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Zzounds vs. Sweetwater vs. Musicians Friend
Old 7th April 2010
  #91
Lives for gear
 
Cellotron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
Yup. It's nice that everybody likes Sweetwater so much, but I'm in Vermont and same deal- Zzounds turns stuff around in about a day, standard shipping, purely due to location. I don't feel I've ever been burned by them, and I've had to return things and fix order mistakes.
Another +1 on this. To me all 3 of these places are really just "box pushers" - and I've gotten good pricing and service from all of them - but it's still just best to order from them when you already know what you want and just need a good price and turn on it. If you're in NYC then Zzounds is just one day away via UPS Ground and you get the benefit of no sales tax since their warehouse in New Jersey.

The one thing that annoys me with Sweetwater is the follow up calls the "sales engineers" I guess are required to make. Yes, my Coleman M3PHmk2 works great, thank you. No, I don't need anything else at this time - if I did I would have gone online and ordered it already. I like the candy they put in the box though - but not as cool as the ear plugs in the keychain container with a big yellow "Huh?" that Mercenary used to include with your order.

Another online "box pusher" I like is Bayview Pro Audio out on the West Coast - Bayview Pro Audio - Home - as they often have some good deals where they toss in a mic or other goodie at no extra cost with your order.

But for true actual customer service - NO one out there is as happening as Joel from Ecstatic Electric - ECSTATIC ELECTRIC - pro-audio, vintage audio, microphone rentals - this guy has shown up at my door on his own dime loaded with ultra-high end to demo - with no obligation to purchase - and then when I've bought stuff from him he's always given me seriously killer prices. Highly recommended.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 7th April 2010
  #92
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aleatoric View Post
Sweetwater sends candy.

Makes my girlfriend less pissed when a package arrives. heh
heh
Old 7th April 2010
  #93
Gear nut
 
donsosa1's Avatar
 

Sweetwater Baby!

I see there are a lot of happy Sweetwater customers out there! Tons of posts about Sweetwater's awesome customer service. So many that I felt like i had to make a post as well. My experiences with Sweetwater have been totally satisfying whether speaking to my sales guy or any other sales rep. If you are somewhere close to Fort Wayne, Indiana, I'd recommend going to the warehouse and taking a lil tour. Very impressive! My sales guy is very knowledgable about gear of all sorts and I have called him and asked all kinds of questions regarding gear and didn't buy from him. And not once did I feel pressured to buy from him or did he try to "pitch" a sale to me. Whenever you call Sweetwater a call ask for Trip Irish ext. (1347)
Old 7th April 2010
  #94
Gear interested
 

Sweetwater is my go to place too. They are genuine and easy to talk to. They are also able to discuss the gear instead of reading off a manufacturer's web site.
Old 8th April 2010
  #95
Gear Maniac
 
djemberecords's Avatar
 

I buy from Sweetwater when I can. Killer service. But, I often get a better deal from Guitar Center or Musician's Friend. For example, I used a 15% off card last weekend at GC to save quite a bit on an Avalon 737 (paid $1,912).

If they offer a store credit / gift certificate for a per cent off, I will typically max it out and spend it as I need gear. Sweetwater recently had a 10% deal with a max of $2,000. So I spent $2,000 and got $2,200 worth of credit. I got 20% off Musician's Friend about a year ago and got 5k for 4k, a heck of a deal!

Bain Capital bought Guitar Center in 2007. The private group also owns Musician's Friend, Music 123, Woodwinds & Brasswinds (WWBW) and a few other music outlets.

MF and GC have some "quirks" but have been fine to work with. I keep a supply of photocopied tax exemption forms for when I shop at GC! B&H (as in B&H Camera) has better prices on some things and I've used them to price match at GC. I have also bought a LOT of photo equipment from B&H and some audio. They are fine to deal with too.

I play woodwinds and WWBW are great for instruments, reeds and other accessories and have very helpful staff. I have gotten some great deals there.

Just my experiences, happy shopping!
Old 8th April 2010
  #96
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aleatoric View Post
Sweetwater sends candy.

Makes my girlfriend less pissed when a package arrives. heh
Does your girlfriend like coffee?

War
Old 12th April 2010
  #97
Lives for gear
 
Rednose's Avatar
sweetwater has great support.
I've ordered from zzounds also, no problems.
Old 12th April 2010
  #98
Lives for gear
 
skiltrip's Avatar
Sweetwater fan here. They been doing right by me for quite a few years now.

