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Rating and Reviews: Gibson Midtown Custom

Cover a range of styles with this versatile semi-hollow tone machine! Like a cross between an ES-335 and a Les Paul, the Midtown is a classic with an edge.

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"Gibson Midtown Custom" submitted June 4, 2014

By Tim O in Stonington, CT
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Musical Background: long time. many instruments.
Music Style: blues, rock, r&b, country, classical
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Overall: This guitar is fantastic. The story is the neck. I am completely converted to Richlite. It is a fantastic material, I now prefer it to rosewood or ebony, and I care about long term sustainability in guitar manufacturing. The pleked fretwork, the binding, and the feel in the hand of the neck are all fantastic. I don't want to start a debate, so take it from a guy with 40 years of Gibson, Martin and Fender experience: Richlite is the future, and it deserves to be. The tuners are nice, and the nut is cut well. One thing I can quibble about, is the diameter of the nut guide slots are a little tight, making tuning and staying in tune a little difficult (I use 10-48). I oiled the slots, but ultimately, I will widen them slightly by stringing up higher gauges on G,B and E. Hopefully that will get rid of the "plink" when tuning up, and the slight variation that results from 2+ note bends. The pickups are very, very nice. As a Tele guy primarily, it felt weird to use the intermediate switch as much as I have. On Bridge you can get almost a single coil tone, half and half gives a deep Santana like ring with gobs of sustain. Neck pickup is great with jazzier tones and amplified acoustic sounds (like pre '66 beatles tones). The fit and finish of the guitar was great in all the ways I care about. Neck transition into the pocket-perfect. Binding, including fret end transitions was mind blowingly perfect. Mine is the black version, and as far as I can see it is flawlessly finished. There are some issues, but nothing I'm going to cry about, because they are minor, and the kind of things you would only see on a hand made guitar. For example, all six of my tuning keys have a very slightly different angle. Somebody drilled the index holes for the tuners without using the jig plate. No biggie. I also have a very slight indentation on the back of the headstock from where the neck was clamped into the plek machine, just below the serial numbers. Little stuff, but I have to mention these things in a review. I hear perfect- but some people cant listen unless they see perfect. Me, I don't say anything until I plug it in. Overall the effect of the guitar is perfection, but if you want to take out a microscope, or quibble about things that don't affect tone, then you may want to get it in your hands first. There is a wide variation from what I've seen from one serial to the next. Just like all hand made guitars. BTW, the construction is nothing like an ES339 or any of the archtops. Just to clear this up, my Midtown Custom body is quite obviously routed out of a solid piece of mahogany. The top is a half-inch thick piece of maple. This guitar is not designed to have acoustic projection, and there's no way in heck you are going to get that top to vibrate. I would describe its properties are much more similar to a chambered LP, or a Bluesboy Tele, than anything in Gibson's ES line. The closest match in tone in my collection is an SG, which may come as a surprise to some people. If you want to sound like Benson or Carlton, this is not your guitar. Sound wise, this is a double cutaway LP custom, without the speed bump on the neck transition at fret 17. IMHO, of course. Anyway, I really like it. Almost forgot to mention, the case is really nice too. Hard to believe in this day and age they threw that in for the price. Worth a couple hundred easy.
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"Gibson midtown custom" submitted January 30, 2014

By James E in Jacksonville, FL
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Musical Background: Back porch player
Music Style: Jazz, blues, Christian, soft rock.
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Overall: This is a beautiful guitar, there was no need to change the action or have this guitar setup it was correct right out-of-the-box. Comes with a very nice hard shell Gibson case. I flipped the switch to neck in these wonderful pure sounds of jazz rollout. Flip the switch again, add a little gain in this guitar will rock 'n roll. This is truly one to have in your collection. And because I have purchased from zzounds before and know that I will again in the future, I can't recommend them more highly, and if you need to their payment plan works great. I am really happy with this guitar, no looking back, no buyers remorse, I'm keeping this one.
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"My midtown from zzounds." submitted March 2, 2014

By Ross M in Taylor, ND
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Musical Background: Fifteen years gigging musician.
Music Style: Rock, classic rock, modern, metal, grunge, classic country, ect.
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Overall: I picked up one of the Midtown Customs from Zzounds a couple of weeks ago. I have to say, it is a fantastic value. The burst buckets are great sounding pickups, the neck is nice, slim, and fast, and the fit and finish are immaculate. Overall, I'm very satisfied with the product, especially considering Zzounds offers financing options. The one area of weakness, if I'm to be totally truthful, is the factory setup. The intonation was pretty flighty right out of the box. While that isn't a deal breaker by any means, it is something that should be mentioned. Also, I've had a bit of a tough time keeping her in tune so far. The plastic nut is a bit sticky. I've ordered a compensates bone nut to install myself. I'm confident this will help to clear up issues with tuning stability. And to those who speak negatively of the richlite fretboards... C'mon, man. You'd never have the slightest inkling that this thing was "man made" based on feel. It looks good, it plays good, it is good.
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"Just an incredible guitar and a bargain to boot." submitted September 4, 2012

