my fingers; they were blistered and bleeding from the friction due to playing my first upright bass viol.  Who said you don't have to "pay your dues" to get into show business?  I soaked my fingers in shot glasses of "C.C." on breaks to numb the pain; finally, I started consuming the shots of "C.C." orally, which seemed at the time to work much better!  (Look at that "baby face"; and that hair!).

"Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end, we'd sing and dance forever and a day; we'd live the life we choose, we'd fight and never lose, for we were young and sure to have our way."  Check out our vintage 1975 jazz audio LP / CD: 

Jonathan Wiggs Trio

"The Lion's Den" 1974

Jonathan Wiggs - Denny Champlin - Roy Huston

Check out our vintage 1975 jazz audio LP / CD Jazz

Jonathan Wiggs Trio

"RMF Recording Studio" 1975

(Photo by Ronald Gill Studio)

Roy Huston - Jonathan Wiggs - Denny Champlin

Check out our vintage 1975 jazz audio LP / CD Jazz

"Red" Martin Band

"Elks Club" 1978

Maurice Champlin - Red Martin - Denny Champlin - Bill Hastings - Les Heshelman

Yes, indeed, I played a lot of Country / Western music!  How in the world do you think a jazz musician earned a real living, anyway?  It sure wasn't by playing jazz!  I had also started teaching private music lessons in 1974.

Red Martin was a smooth "Country Crooner", much in the style of Eddie Arnold; Maurice Champlin was my cousin who could play jazz on steel guitar (along with chromatic harmonica); Bill Hastings was a classically trained pianist who had played with big bands and was the house pianist with WTTV-Channel-4; and drummer Les Heshelman played for the Indiana University School of Dance.  Not your "average" country band, eh?

"Step" Wharton Trio

"Painted Hills" 1980

Les Heshelman - Denny Champlin - Step Wharton

(Les was the drummer for the I.U. School of Dance; Step was an arranger for the Count Basie Big Band).

Step Wharton Quartet

"American Legion" 1980

Denny Champlin - Step Wharton - Mike Curtis - Roy Huston

Bill Hastings Trio

"Elks Club" 1980

Denny Champlin - Bill Hastings - Les Heshelman

Bill Hastings Trio

"Elks Club" 1980

Denny Champlin - Bill Hastings - Roy Huston

Playing Electric Bass with the "MHS Jazz Big Band"

Artesian Jazz Combo

"MHS Jazz Dinner" 1984

Mike Curtis - Denny Champlin - P.J. Noxon (piano) - Frank Battaglia - Ron Tedrow (drums) - Al Lilly

More to come, as I root through old shoe boxes of photo memories!