Preferred retailer?

wraub

Silver Member
Guitar Center, the largest musical instrument retail chain in the world, owns Musician's Friend, a company they acquired in 2000. In addition to Musician's Friend, Guitar Center also owns several other instrument stores including Music 123, Music and Arts, and Woodwind and Brasswind (WWBW), as well as the popular forum and review site Harmony Central. ;)

And, it's Bain Capital. Definitely worth knowing about.




Who's your preferred retailer (online or brick & mortar) and why? I've come to like Musician's Friend as their customer service is top notch, but Sweetwater seems to have a lot more to choose from when it comes to drums and the ilk. Funny thing, the same company underwrites both site's credit cards and Musician's Friend is the same company as Guitar Center but the two don't actually mix.
Look up Bain Capitol. They own everything. Then look up Synchrony Bank. They fund everything. It's not a coincidence.

Once GC came here, what few mom and pop stores we had disappeared. So GC for in person shopping for me. If I must order online, it's either best deal or who can get it here fastest, depending on my needs.

I haven't been to Arkansas Music Works yet. I'm a bit hesitant. It's an hour away which is not a big deal. It's also in Bentonville, which is where the Walmart home offices are. And their warehouses. And the worst traffic in the whole state.
 

John Q. Drummer

Well-known member
I prefer shopping local first and foremost. I'm lucky that I live in a major metropolitan area with like 3-4 independent options, along with 4 Guitar Center locations within 20 minutes in any direction from my house. (Which seems excessive to me, but hey, whatever.)

That said, I have ordered a bunch of stuff from Cascio or Interstate in the past, which sounds like it's coming back in some shape or form before the end of the year. Always liked them. Huge selection, fast shipping and I never had a problem.

I have ordered twice from Sweetwater in 2020, but I find their drum and hardware selection lacking to a certain extent. I get that drums are a relatively new thing for them and maybe they don't want to wholly dip their toes into that market, but I find them more frustrating than anything. That said, they do have a few drum things I'm going to order, along with a few other things as well. But after that? Meh...we'll see.
 

someguy01

Gold Member
I find their drum and hardware selection lacking to a certain extent.
Really??!? The only place I've found with a better selection than Sweetwater is DCP and drums is their sole business.
 

Ransan

Senior Member
Interstate Music (Casio) in Wisconsin recently went under and MGR picked up a lot of their inventory.
Casio was sitting on a lot of Ludwig BreakBeats and Pocket kits among other things. Lots of Mapex stuff too.
MGR should do well around x-mas time.
Try them now. Just picked up/ordered a couple of 22” Sabian AA cymbals for $100 each.
A medium crash and a crash/ride in excellent maybe mint condition, I am very interested in the weights.

They have a 20” right now.
F2ACEBCB-385D-4F76-8891-E9F2533C321E.png
 

SomeBadDrummer

Gold Member
I go to independent places and one man operations as much as possible. Revival Drums or Rhythm Traders in Portland. For mail order I usually use Steve Weiss Music, rarely Amazon or Ebay. I get sticks directly from Bopworks or LA Backbeats, and cymbals from Cymbal & Gong.
:love:
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
In addition to Sweetwater and DCP, I also love doing business with Dale's Drum Shop in Harrisburg, PA (online). They are super helpful on the phone and I subscribe to their email list and they have lots of great used deals. They also give you plenty of info on the phone if you request it and they are also happy to send photos to you as well.
 

someguy01

Gold Member
It ain't musician's un-friend. Their CS has been terrible, things take days to actually ship, and don't get me started on the unrewarding rewards program they have.
Sweetwater. I have a GC local, but they're mostly an actual Guitar center. The drum selection is crap, the cymbals even worse, and they may have 2 dozen sticks in the entire store.
The only other place in town is Guitar City Drumland but he carries the high end stuff that my frugal nature won't allow me to consider.
 

C.M. Jones

Drum Authority
It ain't musician's un-friend. Their CS has been terrible, things take days to actually ship, and don't get me started on the unrewarding rewards program they have.
Sweetwater. I have a GC local, but they're mostly an actual Guitar center. The drum selection is crap, the cymbals even worse, and they may have 2 dozen sticks in the entire store.
The only other place in town is Guitar City Drumland but he carries the high end stuff that my frugal nature won't allow me to consider.

I'm a Sweetwater client too. I stopped trading with Musician's Friend some time ago. Whenever I tried to apply my "rewards points" to transactions, something would go wrong, and I'd have to call them to complete the sale. Their agents always attempted to sell me more products. The rewards glitches might have been ploys just to get me on the phone for sales pitches. Regardless, I don't deal with them now.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
I'm a Sweetwater client too. I stopped trading with Musician's Friend some time ago. Whenever I tried to apply my "rewards points" to transactions, something would go wrong, and I'd have to call them to complete the sale. Their agents always attempted to sell me more products. The rewards glitches might have been ploys just to get me on the phone for sales pitches. Regardless, I don't deal with them now.

That Musician's Friend Rewards stuff is a complete joke.