By Kyle G in Los Angeles, CA
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Overall: This is my first Gibson, and I couldn't be happier. It's a cliche, but I really can't put this one down. I have a modestly-nice collection: a Robert Cray strat, a custom tele, an Ibanez RG42E, and a Guild acoustic, all of which I love. But I can honestly say that I've never before been so taken and inspired by a guitar. It produces such a sweet tone that I find myself playing until my fingers are ravaged and numb. Clear, articulate solos with super easy bends and huge amounts of sustain, I feel like this was made for me (I play mostly blues and rock). I've long lusted after an ES-335 and a high-end Les Paul, but with this axe, it feels like I've gotten a perfect combination of the two for half the price. I've been excited about new gear many times before, but somehow not quite like this. I'm playing it through just a Blues Driver 2 pedal and a Blackstar HT-5R amp, and for perhaps the first time in my life as a guitarist, I feel like I sound like a pro. Often, I'll play a solo and afterward just shake my head in disbelief that I own a guitar that sounds this good. Aesthetically, it's just stunning as well. The sunburst models looked great, but something about the way the ebony model made the chrome hardware and binding 'pop' just spoke to me. When I'm not playing it, I keep it on a wall hanger and I frequently catch myself staring at it.The workmanship was flawless as well. I've heard mixed things about Gibson's quality control, and given the relatively low price of the Midtown, I was afraid that corners would be cut and I'd find something wrong. But my fears were apparently misplaced, as everything was absolutely perfect with the guitar and the case (which itself is beautiful, btw). I can't recommend the Midtown Custom highly enough. Beautiful looks and a beautiful player, with a price tag that doesn't require a bank heist.
60 of 64 people (93.75%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Gibson Midtown Custom" submitted June 12, 2014

By Pablo L
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Musical Background: Playing for 20 years. Lead / Rhythm guitar for church band in multiple campuses.
Music Style: Praise / Worship, Rock, Blues
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Overall: What a great guitar put out by Gibson. A very descent product that is also very affordable…for a Gibson. The Gibson Midtown Custom is a guitar that merits some serious consideration. In this rough economy, we’re all trying to stretch each dollar to its fullest, which makes this a great choice for a guitar that can perform many tasks admirably.A couple of items that’s a bit different on this guitar than other “similar” models. These are not true semi-hollow guitars. They have a heavily chambered body. The sound best described is a cross between a Les Paul and a 335. It has a perfect blend of the two. Richlite fretboard. Yes, it’s not wood but once you get past this fact, you can appreciate the guitar for what it is. And, it looks really nice! To be honest, after a couple of live performances, I didn’t even remember it was richlite. I do remember the compliments I got on its sound, though. Also, it’s a flattop rather than archtop.Overall, an excellent guitar! I’m a big Gibson fan having a Les Paul Standard and a traditional. Something about the way they feel and their playability makes them perfect in my hands. And, the Gibson Midtown, does not disappoint either. My only wish would be that they offer the custom with a bigsby. Not a big deal, I put on a B5 with the vibramate attachment and viola, a bigsby with no holes in my new guitar.
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"Great guitar." submitted January 30, 2014

By Don B in Pentwater, MI
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Music Style: old rock old country...
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Overall: Play great I love sounds, brings back to mind the good ole days when music was right...
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"Keep picking it up" submitted April 10, 2014

By Derrick J in Madisonville , LA
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Musical Background: Lead guitar 25 years. Semi pro
Music Style: Rock, jazz, pop
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Overall: Good price, nice quality, great sounding guitar. The neck binding is taking some getting used to: I often pull high E string off fretboard. Otherwise neck is very comfortable. Tone is fantastic. Will go from ES sounds to SG tones with flick of the 3 way selector with everything else in between. If it had tap switch for pickups, would be the ultimate.
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"Mid-Town Custom" submitted March 25, 2014

