Musician's Friend: Reliable? Return Hassles?

Easto

New member
I'm having a hell of a time finding the guitar I want (locally) and I think I may resort to buying it from Musician's Friend. I've read a few posts here about their service and so far everything sounds good. I just want to make sure that if I order a guitar and for some reason it's not the one I want that I'll be able to return it without any hassle and get another.

Anyone have any experience buying a guitar from them?

Thanks
Easto
 

dvon1981

New member
never bought a guitar from them but I've had great experiences with them. They are awesome about matching other internet prices so I always find the best price e-mail them and the always match it or give me a slightly better price. Their service has been exceptional for me, but again i've never bought a guitar.
 

MrStitch

New member
Watch out dude... you could be heading into a big mess. Serious.

For my band, we got all our stuff through them. And to be honest, they never did anything wrong, but we had an experience that did drive us away from that sort of thing.

I baught an amp throught them. It was ok, no problems shipping yadda yadda yadda. But a few months later, it broke down. I thought "no big deal, it's still under warranty".

So i went down to the local shop and they said... "Nope, sorry. Can't fix it."
"Why?"
"Because we're not set up to work on Marshalls amps, and we're not allowed to get a warranty service contract with 'em."
"They won't let you?"
"Yup... Marshall is like most the other companies. They're territorial, and they don't think that they need a repair center in this area. But there is one in this other town... an hour from here"

So we pondered this. Do I really wanna go an hour to drop it off, drive back, then drive there again to pick it up, and drive back again? Or... Do i wanna call musicians friend, be on hold forever, mail the amp, pray that it makes it through shipping, then pray again that the warranty go's through, and wait another god only knows how long to ship the thing back.

We figure it was worth it to make the annoying drive.

After that... we ultimatley decided to buy strictly from a local shop. At least there you have a person to talk to RIGHT NOW. The people will also be a LOT more helpful when you have problems, only because they know that service is about the only thing that they have over the big companies. And most of all, you're supporting you're local shops. (supporting local places is very important).

Now if your store can't get exactly what you want, then maybe test the waters with what they CAN offer. Maybe they can help you out, and come up with something equal to what you want, or even better. This is where local stores usually shine... They wanna bend over backwards for customers, cause they know you can buy it at a big chain for cheaper.

So i guess it boils down to what you really want. A quick fix to get the stuff you want right now at a rock bottom price, OR... Finding something really close, if not better, and get direct service after the sale.

Personally, i think service is extremely important, especially when people like me don't have a lot of cash. So I need someone to work directly with me, and find the best gear for the task i need handled.

OK.. i'm done preaching now :)
 

Bianchi Joe

New member
Here's the long and short of it: Is Musican's Friend a reliable company? Absolutely. Excellent customer service, good pricing deals, solid track record. I've never had an order misplaced or misdelivered. I've never experienced any problem with the contents of an order--they get it right the first time.

That said, if you're buying stuff like strings and picks, straps and cables, tuners, Fenders and Gibsons--stuff that's readily available-- you REALLY ought to be buying from your local shop. The independent retailer is a dying breed, and if you want to have a guitar store or two in your town (that isn't a mega-chain like Guitar Center), you have to keep them in business. Yes, you'll pay sales tax, but you won't pay shipping. And I promise you, after buying a guitar and an amp and a few dozen packs of strings over the years, it's the local guy who's going to cut you a deal on your next major purchase, who will remember your name and the guage of pick you like, and who might even come out and hear your band or at least let you put a flyer up in the shop. And to me, that's worth something.

But, as a sidebar to some of the slack-ass retailers out there, take note: Musician's Friend will often get my business simply because they have stuff IN STOCK that hasn't been in the display case collecting dust since last year's inventory weekend. For example, when a Visual Sound Route 66 compressor/overdrive pedal goes for $114 at MF, most working stiff musicians like me aren't going to spend $129 plus tax AND wait for you to order one just to support your store.

Sorry about the rant on both sides. Bottom line: buy with confidence from MF, but try to work with the locals first.
 

Sloan

New member
I've bought lots of stuff there with no complaints.
But often times, the same guitar model can vary in quality from each individual guitar. So, most of the time, with actual instruments, I prefer to try and then buy. But other stuff, like recording gear and mic stands or whatever, I'd order like $200 worth of stuff and get the free shipping.
 

TexasMusicForge

New member
I bought a high-end acoustic guitar from them which performed beautifully until the onboard pre-amp failed. Nobody locally would work on it and I had an important gig coming up I absolutely needed the guitar for. The customer service folks at Musicians Friend said they'd have a replacement guitar for me before my gig, but I wound up having to borrow a guitar since the promised replacement was apparently back-ordered by them. After 3 weeks of "it's on back order" I just cancelled and demanded a refund, which I eventually got. I'll *never* order another guitar like that - there are just too many variables with individual guitars not to shop locally where I can actually lay hands on it. Any of the pro shops I deal with in Austin would have loaned me a guitar to cover my gig if they'd sold the faulty guitar to me - that's worth a few extra dollars.

