Is Sweetwater Legit? Is It Safe To Purchase? - Killer Rig (2023)

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Ever shopped for music gear online? The name Sweetwater probably sounds familiar. You may have seen advertisements for guitars, pedals, amps, and other 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!

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.

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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 retailer, 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.

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.

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? Is It Safe To Purchase? - Killer Rig (1)

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.

(Video) The Cheapest (gigable) Rig At Sweetwater! (Feat. Ben Eller)

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.

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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.

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
  • Studio and recording gear
  • Lighting 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.

Is Sweetwater Legit? Is It Safe To Purchase? - Killer Rig (2)


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.

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.

(Video) How to Get the Gig


Is it safe to buy from Sweetwater? ›

Sweetwater is absolutely legitimate. They're arguably the biggest online music, sound, and gear retailer in the U.S. They have top ratings on a variety of websites and serve millions of customers every year.

Does Sweetwater refund money? ›

"No Hassle" Return Policy:

If you are not satisfied with any new product, for any reason, you may return it for a refund of the purchase price or an in-house credit, or you may exchange for another product within a fair amount of time from the shipping date (usually 30 days).

How long does it take for Sweetwater to ship? ›

1–5 business days within the contiguous U.S. 6–7 business days to Alaska and Hawaii. FedEx Express Saver® – U.S. only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Delivery to business by 4:30 p.m. and to residences by 7 p.m. in 3 business days.

Does Sweetwater really do 55 point inspection? ›

Our detailed 55-point Inspection ensures that each instrument valued $299 and above is shipped in factory-fresh condition and ready to play.

Is Sweetwater a good place to buy from? ›

Yes. Sweetwater is one of the biggest online retailers of musical instruments in the US, and it's top-rated on review sites. You should have no dilemma when it comes to ordering from the Sweetwater site, thanks to their service, no-hassle return policy, sales team, and rigorous inspection process.

Is Sweetwater safe review? ›

Yes, Sweetwater is definitely safe. They are one of the largest and most reputable online musical instruments retailers in the world. They have outstanding customer support, offer a free 2-year warranty on all purchases, and an excellent customer satisfaction guarantee return policy.

What is the minimum credit score for Sweetwater financing? ›

The score needed to gain access to Sweetwater credit is usually 630. This is not an exact science however, and other factors relating to your credit profile will impact your qualification. You may still qualify with a lower score, and this is why the zero impact prequalification is such a great feature.

Is Sweetwater owned by Guitar Center? ›

Does Guitar Center own Sweetwater? Sweetwater and Guitar Center are competitors. Guitar Center does not own Sweetwater. It's owned by Chuck Surack, who founded the company in 1979.

Who are Sweetwater competitors? ›

Sweetwater competitors include Reverb, zZounds Music, Sam Ash Music and Guitar Center. Sweetwater ranks 1st in CEO Score on Comparably vs its competitors.

Who is the owner of Sweetwater? ›

Sweetwater's founder and chairman, Chuck Surack, was an entrepreneur from an early age. As a child, he made and sold pot holders by the hundreds and managed an extensive paper route. After he graduated from high school, his love of music led him to become a professional saxophonist and keyboard player in touring bands.

Does Sweetwater run your credit? ›

We may request a credit report and will work with you on the terms that are best for you to pay off the gear in either three or six months. After paying a nominal processing fee, you can split your total up over three or six months and make equal payments using your existing credit card. Minimum purchase required.

How successful is Sweetwater? ›

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.

What is the largest music store in the US? ›

Tegmeyer reveals that the Fort Wayne Sweetwater headquarters is 14,000 square feet of a music store and that they house the largest onsite inventory of any store in the country.

What credit bureau does Sweetwater use? ›

Yes, Sweetwater Card reports your account activity to the following credit reporting agencies: Equifax. Experian. Transunion.

Does Sweetwater do free setups? ›

Does Sweetwater Setup Their Guitars? At Sweetwater, we do everything possible to make sure your guitar is set up the way you want it. We adjust the truss rod, intonation, and action to your specifications, and we'll even install your custom pickups and hardware for free.

