For anyone who’s shopped for music gear online, the name Sweetwater probably sounds familiar. Advertisements for good deals on guitars, pedals, amps, and other equipment inundate the computer screens of online shoppers everywhere. But, is Sweetwater legit?
Yes, Sweetwater is legit and one of the most trustworthy retailers in the world. They serve millions of customers every year and provide quality items. You should not be worried about scams when you are ordering from Sweetwater’s site.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Sweetwater. From their catalog to their security to their customer service, we cover it all in this article!
What is Sweetwater?
Sweetwater, as mentioned earlier, is an online music retailer. It was founded by Chuck Surack in 1979, who remains the CEO to this day. In fact, they still only have one physical location, their headquarters in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
It was originally founded as a mobile recording studio, but slowly transitioned over time to the fantastic music equipment sales service it has become today.
This is a site that offers the sale of tons of different musical equipment. They have everything from guitars, bass, cymbals, drums, amplifiers, pedals, microphones, and tons of other music gear in stock for you to choose from. Think of it as a virtual guitar shop.
They are an exceptionally large music retailer, meaning they have a massive catalog of thousands of items that you can purchase, and they ship all over the United States!
They are, however, an online retailer with only one physical location at their headquarters. While this can be great for the sake of convenience for experienced musicians who know what they want, it can be somewhat detrimental to new players, or people who just like to test out equipment before they buy.
That being said, you can always go to a different music store to test out the equipment. This does, however, take out the convenience of online shopping, but you still get Sweetwater’s great deals, customer service, and security.
Annual Sales History
Sweetwater is the second-largest retailer of music equipment nationwide, second only to Guitar Center in total sales. They are also the largest online retailer, and only have one location! That’s a ton of online sales.
To put it into numbers, Sweetwater’s revenue is nearly $500 million annually. That’s a lot of guitars, microphones, and everything in between! With this large of a customer base, you can be fairly certain that they aren’t scamming their clients and are offering legit equipment.
Sweetwater is quickly building a great reputation and customers are very happy. One way to prove this is by the feedback they are getting from their loyal clients!
Sitejabber, an online customer feedback website, has given Sweetwater Sound a 4.5 out of 5 at the time of writing this article! This is all based on customer feedback alone in the areas of:
946 people have rated them based on their level of satisfaction. Some people even claiming that Sweetwater is the best there is for music retailers.
Trustpilot, another feedback platform, has given Sweetwater 4.7 out of 5 with even more customers chiming in about their awesome experience.
This makes it hard to deny, Sweetwater is a great retailer to deal with.
Reasons to Purchase From Sweetwater
There are plenty of reasons to shop at Sweetwater.
Like we mentioned earlier, they have a massive catalog. If there’s a guitar, bass, microphone, amp, pedal, or any other piece of music equipment, Sweetwater more than likely has it. They even have a mailing list that will give you access to hundreds of pages of gear right to your email address!
They also have extremely high-quality equipment and inspect pieces of gear thoroughly before shipping to ensure you’re not getting any faulty items. If, in any event, this process fails, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee and two-year warranty to fall back on! Talk about security!
Sweetwater’s customer service is also top-notch. You are assigned a salesperson when you purchase something from the company.
This person will answer any questions you have honestly, as well as give you tips for what gear you should buy for your financial situation, skill level, etc.
They will also follow up with you to make sure everything is going smoothly, and you are enjoying your new purchase!
They have a fantastic no-hassle return policy. If you don’t like what you purchased, you can return it for any reason within 30 days and get all of your money back. This means, even if you picked the wrong color, you can send it back. It doesn’t matter the reason.
When you buy from Sweetwater, they will do whatever it takes to make sure that you are happy with your purchase. This way, you become a loyal customer, which means more to Sweetwater than many other retailers!
55 Point inspection
When you buy an item from Sweetwater, anything over $299 gets put through a rigorous 55 point inspection before it’s shipped out to you. This means it has a second quality assurance check, preventing anything with issues from getting to your doorstep.
No matter what is ordered, they check it out. Some of the areas they inspect are:
- Proper Handling
- Cosmetic Inspection
- Hardware Checks
- Electronics Testing
- Playability Checks
- Tune and Polish
And within each of these areas are 8-10 inspection points that make sure your item is rock solid as they are also play tested. Is Sweetwater legit? I’d say so!
Should anything fail after it has arrived to you, there is nothing to worry about with their 2-year free warranty! Sweetwater’s technicians have been trained to make sure your gear gets fixed to factory requirements.
This includes not only parts, but the labor as well! Their turnaround on repairs is quick, and they have a ton of talented and skilled technicians dedicated to servicing their customer’s instruments.
This additional coverage is hard to find anywhere else.