The Martin acoustic I eventually found sounded substantially better than the other identical models sitting in the showroom - something I couldn't have uncovered by ordering from a catalog. For something as highly personal as an instrument, isn't a road trip worth a little peace of mind? Get a hotel room overnight if you have to in the nearest big city where you can actually play the guitar model you want. You could actually make a bit of a field trip out of it, check out a few bands, have some fun in the process and be sure you've gotten the guitar you really want.

Just my 2 cents - your mileage may vary.

Tio Ed
Austin, TX
 

MrStitch

New member
Good call guys, thats exactly what i'm saying. It's not so bad to order from MF or any other company that has the same setup. But if you plan on spending some serious cash... no doubt in my mind, that you wanna do it locally.

Oh, by the way... The last time we were down at our local shop, we were looking for a good Bass Amp (we had a Crate combo.. god that thing sucks like hell!) And found out that the shop just got hooked up with some big company, and now they can sell us all the stuff we want at the same price MF offers.

How fucking killer is that! I get the good price, and instant service all in one store!
 

the edzell

New member
for anyone that doesn't know

Musican's Friend is owned and ran by the same company as Guitar Center. I was visiting one about three hours away from where I live and I asked why the Zack Wylde distortion pedel was $20.00 cheaper on MF than at Guitar Center. He didn't have a clear answer. But he said it was common that the prices between Guitar Center and Musican's Friend often didn't match.

Interesting note though: if there is something you want from Musican's Friend and they have it at Guitar Center close by the Guitar Center will match the price and ship it to you and a lower shipping cost. Plus it will get to you a lot quicker. That is if they have it in stock. Also if you want something at Guitar Center and they don't have it, well as you can imagine they just call Musican's Friend.

I've bought hard to find stuff from Musican's Friend, Sam Ash and ZZSounds. I was sent a defective sound card from ZZSounds.com but I called customer service and the next day they replaced it and sent a UPS form for me to send it back shipping free. So no complaints there. Most of the stuff I ordered from the web is stuff the local guys don't carry (E-Bow, Sound Cards, Software, books etc...)

However I would (especially for Guitars, Amps and processors) buy locally. If you print a copy of the item you want and price most places will match it including the sales tax. A few local guys around here are so anti-Musicans Friend that they even undercut the price with tax, just so I will go to them instead of the web for my purchases.

Plus Musican's Friend won't set up your guitar, put the strings you want on there and throw in a free strap or picks. Plus as the other posters said, when you want your gear fixed you don't have to go throw the hassles. Most local stores will go out of their way (even the chains) if they think you'll be a loyal repeat customer.

If you can use this trick to save money try it. I have a friend that works at a music store in a boarding state. I've bought stuff for him and he'll mail it to my house. Saved a bunch on sales tax.
 

Calwood

New member
I'm kinda split on how good a company musicians friend is. I bought stuff from there(not a guitar though,..I feel I have to hold it,.play it,..before i buy it) and usually they either got the order wrong or the device just plain didnt work out of the box. However they never gave me a hassle about returning it for my money back,..store credit,..or another device. They were always pleasant on the phone. I just got tired of sending stuff back! So,..I switched to American Musical and havent had one problem yet and I've been buying there for the last 6 years.

My story,..for what its worth.

Take 'er easy,..
Calwood
 

traidma

Banned
I've had positive and negative experience with them. Once I ordered a product that was on the website, they charged me for that and when I got my stuff it wasnt there. They actually didnt have in stock.. so I had to call them to get the overcharged money back. Just call them to make sure the product is in stock. The website might not be 100% reliable all the time.
Other than that, they have fast shipping and its a great company.
 

donkeystyle

New member
i bought a guitar from there once. the price they were asking for it dropped 30 bucks in their next catalog and they automatically sent me the difference. i didn't even have to call them. shipping was fast. i made 2 seperate orders from them and they both came extremely fast. that was like 6 years ago though.

the only complaint i have is that they don't set the guitars up and since they have washington stores, you have to pay sales tax.
 

mharr552000

New member
I've purchased three guitars, two amps, some rack gear, all of my recording stuff, mics, cables, mic stands, monitors, headphones, etcetera from Musicians Friend. All of my orders arrived in a reasonable amount of time with not one missing or incorrect item.
I had two returns. One was due to a manufacturing defect with a Ace Kaces 6 space rack. The other was because I ordered a 3 foot cable when I needed a 6 foot cable. A few minutes on the phone and all is well.
MF recieves my glowing recommendation!
 

Dave_M

New member
I'll give MF another good critique. Mostly I buy strings and accessories from them but recently, I got a Behringer acoustic gtr amp that had a constant annoying click immediately upon power up. It didn't stop so I called the 800 number. In minutes I had an RMA. The next day, FedEx picked up the malfunctioning amp. A week later, I had a fully functional replacement amp delivered. No hassles at all. While I have bought guitars and recording equipment from them, I also frequent local shops for the sole reason of keeping them in business. Over the summer, the local shop had an Ovation Celebrity acoustic $150 cheaper than MF and American Musical Supply so I got that guitar locally. I guess what you have to ask yourself is: do you require services that only a local store can deliver and who has the better deal.
 