Does Sweetwater sell on Amazon? ›

In addition to its website, Sweetwater began offering its catalog of products to buyers on Amazon, eBay, and Reverb.

Does Sweetwater have physical stores? ›

Not only is the Sweetwater Music Store open to the public — with its vast Guitar Gallery, drum room, and the largest on-site inventory of any music store in the country — but our customers and community members are welcome to come and enjoy the rest of our space, too.

Why the Sweetwater is better? ›

The major difference between Sweetwater and Guitar Center is that when you purchase from Sweetwater, you are actually connected to your own sales rep who can guide you through any issues you may have, which is really helpful.

Does Sweetwater charge when shipped? ›

If you place your order with a credit card, you will only be charged for items once they ship. That means if your order has some items that are on backorder, you will only be charged for those items once they ship. If you place your order with PayPal, your order will be charged at the time of purchase.

Is Sweetwater customer service good? ›

Hands down, the best customer service I have experienced from anywhere in a long time! They called me to make sure that my order was complete and the gentleman that I spoke to was very kind and professional and assured me that he was taking care of my order personally.

What size loan can I get with a 500 credit score? ›

You can borrow anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $100,000+ with a 500 credit score. The exact amount of money you will get depends on other factors besides your credit score, such as your income, your employment status, the type of loan you get, and even the lender.

Is it possible to get a loan with a 480 credit score? ›

As a result, a 480 credit score will make it difficult to qualify for a loan or unsecured credit card, and you will need to focus on rebuilding your credit before trying to get a mortgage, car loan, etc.

Can you get approved with a 480 credit score? ›

With an 480 credit score, you're unlikely to get approved for a traditional credit card. Credit cards are unsecured forms of debt, so banks tend to be a bit more cautious compared to loans backed by specific assets, like mortgages and auto loans.

Is Sweetwater an American company? ›

Sweetwater is the largest online retailer of musical instruments and pro audio equipment in the United States, based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

What is the largest guitar store in the world? ›

The House of Guitars®,Inc. is located in Rochester, New York and known as the “Largest Guitar Store in the World.” The store was started in 1964 by Bruce and Armand Schaubroeck out of the basement of their mother's home and quickly became famous for being the intersection of music, art and culture.

Who just bought Sweetwater Sound? ›

Providence Equity Partners

What is Sweetwater legal name? ›

The terms "Sweetwater" or "" or "Sweetwater Gear Exchange" or "us" or "we" or "our" refers to Sweetwater Sound, LLC, the owner of the Site and our affiliates including Sweetwater Gear Exchange, LLC, and the Gear Exchange, you know, the Site(s).

Is Sweetwater an ethical company? ›

Sweetwater works with more than 1,100 brands and nurtures a strong commitment to ethical standards with each and every one.

How long has Sweetwater been in business? ›

Since 1979, we've turned millions of music makers like you into friends by delivering uncommon service and unparalleled expertise. Our dedication has helped Sweetwater become the #1 online retailer of pro audio and music instruments in the United States.

How many Sweetwater locations are there? ›

Sweetwater is headquartered in Fort Wayne, IN and has 10 office locations located throughout the US.

How much money is Chuck Surack worth? ›

40 years ago, he built a recording studio in a VW bus. Today, he runs a $725 million music empire.

How does financing with Sweetwater work? ›

You can get promotional financing for six months‡ so you can pay for your purchase over time. Plus, thanks to our close relationships with our manufacturers, we are able to offer up to 48 month* financing for qualifying purchases, for an even sweeter shopping experience!

Do debt collectors hurt credit? ›

Unfortunately, a debt in collections is one of the most serious negative items that can appear on credit reports because it means the original creditor has written off the debt completely. So when a debt is sent to collections, it can have a severe impact on your credit scores.

Do loans ding your credit? ›

A personal loan will cause a slight hit to your credit score in the short term, but making payments on time will boost it back up and can help build your credit. The key is repaying the loan on time.

