Every musician knows that your best guitar is the next one you will buy.
It doesn’t matter how many instruments we already have… we all spend way too much time checking guitar reviews on YouTube and dreaming about that moment when we can add another piece to our arsenal. And as soon as we save enough money, nothing can stop us from buying it.
Are you the type of person that shops online, or do you prefer your local store?
If you’re in the second category, by the end of the article, you might decide to give online stores a chance.
Today I’m going to reveal the Best Places to Buy Guitars Online. But be careful! If you suffer from a severe case of GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome), you better hide your credit card…
Why should you buy a guitar online?
If you’re an experienced musician, you know already that buying an instrument online has its pros and cons. But a beginner who wants to purchase his first guitar might be wondering what’s the best way to do that.
So, let’s kick this off by looking at some clear advantages of shopping online…
One of the main reasons why many people buy a guitar online is the price. In most cases, by comparing the cost of the same instrument on different websites, you’ll be able to save quite a lot of money by taking advantage of some deals that the retailer might have on offer at that moment.
However, there are a few things to consider to be sure that what at first looks like a bargain doesn’t end up being a catch, or even worse, a fraud.
First of all…
Shop only on reputable websites like the ones that you’ll find on this list. You can always check customer reviews to confirm that the shop is legit.
Secondly, make sure that you’re comparing the exact same guitar. Many instruments come in different models, and even if aesthetically they look the same and the name is similar, the construction specs can be different. A Fender Stratocaster made in Mexico, and an American Standard will be indistinguishable to a beginner, but they’re two different guitars with very different prices.
Lastly, use your common sense. If something is too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Did you find a new Gibson Les Paul Classic for $1000? Don’t buy it, or at least verify with the retailer why it is that cheap.
Even the biggest guitar store that you can find cannot offer you the complete catalog of every guitar brand. But the Internet can do that!
It doesn’t matter what series, model, or color you’re interested in. If you shop online, you will find exactly what you want.
When we enter a guitar shop to buy a guitar, it’s almost impossible to leave without one, even when we don’t find what we are looking for. Moreover, how many hours can you spend in the store checking different models before you feel obliged to make a decision?
This doesn’t happen when you’re sitting in front of your laptop. You could spend weeks checking every model, comparing specs, reading reviews, listening to audio samples, and asking for opinions from other musicians.
Buying a new guitar should be an informed decision, and doing that from home is much more convenient.
And why you shouldn’t
There is only one main reason why people prefer buying a guitar at their local store: they can try it! You can never be sure if a guitar is the right one for you until you play it. How exactly does it sound? How is the playability? Does the fingerboard feel good under my fingers? What’s the exact setup? What does it look like for real?
Many players get around the problem by visiting a shop that sells the guitar they want, trying it, and then buying it online. Not only is this highly disrespectful to anybody who’s working in the shop, but it can be a waste of time.
Well, this is because guitars are made of wood, and no two pieces of wood are identical. Therefore, the guitar that you try in the shop might sound slightly different from the one you buy online. Also, the setup might not be the same, and this will highly affect the overall playability and the general feeling that you experience while you play the guitar.
Any online guitar shop is aware of the problem, and to offer a solution to their customers, many of them have some sort of money-back guarantee policy. After you receive your guitar, you have a certain amount of time to try it, and if it’s not what you expected, you can send it back with no explanation needed.
The 8 Best Places to Buy Guitars Online
Now that the do’s and don’t have been covered, it’s time to take a look at the Best Places Online to Buy Guitars.
The list doesn’t come in any particular order since any retailer has its own peculiarities. The selection and prices of the guitars could well be different from one to another, and checking them all out is the best way to find the perfect guitar for you.
Are you ready to find your next guitar?
Whenever we want to buy something online, Amazon is the first place that comes to mind. This is because you can find literally everything there, and guitars are no exception. Regardless if you’re looking for entry-level instruments or a high-end Stratocaster, you will find it on Amazon.
