Buying A Guitar Online – Best Choices in 2022

With all the many merchants selling guitars online these days, it’s very convenient to buy. It isn’t even necessary to leave your home. Simply enter your credit card details, and in sometimes less than a day, it’s on your doorstep.

But even with the trust level of consumers increasing every year, some people are still a bit nervous to buy. Guitars are a somewhat delicate item also, surely shipping one could damage it?

There are many questions to ask before buying a guitar online. There is also the decision of going new or used.

Buying a Guitar online

Is It Good To Buy a Guitar Online?

In theory, buying a guitar online is probably the best idea ever created, the convenience is brilliant! Plus, there are far more options and better stock than most music stores carry.

But like most things in life, there are pitfalls. Now, that isn’t to say your experience will be poor. A majority of people who buy online have great experiences! But it’s best to keep the proper perspective and do some due diligence before you buy.

Trustworthy Sellers

There are plenty of trustworthy platforms to purchase from online. Some are more trustworthy than others, depending on if you are buying a guitar online that is new or used. But even platforms that sell used guitars are designed to protect the buyer.

In a lot of cases, some relics or older classics can only be bought as used. So depending on what you are looking for, you may need to visit a used guitar platform. Reverb is a website that deals with both new and used gear.

They are trusted by millions of players to both buy and sell gear. They have created their platform to make sure both parties are satisfied before any money changes hands.

And because you can buy and sell from anywhere in the world, the selection of guitars is so much better!

There are plenty more platforms online that do similar things for their customers. We will touch on more later in the article.

Risky Purchases

On the other hand, there are also platforms that are a bit more risky. Classifieds in some cases offer delivery of used gear that may not always be what it seems. We have all heard of scam artists online who fool people into shady deals.

Classifieds are not always a bad idea, however, as they can sometimes land great deals! Not everyone sells on platforms like Reverb.com and will in a lot of cases hit the classifieds.

And so when dealing with any online classified ads that are not able to be vetted, make sure to do a good deal of due diligence. Ask a lot of questions, and if anything seems odd, move on.

Shipping Costs

Another thing to keep in mind is that the guitar will need to be shipped. While there are a lot of retailers who sell instruments and offer free shipping, there are plenty of deals that will not. If you are buying guitars online, the seller will require the freight to be covered.

They do not offer this with the purchase price. And so it’s important to remember this when shopping online.

If you are looking for something that is harder to find, this will probably not be a big deal, as most vintage guitars are pricey. Shipping costs are just part of the process of acquiring one. But if you are a new player, you may want to look at retailers that offer this in the final price.

Bigger Selection

When shopping at a brick and mortar store, you are limited to what you will find. Normally they will only stock so much because there is overhead to deal with. And so if you are searching for something specific, it might be harder to find near you.

Shopping online is not the same, as you can pretty much find anything you want.

The selection is substantially better as even manufacturers put their offerings online. And so as long as you can be delivered to depending on where you live, you can buy exactly what you want.

Buying Guitars Online Without Trying

Trying anything first before buying is always preferred. There is no doubt. This is the method to which we can rest assured that we are getting what we expect and nothing less.

And so whenever possible, I would always suggest that you try it first before you buy. Trouble is, this is not always the case.

We have bought and received plenty of guitars and gear over the years that were bought online. Yes, it’s true, sometimes we have gear arrive that has been damaged. Whether during shipping (which is normally the case) or damaged during manufacture.

But in almost all cases these issues were resolved quickly and efficiently, by the other party or the shipping company.

But what if the acoustic guitar itself is just no good? There are ways to find out for sure before you buy!

What Are Others Saying?

If you have ever shopped for anything online, you know the power of the feedback! Normally, the first thing most people do before even reading the description is look to see what others have said. This lets us know whether the product is good.

But are they always accurate?

In my experience, there are a lot of people who leave negative assessment for silly things. I’m sure you know this to be true as well.

But what happens when the product is a killer acoustic guitar but was damaged in shipping? Is that worthy of a negativity? I don’t believe so. The fact is, the guitar might be one amazing instrument that might fit you like none other!

If we take them at face value, we might lose an amazing experience from a great guitar!

Examples

Let’s take a look at what others have said on some listing. These are decent guitars and have their place for certain players. Beginners are less likely to want to spend a few thousand on an instrument before they learn how to play well.

And so there are some that are priced accordingly that are great instruments.

But when people leave a thumbs down for silly reasons, it may make us miss a good purchase. Let’s look at a few and see how we should handle them.

Example 1

Buying a guitar online

The buyer doesn’t really share why he left the negative write up. What exactly was wrong with the new guitar that it needed at tech to look at it?

