One Dot’s Impact on the Statesboro Music Scene


Ainslie Smith

Chris Mitchell holding a CMG guitar next to a Devilcat amplifier inside of his store in downtown Statesboro.

Chris Mitchell taught Otis Redding’s grandson how to play “the Dock of the Bay,” and his product, Devilcat amplifiers, was used in Garth Brooks’ first performance at Notre Dame. He may not be the most interesting man in the world, but he could be a shoo-in for the Bulloch County title.

Mitchell is the musician and self-described serial entrepreneur behind Statesboro’s own Pladd Dot Music. Mitchell is a Georgia Southern alum who grew up in Hagan, Ga., where his music and family life were closely intertwined.

Notably, his mother, aunt, brother and sister ignited his own passion for music. At 12 years old, he became interested in playing the guitar, and at 14, Mitchell says that he started taking it more seriously, practicing persistently and “never looking back”.

Growing up: Glam to Grunge

Reminiscing on his musical journey in a recent interview, Mitchell described what it was like to grow up during a time when Van Halen, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan were making popular radio hits. In short, it was all about guitars.

He compared the hype surrounding the popular glam bands of the time to the phenomena of action movie stars of the same period, saying things started to grow too sensational.

Mitchell says he was heavily influenced by the transition from the glittery hits of the 80’s to the understated drones coming out of the Pacific Northwest in the 90’s. He compared the impact of this new wave of music to the cultural influence that Bob Dylan had on people in the 60’s

“When grunge came along, it really was like, okay, yeah, these guys have it going on,” Mitchell says. “They were socially aware.”

Around the same time, he began attending Georgia Southern, pioneering the guitar program and earning his Bachelor of Music. He was also releasing music with his first band and taught guitar lessons, opening his first storefront in 2002.

Pladd Dot Music has been a staple music school and equipment store for locals ever since and was moved most recently in 2008 to its current location in downtown Statesboro.

Making More than Money

In the past 20 years of business, a common theme in Mitchell’s entrepreneurial journey has been innovating out of necessity.

After searching for affordable American-made guitars to stock his store and coming up short, it became his mission to fill this gap in the market. He started Chris Mitchell Guitars (CMG).

Affordability and quality are often mutually exclusive words in the music industry. As the manufacturing division rounds out over a decade in operation, Mitchell says that he hopes these guitars and amps will be his legacy.

As an educator, however, he will be leaving behind much more. Mitchell stands in a long line of musical instructors, noting his fondness for his students and even his “grandstudents” (students that are taught by his former students). Mitchell says one of the highlights of his career has been watching them follow his footsteps performing in Statesboro.

He has encouraged and guided the next generation of musicians in many ways, even producing a former student / current employee instructor’s first album through his company’s record label.

Composing Community

Mitchell has long been one of the quieter contributors to the music industry, as you may just be learning his name, but his impact on the Statesboro community goes beyond fame.

Whether it was teaching lessons out of his apartment, designing and manufacturing affordable equipment, or delivering quality products and education to aspiring musicians, prioritizing the accessibility of music has earned him a few Karmic points.

Mitchell attributes much of his success to the fact that his business model revolves around passion preceding money. He also credits the many supportive people in his life for the way things have worked out.

“It’s not like I’m some Superman… it’s about a lot of support,” Mitchell said as he poured over a list of partners and employees, giving special thanks to his wife, Ashlee Mitchell. “They share my vision and they make it happen,” Mitchell added .

As of now, it seems that Mitchell has no plans of slowing down with the success of his retail store, two music equipment brands, and the development of a unique business software set to hit the market in a few months.

Pladd Dot Music is currently testing out their new, built-from-the-ground-up Point of Sale system that caters to the multifaceted demands of music business.

Adding just one more notch to his belt, 2023 is set to be yet another busy and prosperous year for Chris Mitchell.