Buck62

Blah, blah, blah...
MrStitch said:
Watch out dude... you could be heading into a big mess. Serious.

"Yup... Marshall is like most the other companies. They're territorial, and they don't think that they need a repair center in this area. But there is one in this other town... an hour from here"

So we pondered this. Do I really wanna go an hour to drop it off, drive back, then drive there again to pick it up, and drive back again?

Dude, you're in Nowhere, South Dakota.

Getting a decent burrito or pizza would be at least an hour's drive.

Easto is in Southern California, so there's probably half a dozen authorized Marshall repair shops within 10 miles of where he lives.
 

Disposable

New member
Bianchi Joe said:
That said, if you're buying stuff like strings and picks, straps and cables, tuners, Fenders and Gibsons--stuff that's readily available-- you REALLY ought to be buying from your local shop. The independent retailer is a dying breed, and if you want to have a guitar store or two in your town (that isn't a mega-chain like Guitar Center), you have to keep them in business. Yes, you'll pay sales tax, but you won't pay shipping. And I promise you, after buying a guitar and an amp and a few dozen packs of strings over the years, it's the local guy who's going to cut you a deal on your next major purchase, who will remember your name and the guage of pick you like, and who might even come out and hear your band or at least let you put a flyer up in the shop. And to me, that's worth something.

I always try to buy from my local family owned stores...
I have 2 within 5 minutes of my house...

They ALWAYS give me deals,
Regardless of whether or not I found another price.
I've always paid less than I would at GC or MF...

If I can't get it from the local shop, then yes, I got to GC first then online.
Though, I've never actually bought anything from MF.
 

donkeystyle

New member
Disposable said:
I always try to buy from my local family owned stores...
I have 2 within 5 minutes of my house...

They ALWAYS give me deals,
Regardless of whether or not I found another price.
I've always paid less than I would at GC or MF...

If I can't get it from the local shop, then yes, I got to GC first then online.
Though, I've never actually bought anything from MF.

that's the same case with me. i lived in the middle of nowhere when i bought my fender and some other little things from them, so that was the best way for me to get stuff. i moved to a larger city(note: still not a big city) and most of the time it would cost me more to buy from musicians friend.
 

donkeystyle

New member
Dave_M said:
I'll give MF another good critique. Mostly I buy strings and accessories from them but recently, I got a Behringer acoustic gtr amp that had a constant annoying click immediately upon power up. It didn't stop so I called the 800 number. In minutes I had an RMA. The next day, FedEx picked up the malfunctioning amp. A week later, I had a fully functional replacement amp delivered. No hassles at all. While I have bought guitars and recording equipment from them, I also frequent local shops for the sole reason of keeping them in business. Over the summer, the local shop had an Ovation Celebrity acoustic $150 cheaper than MF and American Musical Supply so I got that guitar locally. I guess what you have to ask yourself is: do you require services that only a local store can deliver and who has the better deal.

i don't mean to sound like an ass, but how can it be cheaper to buy strings from mf? do you buy in extremely large quantities? last time i checked even before shipping and handling it cost more to buy strings from them. it has been a while since i've looked though. probably years.... actually i think they had just started carrying their bulk no-name strings.....you know the ones that you could buy a dozen of whatever string gauge you wanted and do a super custom set if you wanted. actually do they still carry those strings? i get their catalog really randomly. i went like a year without getting one and then i got one and now i haven't gotten one for nearly a year.
 

Mr. C

New member
My 2 cents...

I bought my step-son's Ibanez from MF a few years ago and it was fine except it wasn't set up. Recently I bought a monitor, microphone package, DOD Ice Box, and some cables. Everything was fine until the microphone stand would not stay in the base. I called, got the auth.#, and am sending it back this week so we'll see how the service is. We have a Daddy's Junky Music nearby that is pretty much the same price wise as MF. I always buy strings and cables from them, and bought my Ibanez from them (used). I would say if a local dealer is nearby and can match the price (don't forget tax vs. shipping) then go with the local dealer. On the other hand, if I had to drive an hour to get even strings I would say the heck with that and order from MF, or some other online dealer.
 

Disposable

New member
donkeystyle said:
that's the same case with me. i lived in the middle of nowhere when i bought my fender and some other little things from them, so that was the best way for me to get stuff. i moved to a larger city(note: still not a big city) and most of the time it would cost me more to buy from musicians friend.

Fender's Headquarters are here in town...
Though i'm not so much a fan of Fender stuff...
 

Larry Gude

New member
Fwiw...

...my Christmas present arrived today, Digitech GNX4.

The UPS box had tape on it 'Inspect before signing'. The guy left it on the door while I was at work.

Inside was my GNX. No shrink wrap, flaps open. Missing AC adapter and firewire. Also, it doesn't sit on a flat surface. Feet are all in place, I think it's bent.

It was ordered online from guitartrader.com

I have no idea at what point along the line it was screwed with but I'll let y'all know how it goes.

I'm starting to think saving sales tax might not be worth it on everything???

The e bride is working out OK... :)
 
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