If he is claiming this to be a beginner model, then he obviously has some requirements for his play ability. And that is good! But a seasoned player should not be surprised that a set-up would be required.

The guitar has probably begun to adapt to the new climate, which would deem the set-up necessary. This is not something that deserves a negative response. It doesn’t help the potential buyer at all! What he should have done was leave it based on the over all quality of the guitar after the set-up.

This is something to disregard in my opinion.

Example 2

While it’s unfortunate that this buyer had issues with the new guitar, there are some problems with his feedback. Discrediting the brand completely because of the issue is just not called for.

A beginner looking for a guitar will now assume this brand is producing poor quality instruments. When in fact the opposite is true! The buyer also doesn’t mention whether they gave the brand anytime to resolve the issue.

This would be another one to disregard. Unless they are also confirming customer support problems, it isn’t worth considering.

Example 3

Another one with no actual helpful insight. Now, I can understand that it’s inconvenient to have issues with a product, but this is just not worth it.

I am sure I don’t need to explain this one to you, there is no information here to consider this helpful.

So when considering a guitar, and you see someone has left something unkind, always take it with a grain of salt. Some are very helpful, but they need to be thorough and descriptive. Blowing off steam doesn’t help potential buyers.

Buying a Guitar Online As a Beginner

Today, there are countless places to buy musical instruments online. Some are better than others, but in almost all cases you will have a good experience. Depending on where you live, your choices might be lighter. But almost everyone can be reached by a delivery service.

We are going to look at a few of our top choices for guitar purchases. These are companies that strive to make sure their customers have the best experience. And so if you’re buying a guitar online, you may want to look into one of these companies.

Guitars for sale online

Buying a Guitar Online at Amazon

Amazon is pretty much a household name these days. Most people in the world have a credit card saved with them. Their customer service is top-notch, and they strive to make sure the experience is a good one. Even at the expense of the seller.

So as a buyer, not only can you find a huge selection of guitars on their website, but they will make sure you are satisfied to the best of their ability!

Not only that, but Amazon now has a location in most parts of the world. So the possibility of getting a great guitar is almost endless.

Because Amazon does such a great job in treating their customers right, we like to suggest instruments from them. And so If you are looking to buy a guitar, be sure to check out more of our pages for helpful insight. We have done the heavy lifting, so you can grab a great instrument much faster!

Sweetwater

Sweetwater is located in the USA and is another great option for a guitar purchase. They are one of the largest online musical instrument retailers in the US.

They are another company that strives for customer satisfaction. They have a rating on sitejabber of 4.5 (at time of writing). And over 900 people have chimed in!

There are hundreds of players who trust them because of the great service they get from Sweetwater. And most of the sales engineers are well-educated about the products. Not only that, but they have a 480,000 square foot warehouse and an inventory that has something for everyone.

Guitar Center

Guitar Center has the biggest chain of stores in the USA! They have been around for a long time and most players know the name. If you have been playing for a while, you have more than likely been in a store.

Guitar center serves many players monthly with online sales. Hundreds of players buy gear online and have pleasant experiences.

Because they offer a great return policy and a trade in program, they have become a well known and safe place to buy instruments.

Musician’s Friend

Musician’s Friend is another online retailer that you will come across when searching for gear. They are trustworthy and have the same reputation as Guitar Center. This is because they are owned by them. Musician’s Friend was bought by G.C. and is used exclusively as an online platform.

You wouldn’t know it, as they maintain an independent look and experience.

And because they are owned by the same corporation, they also share the same inventory. This means that there will be numerous items that will be available, which gives you a great opportunity of getting what you are looking for.

Zzounds

Zzounds is another online only retailer that will be displayed in a lot of gear searches. They are a lot smaller than some other merchants, but will normally have stock when the others do not. Their store is a bit hard to navigate, but with a bit of time you can normally find what you need.

Because they are a bit smaller, this means their inventory is as well.

But they are good to deal with and have a number of purchase incentives that keep their customers coming back. You can rest assured, dealing with Zzounds is safe, and their inventory is quality.

Sam Ash

Sam Ash has been in business for a long time! They not only sell online but have a number of physical locations in the US. They are a high trust level among players who use them and experience great support when needed. Their inventory is quite broad as they keep quite a bit of stock both new and used.

When dealing with Sam Ash, their sales engineers are very knowledgeable and easy to deal with, which is a great experience. Don’t overlook this online retailer as their prices are quite good, and they are efficient with shipping. You can trust this online merchant.

Thomann

Thomann is another secure website that is safe and offers great customer support. They are a family business that has grown into a mega online retailer, serving over ten million customers annually.