Before that, in my younger years, I preferred American Musical Supply, mostly because they had Easy Payments, and I am in southern NY, they are in northern NJ, so shipping was usually overnight. Used MF a lot over the years too, but not so much anymore. Sweetwater usually gets my business unless one of the others has a price that I can't ignore. That said, Sweetwater has matched prices on some big ticket items for me in the past as well. All you have to do is ask.
Old 12th April 2010
  #99
Lives for gear
 
ambiguity's Avatar
I've used all three, haven't had a single issue.

I have a Sweetwater card, so I usually get my stuff from them when they offer a year interest-free.
Old 12th April 2010
  #100
Lives for gear
American Musical Supply fo my cheaper buys and payment plans and usual Vintage king for my bigger buys like lunchbox modules, compressors ect.

Love AMS because of the flexible payment plans and open package deals. very easy and good prices for my mics, monitors, midi keyboards, stands ect.
Old 12th April 2010
  #101
Lives for gear
If I need hand-holding: Sweetwater or Full Compass in Madison. If I just want the lowest price that usually turns out to be MF or Music123 (who recently sold me a used piece of gear at 25% off usual retail. It arrived broken and they replaced it with a brand new piece at the same price!).
Old 12th April 2010
  #102
Gear addict
 
Saxon-of-a-son's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman View Post
I've had good luck with all three.

But I also think that if something DID go wrong, any one of these companies would make a serious effort to make it right.

Best of all, they don't call me Dude.
Hah! I know what you mean. "Dude" is pretty annoying when it's an obvious 20-something addressing me (a late 40's something). I've gotten that from one of the small operations most cited on GS.
Old 12th April 2010
  #103
PTC
Gear interested
 

My name is Paul Christensen and I am the Director of Operations for Musician's Friend. There are some great comments about some great companies all of which I am certain care about their customers. We strive to offer the best service, selection, and pricing to our customers. Our 700,00 square foot distribution center allows us to have thousands of items in stock and ready to ship. Our 45 day satisfaction guarantee assures you that you will get the best price up front and after the sale. If anyone has had a problem with Musician's Friend, or would like an additional incentive to give our company a shot, please call me at 801-501-8101
Old 12th April 2010
  #104
Lives for gear
 
ProducerBoy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Of the three you listed, Sweetwater without a doubt has the BEST customer service... and when I'm ordering from one of those kinds of shops, customer service is THE most important issue to me.
+1

Of the three mentioned, Sweetwater hands down.
Old 7th March 2012
  #105
Gear interested
 

Can anyone tell me if zzounds or sweetwater is in any way affiliated with musicians friend or guitar center?

Thanks!
Old 7th March 2012
  #106
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by IheartmyLesPaul View Post
Can anyone tell me if zzounds or sweetwater is in any way affiliated with musicians friend or guitar center?

Thanks!
guitar center and musicians friend are the same company
both owned by presidential candidate Mitt Romney
Old 8th March 2012
  #107
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
guitar center and musicians friend are the same company
both owned by presidential candidate Mitt Romney
...but sweetwater or zzounds is not affiliated with Musicians friend aka Guitar Center correct?
Old 8th March 2012
  #108
Good Listener
 
sscannon's Avatar
 

I love Sweetwater. Not because I order from them much lately, but because they send me those catalogs with absolutely the highest prices on everything. It's great for showing people what something is "worth" when I sell it, and for putting links to the item's high price in my ebay ads. I've watched the same item jump up hundreds of dollars between issues.
Old 8th March 2012
  #109
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by IheartmyLesPaul View Post
...but sweetwater or zzounds is not affiliated with Musicians friend aka Guitar Center correct?
sweetwater is not I don't think zzounds is
Old 8th March 2012
  #110
Gear Head
 

For some reason I've always thought Music123 = Guitar Center. Yes? No?
Old 8th March 2012
  #111
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossta1 View Post
For some reason I've always thought Music123 = Guitar Center. Yes? No?
yeah they own that 123 & Lyons music, also Toys "R" Us !!!
all based out of Boston now
Old 8th March 2012
  #112
Gear nut
 

Looks like Bayview PA is closed...? They no longer have much of a site at least.
Old 8th March 2012
  #113
Gear Guru
 
Animus's Avatar
 

I've used all those for years with no problem. Sweetwater †ends to be †he most expensive and don't usually budge on price at least not for me. I'd also throw in Mercenary Audio. You can't beat there double warranty which I have had to use twice, otherwise it would have cost me about 700 a pop out of warranty on some Focal Solo6 monitors.
Old 7th April 2012
  #114
I thought what I'd do was
 
Word's Avatar
UI'd like to add my 2 cents, for future reference.

Musician's Friend has had a history of fumbling on minor issues, like my name....which they thought was bazid, what length of 1/4 inch I ordered. But, this past transaction has really got me going. I made a large order ($1,000+) because they had a sale that would save me $200. So, I placed the order and I waited until the day it was supposed to be delivered.

