Is Sweetwater Legit - Will This Music Store Treat You Right? (2023)

What Makes Sweetwater Unique?

Here’s a look at the inner workings of this incredible company. Sweetwater is not just a fantastic buying and selling resource for musicians. It is really worth a look as a career opportunity!

Consumer Online And In-Person Services

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Online Guitar Gallery

When shopping for musical equipment online, Sweetwater has an excellent guitar gallery. It is run by a dedicated team that researches and photographs each guitar in high definition and from multiple angles, complete with serial number and weight.

You can search the guitar gallery by over 15 parameters and compare the features of each guitar against others.

When you find what you want, you can add in-house, factory-certified customizations that are added before the guitar is inspected and shipped to you!

Sales Engineers And Technical Support

The best way to begin your relationship with Sweetwater online is to speak with a “sales engineer,” who will be assigned as your personal guide to answer questions and help you choose the best gear for your needs and budget. They are highly knowledgeable and helpful associates!

The Sweetwater technical support team provides free 24/7 assistance with everything that’s sold. They are a separate department at Sweetwater and are consistently updated on all the latest technologies and products in the musical and pro audio world.

Concierge Services

Sweetwater has a dedicated concierge office that can help you find who or what you’re looking for and can even schedule a tour around the Sweetwater campus.

They also coordinate employee benefits like family outings, the video lending library, and dry cleaning.

Gear Exchange

Sweetwater’s Gear Exchange is a great starting point if you want to sell your gear on consignment or trade it for in-store credit. The exchange personnel will help get a deal that works for you.

55-Point Guitar Inspection

Each guitar purchased goes through an extensive 55-point inspection by an inspection staff member so that it is set up to play great right out of the box! You can request a special setup accommodation at the time of purchase, like low, medium, or high action, a particular string brand and gauge, etc.

Here is a video from Sweetwater that shows the way they process each guitar and the 55-point inspection.

Service, Custom Shop, And Warranty

Sweetwater has an outstanding factory-certified service staff, which can handle most repairs in-house. If anything goes wrong, give them a call, and they’ll take care of you right over the phone or have you send the equipment back so they can fix it as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Their guitar shop has expert luthiers who can swap out pickups or install custom electronics, do impressive guitar mods, and fix damaged instruments.

All instruments have a free 2-year “Total Confidence Coverage” warranty.

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Music Store And Piano Showroom

If you live nearby, Sweetwater has a nearly 40,000-square-foot store with the largest on-site inventory in the United States of nearly 1,000 brands of instruments and other top equipment! It includes “fully loaded” demo studios and a massive band and orchestra gallery.

Their piano showroom has over 100 keyboards and pianos (home to full-size concert grands) with free delivery and installation!

If I lived near this music store, I might not ever leave!


GearFest is Sweetwater’s yearly 2-day trade show. It offers the best deals you’ll find all year on music gear. There are clinics or performances by world-class artists and demonstrations by leading industry pros.

This trade show is the largest convention open to the general public. It hosts around 14,000 visitors with hundreds of vendors!

Sweetwater Studios

Sweetwater has a suite of recording studios and isolation booths where artists from all over the world have come to record their music. They feature state-of-the-art equipment, from classic analog gear to the most sophisticated digital equipment.

Their staff of award-winning producers and engineers can help you make the most of your recording session.

Employee Training And Diversification

LEED Platinum Certification

Sweetwater employees work in environmentally-friendly buildings constructed from recycled and rapidly renewable woods! These buildings are also designed to conserve water and electricity with a high air quality standard while providing a healthy and comfortable environment for both staff and visitors.

These achievements and many other improvements have allowed Sweetwater to achieve the Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum certification.

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Sweetwater University

Sweetwater University is an intense 13-week program that all sales engineers and other new employees go through to ensure that they are up to speed in all areas of pro audio and musical gear.

The program is run by over 80 industry leaders and offers over 300 classes. It is regularly updated and offers its employees new classes on upcoming products to stay on the cutting edge of what’s happening.

Product Optimization And “Creation Station” Computers

The product optimization department works behind the scenes to update and optimize products by doing firmware updates and other tweaks to make your purchase as smooth and stress-free as possible from right out of the box.

Creation station computers are built in-house specifically for high-performance pro-audio production and professional media production. They have become the industry standard for Windows PCs over the past ten years.

