A row of electric guitars on display.

Leading Online Guitar Shops: A Guide to the Finest Selections

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In the vast realm of guitar acquisition, identifying the right store can be as vital as choosing the instrument itself. Whether you’re a beginner setting your fingers on the strings for the first time or a seasoned pro hunting for that elusive vintage piece, knowing where to turn online can save you both time and heartache.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover:

  • Tailored Offerings: How different stores cater to varied musical tastes and proficiency levels.
  • Value Proposition: The perks, deals, and policies that set each retailer apart.
  • Navigational Tips: How to effectively sift through vast inventories for that perfect guitar or accessory.

Let’s dive into a detailed exploration of popular platforms like Sweetwater, Guitar Center, and Zzounds, to online juggernauts such as Amazon and eBay. Your journey to the perfect guitar starts with the perfect store.

Discover the Best Guitar Stores in 2023

  1. Sweetwater
  2. Guitar Center
  3. Zzounds
  4. Musician’s Friend
  5. Sam Ash Music
  6. Amazon
  7. Reverb
  8. eBay

1. Sweetwater

Trusted Musical Gear Expertise

Sweetwater has long held a reputation for its outstanding customer service and vast inventory. Catering to both professionals and hobbyists, they emphasize expert advice, quality assurance, and top-notch after-sales service.

Why someone should buy: With Sweetwater, you not only get an instrument; you get a team of musical gear experts backing your purchase. Their 55-point inspection assures that what you receive exceeds expectations.

Why We Love It:

  • Personalized gear advice from seasoned experts
  • Rigorous 55-point inspection for quality assurance
  • Award-winning customer service

Buy Links: Sweetwater

Technical Features:

  • Variety of payment options
  • Price drops and sales
  • Live, on-site support
  • Instrument rentals
  • Fast shipping
  • Free 2-year warranty

Review:

Sweetwater provides an online shopping experience akin to visiting a physical store. Their experts are knowledgeable, and the 55-point inspection provides peace of mind. Not only that, this store offers a variety of payment options for a range of musical instruments – from vintage guitars to bass guitars and cool, new models, it’s never been easier to buy a guitar online. Exchange instruments and gear for a gift card.

Sweetwater also offers instrument rentals for students with affordable payment plans.

Verdict:

For those who prioritize expert advice and post-purchase support, Sweetwater is one of the best online guitar shops around.

This Store is Perfect For:

  • Professionals seeking top-tier gear
  • Beginners wanting expert guidance
  • Musicians who prioritize instrument quality

2. Guitar Center

Comprehensive Musical Marketplace

Guitar Center is a haven for music enthusiasts, offering a blend of instruments, gear, and services. Their dedication to fostering a musical community is evident in their lessons, repair services, and gear advising.

Why someone should buy: Beyond a vast product range, Guitar Center’s website offers valuable services, making it a one-stop shop for all musical needs.

Why We Love It:

  • Broad range of products and services
  • Knowledgeable Gear Advisers on-call
  • Offers on both new and used products

Buy Links: Guitar Center

Technical Features:

  • Music lessons
  • Instrument rentals
  • Offers, deals, and bundles from major brands
  • On-site support
  • Wide variety of musical gear

Review:

Guitar Center seamlessly combines product diversity with educational and advisory services, ensuring every musician finds their fit. This store doesn’t just offer a range of musical instruments at affordable prices, but they also offer guitar lessons taught by experienced professionals, which makes this one of the best places to buy guitars online if you’re a beginner.

Got questions? Guitar Center’s team of Gear Advisers will offer you the support and advice you need from Monday through to Friday. This online guitar store also offers repairs and rentals, so you don’t have to always splash the cash on the brand-new guitar.

Verdict:

Guitar Center is one of the best online guitar retailers for both gear and instruments, helping to further your musical journey.

This Store is Perfect For:

  • Budding musicians seeking lessons
  • Professionals looking for a gear upgrade
  • DIY musicians in need of repairs
  • Students looking for online guitar sales

3. Zzounds

Seamless Online Musical Shopping

Zzounds prides itself on being one of the largest musical gear suppliers with unmatched price guarantees and customer service accolades. Their vast inventory ensures you’re spoilt for choice.

Why someone should buy: Zzounds’ price guarantee combined with a gigantic inventory ensures value for money and a vast selection.

Why We Love It:

  • Award-winning guitar store
  • Massive product range
  • Commendable customer service record

Buy Links: Zzounds

Technical Features:

  • Real-time inventory information
  • Play as you Pay® payment plans
  • Immediate shipment of products
  • Personalized service from dedicated musicians
  • Low shipping costs
  • 45-day lowest price protection

Review:

If you’re looking to purchase a guitar online, Zzounds will ensure you get the best deal. Their inventory is vast, and the buying process is streamlined with easy and quick payment plans, a personalized service, and immediate shipment. You can also get free shipping on certain items.