Fast delivery, free shipping options, and protection plans are just some of the reasons why we trust Amazon for our online shopping.
Butt keep in mind that any independent retailer on Amazon might have different policies, therefore make sure you carefully check them before any purchase, and you read the customer’s reviews on that specific seller.
Reverb is the most popular musical marketplace on the internet and connects people from all parts of the world, allowing them to buy and sell new, used, and vintage guitars. Founded in 2013, it is now the largest online community specialized in musical instruments.
If you’re looking for a second-hand guitar, Reverb is the place to go…
One of the biggest strengths of Reverb is its excellent customer service. This is normally extremely helpful and quick if any problems arise. Also, their return and protection policies are top-notch, and as long as you complete your transaction through the website or the mobile app, you can buy any item with absolute confidence.
Well, yes, if you don’t know the market price of a particular model, check out their comprehensive price guides! These are based on the last ten actual sales on Reverb and include the condition, so if you’re after a good condition Fender Telecaster from the 1990s, it will tell you the price range you should be paying.
Musician’s Friend is one of the largest online musical instruments stores. The company was founded in 1983, and by the end of the 90s, they had nine locations across the United States.
In 2000 the company was acquired by Guitar Center, and while their physical stores have been rebranded, Musician’s Friend continued operating in the internet business to eventually become one of the most successful online retailers.
Their selection of musical instruments is impressive, with over 1,700,000 items in their catalog.
Price match promise!
Whatever guitar you’re looking for, Musician’s Friend has it, and their prices are so competitive that they promise to match any lower price you can find from an authorized US dealer for up to 45 days after your purchase.
For your peace of mind, they also offer a 45 days return policy. This can be used if you’re not happy with your purchase for any reason. Plus, shipping is free within the continental United States.
But be warned, once you start browsing their website, be ready to lose track of time!
Guitar Center is the biggest musical instrument retailer in the world, with 294 locations across the United States. Being the parent company of Musician’s Friends, both of the websites have common features. The large selection and the abundance of technical information about any guitar being the most noticeable.
In most cases also the price and the return policy are exactly the same. However, Guitar Center requires a minimum order of $25 to qualify for the free shipping.
So, why should you buy at Guitar Center instead of Musician Friends?
Well, to start with, they are a better option if you are looking for a second-hand guitar. Since they operate so many stores, their selection is huge, and there are new arrivals almost every day. At the time of writing, there are almost 5000 used guitars on the website, and all the listings come with a detailed description of the condition of the instrument.
Secondly, if you need to return a guitar that you bought online, you can drop it off at the nearest store without having to pay for the shipping cost.
Take your time…
Lastly, since in most cases their prices online and in their stores are identical, you can check their catalog on the website, taking all the time you need to find the best product for you. Then go to their nearest store and buy the guitar there, after you’ve tried it.
All in all, if you don’t know whether to buy a guitar online or not, Guitar Center offers all the advantages of both options.
While you can also find a good selection of new and used guitars by any of the most popular brands, the reason why Elderly Instruments made it to this list is that it is arguably the best place online to buy vintage instruments.
If you’re looking to expand your vintage guitar collection, Elderly Guitar’s offer will blow your mind… and it may well break your bank!
Just won the lottery?
If you need an example, one of the most expensive guitars available at the moment is a rare Gibson Explorer from 1963 that will be yours for “only” $218,000. Why not buy two? Sorry, only one in stock!
You can also find lots of acoustic guitars by Martin and Gibson and all your favorite electrics from the 50s and 60s.
Elderly Instruments offers a professional set-up on every guitar, even the cheapest ones, and many customer reviews state that the service is beyond expectation.
If you have some extra cash to invest, or if you just want to dream for a few hours, check out the Elderly Instruments website.
Next in my rundown of the Best Places to Buy Guitars Online, founded in 1924, Sam Ash is the largest family-owned retailer of musical instruments in the USA and has 44 stores across the country.