In most cases, if you live on the other side of the pond, you will use them or have done so already. They do serve customers from all over the world, but are better known in the EU.

You will be well pleased when dealing with Thomann and their great customer service and selection of guitars.

Buying a Used Guitar Online

When buying a used guitar, most people think of classifieds almost immediately. And while the only way to get anything used was to use classified at one time, this has changed.

We still believe that purchasing from classified is still a great way to get gear, but only if you’re looking locally.

If you are buying a guitar online used, chances are you will be looking at something farther away. In this case, you will need to be protected. Especially if they are higher priced guitars.

Guitar Center for Used Equipment

Guitar Center sells both new and used gear. They have a wide range of instruments from different time periods. So if you need for something specific, they just might have what you’re looking for.

And the nice thing about buying used from Guitar Center is that they still honor their customer service policies.

There are many players who sell them great gear, and so if you’re looking for a used instrument, you will want to see what they have in stock.

Reverb Website

As we mentioned earlier in the article, Reverb is also a great place to buy guitars. Not only do they sell used, but new ones as well.

They have set their website up to be somewhat of a classified type system with some added protection built in. When you purchase a guitar from them, you are buying from a 3rd party. This can be great when purchasing both new and used.

We however like to use them for used guitars primarily and keep new purchases to Amazon.

Ebay

While Ebay is known for buying both new and used, if you look hard enough you may find some great deals. Because of how the platform is set up, buyers are normally protected depending on how they pay. But one of the issues with using this platform is the number of fakes that are circulating.

Most buyers have no idea that this is the case and lose a lot of money when purchasing expensive items.

So if you do plan on using Ebay, make sure to do your due diligence and know exactly what to look for. There are some incredible deals found here, and some people like the thrill of the bid. It’s trustworthy, but you need to be knowledgeable with some items.

Buying Guitars Online

Questions To Ask When Buying a Guitar Online

In all cases, when buying online, you are under the assumption that you are getting a new guitar. And in most cases you do get what you expect, a new instrument. If there are issues, it’s easily resolved with good customer support.

But when buying a guitar online used from a classified or another player, it’s good to ask many questions. You want to make sure that the deal is safe and there are no hidden elements.

Begin with some simple questions:

  • Are you the only owner of the guitar?
  • Has it ever been damaged or repaired?
  • Has it ever been upgraded?
  • Is it completely stock?
  • Is it worn and if so how badly?
  • Is the owner a chain smoker? (the smell may never come out)
  • Are the frets in good shape?

And the list can go on. It’s also best to get some good quality pictures to help you understand the condition of the guitar. If it’s only strings that need to be changed, that’s easy. But if the neck is warped when it arrives, that could be a problem!

Things To Expect Upon Arrival

One of the things that buyers seem to be surprised about when the brand-new guitar arrives is the set-up condition. It’s very possible that it won’t need one when it gets to you, this is true. But it’s very possible that it will.

Guitars are sensitive to temperature and humidity levels. So much that the frets can be much sharper if the neck begins to dry out, for example. This then requires redressing and probably a set-up.

So you may want to budget for a set-up when the guitar finally arrives. This isn’t the fault of the seller or the manufacturer, but just a natural issue of the environment. Wood responds to the environment and as a result will eventually need a set-up.

So you may want to keep this in mind, a good guitar tech can do it for a small fee. Then you are sure to enjoy your instrument for the rest of the season. Depending on where you live, of course.

Guitar set-ups are just a part of the hobby, they all eventually need one.

Conclusion

So to wrap it up, yes, buying a guitar online is well worth it and can provide you with a great instrument. But just like all sales and deals, you must do your due diligence first. Make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing and should expect.

If that is all in place, the odds of having a great experience are better than in person deals. But it all comes down to protecting our hard-earned money by some good old research. I hope you enjoy your new acoustic or electric guitar!

FAQs

What’s the best way to buy a guitar?

If possible, a physical store can be a great way to buy a guitar. Music stores will allow you to try out an instrument to make sure it’s the right type for you. The only issue is that you may not find the guitar you are looking for, as some stores have small inventory.

Buying online is also a good option, you just have to make sure your purchase if covered should anything happen along the way, or you do not like the guitar. Many merchants will exchange an instrument if it is not the right fit. This makes online shopping a powerful option.

Is it safe to have a guitar delivered?

Yes, having a guitar delivered is safe. When you buy online, select a retailer that will provide support if something goes wrong. Sweetwater or Amazon’s customer service will make sure that you are looked after if your guitar gets damaged in shipping.

There are many online stores that will do this, just make sure before you buy.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!