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Sweetwater, Musician's Friend or Guitar Center?

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by Mississippi_Kid, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Mississippi_Kid

    Mississippi_Kid Senior Stratmaster

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    I usually have to buy my guitars online...not much selection around my area.

    I have bought guitars from Musician's Friend and Sweatwater. I haven't had a bad experience with either of them.

    Sweatwater seems to go more for customer service...their people really try to know you. They'll talk with you and try and see what might best suit you...if you have questions. (Plus they put candy in every shipment!) And, there are pictures of each individual guitar (not just sample photos). However, it seems that they don't carry that much stock...things are often on backorder.

    Musician's Friend is just a point/click/buy. No real customer service outreach, but I've never had a problem either. Also, they seem to have more inventory.

    Guitar Center? Never bought from them online.

    Anyone have strong feelings one way or another about these online stores?
     
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  2. guitarface

    guitarface Senior Stratmaster

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    I've had no problems with MF or sweetwater. While SW is a little more oriented towards customer service and your "personal sales engineer" when I've called MF, they've been fine too. The appeal of GC (owned by same parent as MF, same for zzounds and music123) is that you can take something over to the brick and mortar store if there's some kind of issue.
     
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  3. Mouse

    Mouse The Knees of Rock Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The bloom came off the rose for me with MF when they accepted my order for a Les Paul Studio they highlighted as that day's SDOTD. They accepted my order but a couple of days later (only after I called them) I found out my order was canceled as they oversold their stock. I asked them to offer a similar guitar at the same price as a substitution but they refused. They offered me a $20 credit which I never used. This wasn't the first time I was burned by them so out of principle I haven't used them since. To be fair though I have had positive experiences with them in the past but with so many choices these days, I don't need to spend my money with them.

    I've got nothing but good things to say about Sweetwater. Great customer service and they're willing to provide discounts when asked. The little candies they ship with your order is a great touch.
     
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  4. newplayeroldguy

    newplayeroldguy in the wind

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    Sweetwater does seem to pay attention to the customer. As far as I know, they are the only retailer to have all of their Marshall DSL40C amps fitted with a proper speaker (a Creamback) replacing the awful stock one. (I bought mine from MF and had to buy a speaker and change it out because I hadn't yet discovered Sweetwater.) They sell that amp at the same price as everybody else, but it's a far better value with the upgrade.
     
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  5. ryunker

    ryunker Senior Stratmaster

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    I use musicians friend, due to pricing and on top of that 8% back on their backstage pass thing. Every time I order from Sweetwater, it takes forever... backorders etc...
     
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  6. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

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    GC charges tax so I try to stay away. MF always delivered for me and the Backstage Pass credit adds up.
     
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  7. Lonn

    Lonn Mod Admin Staff Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The only online retailer I've ever bought from was Music Go Round, and they're all used stuff.
     
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  8. nuculer terrist

    nuculer terrist Senior Stratmaster

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    Good experience with MF on several occasions, for purchases, returns and damaged goods. I peruse SW website often, but have just never bought anything. If possible I would like to go to a store and try stuff out though
     
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  9. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    For the record, Guitar Center and Musicians Friend are the same company.

    I don't buy hardly anything new, but Sweetwater was good on the few guitars I have bought new online.
     
  10. wildhawk

    wildhawk Most Honored Senior Member

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    MF does have a greater selection, better prices and what amounts to 8% back in merchandiise which is great. They price match other authorized dealers.

    Dealt with them for years. No reason to switch.
     
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  11. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I still have to pay sales tax for Sweetwater (based in Indiana) and MF/GC also. Negates most benefit of ordering online from there.
     
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  12. Hammer 4

    Hammer 4 Senior Stratmaster

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    I've bought from all 3. I would say that Sweetwater would be my 1st choice, then MF, and GC last. In fact, when I get ready to buy my Baja Tele, Sweetwater is who I'm buying it from..:D Forgot to say..when I bought my amp, my sales tech offered a discount w/o me having to ask..got a great deal on it..
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
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  13. Vindibona1

    Vindibona1 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I've never bought a guitar online but I think I'd be inclined to call Sweetwater. I deal with a guy there, Rob Kramer who I know has a vocal performance degree from Berklee and plays guitar and keyboards. I was talking to him about an open box purchase but told me that if I was serious about it he'd go down, play it and check it out for me. I'm not sure if MF would do that and I don't see how GC mailorder would. If buying from a GC retail store you might get lucky and find a sales guy who might check something out. But mailorder? But like others have said, Sweetwater seems to be more customer service oriented.
     
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  14. jrbirdman

    jrbirdman Senior Stratmaster

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    I prefer to deal with Sweetwater, they are great to deal with.
    So far 5 guitars, DRRI SP, a dozen or so clip on tuners, a number of pedals, cables, 100's of strings etc.
    Never a problem and always well informed.
    They have even called just to say Hi.
    If I go into a GC and hang out for 20-30 minutes no one even comes near.
     
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  15. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    In all honesty, looking on Ebay has netted me the best deals on new and used gear. It's great for buyers.
     
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  16. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    BTW, "Sweatwater." gross.:D
     
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  17. xland

    xland Senior Stratmaster

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    Sweetwater and MF are my go to online merchants. As nicksmith noted, MF is the online arm of Guitar Center. You can buy from MF with no sales tax and free shipping so that is a major plus as they carry the same merchandise as GC.

    Sweewater will work with you and provide a discount most often and they also have free shipping. I have found nice deals on their DealZone tab and I also get a discount through my employer so the overall discounts are pretty nice. I bought my Bassbreaker 15 as a demo on their DealZone site and out the door and shipped for less than a Blues Jr. Also buying the Bassbreaker as a Demo also gave me some peace of mind that it did not have the issues some are having with the FX loop.

    Lastly, both SW and MF have great return policies. I have returned a few items from them and it was hassle free.
     
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  18. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Senior Stratmaster

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    Sweetwaiter..sorta gross too
     
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  19. johnnymg

    johnnymg Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    All three have a "big box store" feel to me. That said, Sweetwater does post the weights of individual guitars. Can't get that info from the other two. I've had decent-good dealings with all 3. I wouldn't hesitate to buy amps, and other electronics from them.

    My preferred online guitar vendor is Wildwood. Smaller inventory than these big box stores but what they have is miles ahead in terms of quality/setup. Would also recommend checking out your local mom-pop music shop. We have a great on in my new home-town.

    cheers
    John
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
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  20. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    and Sweetwater's individual pictures of each unique guitar is pretty cool.
     
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