If you’re based in the US, you have probably at some point spent a few hours scrolling through the Musicians Friend online store. I mean, if we know one thing, it’s that we musicians always have something on the ‘to buy’ list!
In this article, we’ll look at MusiciansFriend and cover the main highlights of the store and some of its offerings.
Let’s dive in!
Musicians Friend is one of the oldest online music instrument stores on the market.
If you’re wondering who owns Musicians Friend, the company was actually started by Rob and DeAnna Eastman. It originally sold accessories like guitar strings and capos. It grew to become one of the premier music instrument retailers in the US. Including 9 retail stores.
In 1999, the Musicians Friend Guitar Center merger was announced. Creating the largest music retail, catalog, and e-commerce company in the world with over half a billion dollars in combined revenues.
These days, the app and Musician’s Friend website are some of the biggest players in the market for music equipment.
As you would expect from an online retailer, the Musicians Friend catalog is vast. There are hundreds and thousands of guitars, drums, keyboards, recording equipment, and anything else you can think of for sale. Often they are sold at pretty good prices.
One unique feature is the Musicians Friend Deal of the Day (or Stupid Deal of the Day as it is sometimes listed). This is where you can pick some clearance items at a really good price. However, the sale is only valid for that day. So, if you see a good price for something that you are looking for, our advice would be to get it while you can because once it’s gone, it’s gone!
As you’d kind of expect from a company merged with a Guitar Center, Musicians Friend Guitars run the full gamut with all the major guitar brands. Including Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, and Ibanez. Prices range from $50 to over $50,000.
The Musicians Friend acoustic guitars and electric guitars selection is pretty broad and you can get everything from starter kits through to pro models.
The Musicians Friend Drums catalog is also pretty exciting with over 3,500 items for drummers and percussionists available to order. All of the large manufacturers include TAMA, DW, Meinl, Zildjian, and Yamaha.
One thing that really stands out here is that they also offer free shipping. This makes it an easier choice for shopping for those large items drummers tend to go for!
In addition to the Musicians Friend Store online, customers in the US can also download a free mobile app for both Apple and Google devices.
The app is a really clean and well-put-together version of the website. It includes all of the hot deals and ‘deal of the day’ content you’d want. As well as an account summary page.
In addition to equipment, MusiciansFriend offers a rewards program, military discount and for customers in the US, there is a Musicians Friend synchrony payment and PayPal financing options for those looking to spread the cost of purchases.
Furthermore, they have free shipping for customers in the US, a 2-year free warranty on all guitars and basses (new and second hand), and first-class Musicians Friend Customer Service. They are available to help with purchase queries or just to give advice on purchases.
For those of us outside of the US, they have also launched an international shipping option. Prices depend on where you are based and what it is you are looking to ship.
Finally, the Musicians Friend return policy is pretty generous. They give 45 days where you can send back any item if it doesn’t quite meet your needs. This is as long as the item doesn’t show any signs of wear, in which case you would need to pay a restocking fee.
MusiciansFriend offer a rewards membership which is free to join.
It has a number of benefits including 8% money back on all future purchases, members-only deals, and rewards points on every purchase. Each dollar spent earns you 8 points and every 100 points equates to a dollar on the store.
In addition, they also have the best price guarantee where they will price match if a competitor offers the same product at a lower price point.
Let’s take a look at the main MusiciansFriend alternatives that are open to you.
In the US, the biggest competitor to Musicians Friend is probably Sweetwater.
In terms of guitars, Sweetwater has all the same brands as Musicians Friend but they also offer those hard-to-find Rickenbackers, special edition PRS, and exclusive Schecter guitars.
They also offer financing and a ‘Deal Zone’ section of their website and a Sweetwater App so it’s definitely a website worth comparing to when you are considering a new purchase.
The Sweetwater website is also, in our opinion, a little cleaner, easier to navigate, and has better functionality.
Generally speaking, Reverb deals more in the second hand, rarities market and so whilst you will find those entry-level items available on the Reverb store, that’s not what they are best at.
However, you can really spend a long time scrolling and daydreaming about all the cool vintage kits you might get if you win the lottery. Which is something that we find Musicians Friend doesn’t quite offer in the same way.
German-based Thomann does ship to the USA, but the majority of their business is done in Europe.
For those of us based on this side of the Atlantic, they are a much better option than Musicians Friend with a much wider selection of products, great prices, a 3-year warranty on all products, and very good customer service.
There have been lots of Musicians Friend reviews over the years stating that it has been a key player in the online instrument marketplace. However, it is an ever-changing landscape that might prove to be a challenge for the company moving forward.
MusiciansFriend really excels when it comes to the rewards program, the competitive pricing on general items, and the generous returns policy.
However, the website is incredibly complex and full of bugs making it very difficult and frustrating to navigate. Even to general pages such as ‘Guitars’ or ‘Drums’. The app is a little easier to use than the webstore, but still not great.
With companies like Sweetwater, Thomann, and Reverb cornering different segments of the market and megaliths like Amazon and eBay waiting on the sidelines, you can’t help but wonder if perhaps MusiciansFriend has had its heyday. It is in need of a pretty large overhaul in order to remain competitive in a changing landscape where online ordering is becoming much more common.
Have you ever used Musicians Friend? Let us know about your experiences in the comment section below! Also, whilst you’re here, why not check out some more articles on our blog? We recommend, Effects Pedals/Guitar Pedals – A Guide To Understanding And Buying, Best Guitar Amps For Home And Stage Use, and Preamps – What Is A Preamp & The Top 10 Buyers Guide to get you started!
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