Tupelo Hardware Company – Where Gladys Presley Bought Her Son His First Guitar

The Tupelo Hardware Company, the store that sold Elvis Presley his first guitar.

The Tupelo Hardware Company, the store that sold Elvis Presley his first guitar.

114 W. Main Street, Tupelo, MS.

In January 1946, Forrest L. Bobo, an employee of the Tupelo Hardware Company, sold Gladys Presley a guitar for a birthday present for Elvis’ 11th birthday. The guitar cost $7.75. Elvis had wanted a .22 caliber rifle but his mother and Bobo persuaded Elvis to get the guitar instead.

According to the late Bobo, “I can well remember the afternoon when Elvis Presley and his mother came into Tupelo Hardware, where I worked for twenty years. He wanted a 22 cal. rifle and his mother wanted him to buy a guitar. I showed him the rifle first and then I got the guitar for him to look at. I put a wood box behind the showcase and let him play with the guitar for some time. Then he said that he did not have that much money, which was only $7.75 plus 2% sales tax. His mother told him that if he would buy the guitar instead of the rifle, she would pay the difference for him. The papers have said that the guitar cost $12.50 but at that time you could have bought a real nice one that amount. The small amount of money that he had to spend had been earned by running errands and doing small jobs for people.”

Elvis’ two uncles, Johnny Smith and Vester Presley, taught him how to play the guitar.

The Tupelo Hardware Company is still open today and is often a stop for Elvis fans when visiting Tupelo.


Required Listening:

  1. That’s All Right
  2. My Happiness
  3. Hound Dog
  4. Baby What Do You Want Me To Do
  5. Guitar Man


Map of Tupelo Hardware Company

Map of Tupelo Hardware Company.