After UPS assuring me, that there was a truck en route@11:00pm, at 12:00 they had informed me that the package was officially lost. And, that I should tell (musician's friend) to contact UPS on monday to trace the package. I immediately called MF, when they informed me that their policy is that they could not do so, until the 8 day std. shipping guarantee had expired. After stressing that it was a large order, and that UPS had confirmed it was lost they still said their hands were tied, BUT that when the 8 days were up they would attempt to trace the package, and in the meanwhile send me a replacement.

I sense a long week of phone tag ahead. If that. Will update.

5/14/12

After talking to one customer sales rep after another, they immediately started a lost package trace that would take anywhere from a week to two. Meanwhile they refused to refund or replace, and one rep had said there was a policy saying why, so I requested a copy and was told in 24 hours I'd have it in my inbox. 36 hours later, no dice. So I called up and asked again, and that time I was told no policy existed.

Then I asked to speak to a manager. I got one, and asked why if there was no policy for a denial of a refund or replacement in the case of a missing package, they enforced it. I got a lot of beating around the bush and he never answered the question, but said I could talk to his manager tomorrow.

I said

"Fine but, if you can't tell me why you can take money from my bank account today-but not refund it, I'm filing a complaint with the BBB"

He giggled and said "Go ahead" but, I assured him it wasn't funny and when I name him and his employee in the complaint, he wouldn't be laughing. He got a bit more serious but still only offered what he could before: a chat with the manager's manager.

A BBB complaint against guitar center later, and a comical argument with the manager's manager, I got an email from the president of customer relations-or was it support idk, either way the big wig asked me to explain the situation. After I did, she agreed that there was no reason I shouldn't have had the option to get a refund or return while they dealt with the missing package. So I got a refund.

Afterwards guitar center asked me to move the complaint from their page because it had nothing to do with them. But I didn't because frankly, I know they don't want people to know that they own musicians friend.

After the refund was posted to my account I got calls for the next 2 weeks, asking if I got the package in the mail. Because according to UPS when a package ships from Chicago to Newark in under an hour via ground, no one seems to think anything's amiss....and I scammed UPS & MF. Seriously, that packages tracker said it went from here to the Midwest back to Newark and so on for days.
Old 17th July 2012
  #115
Gear addict
 
Mike Derrick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinkace View Post
Looks like Bayview PA is closed...? They no longer have much of a site at least.
Anyone know what happened to Bayview Pro Audio. Their website says "Coming Soon" but now I'm wondering if they're actually "Gone"?
Old 17th July 2012
  #116
Lives for gear
Music123/Musicians Friend/Zzounds/AMS are very similar, sell similar stuff, same policies. Occaisionally a killer deal comes up in one vs the other but there's a lot of me to crap to wade thru.

Hello Music has something that's a really good deal about once a week or so (check out the Pigronix Keymaster for $169). They're smaller and not as transparent at MF, but have treated me well.

Sweetwater and Full Compass are pro services, with more robust customer support, better repair facilities, more thorough knowledge of product and often higher prices.

I use all of em, depending on the deal...
Old 17th July 2012
  #117
Lives for gear
 
celticrogues's Avatar
 

I have always had excellent experiences at Musicians Friend, and the coupons they have pretty regularly mean you can get some awesome deals! I highly recommend them.

I have used Music 123 and Zzounds in the past - nothing special but no bad experiences.

I abhor Sweetwater and will never buy from them again. Besides their "personal sales representative" thing being annoying to me personally I had a sales representative a few years ago who wouldnt give me the time of day and did not take the time to research the answers to questions I asked him, and ended up giving me false information that let me to buy software that did not do what I wanted it to. It was a pretty small purchase, but I was a college student at the time and it was a lot for me. Since then I have never used Sweetwater and will not again, too many other good options out there for me to waste my time. To each his own though...

-Mike
Old 17th July 2012
  #118
Gear Addict
 

I ordered about $10,000 in product from both Musicians Friend and Sweetwater Sound. Musicians Friend screwed up several of my orders, forgot to send certain products, sent wrong products, etc... I had nothing but flawless experiences with Sweetwater. Plus they sent me candy. I look forward to the candy in the box.
Old 17th July 2012
  #119
Lives for gear
 
ksandvik's Avatar
 

I've got good deals from Musicians Friend, SamedayAudio, ZZsounds, Sweetwater, GC... Can't really say that any of these are bad.
Old 17th July 2012
  #120
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
I've ordered from all three with no problems for years. From small things to $4000 keyboards. More than once. Never a problem.

At some point I've had to return stuff to either Zzounds or Sweetwater and never had a problem doing either as well.

Regards,
Frank
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