As far as the OP, I buy a ton from Sweetwater. Grant Vitek has called me multiple times to check on orders I placed. I buy ALL sorts of things on Ebay. I don't sell much anymore, that's where you really get screwed. I do a lot of refurbishing, so Drum Factory Direct is another great shop to deal with.

I BUY NOTHING LOCALLY. The one locally owned store in town is ran by a deceitful a$$. I won't buy anything from that idiot.
 

C.M. Jones

Drum Authority
That Musician's Friend Rewards stuff is a complete joke.

As far as the OP, I buy a ton from Sweetwater. Grant Vitek has called me multiple times to check on orders I placed. I buy ALL sorts of things on Ebay. I don't sell much anymore, that's where you really get screwed. I do a lot of refurbishing, so Drum Factory Direct is another great shop to deal with.

I BUY NOTHING LOCALLY. The one locally owned store in town is ran by a deceitful a$$. I won't buy anything from that idiot.

The rewards points did lead to significant savings on occasion. I got fifty bucks off one purchase through rewards points alone. It's what I had to do to apply the points that made me jump ship. To me, fifty bucks isn't worth a thirty-minute exchange with a sales person.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
That Musician's Friend Rewards stuff is a complete joke.

As far as the OP, I buy a ton from Sweetwater. Grant Vitek has called me multiple times to check on orders I placed. I buy ALL sorts of things on Ebay. I don't sell much anymore, that's where you really get screwed. I do a lot of refurbishing, so Drum Factory Direct is another great shop to deal with.

I BUY NOTHING LOCALLY. The one locally owned store in town is ran by a deceitful a$$. I won't buy anything from that idiot.

that is what sux about local stores....one or two bad apples can ruing the whole orchard!! We definitely had some shifty characters running A LOT of the stores around here back in the day. It made the bigger stores seem more "legit" at the time...I still buy local over online as much as possible, but also have a great, 5 Star drum shop in town - Columbus Pro Percussion.
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
It ain't musician's un-friend. Their CS has been terrible, things take days to actually ship, and don't get me started on the unrewarding rewards program they have.
Sweetwater. I have a GC local, but they're mostly an actual Guitar center. The drum selection is crap, the cymbals even worse, and they may have 2 dozen sticks in the entire store.
The only other place in town is Guitar City Drumland but he carries the high end stuff that my frugal nature won't allow me to consider.


Are you in the Denver area? Guitar City Drumland is great! The owner has one of the largest cymbal collections (not for sale, but he'll gladly show you and let you play them)! Rupp's Drums is also local and is a great place as well. Also, there are several Music Go Rounds in your area. Great resource for used gear.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
that is what sux about local stores....one or two bad apples can ruing the whole orchard!! We definitely had some shifty characters running A LOT of the stores around here back in the day. It made the bigger stores seem more "legit" at the time...I still buy local over online as much as possible, but also have a great, 5 Star drum shop in town - Columbus Pro Percussion.

Yes, if I had a great local store to peruse through, I'd love it. But the older shops that were ok, went out of biz. One about 15 years ago and one just recently.
 

someguy01

Gold Member
Are you in the Denver area? Guitar City Drumland is great! The owner has one of the largest cymbal collections (not for sale, but he'll gladly show you and let you play them)! Rupp's Drums is also local and is a great place as well. Also, there are several Music Go Rounds in your area. Great resource for used gear.
Guitar City is a very cool place, his stuff is just out of my price range. Never heard of Rupp's, seems like a lot of Mapex but at least reasonable priced gear. Music go round doesnt have much lately.
 

Doraemon

Regular Poster
I just made my first Sweetwater purchase... It went well. Tbh I didn’t like the part that they were not very flexible offering any discounts and were only offering their great service. I’m not sure if I want to pay for people being nice. I never buy extra warranty on things and this way I’m kinda tricked into paying for it by not getting a better deal. It’s also a problem that you can’t change your mind, only by paying for return shipping, which is not an option for heavier items. I’ll use them for things where warranty is really needed and if I’m sure of the purchase or when I’m in a state where they charge no tax...

On the other hand, at Guitar Center the service is usually frustrating and many times I needed to exchange things to get it right, but the other day I just told them I want to pay x, they said OK. Pretty much all year I bought everything 15-20% off with the safety of local returns (no shipping cost). Their inventory management is horrible tho, they cancelled my order twice before telling the item is long gone, discontinued and their banged up store inventory is gone, too. Days after it still shows “in stock”... But I like that GC and MF can email you your custom quote, so you can still think it over.
 
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drumnut87

Silver Member
i dont have much of an option but to do online, the local music store is guitar & bass focused and they dont stock anything that i use, and my nearest dedicated drum shop is a 2 and a half hour journey away, which when you dont drive and rely on public transport is a bit of a nuisance. so i do all of my drum shopping online from various retailers and reps.
 

someguy01

Gold Member
Tbh I didn’t like the part that they were not very flexible offering any discounts
Did you call them and ask about a deal? I know they will deal when you call, nothing much can be done online.

And MF can pack sand. It took 6 phone calls, 8 emails, and a lot of my time just to get them to issue rewards for $1000 purchase. In addition, they take days before they even ship things even when it's in stock. I'll happily pay more to Sweetwater or a local establishment than have to deal with frustrating joke that is MF.
 
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