Distribution Center

What’s worse than waiting for your new guitar or amp to arrive? The Sweetwater distribution center ships most in-stock orders the day they’re placed with free shipping to nearly anywhere in the contiguous United States.

And best of all, there’s no minimum purchase. You get your equipment in a matter of days, making an unbearable waiting experience a tolerable affair.

Company Perks

There is an incredible list of privileges that come with working at Sweetwater. Here are some of the highlights. What are you waiting for? Get that employment application in today!

Health Clinic

This free clinic is offered as an exclusive service to staff and their families to help keep everyone healthy and happy. There are on-site doctors for annual checkups and sick visits, with everything you would expect from a primary care physician. Booking appointments is quick and easy!

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Fitness Center

Sweetwater’s fitness center provides employees and their guests with access to state-of-the-art training equipment and on-staff personal trainers for coaching and consultation.

The exclusive locker rooms and shower facilities provide a comfortable and user-friendly environment!

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Racquetball Court

The Sweetwater indoor racquetball court is available for employees and their guests and offers an invigorating and healthy exercise experience.

Wavelengths Salon And Spa

Wavelengths, located on the Sweetwater campus, is a registered Aveda Concept Salon! It offers a complete list of employee services such as haircuts, massage therapy, and manicures. The facility is also available to the public by appointment.

Video Lending Library

Another Sweetwater employee perk is their extensive video lending library. Hundreds of free DVDs, Blu-rays, and video games are available for employees to take home for their enjoyment.

Fun For Everyone

These Sweetwater activities and venues are open to staff and the general public.

Workshops And Master Classes

Sweetwater routinely hosts guitar clinics, workshops, and master classes year-round by greats such as Joe Satriani. They are open to the public, and many are free or affordably priced. If you live in the Midwest, this is the place to be!

Academy Of Music

The Sweetwater Academy Of Music is run by a team of over 30 professional musicians who give regular group classes to local musicians on popular instruments and studio recording techniques for beginners to advanced students. The Academy hosts many free gatherings.

One of the most popular aspects of the Academy Of Music is their Summer Rock Camp, which brings musicians together to learn and jam in a group environment!

Performance Theatre

This Sweetwater auditorium offers the best in pro-audio listening in a comfortable and luxurious environment. It features a 7.1 state-of-the-art digital surround system for family movie nights with headphone jacks in every seat for ongoing staff training and product demonstrations.

The Performance Theatre frequently hosts a wide variety of musical performances.

Performance Pavilion

The Performance Pavillion is a 24,000 square-foot outdoor music venue specially designed to host concerts and individual performances for up to 3,500 guests. It provides the perfect stage for the GearFest shows and some of the hottest band performances.

Crescendo Club

The Crescendo Club allows Academy Students and other talented community members to give performances to an intimate audience on a state-of-the-art stage with cutting-edge gear. You can enjoy a latte from the Crescendo Cafe and some of the finest music you’ll ever hear.

Downbeat Diner And Crescendo Cafe

The Downbeat Diner serves reasonably-priced healthy restaurant-quality food made with fresh ingredients. Everything is prepared from scratch by the Sweetwater staff. Food is served from 6 AM to 7 PM.

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The Crescendo Cafe is a great place to grab a snack or drink while shopping or waiting for a music lesson. The coffeehouse environment features excellent espresso, ice cream, chocolate, and baked goods.

Arcade And Game Area

For the ultimate in entertainment, stop and play a game or two at the free arcade and game area. It’s a great way to kill a little time among staff, family, and friends!

(Video) Live Recording at Sweetwater Studios — GearFest 2020

The Sweetwater Slide

On your way out, be sure to take a ride on the giant metal Sweetwater Slide adjacent to the Stairway. It’s the fun way down and their way of saying bye, and please come back again soon!

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Sweetwater Buyers Beware

There have been a number of problems reported by consumers in online reviews and on consumer advocacy sites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

In the vast majority of cases, Sweetwater has reached out to the consumer in an attempt to understand and rectify the problem.

As I investigated this, it was evident that Sweetwater tries to make customer satisfaction their top concern. Still, there are some things worth mentioning.

Product Problems And Returns

Some customer reviews claim that the item they received was not what they expected based on the product description or that the product was somehow faulty.

