If you live in the US and you’ve been shopping for guitars or other music gear, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some advertisements for a store named Sweetwater. Because they have only one physical location, their brand isn’t as widely known as the likes of guitar center, and this may have you wondering, “is Sweetwater legit?”.
It’s a fair question, of course, with so many bait and switch websites out there, it pays to do a little research into the retailers you play to buy from. Keep on reading to find out more about Sweetwater and whether or not they’re a reputable retailer.
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- So cut to the chase – Is Sweetwater Legit?
- Company Info
- What are some of the reasons to buy from Sweetwater?
- Additional questions?
- Who is the owner of Sweetwater? Is Sweetwater owned by guitar center?
- How long does it take for Sweetwater to deliver?
- Does Sweetwater have a store?
- Does Sweetwater have coupons?
- Does Sweetwater deliver to Canada/The UK/Europe?
- Does Sweetwater do price matching?
- Will Sweetwater haggle?
- Does Sweetwater collect sales tax?
- Does Sweetwater ever have sales on guitars?
- Final thoughts on Is Sweetwater Legit?
So cut to the chase – Is Sweetwater Legit?
Bottom Line: Yes. Sweetwater is the biggest online musical instrument retailer in the US, serving millions of customers a year, and have top ratings on all review sites. You should have absolutely no reservations in ordering with them.
They have a 4.47 rating on SiteJabber with (at the time of writing) 684 reviews. They rate 1st for music equiptment sales, and get top marks for service, value, shipping, returns and overall quality. They have 82.7% positive reviews for the last 12 months, with comments like “hands down the best customer service in the music gear industry”, and “my sales engineer is knowledgeable about every aspect of pro audio and never pushes me to buy anything”.
They have a 4.7 rating on Trustpilot with (at the time of writing) 594 revirews. 89% of customers rated them “excellent” overall, with recent reviews praising the sales staff, and commenting that even “hard to find” items were in stock.
They have a 100% Trustscore on Scam Advisor, based on over twelve thousand reviews. They have zero negative highlights – zero!
They have a 4.9 rating on Google Reviews, based on over eleven thousand reviews. Google lists as highlights the fact that they have on time delivery of over 90%, accurate and undamaged orders of over 95%, with 94% five star reviews overall.
ResellerRatings gives them 9.51 out of 10 based on 1431 reviews (at the time of writing), noting they have 95% five star reviews. The most recent review there when I looked started with “Nobody compares to Sweetwater when it comes to customer service“.
Sweetwater are the largest online and second largest overall musical instrument retailer in the US, which is no mean feat considering they only have one physical store compared to number 1 Guitar Center who have 269.
Founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1979, Sweetwater started life as a mobile recording studio run out of a 1966 VW microbus. Over forty years later, Sweetwater’s home office covers 166 acres, with a 480,000 square foot distribution center.
What are some of the reasons to buy from Sweetwater?
They Have Almost Literally Everything
Sweetwater has an incredible inventory covering guitars, amps, pedals, speakers, plus basses, drums, keyboards, all the way through recording gear and even live sound and lighting gear.
In fact if you sign up for Sweetwater’s mailing list, they will send you out a regular catalog of over 600 pages of amazing gear. You’ll never again have to be bored on the commode when you can sit and dream of owning a $25k Les Paul, or a $250 Schecter if that’s more your style.
They Inspect Every Guitar
Ok this is killer – Sweetwater have a 55 point inspection that they do of every instrument before it goes out the door. Ever gone to your local big box guitar store and almost had your fingers ripped off by rough fret ends? With Sweetwater, your guitar basically gets a setup before it arrives at your door.
Their Sales Team are Killer
When you buy from Sweetwater you are assigned a sales engineer. Your engineer will answer any and all questions you have, giving you honest answers (my engineer has talked me out of so many bad puchases) and following up to ensure you have no issues. Plus you can ask them for discounts, which is something you can’t do with any other online retailer.
Sweetwater Credit Card (Synchrony)
With the Sweetwater Credit Card via Synchrony, you can get amazing financing on a ton of gear, typically at 0%. For example, I once bought a $2300 guitar that was only $48 a month on their 4 year 0% financing. It makes gear so much more affordable, and since there’s no interest, you’re not paying anything extra.
Sweetwater Return Policy
They have a “no hassle” return policy that means you can return anything within 30 days for any reason. Don’t like the color? No problem. Realized you can’t afford it? No problem. Spouse found out you spent $2300 on a guitar? No problem.
2 Year Warranty On All Instruments
Sweetwater offers a 2 year warranty on everything, to cover all parts and labor costs on anything you buy from them. It doesn’t hurt that they have a huge number of techs onsite and turn around repairs lightening quick.
Who is the owner of Sweetwater? Is Sweetwater owned by guitar center?
No, Sweetwater is not owned by Guitar center. Guitar Center is owned by Ares Management, whereas Sweetwater is majority owned by Providence Equity Partners with founder Chuck Surack owning the remainder of the company after selling over half of his stake in July of 2021. Surack moved to Chairman of the Board from the CEO position after the sale.
How long does it take for Sweetwater to deliver?
Sweetwater’s free shipping typically takes two to four days for small items and one to five days for larger items.
Does Sweetwater have a store?
They do actually have one store that is run out of their main 166 acre facility in Fort Wayne Indiana.
Does Sweetwater have coupons?
No, Sweetwater does not do coupons – even though some sites would have you believe they have coupons. In reality, you can usually get a killer deal on any item of gear from Sweetwater by… Asking!
Does Sweetwater deliver to Canada/The UK/Europe?
Yes, Sweetwater ships internationally.
Does Sweetwater do price matching?
On select items, yes. Call Sweetwater or email your sales engineer and they will get you started.
Will Sweetwater haggle?
You can absolutely ask your Sweetwater rep if they can do anything on the price on an item, and in many cases they do have some leeway. There are situations where specific retailers do enforce a strict rule on maintaining the advertised prices, but for many many items, your rep will be able to work with you on price.
Does Sweetwater collect sales tax?
At the time of writing, Sweetwater collects sales tax for the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Does Sweetwater ever have sales on guitars?
Sweetwater runs sales on guitars for all major holidays, as well as their annual GearFest event, wherein they have different items on sale every day. Even when it’s not sale time, they have a ton of stuff available at reduced price in “the deal zone”.
Final thoughts on Is Sweetwater Legit?
At the point it should be clear – Sweetwater is one of the most trusted and beloved musical instrument retailers in the US, and possibly even the biggest in terms of sales volume. You should have no qualms with spending money with them – and you might even find they save you a ton!