Their online guitar catalog is huge and includes all the most famous brands along with many smaller manufacturers. Even if there isn’t a substantial difference between Sam Ash and Guitar Center, it’s nice to have an alternative so that you can compare the prices and take advantage of any flash sale.
Talk to an expert…
An interesting service that they offer is the possibility to talk to an expert that will give you any advice that you need and will explain to you all the specs of the guitar you’re interested in. A nice tool for every beginner that might feel overwhelmed by all the options that they have when they buy their first instrument.
It’s like shopping in a physical store, but with the comfort of sitting on your couch!
If you find your guitar for sale at another retailer for a lower cost, their 60 days price protection will refund you the difference. And this applies even when Sam Ash decides to lower the price itself, so keep an eye on the price of anything you buy.
The standard 45 days money-back guarantee will allow you to return the product if it’s not what you expected.
Let’s now take a look at the best place to buy a guitar online in the UK or Europe.
Andertons is for Europeans what Sam Ash is for Americans: a family-owned musical instrument retailer with a long history. They also have a very popular YouTube channel with more than 700,000 subscribers where they review guitars and compare different models, as well as interview famous guitarists and do great “Sound like…” features.
Their selection of instruments is exactly what you would expect from one of the top 250 UK E-commerce retailers. Gibson, Fender, PRS, Martin, Taylor, Washburn, Yamaha – you name it, they have it!
Changed your mind?
They offer a very flexible return policy that also allows you to refuse delivery if you change your mind. In this case, you will be charged only for the return shipment, which will be deducted from your refund.
Standard delivery is free within the UK, while for any other European country, different fees apply. However, they’re reasonable, and they don’t significantly affect the final price of the guitar. Local import taxes may, however, be added on top, which is understandable.
If you have an old instrument that you’d like to sell, you can trade it in as part exchange for your purchase.
Lastly, Andertons has a decent selection of second-hand guitars that are sold with a three month warranty. So, if you want to save some money and buy a great instrument with the peace of mind that only a respectable retailer can give you, check out the used and vintage section on the Andertons website.
Let’s conclude this list with something a bit different. Thomann is one of the biggest retailers in the European online musical market and offers a wide selection of guitars from all the most popular names. However, the reason I decided to include it in this article is one specific brand: Harley Benton.
If you have never heard of them, Harley Benton is a line of low-cost musical instruments produced in Asia by Thomann. But what sets Harley Benton’s products apart from any other affordable guitar on the market, is the extremely high quality that is comparable to much more expensive instruments.
Harley Benton is revolutionizing the world of entry-level guitars by raising the standard to a point that other manufacturers are struggling to compete. Their products sound fantastic, look incredible, and cost a fraction of a popular brand’s guitar. If your budget is limited, I highly recommend you give them a go!
Looking for a few quality guitar recommendations?
If so, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300, the Best Jazz Guitars, the Best Hollow And Semi-Hollow Guitars, the Best Resonator Guitar, the Best Jasmine Guitars, and the Best Blues Guitars you can buy in 2021.
Also, have a look at our comprehensive Fender Player Stratocaster Review, our Ibanez GRX70QA Review, our Martin LX1 Little Martin Review, and our Epiphone ETCNCHNH1 Hollow-Body Electric Guitar Review for more awesome guitars currently available.
And to go with your new guitar, you may need the Best Electric Guitar Strings, the Best Wireless Guitar Systems, the Best Clip-On Guitar Tuners, the Best Guitar Stands, the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings, or the Best Guitar Pedalboard on the market.
Best Places to Buy Guitars Online – Final Thoughts
Buying a new guitar is always an emotional moment, even when you have so many that you can’t even remember all of them. From the very first second that you start thinking about it, to the moment when you finally play it in your room, everything has to be perfect.
While some players still prefer their trusted local store, more and more people decide to take advantage of the many benefits that buying online can offer.
So, check out any of the Best Places to Buy a Guitar Online to find the exact guitar you’ve always been looking for.
Happy guitar shopping!