Other consumers feel that the return policy (30 days on new items and 90 days on preowned marketplace items) is cumbersome. They needed to obtain a return authorization (RA) number from a Sweetwater sales engineer, a standard operating procedure with all online music retailers. Additionally, return shipping at Sweetwater is free in the USA.

Several years ago, I had a favorable experience with returning an item to Sweetwater. The process was straightforward and pleasant.

However, be aware that some items like special orders, discounted products, speakers, tubes, and software may be non-refundable.

Additionally, you may encounter a “sanitation fee” for items like instrument mouthpieces, which I think is a safe practice.


Reports have been filed at the Better Business Bureau that Sweetwater’s security policies and procedures are substandard. Some consumers have said that their accounts have been compromised or hacked, allowing others to make fraudulent purchases.

Sweetwater claims that its online privacy and security practices meet or exceed the industry standard.


Some consumers feel that Sweetwater engages in aggressive and nuisance-causing email list marketing practices. Anyone can be removed from their email list by selecting “unsubscribe” from any of their correspondences, calling their 1-800 number, or completing the online privacy request form.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Sweetwater Music Online

Here are some of the questions I get asked about Sweetwater and online shopping.

If your question does not appear here, please put it in the comments, and I will get right back to you with an answer.

Is Sweetwater Only In Indiana?

Yes, Sweetwater is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with one storefront there. Everything is done from their corporate location.

Does Sweetwater Have “Brick And Mortar” Stores?

Sweetwater’s only actual in-person retail store is located on-campus at their corporate office in Fort Wayne, Indiana. However, it is one of the largest stores in the US at nearly 40,000-square-feet.

Where Does Sweetwater Deliver?

Sweetwater currently delivers to the USA, Canada, UK, and Europe. Be aware that an international shipping fee may be required.

Does Sweetwater Do Price Matching?

Although Sweetwater already has very competitive pricing, they may do price matching on some items. Speak with a sales engineer to inquire about each product and get info about upcoming sales events.

Does Sweetwater Have Coupons?

No, Sweetwater does not have coupons or honor coupons from its competitors. You can ask your sales engineer about the best Sweetwater deals currently being offered.

Does Sweetwater Collect Sales Tax?

Yes, but not for all states. The states where they collect sales tax are listed on their website and updated as needed.

Does Sweetwater Charge Immediately?

Credit cards are charged when the product is shipped. PayPal payments are charged immediately.

How Long Does It Take Sweetwater To Process An Order?

It typically takes 1–5 business days within the contiguous U.S. and6–7 business days to Alaska and Hawaii. International orders can take longer.

Does Sweetwater Ship Guitars Safely?

Yes. All their products are shipped in very well-protected packaging, sometimes double packed, if necessary. Each guitar (and all Sweetwater instruments) is unpacked, given a 55-point inspection, and then repacked in its original box.

Are Sweetwater Used Guitars Any Good?

The condition of the guitars you buy online can vary, but used guitars come with a 90-day return policy. All used equipment is purchased and sold online through their Gear Exchange.

Can I Use My Sweetwater Card Anywhere

No, your card is not a generic charge card. It can only be used at Sweetwater Sound.

Who Is Sweetwater Sound Owned By?

Chuck Surack was President and Founder of Sweetwater, Inc. It was acquired and is managed by Providence Equity Partners – a firm out of Providence, Rhode Island. Chuck is now Chairman of the Board.

Does Sweetwater Own Guitar Center?

No, Guitar Center is currently owned by Ares Management.

How Do I Stop Getting Mail From Sweetwater?

According to Sweetwater, “To exercise the right to opt-out, you (or your authorized representative) maysubmit a request to us by completing the privacy request form or by calling us at (800) 222-4700.” The most straightforward approach is to give them a call.

How Many Employees Does Sweetwater Sound Have?

Sweetwater had about 2,300 employees in 2021.

Are Sweetwater Reviews Fake?

No. Their consumer reviews are legitimate, with an average online rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. They pride themselves on customer satisfaction. Sweetwater has a 4.7 Trustpilot rating and a 4.47 SiteJabber rating.

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Can Sweetwater be trusted? ›

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.

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.

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).

What kind of company is Sweetwater? ›

Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sweetwater is the nation's leading music technology and musical instrument retailer. The company sprang from humble roots, but over the past 27 years has achieved incredible success and continues to experience unprecedented meteoric growth.