Zzounds has been awarded the Bizrate Insights Circle of Excellence Award for a whopping 16 years, meaning you know this is an online guitar store you can trust.

Verdict:

For those who want variety paired with the best prices, Zzounds delivers.

This Store is Perfect For:

  • Budget-conscious musicians
  • Musicians exploring gear options
  • Shoppers looking for fast deliveries

4. Musician’s Friend

Comprehensive Musical Gear Paradise

Musician’s Friend stands out as a holistic destination for musical gear, boasting an expansive inventory that few competitors match. Their blend of competitive prices, top-quality products, and expert advice has cemented their reputation as a leading online store for musicians.

Why someone should buy: Musician’s Friend promises more than just products; they ensure peace of mind with their unparalleled return policy and the safety net of price matching.

Why We Love It:

  • Extensive 45-day return policy
  • Vast selection of premium guitars and gear
  • Dedicated Guitar Advisors for personalized assistance

Buy Links: Musician’s Friend

Technical Features:

  • Price matching up to 45 days post-purchase
  • 2-year warranty on guitars and basses
  • Multiple payment methods, including financing

Review:

Musician’s Friend has continuously impressed with its emphasis on customer satisfaction. The vast selection, coupled with a consumer-friendly return policy, sets it apart. If you see a better price on your new guitar within 45 days of purchasing, this store will match it. This is why it’s one of the best retailers for acoustic and electric guitars.

Verdict:

Musician’s Friend is a trustworthy online store where quality meets variety and customer service.

This Store is Perfect For:

  • Musicians seeking quality assurance
  • Guitar enthusiasts looking for premium gear
  • Shoppers keen on a flexible return policy

5. Sam Ash Music

Authentic Musical Expertise

Sam Ash Music marries traditional musical expertise with modern e-commerce convenience. Their dedication to customer service shines through live chats with real experts and an array of financing options.

Why someone should buy: With Sam Ash, you’re not just buying a product; you’re accessing a legacy of musical expertise. Their diverse inventory of both new and used guitars ensures there’s something for every budget.

Why We Love It:

  • Real-time chat with musical experts
  • Diverse range of musical instruments and gear
  • Generous deals and offers

Buy Links: Sam Ash Music

Technical Features:

  • 12-month payment plans for instrument rentals
  • Attractive financing options
  • Offers pre-owned guitars
  • Low pricing
  • Gift cards

Review:

Sam Ash Music offers a seamless blend of modern online shopping with a touch of traditional music store authenticity. Can’t find the exact guitar you’re looking for? Talk to Sam Ash. The live chat is a standout feature, ensuring customers always have guidance when it comes to buying guitars online.

This store also offers a range of other musical instruments, from keyboards to drums and more.

Verdict:

Sam Ash Music is a go-to online store that combines modern convenience with authentic musical wisdom.

This Store is Perfect For:

  • Musicians seeking expert advice
  • Shoppers on a budget
  • Students in need of instrument rentals

6. Amazon

Global E-Commerce Giant

Amazon, the world’s e-commerce leader, offers more than just books and gadgets. Its vast expanse includes a variety of musical instruments and gear, ensuring global access to music-making essentials.

Why someone should buy: Amazon’s massive reach ensures diverse options and quick deliveries. While it’s not music-specific, the convenience of Prime delivery and the array of choices are hard to overlook.

Why We Love It:

  • Global access to diverse brands
  • Ultra-fast shipping with Prime
  • Commitment to sustainable operations

Buy Links: Amazon

Technical Features:

  • Extensive range from brands and third-party sellers
  • Prime for expedited deliveries
  • Emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly operations

Review:

Amazon, as always, offers convenience that few can rival. While it might lack the music-specific expertise of niche stores, its vast inventory ensures variety, making shopping online a breeze. This online retailer offers fast and free shipping for Prime members, which means you’ll never have to wait for your brand-new guitar.

You’ll also have access to less-known brands and second-hand models that will come in at an affordable choice. Whether you’re looking for an electric or acoustic guitar online, Amazon will likely have exactly what you need.

Verdict:

Amazon is best for those who prioritize delivery speed and product variety.

