Buying a guitar from Musicianfriends vs Sweetwater

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Fowleri, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. Cliffhydro

    Cliffhydro Supporting Member

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    Scroll down about halfway to see a detailed list of what they ‘inspect’.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/about/guitars/
     
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  2. drock2k1

    drock2k1 Supporting Member

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    Heck yeah! No stupid mints or smarties!
     
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  3. paulvcarter

    paulvcarter Member

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    Is the sweetwater 55 point inspection and supposedly better "treatment" worth it?

    THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO ALL GUITARS....

    I have bought several guitars from them and thought they were being inspected, the Godin Tele style ($600 ish) was not and they admitted not all were.


    But I like Sweetwater a lot.
     
  4. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    If appearance or weight matters then the Sweetwater pics and weight measurement can tip the scale. Buying an oly white strat and don't care about weight or fretboard color? I consider MF is equal and at that point shop price. Want an acoustic with no runout or an electric with minimal flame? Sweetwater will give you pics to help you pick a guitar. Discounts? All I can say is it depends.

    I think the 55 point inspection is oversold AND easy to misunderstand. It is not really a setup. If the tech looks at 20 strats and all have the nut cut too high, your high nut is gonna pass right through as being manufacturer spec. Same for action. Want a real setup to your specs? Expect to pay for it. I'd say the 55 point inspection is not value added for me. I did have an issue with a guitar, not something they missed BTW, and Sweetwater took care of it with minimal hassle. I had a DOA speaker from MF and they took care of it with no hassle.

    I am good with both and, after availability, it depends almost entirely on whether pics and occasionally weight are factors.
     
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  5. Fowleri

    Fowleri Member

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    Problem with this is guitar center rarely has the guitar one is looking for. For example Ibanez prestige or rg550. They don’t have it in any of the stores near me. And this guitar isn’t anything special or rare
     
  6. Skip Reid

    Skip Reid Supporting Member

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    I have bought 2 guitars from SW in the last 3 years. One had broken strings when it arrived. The other guitar's pickup selector did not work. Hard to think both of those actually had a 55 point inspection. Just saying.
     
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  7. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Supporting Member

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    MF is my last choice, ever since they screwed me about 15 years ago. Yes, it was a long time ago and for not much money, but it left that taste in my mouth.

    I'm lucky in that I have a decent couple of local places when I need to buy a guitar... I think most guitars, sight unseen, are a crap shoot. Even with return policies, how many times do you want to go through that before you settle on one? And I think their deal with the big makers limits how much they can send back. In other words, a lot of what the mom and pops send back for quality issues wind up online, or is that no longer the case?
     
  8. sub rosa

    sub rosa Member

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    I love Wildwood, and is also local. Had great fun this past weekend trying out some Fender Thin Skins (I have one the '69 Tele Thinlines) - and the new digs are a welcome upgrade from the old venue.

    I've bought from a lot of the majors, Musician's Friend, Sweetwater, American Musical, Chicago Music Exchange. Usually it's a specific model that has drawn me somewhere, since I'm not usually shopping for a standard "off-the-rack" model that's available everywhere.

    Sweetwater and CME had the best customer service, but I've had no issues with Musicians Friend or American Musical.

    I'd say if it's between Sweetwater and Musicians Friend, then see what you can get out of your sales rep at Sweetwater. Price match, a proper setup (specify your string gauge and "please check the nut and saddle slots" etc.)

    What is saved in a lower price from Musicians Friend might get eaten up in a setup later on, that Sweetwater might just take care of before the instrument even ships out.
     
  9. soulman969

    soulman969 Member

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    And as I posted pretty much every single part on a guitar and some not all guitars are even equipped with. So is that overkill?

    I can't really say. I know that I've received instruments with issues that should have been caught during an inspection I'm just not certain who was supposed to be doing it.

    It appears that some manufacturers are better at inspecting their instruments before shipping them to their dealers than others. And with some the arrangement may be that it's the dealer whose responsible for final inspection.

    My personal expectation is that all instruments will be inspected for many of those same points somewhere along the line even though I know it's untrue. Some were built on a hangover Monday just like Detroit cars were.

    My advice might be that for those who either expect perfection out of the box or are unable to deal with minor issues or do a complete setup on their own maybe buying from a dealer who does spend more time inspecting and correcting any issue is the way to go.

    In my case I can resolve most any minor issues myself or if it's too major to deal with I'll simply reject that one and return it in exchange for another. Whether they inspect all 55 points or not all dealers seem to offer that type of buyer protection.
     
  10. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Supporting Member

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    Buy it from GC online (just like you would from SW or MF). If you don't like it, return it locally (and save return shipping). GC online should have any guitar that MF does. They're essentially the same company.
     
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  11. Twin

    Twin Member

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    My Sweetwater rep has been GREAT.
     
  12. Twin

    Twin Member

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    Yes GC does have a better return policy that is very useful for used gear, but the online guitar photos are horrible and try getting a spec sheet or other detail. It isn’t easy to get service in the store.
     
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  13. Bassopotamus

    Bassopotamus Member

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    I mostly shop at sweetwater, largely now out of inertia. I probably should look at MF more often, but kind of forget them. The prices are comparable, but as others have pointed out, you can often get a coupon from them. OTOH, I got hooked up with a "Sales engineer" who knows my brother, and have gotten some better deals than what is on their site. They also have a lot more scratch and dent, returns, closeout stuff, etc. than what they have on the site.

    I've bought one guitar from Sweetwater and none from MF. The one from sweetwater was perfect out of the box (and almost in tune), but I can't say if that was a testament to their 55 point inspection or just that it came well set up from the factory. Their list implies that they check (and set) intonation and action, but I'd be shocked if they are doing that on anything but the high end stuff
     
  14. Abram4235

    Abram4235 Member

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    Agree. I spent like 5k in a single order from sweetwater a year ago and the rep did absolutely nothing for me. Whatever point inspections don't impress me.
     
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  15. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

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    The most important thing is that MF doesn't give you candy.
     
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  16. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    Well, yeah, if it were a law-enforcement org I'd appreciate it too. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
  17. motokev

    motokev Member

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    Neither

    Buy USED
     
  18. Fowleri

    Fowleri Member

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    except that GC doesn’t have coupons. If I buy a $1000 guitar and I like it, I could’ve gotten the same guitar for $850 at MF with their 15% off

    And buying from guitar center online just to check if you like the guitar or not, and if you do, return it and then buy at MF with a discount seems like a lot of hassle.
     
  19. Adagietto

    Adagietto Supporting Member

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    Instead MF gives me an additional 8% off via their rewards program. Sweetwater's candy goes straight into the trash anyhow.
     
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  20. Bassopotamus

    Bassopotamus Member

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    you could at least send me the Bit o Honeys
     
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