By Larry B in Fair Lawn, NJ
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Musical Background: Been playing over forty years now. In and out of bands must of my life.
Music Style: I've developed a style that seems to be a mix of Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton.
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Overall: First if all, Zzounds got this guitar to me literally, in less than 24hrs!! I had practice that evening, worked late and had no time to tweek anything. But right out of the case the guitar was nearly perfect. In the neck position the tone is a very warm mix of les Paul and ES tone with a nice harmonic edge. The center position at first was over powered by the bridge pickup and was a bit tinny, but once I lowered the pickup a bit it balanced out nicely. The bridge pickup is definitely hot enough to deliver whatever you're after. Nice clean, stays clear with overdrive and doesn't try to pierce your eardrums. Smaller than an ES a bit larger than a Paul, this guitar is in a realm all it's own. It is a little neck heavy but not so much as to be a problem. The composite fretboard plays just like ebony but without the maintenance. The finish on this one is flawless. The binding sets off the ebony really well. And for me the shape and size is a perfect fit. I play slot of southern rock and kinda figure I would only be using this ax in a few tunes but I don't bring anything else to gigs anymore as I can get every tone I need from the midtown. Really really like this guitar.
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"Killer guitar!" submitted June 2, 2014

By Steve P in Waupaca, WI
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Musical Background: 27 years/guitar and bass/jam at home and with friends
Music Style: rock/blues/metal
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Overall: I was extremely happy with my guitar...shipped quick and when I opened the case and looked upon it for the first time I was very impressed. The quality was top notch,as it should be seeing I paid $1500 for it and it's a Gibson. The first thing that really impressed me the most was the fretboard, and how after doing some string bends it was as smooth as glass-like a nice ebony board...very nice! Excellent tones all around and a helluva guitar. If you are thinking about buying one I would act on it immediately as this is a very unique guitar and leave it up to Gibson to once again put out a killer product...you won't be disappointed.
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"So Happy!" submitted June 10, 2014

By Jordan Brunson in Kansas City, MO
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Musical Background: Newbie--been practicing frequently at home for 3 years.
Music Style: Progressive Rock and Metal
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Overall: This is my first Gibson. It's an amazing guitar. I've owned multiple Epiphones in the past, and after getting a Gibson I never want to go back. The sound is a lot cleaner. Overall quality is outstanding. I came with a good set up and nice strings. Only downside is the Richlite fretboard--even though it doesn't seem to effect the sound I still prefer real wood.
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"Nice guitar for the money" submitted November 30, 2013

By Jeff C in Portland, OR
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Musical Background: 35 years playing guitar. I have several vintage Gibson's, vintage Fender and Marshall amps
Music Style: Blues and classic rock
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Overall: I purchased this rig about a year ago and was interested in the unique qualities this rig had to offer. After playing it in the studio and for a couple gigs, I can say I really do like this guitar. But buy it/play it with it's limitations in mind. Don't buy this guitar thinking you'll get ES-335 or 175 tone pallet. This rig is basically a chambered Les Paul. It does have SOME semi-hollow body vibe. But it is NOT a true center block semi-hollow body. It has more Les Paul vibe than semi-hollow body vibe. That said, I enjoy playing this guitar. On mine, the fit and finish were near perfect, The binding looks cool and the diamond inlays on the headstock are very sharp. Does this guitar merit the custom inlays? Perhaps, perhaps not. Gibson may have over-reacted during the rosewood importation issue a while back. I choose the Cherry Sunburst. Most of my Les Paul's have an ebony fretboard and I was at first skeptical of the Richlight. Don't be. This stuff plays just like ebony without the maintenance. The frets were dressed nicely, th action was nice, the neck is great and the neck profile suits me. Tuning keys are a lot like the tulip style keys on my mid 70's LP Deluxe.Pickups offer a PAF vibe with a bit more midrange. I'd recommend you replace the nut though. The only gripe I have is how this rigs sits and is balanced on the body. The headstock side seems to want to creep down and forces your left hand to bend at a tough angle when playing the upper end of the neck. I adjusted my strap so the guitar sits with my belt buckle towards the lower 1/3 of the body when standing up. This is not a real big deal, but a small annoyance. I understand Gibson has discontinued these rigs? Odd, since this guitar fills a hole Gibson had in their line. Seems to me a lotta players would like the performance and price of this rig. And come on Gibson, you have waaaaaaay too many LP offerings.Bottom line, buy this rig (while you can) if you already own a Les Paul and can't afford an ES-335, 339 or 175, but still want to dial in that sound. You can, if you spend the time adjusting the tone controls on your guitar and your amp.
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"Gibson Midtown Custom" submitted February 20, 2014

By Jackson C in Lakewood, CO
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Musical Background: Full time professional since 1985
Music Style: Rock and Blues
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Overall: Awesome guitar, beautiful finish. Plays and sounds amazing.I have several Les Paul's and it's what I expected from Gibson.Its the perfect balance of solid and hollow body combined.Very nice guitar.
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"Easy on the eyes, hard on the ears" submitted January 29, 2014