This Store is Perfect For:

  • Musicians seeking fast deliveries
  • Shoppers looking for a range of brand options
  • Eco-conscious buyers focused on sustainability

7. Reverb

Musicians’ Marketplace Mecca

Since its inception in 2013, Reverb has revolutionized the world of online music gear shopping by providing a dedicated marketplace for buying and selling musical instruments. It’s not just a place to purchase; it’s a thriving community of music enthusiasts worldwide, offering an unparalleled range of new, used, and vintage items.

Why someone should buy: Reverb stands as the ultimate destination for musicians looking for specific gear, be it vintage or brand-new. The platform’s commitment to fair pricing and its vast database ensures that buyers get value and variety.

Why We Love It:

  • Vibrant global musical community
  • Extensive database of products
  • Educational content for musicians

Buy Links: Reverb

Technical Features:

  • Largest dedicated online musical marketplace
  • Price guide ensuring fair deals
  • Over 240,000 products
  • Articles and how-to guides

Review:

Reverb offers a curated experience, providing musicians access to rare finds and the support of a knowledgeable community. Their promise of fair pricing and educational content sets them apart. Get tips, tricks, and expert advice when it comes to buying guitars online.

But not only that – browse through their collection of over 240,000 products.

Verdict:

Reverb is one of the best online guitar retailers for musicians looking for unique items and a supportive community.

This Store is Perfect For:

  • Musicians scouting for vintage gear
  • Buyers wanting fair pricing guidance
  • Enthusiasts keen on joining a global musical community

8. eBay

E-Commerce Jack of All Trades

eBay is the original online marketplace, connecting millions of sellers and buyers globally. While not dedicated solely to music, its vast inventory ensures that musical instruments and gear have a significant presence, making it a go-to for those seeking variety and potential deals.

Why someone should buy: eBay’s expansive global marketplace ensures access to a diverse range of musical instruments, often with competitive bidding. Its vast reach allows buyers to connect with unique items and sellers from around the world.

Why We Love It:

  • Enormous global inventory
  • Potential for unique finds
  • A legacy of trusted e-commerce

Buy Links: eBay

Technical Features:

  • Sellers from over 190 markets worldwide
  • Approximately 1.9 billion live listings
  • Emphasis on innovative e-commerce experiences
  • 25 years of experience

Review:

eBay, as a broad marketplace, provides potential for unique finds and competitive deals on musical gear. With 132 million active buyers worldwide in 190 worldwide markets, their inventory is second to none.

However, the vastness might also mean sifting through unrelated products before finding the perfect musical piece.

Verdict:

eBay is best for treasure hunters keen on finding unique items amidst a vast global marketplace.

This Store is Perfect For:

  • Bargain hunters
  • Those looking for rare or unique items
  • Buyers seeking global product variety

Buyer’s Guide: Expert Insights for Choosing the Perfect Guitar Online

Selecting the right guitar, especially from an online store, requires careful consideration. We’ve included some of the best places to buy guitars online, but do you know exactly what you’re looking for? Do you need to buy a guitar for a child or a beginner, or are you a seasoned pro?

This comprehensive buyer’s guide delves deep into expert-level topics, helping you navigate the vast world of online guitar shopping.

So whether you’re braving Amazon or shopping on the Guitar Center website, you’ll know how to find the perfect guitar for you.

Understand Guitar Types

Before venturing into the vast realm of online guitar purchasing, it’s crucial to grasp the nuances of the primary guitar categories. While there are countless variations, these are the foundational types every potential buyer should understand:

Acoustic Guitars:

Acoustic guitars are hollow-bodied instruments that amplify sound acoustically. They are versatile and can be found in various music genres, making them ieal for folk, country, pop, and singer-songwriter genres. Variations include:

Dreadnought Known for its large body and rich, full sound.

Parlor Smaller-bodied guitars, producing a bright tone. Excellent for fingerpicking.

Jumbo Boasts a large body shape and produces a loud and resonant tone.

Different types of guitars on display on a wall.

Electric Guitars:

These require amplification due to their solid body, which doesn’t produce much sound acoustically. They come with magnetic pickups that capture the string vibrations and send them to an amplifier. This type of guitar is preferred for genres like rock, metal, blues, jazz, and pop. Variations include:

Solid Body Made from a solid piece of wood like the Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul.

Hollow Body Resonant hollow spaces in the body, such as the Gibson ES-335, often used in jazz.

Semi-Hollow Body Combines features from both solid and hollow body guitars.

A close up of an electric guitar.

Classical Guitars:

These are nylon-stringed instruments with a wide neck, often associated with traditional and classical music pieces. They’re perfect for classical compositions, flamenco, and bossa nova. Variations include:

Flamenco Lighter in weight with a slightly thinner body, suitable for the percussive sounds of flamenco music.