How much do Sweetwater salesmen make? ›

Average Sweetwater Sales Engineer yearly pay in the United States is approximately $54,300, which is 41% below the national average.

How much does Sweetwater pay sales engineer? ›

The estimated total pay for a Sales Engineer at Sweetwater is $175,042 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is $97,676 per year.

What company owns the most music? ›

The largest record label in the U.S. is Sony Music Entertainment, with a revenue of $9.12 billion and an market share of 20%. As of 2021, the U.S. record label industry has a market size of $9.7 billion.

What state has the biggest music industry? ›

Nationally, the music industry contributes $170 billion and supports 2.47 million jobs. California has the largest music industry of all the states, at $39.5 billion and nearly 431,000 jobs, followed by Texas, which contributes $27.3 billion to its state GDP and supports more than 210,000 jobs.

What is the oldest music store? ›

About 90 minutes east of Pittsburgh is George's Song Shop, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It is believed to be the oldest record store in America.

Is Sweetwater secure? ›

Sweetwater is absolutely legitimate. They're arguably the biggest online music, sound, and gear retailer in the U.S. They have top ratings on a variety of websites and serve millions of customers every year.

How long does it take Sweetwater to deliver? ›

1–5 business days within the contiguous U.S. 6–7 business days to Alaska and Hawaii. FedEx Express Saver® – U.S. only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Delivery to business by 4:30 p.m. and to residences by 7 p.m. in 3 business days.

What credit score does Synchrony use? ›

Find out your score and how to improve it when you enroll in Synchrony's® free credit score program with VantageScore®. VantageScore® is a top credit scoring model used by many lenders when they consider whether or not to approve applications and decide what rates and terms to offer.

What does a Sweetwater setup include? ›

A setup typically involves our world-class Guitar Workshop installing your preferred strings, adjusting to a requested action height, and even installing new pickups or other parts. If you would like your instrument set up before it ships, simply tell your Sales Engineer.

How much does a PLEK setup cost? ›

Most places in the U.S. charge between $200-$300 for a PLEK fret level and setup, which I believe is a small price to pay to optimize your instrument. EVERY guitar can benefit from getting PLEKed, even if it's a super expensive custom shop guitar.

What are the reviews on Sweetwater website? ›

Overview. Sweetwater has a consumer rating of 4.42 stars from 1,066 reviews indicating that most customers are generally satisfied with their purchases. Consumers satisfied with Sweetwater most frequently mention customer service, sales rep and free shipping. Sweetwater ranks 1st among Music Equipment sites.

How to get free stuff from Sweetwater? ›

How It Works
  1. Earn. Make a qualifying purchase during a promotional period, get approved for a Sweetwater Credit Card during a promotional period, or purchase a special Bonus Bucks deal throughout the year to earn Bonus Bucks!
  2. Receive. Sweetwater Bonus Bucks will be emailed directly to you.
  3. Redeem.

Who is Sweetwater competitor? ›

Sweetwater competitors include Reverb, zZounds Music, Sam Ash Music and Guitar Center. Sweetwater ranks 1st in CEO Score on Comparably vs its competitors.

Who just bought Sweetwater? ›

On November 4th, 2020, Aphria Inc., a large producer of cannabis based in Canada, acquired SweetWater for $300 million.

Where is Sweetwater company located? ›

2. Sweetwater is proudly headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

How many customers does Sweetwater have? ›

Despite current economic challenges, Sweetwater served more than 1.6 million people by remaining dedicated to providing best-in-class customer service, known as the Sweetwater Difference, and staying true to their mission of doing the right thing.

What credit score do I need for Sweetwater? ›

The score needed to gain access to Sweetwater credit is usually 630. This is not an exact science however, and other factors relating to your credit profile will impact your qualification. You may still qualify with a lower score, and this is why the zero impact prequalification is such a great feature.

How do I make a payment to Sweetwater? ›

Easy Payments

Sweetwater accepts PayPal on both online and telephone orders. Pay directly from your PayPal balance or linked bank account, or charge it to your credit card. Apple users can make secure purchases quickly and easily using Apple Pay.


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