[SOLVED!] Guitar Center vs Sam Ash: Head-to-Head Review of The Two Music Stores


If you are looking for any musical instrument — basses, amplifiers, guitars, drums, percussion, DJ equipment and more — it’s usually a Guitar Center vs Sam Ash decision. Both offer local music stores and online retail shops. They have thousands of different stocks to choose from, they have customer service to help you and they offer the best deals in the market. In this article, discover more about them and why they are the choice of many musicians out there.

Guitar Center Overview

Among the most popular guitar shop at your local store or online, Guitar Center is the home to the largest collection of various musical instruments around the world. Whether you are looking for guitars, drums, PA systems, DJ equipment, recording software, stage equipment, speakers and all, you can easily find them online or in one of its 300 stores across the U.S.

Established in 1959 and has its humble beginnings in The Organ Center, Hollywood, California, Guitar Center continues to become the source of joy to musicians. They offer unrivaled in-store experience and streamline online services so their customers can feel the greatest feeling on earth by playing their musical instruments.

Sam Ash Overview

Known as “The World’s Favorite Music Store,” Sam Ash is dubbed as such because it really is. Professional musicians and aspirants alike flock in their local stores to try out the musical equipment they want to have. From keyboards, drums, guitars, vintage collections and latest music inventions, Sam Ash has it all.

Since 1924 until now, the company continues the tradition of excellence by making great music. Everyone in their local stores is music-oriented and music-obsessed, willing to help anyone who wants to welcome music in their life. From Brooklyn, New York, Sam Ash has now 45 megastores across different states and win numerous awards.

Here’s a quick YouTube video tour of each store before getting into the detailed comparison of the two:


Guitar Center vs Sam Ash: In-Store

There’s not a single Guitar Center or Sam Ash music stores in your locality, in fact, there are hundreds of them. One buyer may hate one Guitar Center branch, but praise the other. Likewise, one musician may recommend Sam Ash, while others don’t.

Both for Sam Ash and Guitar Center, each local branch is different from the other. This article tackles only the general comparison of what customers said about these two. So, it’s possible that it’s true or not, based on your personal experience.


Since Guitar Center has more stocks than Sam Ash, you might be overwhelmed. There are tons of music guitars of any kind. Both music stores allow testing and trying out of guitars, amplifiers, and drums, for example. So, when you happen to visit a busy branch, enjoy the noise.


Mostly, Guitar Center has more stocks with different brands compared to Sam Ash. If you don’t have anything specific to find, you might have a hard time. Check online first, if you are planning to buy any musical instrument. Guitar Center has more stocks on high-end Martins, while Sam Ash has Taylor models.

Customer Service: 

Sam Ash has good sales representatives, and they will be with you throughout the purchase or the hunting process. At Guitar Center, sometimes, if you want to check on something, you must hunt for the customer service first.

Resell Used Gears: 

Both local music stores don’t pay you more than 50% of the price of the used inventory they have or from eBay. The worst case, you’ll only get around 25%. So, if you’re thinking of reselling, skip these two.

Guitar Center vs Sam Ash: Online

With the internet, it’s more convenient to order anything online. So, for these two music stores, they also have an online site where you can place your order without the need to move out of your house.


As one of the largest retailers in the music industry, Guitar Center surely has tons of options online. They have categorized the products per department, per brand and bestsellers, so it’s easier for you to find the specific product you want to have. For Sam Ash, although they are also grouped into departments and brands, user experience is just second to Guitar Center.

Checkout Process: 

Both have a straightforward checkout process. It’s quick and you don’t even require to sign up or register. You can check out as a guest. However, if you want to maximize their online services and get updates, you should sign up.


Sam Ash is very reliable in giving a realistic timeline for shipping. Guitar Center, on the other hand, is good when it comes to buying used gear. You can ship it to your local store and try it there. Return or replace it when you don’t like it. At least, you don’t need to pay the fee when you return it.

Which Is Better?

Choosing between Guitar Center and Sam Ash for your musical instruments depends on the staff, the stock, and the convenience of the buyer. At one Guitar Center stores, you might be entertained well, but on the next branch, it’s the complete opposite. The same is true with Sam Ash.

However, for online purchases between these two, Guitar Center has more choices than Sam Ash. Although both have straightforward checkout, Sam Ash has a reliable shipping estimate. Again, depending on your needs and preferences, Guitar Center and Sam Ash are great music retailers both online and in-store.


Guitar Center and Sam Ash are two of the most popular music retailer stores online and in-stores. They have various stocks of different music gears from different brands. Though each has its good and bad sides, it’s usually the customer that has their say.

Some love Guitar Center while some love Sam Ash. But, the good news is, whether you’re a Guitar Center loyalist or a Sam Ash regular customer, you will always have a lot of options to choose from. And, it’s more convenient with in-store and online shop for both music stores.