Grand Concert A more extensive classical guitar variety offering a fuller sound.

Know Your Budget

Setting a clear budget will help narrow down your choices. However, remember the old adage: “You get what you pay for.” Don’t purchase super cheap models made from really cheap materials, as the sound will likely be poor and hinder more than help your guitar journey.

Beginner – If you’re a beginner, you don’t necessarily need a high-end guitar. Many reputable brands offer good quality starter guitars. Make sure you buy some beginner equipment, too, such as a tuner or a gig bag.

Intermediate to Advanced – As your skills improve, investing in a higher-quality instrument can enhance your sound and playing experience.

Professional – Touring musicians or recording artists might want to consider premium guitars that can withstand regular use and offer superior tonal qualities.

When shopping for a guitar online, look for deals and offers on well-known brands that can help you get a fantastic guitar at a good price. Additionally, some stores offer free shipping on selected models, which can help cut costs dramatically, especially if you’re purchasing additional equipment too.

Wood and Construction

The materials and construction methods used in a guitar play a pivotal role in its tone, sustain, resonance, and overall feel. Let’s delve deeper into the intricacies of wood types and guitar construction to help you with your next purchase.

Tonewoods:

Specific types of woods, known as tonewoods, are utilized in guitar construction for their ability to produce and amplify sound uniquely. Here are all the different types of tonewoods available:

Spruce: A popular choice for acoustic guitar tops, spruce is lightweight yet strong, offering a broad dynamic range and sharp articulation.

Mahogany: Known for its density, mahogany imparts a warm, full sound with an emphasis on mids. It’s commonly used for both bodies and necks.

Rosewood: Dense and heavy, rosewood offers a rich, complex tone with sparkling highs and deep lows. It’s often used for fretboards and the back and sides of acoustic models.

Maple: Bright-sounding wood, it is commonly used for electric guitar necks and bodies. It provides clarity and a tight, focused tone.

Alder: This material is predominantly used in electric guitars. It’s lightweight and offers a balanced tone with excellent sustain.

Ash: Offers a bright, snappy tone and is visually appealing due to its lovely grain. Popular in vintage-style electric models.

Guitars of different colors hanging on display in a store.

Finding The Best Online Guitar Store: Frequently Asked Questions

Which website is best for buying a guitar?

The best website for buying a guitar largely depends on the buyer’s needs and preferences. However, among popular online guitar stores, Sweetwater and Guitar Center are highly recommended for their vast selection, customer service, and unique offerings. It’s always advisable to compare multiple platforms to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your specific requirements.

Many guitar stores offer additional equipment, such as delay pedals, compressor pedals, overdrive pedals, and more.

What guitar does Ed Sheeran use?

Ed Sheeran is famously known for using the Little Martin LX1E acoustic guitar, especially in his earlier career. It’s a compact guitar but delivers a rich sound. He’s also had a series of signature models with the brand, underscoring his preference for Martin guitars.

Is Guitar Center a good place to buy guitars online?

Absolutely! Guitar Center is one of the best guitar stores for both beginners and professional musicians. They offer a vast range of products, from new to used instruments, and their website also provides essential services like lessons, rentals, and repairs. Their Gear Advisers ensure customers receive tailored advice and the best possible price for their chosen instrument.

Which company sells the best guitar?

The term “best” is subjective when it comes to guitars, as it often depends on the player’s style, genre, and personal preference. However, renowned brands like Fender, Gibson, Martin, and Taylor have historically been lauded for their craftsmanship, sound quality, and innovation.

It’s important to explore the offerings in the best guitar stores to find a guitar that resonates with your musical aspirations.

A variety of different guitars hanging on display.

In Conclusion: Navigating the World of Online Guitar Stores

The landscape of online guitar shopping offers a world of possibilities, from the vast array of models and brands to the convenience of shopping from your couch. Yet, as we’ve explored in this comprehensive guide, this convenience comes with its considerations – understanding guitar types, the importance of wood and construction, potential additional costs, and of course, the nuanced differences between the best online guitar stores available.

Each store, whether it’s the all-encompassing Amazon or the specialized haven of Reverb, offers a unique shopping experience tailored to different needs and preferences. And while the tactile experience of strumming a guitar in a brick-and-mortar store is irreplaceable, the digital age provides unparalleled access to information, reviews, and global marketplaces.

For those embarking on their guitar journey or seasoned pros looking to add to their collection, remember that the perfect guitar is a balance between research, budget considerations, and, ultimately, what feels right to you.

Here’s to finding your perfect musical companion online and the countless melodies waiting to be strummed, picked, and played.

Happy strumming!