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 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.

How long does it take to get an order from Sweetwater? ›

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.

Where does Sweetwater ship from? ›

What's more, our location in Fort Wayne, Indiana, lets us offer free shipping to nearly anywhere in the contiguous United States in a matter of days, so you won't have to wait long for your gear to arrive.

Does Sweetwater sell on Amazon? ›

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Who is the owner of Sweetwater? ›

Chuck Surack is an American entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist, and musician, best known as the founder of Sweetwater Sound, a leading retailer of musical instruments and professional audio equipment.

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 many days does it take for Sweetwater to ship? ›

We make it our priority to get your shipments to you as quickly as possible. Orders are processed and shipped within 1-3 business days of purchase. All rates are subject to change. You will receive an email confirmation with tracking once your packaged is shipped.

How does Sweetwater take to deliver? ›

Lightweight items (13 ounces or less) will be shipped via the United States Postal Service First Class Mail. This is trackable and normally arrives within two to four days. Heavier items ship via FedEx Ground® or UPS Ground. Delivery times range from one to five days, depending upon the distance to the destination.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Does Sweetwater send you candy? ›

For years, Sweetwater Sound has been packing handfuls of candy into boxes full of music technology and music instruments that are shipped all over the country. Little did they know that this little "thank you" to customers would one day help save a life.

How long does it take for so sweet to deliver? ›

All orders are sent using Royal Mail Tracked 48, which Royal Mail aim to deliver all parcels within 2-3 working days.

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 big is Sweetwater warehouse? ›

The state-of-the-art facility has 480,000 SF of usable space – nearly quadrupling the size of the previous warehouse – and has a footprint of more than 7 acres.

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.

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.

Why is Sweetwater called Sweetwater? ›

This oasis with sweet water amd bitter-tasting gypsum streams, Sweetwater has long been considered a place to rest one's weary feet. Long before the settlers and ranchers arived, the Kiowa Indians names the site "Mobeetie," which meant sweet water.

Who is bigger Sweetwater or Guitar Center? ›

Also, since Guitar Center is a larger brand, they're more likely to have a particular guitar in stock if you already know the exact model of guitar you want. At the end of the day, both Sweetwater and Guitar Center offer an excellent experience when buying music gear.

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.

Can you get a loan with 580 credit score? ›

You'll typically need a score of at least 550 to 580 to qualify for a personal loan. You can find personal loans for bad credit, but: You'll likely pay a higher interest rate than other borrowers. You probably won't qualify for larger loan amounts.

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.

What is 55 point inspection? ›

Our 55-Pt Inspection checks every part of your vehicle to ensure it is operating the way a BMW should. This includes checking your fluid levels, heating system, tires, belts and hoses, brakes, wiper blades, and overall performance of your engine (checked via road test by one of our experienced technicians).

Do guitars from Sweetwater come set up? ›

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.

Can you test guitars from Sweetwater? ›

Sweetwater's 55-point Guitar Inspection

You can be confident that they've looked at every aspect of that guitar or bass, from the input jack to the headstock — the same way you would in a store. Each instrument ships with its own 55-point Inspection Certificate signed by the Tech who completed the process.

What is the worlds biggest music store? ›

Bananas Music, Florida, USA

In business since 1977 Bananas takes up a total of 17,500 square feet and also claims to be the world's largest record store.

What discount do Sweetwater employees get? ›

Employee Discounts

In addition to gear at cost, get 40% off Downbeat Diner purchases and enjoy discounts at more than 100 local businesses.

Does Sweetwater affect credit score? ›

Get a decision in seconds with no impact to your credit bureau score. Ready to apply? Enjoy up to 48 months* promotional financing on qualifying purchases!

Why does Sweetwater give candy? ›

For years, Sweetwater Sound has been packing handfuls of candy into boxes full of music technology and music instruments that are shipped all over the country. Little did they know that this little "thank you" to customers would one day help save a life.

Who is the owner of Sweetwater music? ›

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 inspect guitars before shipping? ›

Our detailed 55-point Inspection ensures that each instrument valued $299 and above is shipped in factory-fresh condition and ready to play. Plus, our professional technicians, inspectors, and luthiers are trained in factory specifications and tolerances and steeped in years of customer feedback.


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