It's not all bad news in the musical instrument industry - Sweetwater hits $1 billion revenue

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Will Sweetwater negotiate on prices if you call? I had heard that they don't and will instead just tout their return policies and customer service. Anybody know different?
 

Steve30907

Well-known member
You can haggle a little bit I've found on large purchases basically get it down to pre sales tax. They knocked like 150 off my gretsch covid catalina walnut maple bop kit. I just ask flat out what's the best price they can get me.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The city of Denver set a weed sales record. Outpaced alcohol sales 2:1.
Whenever I take my wife to/drive past "the store" it's always packed. Like a line around the building packed.

I'm imagining most hobby/activity/relax/de-stress businesses are doing pretty well right now. Lots of people have too much time on their hands.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
It seems Sweetwater is benefiting from Guitar Center's failures. Businesses tend to cannibalize each other over time. The music industry hasn't grown larger. Sweetwater is just being smart right now. I've bought from them. A few years ago they always seemed to have the highest prices. But their customer service was insanely good. To the point that they adtually called me to see if I was satisfied with my purchase. Lately, I'm finding that they are now the most competitive in pricing. But I'm a "instant gratification" type. I like to go into a store, look at what I'm buying and walk out with. There is a Sam Ash near me so what I've done for a few recent purchases is to show them what Sweetwater is charging if cheaper and Sam Ash meets the price.
 

The Shepherd

Well-known member
I can see why they are selling lots of stuff. With the Covid going on, try buying a dirt bike, a quad or a bicycle. I bought all three last year and they can't keep anything on the showroom floor around here in SWO.

I would imagine musical instruments would be selling well as it's another past time that you can do without a group. I'm sure it bolstered their sales.
 

felonious69

Well-known member
It seems Sweetwater is benefiting from Guitar Center's failures. Businesses tend to cannibalize each other over time. The music industry hasn't grown larger. Sweetwater is just being smart right now. I've bought from them. A few years ago they always seemed to have the highest prices. But their customer service was insanely good. To the point that they adtually called me to see if I was satisfied with my purchase. Lately, I'm finding that they are now the most competitive in pricing. But I'm a "instant gratification" type. I like to go into a store, look at what I'm buying and walk out with. There is a Sam Ash near me so what I've done for a few recent purchases is to show them what Sweetwater is charging if cheaper and Sam Ash meets the price.
When I look around, it seems that Sweetwater's prices are never higher than most other sellers...usually the same. The BEST customer service is where it's at.
I have had BAD service at GC and MF and local smaller shops.
One place in town is AWESOME...Spruce Tree Music...(No drums, String stuff, Including Harps)
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Will Sweetwater negotiate on prices if you call? I had heard that they don't and will instead just tout their return policies and customer service. Anybody know different?
They will negotiate.

Some brands require their MAP on the Sweetwater web site and mailers. The only way to get around this is to call.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
They will negotiate.

Some brands require their MAP on the Sweetwater web site and mailers. The only way to get around this is to call.
Cool. Good to know. I have a rep there that contacts me once in awhile but I really haven't needed anything lately. I bought a Renown RN2 awhile back that was a killer deal. (y)
 

felonious69

Well-known member
I still say customer service is the key.
Generally their prices are the same as most other sellers. Just like others they have sales.
I don't know about where some of you folks are, and I was gonna suggest to SW that they "branch out", but then...I live in WI, they are in IN and I have rarely waited more than three days for anything from them!
Usually it's two.
Most times, even if I wait til after work...4:30 PM, to order...two days later BAM! Les Paul!
I don't remember exactly what it was I was investigating at the time, but Ian told me they "don't carry that brand" and I was OK with that.
I have heard of some spectacular deals beyond the pond, but I've never been beyond.
Sweetwater is Da Goodes!
 