One of the best parts of dealing with Sweetwater is their sales staff. Not only are they knowledgeable, but they truly care about your experience. They do whatever is necessary to make sure your purchase and the experience behind it are top-notch.
Their sales staff are trained regularly to be familiar with the products they sell.
Manufacturers do onsite training and work with the staff to make sure they know enough about the products they sell to properly help you. This way, your questions are answered, and any new gear is made known to you right away!
Sweetwater also goes to great lengths to find people who have previous experience with musical equipment. This way, they have a better understanding of what they are talking about in order to provide you with all the right answers.
Sweetwater is bound to have what you are looking for. But not only that, they also have great relationships with manufacturers and normally have pre-sale options as well. So if you see that your favorite builder is about to release a new product, Sweetwater will give you dibs on the first run.
Then, once the item is shipped to their location, they get it out to you. This makes Sweetwater a great place to get the newest gear and fast!
Sweetwater has a fantastic used gear marketplace. You can shop by category to browse for exactly the kind of instrument or equipment you’re looking for, or you can just browse casually to see what you can get on the cheap!
Either way, you can find some seriously good deals in Sweetwater’s used gear marketplace. They may not be the deals you can sometimes find on eBay or Craigslist, but they come with the security of being sold through a legit retailer.
This means you can feel confident in the quality and security of the item you’re purchasing. Plus, they offer a 90-day used gear guarantee that lets you return any item that fail in this time frame.
Safe Shopping Guarantee
On top of all of this, Sweetwater takes your security and identity very seriously. Their online check-out is 100% secure as they encrypt all transactions made through their server. Even internally, only the people responsible for processing your purchase actually ever see your personal information.
Because they take fraud so seriously, they even go to the extra extent of validating all credit card information to protect their customers. This extra protection of keeping fraud down helps to keep prices lower as well.
And, in the unlikely event that an unauthorized charge occurs, the fair credit act guarantees that you are not responsible for any of it. Sweetwater has made sure that their customers are well protected, which is a wonderful business model!
Many Payment Methods
Another great reason to buy from Sweetwater is the many payment options they offer. Many retailers only accept certain payment methods, which can make it hard for some people to buy. This can make trust drop for these retailers.
But Sweetwater provides many options for their customers, which include:
- American Express
- Discover cards
- Diners Club
- Yamaha’s music and sound card
- NAMM music money card
- Money order
- Western Union
- Certified or personal checks
- Cash (In Showroom only)
Sweetwater does offer to finance! They have a credit card program that offers buyers a 0% interest rate on 48 equal monthly payments on most gear. Manufacturers have also got on board to make this possible, so between the two, most products qualify for this incentive.
This makes it incredibly easy to get into that new guitar in advance with such a great program!
Sweetwater claims to have the best shipping deal on the planet, and they are right. It’s free! There is no minimum purchase required, and it applies to nearly everything they sell except for certain custom orders.
For anything over 150 lbs, they use FedEx or UPS ground, otherwise, you can expect the US Postal Service to deliver your order. Depending on what you ordered, it can take anywhere from two to five days to arrive.
So, is Sweetwater safe? Yes, Sweetwater is one of the safest merchants to buy from. It’s often cited as the favorite place to buy gear by musicians all over the United States.
There are plenty of reasons for this, such as the unique customer service experience of the one-on-one sales rep, the high quality and thoroughly inspected gear, the massive catalog of both new and used instruments, or the security of the money-back guarantee and warranty!
Whatever your experience level is, Sweetwater is a great place to pick up new musical equipment of all kinds. Whether you’re a drummer looking for the perfect cymbal to add to your kit or a guitarist who’s had their eye on that one dream model all their life, Sweetwater most likely has whatever you need!
The best part is, you can order from the comfort of your own home. So, there’s a reason you’re seeing and hearing Sweetwater everywhere, and it’s not because they’re trying to scam you. They are one of, if not the most secure and safe places to order musical instruments online.
Some of the more common questions asked can be found below. When doing your due diligence, it’s best to have all the answers!
Does Guitar Center own Sweetwater?
The answer to this is no. Guitar Center is owned by a corporation under the same name. They own Musician’s Friend and a few other businesses. Sweetwater is a separate corporation, with a majority of it being owned by Providence Equity Partners.
You will have a different experience by both merchants as they are their own brands.
Is Sweetwater a Good Place to Buy Guitars?
Without a doubt, Sweetwater is probably the best place online to buy a guitar. Thanks to their 55 point inspection and great shipping options, your instrument will be top-notch. So if you are planning to buy a guitar, you can do it with all confidence.
Does Sweetwater offer price matching?
Yes, if you find an item for less at another retailer, Sweetwater has been known to price match. Simply get a hold of a sales engineer and let them know what you found. They are more than happy to provide you with a better offer.
For them, it’s the benefit of a new loyal customer, and for you, it’s a better deal.