Is Sweetwater Used Marketplace Legit for Guitars?

Sweetwater is probably one of the most reputable guitar stores out there.

They’ve been around since 1979 and have prided themselves on great service since. 

The question is whether their used marketplace is as good as their general stuff.

The answer is a yes, for the most part. Sweetwater’s used marketplace is a little different from their general store in that where transactions between buyers and sellers are involved, Sweetwater doesn’t play much of a role.

In other words, you will find legit gear on their used marketplace and if you’re selling, you’ll find genuine buyers, but when it comes to the transaction, that’s between you and the other person. 

Meaning Sweetwater doesn’t cover for any possible losses and isn’t responsible for anything more than being a posting board.

Is Sweetwater Used Marketplace a good place to buy and sell guitars?

The popularity of the site is the main factor here. In my opinion, and aside from the fact that Sweetwater doesn’t get involved between sellers and buyers, they’re still a very popular site.

They have some of the highest traffic among guitar websites and whether you’re looking for a good deal on a used item or to post your own gear, you can usually find someone else looking to make a deal.

The process involved in listing gear is quite extensive and requires that you add multiple clear photos, encouraging honesty among their sellers. 

Posters are given helpful tips on making sure that their product post is well received and has a good chance of being bought.

Some of their tips are:

  • Add detailed photos
  • Point out flaws
  • communicate with buyers
  • pack items securely
  • Don’t sell non-music-related items

They also require that you have a sweetwater account set up before you can buy or sell. 

All of this contributes to making Sweetwater’s Used Marketplace safe for users and in my opinion, a good place to buy and sell.

Can you get good deals on guitars from Sweetwater Used Marketplace?

It’s not a guarantee that you can get good deals, but like any used goods board, there are always good deals and bad deals.

Since it’s entirely up to the sellers what price they want to sell their items at, it’s down to the reception of buyers and how desperate someone is to sell something. 

I would say that the good thing about the price not being set by the website itself is that it’s probably open to negotiation.

As long as you’re not rude about it, most sellers might be open to a bit of haggling, but again, that will likely differ from one individual to the next.

So can you get good deals? Yeah, you probably can if you spend time looking.

Is Sweetwater Used Marketplace a safe place to buy and sell guitars?

That really depends on a lot of things

You might find someone posting what seems like a great deal and then receive something entirely different- perhaps they didn’t point out flaws. The downside to this sort of experience is that Sweetwater doesn’t provide user security.

It’s entirely between you and the other guy, which means you both need to come to agreements and be mindful of keeping a paper trail, in case things go wrong.

It’s not to say that Sweetwater is unaware or unconcerned with the possible risk involved and they have a decently comprehensive list of tips for safe shopping:

  • Don’t buy if you’re not sure. Buyers have no obligation to take items back
  • If you aren’t sure about the accuracy of a listing, you should ask for additional photos
  • Verify the buyer’s address and phone number before shipping
  • Check the storefront and listing return fees and restocking fees before making an offer
  • Ask for references from previous transactions
  • Consider a local pickup to physically inspect the item before completing the transaction
  • Make sure to meet in a safe public space

These are slightly abridged, but you get the idea. They also note highlighted in yellow below these that Sweetwater is not responsible for listings posted on the Used Gear Marketplace.

Does Sweetwater Used Marketplace offer buyers and sellers protection?

No. Unfortunately, they do not. Since sweetwater doesn’t take any responsibility for sales between users, they also don’t offer any genuine insurance if things go wrong. 

They do state that you can contact their salespeople for assistance if something does happen though.

What usually happens then is that they might give you some advice and request information about the transaction, but they can’t get your money back for you at the end of the day. 

This is very similar to other websites like Craigslist or eBay, where user security is the responsibility of the users themselves.

In this case, I would rather recommend Reverb since they do offer a bit of security.

Alternatives to Sweetwater Used Marketplace for buying and selling guitars

When it comes to competitors, Reverb has pretty much everyone beat. The only downside to them is the sales cost involved, but it also guarantees serious buyers and sellers.

I’ve covered a couple of other online stores in greater detail in this article if you’d like to get more in-depth:

But to give a short list of alternatives:

  • Craigslist
  • eBay
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • OfferUp

These online marketplaces all offer their own set of pros and cons and I invite you to take a look at what they’re all about. 

At the end of the day though, whether you’re buying or selling, take the time to do some due diligence and to look around for differing deals on similar items. 

That way you’ll get the best price available for what you want.