felonious69

Well-known member
I was young and new to dealing with people... took it in for repair work...neck... got runaround, stalled and screwed
What really sucked was that there was a guitar shop Right Across the Street from him at the time.
He (guy I didn't' go to) still IS in business. He's cool...kinda of a hyper/freaky dude, but OK in the seller regard.
Bought my current strat from him.
(Still gotta get rid of that FREAKING UGLY tort pickguard)
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Cool. Good to know. I have a rep there that contacts me once in awhile but I really haven't needed anything lately. I bought a Renown RN2 awhile back that was a killer deal. (y)
Years ago I received one of their emails with deals on drum software & samples. I emailed back and said “I don’t use toys. If you ever have a deal on real drums, let me know." About five minutes later my sales "engineer" called and asked what I wanted. I said, "Tama Starphonic Aluminum." While on the phone he tells me, "Ok. $100 off our price and I’ll throw in a Tama premium drum bag." 😎
 

wraub

Well-known member
I've bought from them, I may again.
I dislike some aspects of their corporate culture, and I could do without the phone calls, but I may shop there again.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Will Sweetwater negotiate on prices if you call? I had heard that they don't and will instead just tout their return policies and customer service. Anybody know different?
I've never tried on their site/app. But, whoever is in charge of their eBay sales gives me deals all the time. I just got $20 off a Ludwig Speed King bass pedal. And, I LOVE being in the same state as Sweetwater, my pedal got to me Overnight.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I feel bad that I was rude to one of the Sweetwater guys. They did nothing wrong, really. He called me a few days after a sale to see if everything is OK.

I said, what, every time I buy something from you guys, I have to endure a follow up call to see if things are OK?

Please don't do that to me. I will contact you if something isn't right. I'm glad everyone doesn't do that.

He said most people appreciate the call, which I get. I'm just not one of them

He caught me at a bad time, I was working in a hot attic and didn't feel like being nice to someone who is robbing my time and wasn't uncomfortable in any way.

I never ask the customer looking for problems. They will inform me if one exists, guaranteed.

Sorry I don't appreciate the follow up call, just leave me be. Get the hell off my lawn lol.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I've bought from them, I may again.
I dislike some aspects of their corporate culture, and I could do without the phone calls, but I may shop there again.
I've done a lot of catalog photography for several mail-order retailers and the companies were all the same: a huge warehouse with busy people & forklifts with an attached office area filled with a cubicle farm and worker drones with headphones. A slow death by any stretch. The Sweetwater facilities are about as opposite as you can get. It blew my mind when I walked in the front door. Besides having a killer showroom, they have an excellent cafeteria serving very healthy food, a full barista bar, a gym, a salon, a masseuse, a virtual golf game, an arcade, and a state-of-the-art recording studio. The amenities are for the employees and their guests, and for their spouses and families. It was not unusual to see sales & warehouse peeps having lunch with their families, their kids playing in the arcade area, etc.

Sweetwater workshop 20150818 13 SMALL.jpeg

Sweetwater workshop 20150818 14 SMALL.jpeg

Sweetwater workshop 20150817 06 SMALL.jpeg
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
One more tidbit: While on the phone this past November (Christmas shopping for my piano-playing daughter, really!) I asked my rep about sales. He said he'd been working there for almost 20 years and August & September [2020] were the best months in the history of the company. His explanation was 1) everyone is getting into podcasts and/or recording at home and 2) churches and various corporations were jumping into video streaming.
 

Sakae2xBopster

Well-known member
I've been in the store many times, always a great experience. It's like a visual musical theme park, without the lines. They employ a helluva lot of people. Yes, they are a high volume corporate culture, but the world has changed. I think Sweetwater does a great job of still personalizing the buying experience. Every interaction I've had with them--whether online or over the phone--has been excellent. Yes, there is a follow-up phone call to make sure I'm happy with what I received. I don't object to that. I wish more vendors offered that level of attention. They send out a quarterly newsletter that is actually informative. Their videos are outstanding. I can not think of another business, music or otherwise, that gets it so right at every level of the marketing & sales chain.
 
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