Is Sweetwater Legit? Is It Safe To Purchase?

Ever shopped for music gear online? The name Sweetwater probably sounds familiar. You may have seen advertisements for guitars, pedals, amps, and other pro audio equipment. They inundate the computer screens of online shoppers everywhere. But, is Sweetwater legit?

Yes, Sweetwater is one of the most trustworthy retailers in the world. They serve millions of customers every year and provide quality products. 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!

Pros and Cons of Dealing with Sweetwater


  • Massive Catalog: Sweetwater offers a wide range of musical instruments and gear, making it a one-stop-shop for musicians.
  • Quality Assurance: With a 55-point inspection for products over $299, you can be assured of the quality.
  • Customer Service: Each customer is assigned a knowledgeable salesperson to assist with purchases and follow-ups.
  • Payment Flexibility: Multiple payment options are available, including credit cards, PayPal, and even money orders.
  • Security: Sweetwater takes customer security seriously, encrypting all transactions and validating credit card information.
  • Return Policy: A hassle-free 30-day return policy ensures customer satisfaction.
  • 2-Year Warranty: Products come with a 2-year warranty, offering peace of mind for long-term use. Plus email, telephone and a knowledge base for support.


  • Limited Physical Presence: With only one physical location, it’s not ideal for those who prefer to try out instruments in person.
  • Shipping Limitations: Free shipping is available only within the United States.
  • Price Matching: While they do offer price matching, you have to reach out to a sales engineer to get a better deal, which might be a bit cumbersome for some.

What Is Sweetwater?

Sweetwater is an online musical instrument retailer. It was founded by Chuck Surack in 1979. They only have one physical location, their headquarters in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

It was originally founded as a mobile recording studio. But transitioned over time to the fantastic musical merchant it has become today.

This is a site that offers the sale of tons of different musical equipment. They have everything from guitars, bass, drums, amplifiers, and tons of other music gear. Tons of stock for you to choose from. Think of it as a virtual guitar shop.

They are large and have a massive catalog of thousands of items that you can buy. And best of all, they ship anywhere in the United States!

They are an online retailer with only one location. This can be great for anyone who knows what they want. But 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. 

What Does Sweetwater Sell?

Sweetwater has a huge selection of musical instruments and accessories. They also have a close relationship with manufacturers. This gives them exclusive products that cannot be found anywhere else. Some of the stuff they sell includes:

  • Guitars and accessories.
  • Basses and accessories.
  • Drums and percussion.
  • PA systems and microphones.
  • Keyboards.
  • DJ equipment.
  • Studio and recording gear.
  • Lighting equipment.
  • Music software.

Live sound equipment and so much more! They also have great discounts almost all year long. Which are worth watching regularly.

Pre-Sale Inventory

Sweetwater is bound to have what you are looking for. Not only that, but they also have great relationships with manufacturers. As a result, they normally have pre-sale options as well. Is your favorite builder 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!

Used Inventory

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 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 fails in this time frame.

Some people believe the used gear section at Sweetwater is a marketing strategy. And I wouldn’t be surprised. But whatever the case, it’s great for the consumer and very convenient.

Sweetwater’s Reputation

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 is an online customer feedback website. It 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:

  • Service
  • Value
  • Shipping
  • Returns
  • Quality

946 people have rated them based on their level of satisfaction. Some people even claim that Sweetwater is the best there is for music retailers.

Trustpilot is another feedback platform. They have given Sweetwater 4.7 out of 5 with even more customers chiming in about their experience. This makes it hard to deny, Sweetwater is a great retailer to deal with.

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 marketplace, 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! It’s a huge customer base. You can be certain that they aren’t scamming their clients. They are offering legit equipment and services. 

Reasons Why Sweetwater is Trustworthy

There are plenty of reasons to shop at Sweetwater. The one that stands out the most is its massive catalog. If there’s a piece of music equipment in existence, 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 high-quality equipment and inspect pieces of gear thoroughly before shipping. This is to ensure you’re not getting any faulty items.

If, in any event, this process fails, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Plus a 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 buy something from the company.

This person will answer any questions you have honestly. They will also give you tips on what gear you should buy for your skill level. They will also follow up with you to make sure everything is going smoothly. This is to make sure you are enjoying your new purchase! 

is sweetwater legit

Safe Shopping Guarantee

On top of all this, Sweetwater takes your security and identity very seriously. Their online check-out is 100% secure as they encrypt all transactions. Internally as well. Only the people responsible for processing your sale ever see your personal information.

Fraud is taken very seriously. They even go to the extra extent of validating all credit card information. Making sure to protect their customers. This extra protection of keeping fraud down helps to keep prices lower as well.

What happens in the 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 its customers are well protected. This is a wonderful business model!

Return Policy

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!

Safe 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:

  1. Visa
  2. Mastercard
  3. American Express
  4. Discover cards
  5. Diners Club
  6. JCB
  7. Yamaha’s music and sound card
  8. NAMM music money card
  9. PayPal
  10. Money order
  11. Western Union
  12. Certified or personal checks
  13. Cash (In Showroom only)

55 Point inspection

If you buy an item from Sweetwater, anything over $299 gets put through a 55-point inspection. All 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

In each of these areas are rigorous inspection points. They make sure your item is rock solid as they are also play-tested. Is Sweetwater legit? I’d say so!

2-Year Warranty

What if anything fails after it has arrived to you? There is nothing to worry about with their 2-year free warranty! Sweetwater’s technicians have thoroughly trained. This is to make sure your gear gets fixed to factory requirements.

This includes not only parts, but labor as well! Their turnaround on repairs is quick. They have a ton of skilled technicians dedicated to servicing their customer’s instruments.  This additional coverage is hard to find anywhere else.

Trained Sales Team

One of the best parts of dealing with Sweetwater is its sales staff. Not only are they knowledgeable, but they truly care about your experience. They do whatever is necessary to make sure your sale and the experience behind it are top-notch.

Their sales staff are trained to be familiar with the products they sell.

Manufacturers do onsite training and work with the staff. This is to make sure they know enough about the products they sell to properly help you. This way, your questions get 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. Mostly with musical equipment. This way, they have a better understanding of what they are talking about. This ensures you are provided with all the right answers.

Financing Options

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!

Free Shipping

Sweetwater claims to have the best shipping deal on the planet, and they are right. It’s free! There is no minimum purchase required. 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.

guitar shop


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. It’s also my favorite store too!

There are plenty of reasons for this. Such as the unique customer service experience of the one-on-one sales rep. Or the high-quality gear and the massive catalog. New and used instruments, or the security of the money-back guarantee and warranty!

Whatever your experience is, Sweetwater is a great place to pick up new musical equipment. 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.


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. A majority of it is owned by Providence Equity Partners.

You will have a different experience with 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.

Photo of author

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!