Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post about electric guitar lessons. Today I’ll be stepping away from learning guitar to take a look at some of the top online guitar stores.
As more and more people become comfortable with making purchases online, it’s inevitable that guitar stores have gone online as well. If you’re looking for great selection and price, shopping for a guitar online can be a great way to go. In today’s post I’ll list five of the best online guitar stores and some of the unique features of each one.
Music Specialty Stores
The first three are the big three of music specialty retailers. All three offer extensive inventory, a low price guarantee, used items, and some form of discount, on sale, or clearance section. With the exception of the used gear, all three can be expected to have roughly the same selection. So there aren’t a lot of differences between these stores, but we’ll take a quick look at each one:
Guitar Center is hands down the largest offline music retailer, and despite the name, they, carry a lot more than just guitars. Probably because they have a nationwide network of brick-and-mortar stores, their used gear section is larger than either Musician’s Friend or Music 123, with over 30,000 used items for sale as I am writing this.
Guitar Center will also buy your used gear, and offer a discount on new gear that you buy when trading in. Of course, to trade in, you have to visit a store, so that’s not really shopping online, is it? Guitar Center will also ship items to the store nearest you instead of to your home, which could be useful if you don’t want your brand new guitar to be sitting on your front porch in the hot sun (or freezing cold) when it arrives.
Musician’s Friend probably has the widest selection of all the online music stores. As the name implies, they carry a lot more than just guitars, but they carry lots of guitars, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for here. Be sure to check out the Used Gear and Clearance sections, too, if you’re looking for deals.
The Musician’s Friend website also has a huge, well-organized “Knowledge Base” section, with articles, reviews, FAQs, buying guides, and more. Look for the “Articles” link on the home page to access this section.
Like Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend, Music123 carries a wide range of music gear, not just guitars. They are a catalog and online only store that is owned by Guitar Center. The Music123 site seemed to me a bit easier to navigate than the other two sites, maybe because it’s a bit more of a no-frills site. No scrolling banners or pictures of famous artists on the home page. Just easy to navigate links and buttons to get you where you want to go.
The General Stores
The next two sites are not music specialty retailers, but any list of online guitar stores would be incomplete without them. They both offer unique features: one is the largest online auction site in the world, and the other has the best customer experience and customer service reputation in all of online retailing.
Ebay isn’t exactly a guitar store, but the giant auction site can be a great place to buy a guitar. You can get some great deals here, especially if you’re buying used. Sellers all over the world are competing for your dollars, so there are definitely bargains to be had. You can also get new instruments here: many reputable brick-and-mortar guitar stores sell new guitars on eBay.
Amazon is best known for selling books and cds, but they have a fairly good selection of guitars, plus lots of guitar equipment, accessories, and sheet music. And Amazon has a spotless reputation as a trusted online merchant selling high quality goods with excellent customer service.
That’s it for my round up of online guitar stores.
Drop by tomorrow for a look at one of the most unique and innovative acoustic guitars ever made.