By Chris S in Tampa, FL
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Musical Background: 30+ years
Music Style: Rock/blues/80's alt
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Ease of Use: Impossible as delivered due to the neck floating all around the pocket. Quality: Terrible QC...a poorly glued neck is the kiss of death if it is not a bolt-on. Value: If it worked as built, yes. As I received it? Not at all. Manufacturer Support: I've dealt with Gibson's Custom shop twice in the last 5 years, and was not impressed with the lackadaisical attitude I perceived. Overall: I was pretty excited when this became available on zzounds, as their customer service and financing options make the products they sell well within reach of the average player. When it arrived, it was well packed, and cosmetically flawless. As soon as I played the first chord, something was definitely terribly wrong. I was getting the most horrendous vibrato due to a poorly setup neck pocket. There was so much play in it that it was like having a Bigsby in hand full time. It was nauseating, and led to tuning instability. 3 of my last 4 new Gibson hollowbodies have had serious issues, either cosmetic or electronically, and this was in line with my new purchases over the last 5 years. I was hoping for the best, but was completely bummed. Zzounds did offer an exchange, but the finish that I had selected was no longer available, so I returned it for a prompt and courteous refund.
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"Gibson Midtown Custom" submitted April 29, 2014

By Timothy Mathis in Hollywood, FL
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Musical Background: Playing over 30 years, semi pro
Music Style: Rock, Blues
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Overall: Excellent instrument that surpassed all of my expectations.
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"Gibson Midtown" submitted March 26, 2014

By Erwin Jimenez in Hyde Park, MA
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Musical Background: I play guitar since I was 6 year old, I am 54 now, not in a band, just jam at home.!!
Music Style: Love blues and rok.
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Overall: Beautiful guitar, great sound, I love it, I keep it forever.!!!! if you looking for a great sound, to play bluesy solos this is the guitar you need.!!
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"If it lasts it's well worth it" submitted November 28, 2012

By Gary N in Coral Springs, FL
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Musical Background: A LONG time :-)
Music Style: I write my own tunes
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Overall: I'm not one to try "alternative" materials in guitar construction but on a leap of faith I bought one. zZounds packed it in THE most excellent fashion I have ever seen a guitar shipped in. The guitar sadly had some large wood chips in the case and there were scratches on the body. Grrrr... I gave it low marks due to this. GIBSON! WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING THERE???? WOOD CHIPS in the case??? You HAVE to be working stoned or drunk to let that get out. It was setup just the way I like it not too low, not too high. Sound equals easily my ES-175... nuff said. For some reason I could not give 5 stars to sound below, but it's an unbelievably beautiful sounding guitar.
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"Great Service" submitted October 6, 2013

By Patrick Loveless in Midland, MI
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Music Style: Jazz, Blues
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Sound: Sound quality is fantastic! Responds well! Very compatible with my style! Overall, a VERY cool guitar! Ease of Use: There is always a learning curve, however the curve isn't that great with this guitar. Quality: Guitar appears to be made very well. My friend who repairs guitars for a living was so excited about my Mid Town he almost peed his pants. Value: My Gibson Mid Town is a VERY good value! Manufacturer Support: I've only dealt with the store (ZZOUNDS). The Wow Factor: It's a beautiful instrument! Overall: Bought a guitar, when I got it there was a crack. My first thought was I was facing a huge problem with Z's. I could not have been more wrong. With out issue, the Z's representative said they would send a return mailing slip via e-mail. As soon as I received the return slip, take it to UPS. As soon as UPS scanned the slip and Z's could verify the scan, they would ship a replacement guitar. Get it? Z's didn't have to wait till they received the damaged guitar, they only had to see that I had sent it. I could have been sending them a box of rocks, but Z's trusted me and sent the replacement. Z's is probably the best company to deal with that one could ask for. Thank You ZZOUNNDS! Pat Loveless Midland, MI
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"es 135" submitted August 22, 2012

By Craig Mitchell in Hamilton, NJ
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Musical Background: More then 20 yrs Guitarest
Music Style: Jazz,
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Overall: great guitar sounds great and workmanship off the hook.
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"Gibson Midtown Custom" submitted December 2, 2012

By Bruce A in Charleston, WV
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Overall: Great guitar, great company
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"Nice but overpriced...." submitted March 10, 2014

