Where Do Most Professional Guitarists Buy Their Gear?

If you’ve ever wondered where professional guitarists get their top-notch gear, look no further. This article explores the preferred shopping destinations of these musical virtuosos, revealing the secret behind their amazing sound. Whether you’re an aspiring guitarist or simply curious about the industry, discover the go-to stores that cater to the discerning needs of professionals. From renowned guitar shops to online platforms, find out where the masters of the strings source their instruments, pedals, and accessories to create their signature sounds. Embrace your inner guitar enthusiast as we go behind the scenes of the gear-buying process, taking you on a journey through the world of professional guitarists. When it comes to purchasing gear, professional guitarists have a variety of options to choose from. In this article, we will explore the different avenues that they often turn to when shopping for their instruments and equipment.

Physical Guitar Stores

Large Chain Stores

One popular option for professional guitarists is to visit large chain stores. These stores often carry a wide range of guitars and accessories, making it convenient for musicians to find everything they need in one place. In addition, these stores often have knowledgeable staff members who can assist customers with their inquiries and help them find the perfect gear.

Independent Stores

Another option that professional guitarists often explore is independent guitar stores. These smaller, locally-owned businesses may have a more specialized selection and a unique atmosphere. Many musicians enjoy the personal touch and expertise that independent stores offer, as they often have staff who are passionate about guitars and can provide personalized advice and recommendations.

Online Guitar Retailers

Specialty Guitar Retailers

With the rise of e-commerce, professional guitarists have also turned to online retailers to fulfill their gear needs. Specialty guitar retailers cater specifically to musicians and offer a wide selection of guitars, amplifiers, effects pedals, and other accessories. These online stores often provide detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your own home.

Mass Merchandisers

Mass merchandisers, such as large online marketplaces or music instrument retailers, also attract professional guitarists. These platforms offer a vast array of musical instruments and gear, often at competitive prices. While the selection may not be as specialized as that of specialty guitar retailers, these mass merchandisers provide convenience and often offer discounts and promotions.

Online Auctions

For those on the lookout for unique or vintage gear, online auctions can be an exciting option. Platforms like eBay or Reverb allow professional guitarists to browse through a vast marketplace of used gear, including rare instruments that might not be readily available elsewhere. However, it’s important to exercise caution when purchasing from online auctions and thoroughly research the seller’s history and product description.

Second-hand Market

Local Classifieds

Many professional guitarists also browse local classified ads in search of second-hand gear. These ads can be found in newspapers, online classified platforms, or even on community bulletin boards. This option allows musicians to find pre-owned instruments and equipment at potentially lower prices and also gives them the opportunity to try out the gear in person before making a purchase.

Musical Instrument Consignment Shops

Another option within the second-hand market is to visit a musical instrument consignment shop. These stores specialize in selling used instruments and gear on behalf of individuals. Consignment shops often have a curated selection of instruments and may provide services like appraisals, repairs, and even trade-ins. For professional guitarists, consignment shops can be a treasure trove of unique and vintage gear.

Guitar Manufacturer Direct

Custom Shops

For those seeking a truly customized instrument, professional guitarists often turn to custom guitar shops. These boutique establishments work closely with musicians to create one-of-a-kind guitars tailored to their specific needs and preferences. While the prices for custom-built guitars can be higher, the craftsmanship and attention to detail make them highly sought after by professionals who are looking for an instrument that perfectly fits their playing style and sound.

Major Guitar Brands

Of course, many professional guitarists also opt for guitars from major brands. Companies like Fender, Gibson, and PRS have built reputations for producing high-quality instruments that are beloved by musicians worldwide. These manufacturers often have a wide range of models to choose from, catering to different playing styles and genres. Additionally, major guitar brands often have established support networks, making it easier for professionals to get their instruments serviced and repaired.

Industry Trade Shows


The NAMM Show is one of the most significant events in the music industry, attracting professionals from around the world. This annual trade show showcases a wide range of musical instruments, including guitars and related gear. Professional guitarists often attend the NAMM Show to see and try out the latest instruments, explore new technological advancements, and network with industry professionals.

Frankfurt Musikmesse

Similar to the NAMM Show, the Frankfurt Musikmesse is a renowned trade fair for the music industry. Held in Frankfurt, Germany, this event is a hub for guitar manufacturers, dealers, and musicians. At Musikmesse, professional guitarists can discover new products, attend workshops and demonstrations, and connect with industry insiders from all over the globe.

