Looking for the best online guitar stores to fulfill your six-string dreams? Whether you’re a seasoned shredder seeking to expand your guitar arsenal or a fledgling guitarist about to embark on your musical odyssey, purchasing guitars online can be the perfect solution for you.
Why Buy Guitars Online?
As a bona fide guitar enthusiast myself, I can vouch for the sheer convenience and excitement of online guitar shopping. Picture this: it’s the middle of the night, and you’re strumming away in the throes of a creative crescendo when suddenly, you realize you need a new pick or capo. Thankfully, online guitar stores have got your back. No waiting for your local store to open or wrestling with the nightmare of parking.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of online guitar shopping. Let’s dive deeper.
1. Convenience: Shop ‘Til You Drop, Anytime, Anywhere
Imagine this scenario: It’s 2 am, you’re deep into a guitar session, and suddenly realize you need a new pick or capo. This is precisely where the convenience of online guitar stores becomes apparent. With the ability to place an order right then and there, you avoid the wait for local stores to open or the struggle with parking. Just a few clicks, and your order is on its way.
According to Grand View Research, the global guitar market was valued at USD 10.30 billion in 2022, with a forecasted CAGR of 7.7% from 2023 to 2030. This is due to the increase in demand for music-related hobbies and skills as it provides a break from a hectic and tedious lifestyle.
Also mentioned in the same report that it observed growth of guitar sales during the pandemic by 15.0% from 2019 to 2020. This is due to most people being homebound and have a lot of spare time to learn and play the guitar. Probably also the reason why the rise in demand for guitar buying online.
2. Variety: A Smorgasbord of Six-Strings
Online guitar stores are a veritable Aladdin’s cave for guitar lovers. From a classic Fender Stratocaster, a chic Gibson Les Paul, to an exclusive vintage piece, more often than not, you’ll find it online. The spectrum of colors, models, brands, and prices available online is simply staggering. Plus, you may even chance upon custom-made beauties and rare gems that are typically elusive in a brick-and-mortar store.
3. Price: Sweet Deals, Sweeter Savings
Let’s not forget the irresistible deals you can snag online! Online guitar stores, with their lower overhead costs, often offer competitive prices, discounts, and deals that you may not find in a physical store. Besides, many offer free shipping and flexible payment plans. Music to my ears, indeed!
4. Reviews: Harness the Power of Collective Wisdom
One of the biggest boons of shopping online is the ability to tap into the collective wisdom of other buyers. Reviews, ratings, and even video demos offer a more holistic view of the product than what you would get from a salesperson in a physical store.
5. Customer Service: Expert Guidance at Your Fingertips
Contrary to popular belief, online shopping doesn’t mean you’re left to your own devices. Most online guitar stores have knowledgeable customer service representatives ready to assist you with your purchases. Plus, they’re just a phone call, email, chat, or social media message away should you encounter any hiccups with your order.
Concerns of Guitar Online Shopping
Despite the benefits, online shopping isn’t without its reservations. Let’s address some of the common concerns:
1. Shipping: Concerns about the cost, safety of the instrument, and delivery time are natural. However, most online guitar stores offer free or low-cost shipping options, fast and reliable delivery services, and secure packaging and tracking of the products. Some online guitar stores also have local warehouses or partners that can reduce the shipping distance and risk.
2. Warranty and Returns: Worries about warranty and return policy are valid. However, most online guitar stores offer flexible warranties, easy return procedures, and even customer satisfaction guarantees or trial periods.
3. Quality and Authenticity: Worried about ending up with a counterfeit or defective guitar? Rest assured, most online stores have stringent quality control and inspection procedures and work with verified sellers and reputable brands to ensure the authenticity and quality of their guitars.
How to Choose the Right Guitar for You
Before we strike the chord with our list of the best online guitar stores, let’s tune into some tips on choosing the right guitar.
1. Skill Level: Guitars come in all shapes and sizes, with features that can make them easier or harder to play. String type, body size, neck shape, and action can make a world of difference.
2. Music Preferences: Guitars are as diverse as the tones they’re designed to produce. Whether you’re into the twang of country, the intensity of rock, or the elegance of classical music, there’s a guitar for that.
Guitar Guidelines: Your Musical Match
Here are some general guidelines to help you make your way through the best online guitar stores:
Beginners: Start with a standard acoustic guitar with nylon strings for a softer touch on your fingers.
Intermediate Players: Upgrade to a guitar that matches your genre and style. Electric for rock, blues, or pop; Classical for classical or flamenco music.
Advanced Players: Consider investing in a high-quality guitar. Custom guitars or well-known brands offer the craftsmanship and features to complement your expertise.
Remember, the best way to choose your guitar is to try them out and see how they feel and sound. Consult with experts, like guitar teachers, store staff, or even online reviews.
Acoustic, Electric, or Classical: The Great Debate
Now, let’s delve into the specifics of each guitar type, shall we?
Acoustic Guitars: Steel strings produce a bright, crisp sound, perfect for genres like folk, country, blues, or pop. Plus, no additional equipment needed!
Electric Guitars: Steel strings produce a versatile sound, ideal for genres like rock, metal, jazz, and funk. They require an amplifier and cable, and you can play around with effects pedals and knobs to modify your sound.