By RRU U in Oswego, IL
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Musical Background: Enthusiast
Music Style: evrything
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Overall: This is my second Midtown Custom. I sold the first. Overall, It's an okay guitar. It needs to be $400 cheaper. The neck is nice; just like a LP Custom. The body is cheap and flimsy. It's a funny knock and real semihollow are too price for that.
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"justbert" submitted March 7, 2014

By Albert Pittman in Harrisburg, PA
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Musical Background: over 40s I play guitar I'm a songs write professional
Music Style: basically all styles except eletronic that's garbage no music no instrumentsno styles
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Overall: Play one in the store it player great sound excellent like to get one but Gibson customer service and royalty to the customers Spink I used to be a gibson Man until I got a telecaster thinline hollowbody I have a Gibson old 335 stop.playing itso old that the chrome came off that I play a tele modern player plus love itespecially7 different sounds I get out of itstill debatingon the Midtown thank you bert is out
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"gibson custom midtown" submitted August 24, 2012

By Luis Enrique Perez
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Musical Background: I had 30 years playing guitar, working in a night clubs
Music Style: Jazz, bossanova, and other styles
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Overall: I like
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1. zZounds offers the industry‘s most musician-friendly payment plans

zZounds offers a variety of Play as You Pay installment plans that allow you to get the gear you want today. While our competitors might offer house credit cards that require you to fill out an application and pass a credit check, our payment plans are easy to get, simple to use, and, best of all, accrue zero interest. Unlike those house credit cards that can leave you vulnerable to exorbitant interest charges once the promotional period ends, we never have and never will charge interest when you take advantage of one of the zZounds Play as You Pay plans.

zZounds payment plans details »

2. zZounds guarantees the lowest price

Seen it for less somewhere else? Get it for less at zZounds. Simply click the “Seen it for less?” link on any product page and as long as we‘re not losing money, we‘ll beat any legitimate competitor‘s lowest price, usually within two hours. Want our best price even faster? Call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637), and we‘ll provide you with a lower price on the phone. Also, if you purchase from us and later find the product for less elsewhere, call or email us within 45 days, and we‘ll refund you the difference.

zZounds.com price match details »

3. zZounds gets you your gear fast

At zZounds, you‘ll get your gear fast and, usually, with free delivery. Because we have warehouses in New Jersey and Nevada, nearly 75 percent of Americans reside within our two-day shipping zones. Combine this with the fact that many of our best-selling products qualify for free two-day delivery and you get expedited shipping without the additional cost.

zZounds.com shipping details »

4. zZounds makes returns super easy

Buy it, try it, like it, or return it to us for a full refund. It‘s just that simple. If you‘re not in love with what you bought, return it to zZounds within 45 days, and we‘ll promptly arrange for an exchange or a refund. No hassles. No hidden charges. And if a product‘s defective or damaged, call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637), and we‘ll email you a prepaid shipping label so you can easily return it to us at zero cost to you.

zZounds.com return details »

5. zZounds delivers top-rated customer service

zZounds has received multiple Bizrate® Circle of Excellence Platinum awards, placing us in the top 0.7 percent of Bizrate‘s network of 5,200 retailers. Our success in meeting the needs of our customers -- since 1996, we‘ve satisfied over 1,000,000 people -- is due in large part to the fact that zZounds only hires experienced musicians to answer your calls and emails, and they are never paid a commission.

zZounds.com customer service »
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Available on
orders $249+
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Need it now but short of cash? All we need is the first payment up front and the rest in easy monthly payments!

Fast approval.
We approve everyone, with very few exceptions, as long as we can verify your identity.
No interest. Ever.
It's just as if you paid the whole amount up front!
No paperwork. Nothing to track.
No application to mail or fax, no bills to pay. We automatically charge the payments to your credit card.

We'll wait on your money so you don't have to wait for your gear!

When you checkout, just click the Play as you Pay checkbox to indicate which installment plan you wish to use.

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on most orders $49+

Just $2.99 on
smaller orders

Really heavy stuff might cost you a
little more

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Why fight traffic and pushy salesmen when we'll bring your gear straight to your home, free of charge?

zZounds free shipping is really free!
No hidden charges or hassles on returns.
Fast, reliable delivery
We have warehouses on both coasts, so most shipments arrive in 3 days or less.
We don't collect sales tax. Bonus!
Only NJ residents pay tax during checkout.
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A guarantee so solid, you never have to worry about price when shopping at zZounds

We'll beat any price
Simply click the Seen it for less? link next to the gear you want or call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637)
Got a coupon from another site?
Use it with us - we'll beat those prices, too!
Find a better price after buying from us?
No problem. We'll refund you the difference for 45 days, so you'll never regret buying from zZounds.

You'll still get the trustworthy service you've come to expect from zZounds, without paying more for your gear!