Guitar Shows and Expos

Beyond the NAMM Show and the Frankfurt Musikemesse, professional guitarists may also attend smaller guitar shows and expos. These events, which are often held in various cities across the world, provide an opportunity for musicians to explore a more focused selection of guitars, accessories, and services. Guitar shows and expos often include live performances, workshops, and the chance to connect with fellow musicians and industry professionals in a more intimate setting.

Connections with Endorsements

Artist Relations

Professional guitarists who have secured endorsements often have a direct line to manufacturers and their respective artist relations departments. Establishing relationships with these departments can give musicians access to exclusive deals, discounts, and early access to new products. Artist relations representatives can also provide advice on gear selection, matching artists with instruments and equipment that align with their unique preferences and playing style.

Endorsement Deals

Endorsement deals can be a significant factor in where professional guitarists choose to shop for their gear. These deals often involve a partnership between a musician and a manufacturer, where the musician promotes the company’s products in exchange for free or discounted gear. As part of these agreements, musicians typically receive a specific model of guitar and may have the opportunity to collaborate on the design and development of signature models. These exclusive endorsement deals often result in professionals purchasing directly from the manufacturer they are endorsing.

Local Music Stores

Mom and Pop Music Stores

While large chain stores and online retailers are convenient and offer a wide selection of products, many professional guitarists still value the personalized service and community aspect of small, locally-owned music stores, often referred to as “mom and pop” shops. These stores may have a smaller inventory compared to their larger counterparts but often compensate by providing a more intimate and welcoming environment. The staff at local music stores may have a deep knowledge of their inventory and can offer personalized advice and recommendations.

Online Guitar Forums

Gear Discussions

Online guitar forums serve as a valuable resource for musicians looking to exchange information, ask questions, and discuss various aspects of gear. These forums often have dedicated sections for discussing specific types of guitars, amplifiers, pedals, and accessories. Professional guitarists can seek advice from fellow musicians, ask for recommendations before making a purchase, or simply engage in discussions about gear-related topics.

Buying and Selling Sections

Many online guitar forums also have dedicated sections for buying and selling gear. These sections function as a marketplace where musicians can browse listings from fellow forum members who are looking to sell or trade their gear. Professional guitarists may find unique opportunities to acquire specific instruments or negotiate deals directly with other musicians.

Recommendations from Peers

Professional Guitarist Communities

Professional guitarists often build connections and friendships within their industry. These relationships can provide invaluable insights and recommendations when it comes to purchasing gear. Within professional guitarist communities, musicians frequently share their experiences with different brands, models, and retailers, helping each other make informed decisions. These communities may exist online, through social media groups, or even through regular meet-ups and jam sessions.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth remains a powerful influence when it comes to purchasing decisions. Professional guitarists frequently rely on the recommendations of their peers, taking into account the experiences and opinions of other musicians they trust. Whether it’s a specific guitar brand, a particular store, or a reliable online retailer, the endorsements and personal experiences of fellow musicians shape the choices professionals make when it comes to acquiring new gear.

Personal Research and Testing

Visiting Multiple Stores

Professional guitarists often invest time and effort in researching and testing gear before making a purchase. This includes visiting multiple stores to get a feel for different brands, models, and setups. By exploring various options and comparing them side by side, musicians can make more informed choices. Physical stores provide the opportunity to test guitars in person, allowing professionals to assess factors such as playability, sound quality, and overall comfort.

Trying Guitars in Person

No matter the initial research conducted, trying guitars in person is often a crucial step for professional guitarists before making a purchase. The feel, sound, and overall connection that a guitarist has with their instrument are highly personal and can greatly impact their playing and performance. By physically trying out guitars, professionals can ensure that they find an instrument that meets their specific preferences and captures their unique playing style.

In conclusion, professional guitarists have a wide array of options when it comes to buying their gear. From physical guitar stores to online retailers, second-hand markets to direct manufacturer connections, there are numerous avenues for musicians to explore. Recommendations from peers, personal research, and testing also play a significant role in the decision-making process. Ultimately, choosing where to buy gear is a highly personal decision based on individual preferences, needs, and the desire to find the perfect instrument and equipment for their craft.