Classical Guitars: Nylon strings offer a soft, mellow sound, making them perfect for classical, flamenco, or Latin genres. Like the acoustic, they need no extra equipment and are usually played with fingers rather than a pick.
Acoustic guitars are generally used to play contemporary, blues, country, folk, and jazz; classical guitars are used for playing Latin-inspired or classical music; and electric guitars are typically used to play jazz, blues, funk, metal, and rock (Sloan School of Music Team, 2021).
The Top 10 Best Online Guitar Stores in 2024 (in no particular order)
Sweetwater has earned its stripes in the guitar world. They are a one-stop-shop for everything from beginner-friendly acoustic pieces to top-tier electric beauties. With no minimum purchase for free shipping and an impressive 2-year warranty, it’s no wonder they’re a fan favorite. The cherry on top? Their customer service is on par with their quality products.
Sweetwater is the best online guitar store based on customer service, quality control, and range, with a 10 out of 10 rating (Schiebel, 2023).
As the most extensive musical instrument retailer in the US, Guitar Center has earned its reputation. They offer a diverse selection of guitars hailing from various brands. Their deals and discounts are as famous as their online guitar lessons and resources. However, their customer service can sometimes be a bit overzealous.
But this online guitar store is not born perfect. According to Sitejabber, Guitar Center has a rating of 1.68 stars out of 5 from 196 reviews, with most customers being generally dissatisfied with their purchases. The most common complaints were about customer service, next day delivery, and credit card problems.
Amazon has earned its title as the kingpin of online retail. From an expansive selection of guitars to competitive pricing and speedy shipping, Amazon has it all. Be mindful, though. The quality and authenticity of the guitars can vary based on the seller.
Musician’s Friend has a name that fits. Offering a broad variety of guitars and exclusive deals, they also have a rewards program. Their 45-day satisfaction guarantee makes them a worthy friend to have in your corner. However, their customer service might not always pick up your calls.
Reverb is a treasure trove of used, custom, and vintage instruments. They offer competitive prices and have a secure and straightforward payment system. However, the quality and authenticity of their offerings can vary depending on the seller.
Reverb is the best online guitar store for used, custom, and vintage instruments, with a 9.5 out of 10 rating (Poole, 2023).
Sam Ash, a family-operated store since 1924, offers free shipping on most orders, a diverse range of guitars, and online lessons. They even have a 60-day price protection policy. However, their customer service may not always extend the family hospitality.
zZounds ensures every order is shipped free and offers a wide range of guitars. Their flexible payment plans and 45-day money-back guarantee make your wallet breathe easy. However, their shipping and return policies can be a bit of a mixed bag.
Ebay, with its enormous selection of guitars and products, can often undercut many other stores on price. They have a secure and straightforward payment system. However, the quality and authenticity of their offerings can vary depending on the seller.
GuitarExchange.com.au offers free shipping on orders over $100 and a wide range of guitars. They also provide online lessons and a 30-day exchange policy. However, their shipping and return policies can be a bit kangaroo-like, hopping around depending on the product.
American Musical Supply offers free shipping on every order and a wide range of guitars. Their flexible payment plans and 45-day money-back guarantee make it easy to strike a chord.
Tips for Buying Guitars Online
Step 1: Set the Stage: Budget and Preferences
Before you jump headfirst into the world of online guitar shopping, it’s essential to tune your expectations. Set a budget and outline your preferences. These decisions are your guiding stars in the vast universe of online guitar stores.
Step 2: The Power of Comparison: Research and Review
Once you have your budget and preferences set, it’s time to start comparing. Use filters to narrow down your options, and don’t be afraid to dig deep into descriptions, specs, and reviews. Consider customer feedback and watch videos for a hands-on feel.
Step 3: The Fine Print: Store Policies, Shipping, and Support
Found a potential gem? Great! But before you hit “Add to Cart”, read up on the store’s policies and guarantees. Check the shipping, warranty, and return policy, and don’t forget to take a peek at their customer service and support.
Step 4: Post-Purchase Protocol: Returns, Feedback, and More
If your new guitar isn’t quite the perfect match, don’t fret. Reach out to the store, keep your packaging and receipt, and don’t hesitate to share feedback. You never know – your comment might help fellow guitarists in the future!
Best Online Guitar Stores: Yay or Nay?
I found this Reddit thread that talks about buying guitars online. In summary, here is what they suggest:
- Some users recommended trying out the guitar in person before buying it online.
- Others suggested going to a local guitar shop to test out different models and then purchasing the guitar online for better deals.
- One user also recommended doing research and checking the return policy before making a purchase.
- Another user suggested that buying a guitar online is not recommended for beginner guitarists, as they may not know what to look for and could end up with a guitar that feels horrible to play. However, if you are experienced with guitars and know what you’re after, then buying a guitar online can be a great way to find great deals on the model you want.
Now, it’s your turn to take center stage. Have you scored any notable finds from these online guitar stores? Or perhaps you have a hidden gem to share? Drop a comment below – I’d love to hear your experiences!
Until next time, keep strumming those virtual strings and exploring the best online guitar stores. Stay tuned for more guitar-related content, and remember – the world of guitars is just a click away!