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Rating and Reviews: Martin DRS1 Road Series

Get Martin tone and playability for a nice price with the DRS1 guitar. Crafted with a solid sapele top, back, and sides, it's a workhorse acoustic-electric.

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The Wow Factor
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"LOVE THIS GUITAR!!!!!!" submitted March 3, 2013

By Greg Garschagen in Wales Township, MI
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: I have been playing as a hobbyist for about 30 years. Blues,Rock
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Sound: The sound quality is out standing right out of the box. A quick tune and I was playing better than I have in years. I looked at my wife and said "So, this is what a quality acoustic guitar sounds like". Feature: The Fishman Sonitone sounded good on my 7 year old daughters First Act amp. Have not plugged into my amp yet. Love the sound,look and smell of the Sapele wood Ease of Use: It is very easy to play. Action is great right out of the box. Comfortable to hold and play. Quality: Quality is OUTSTANDING! Well built. Appearance is very nice. Value: This product is the best value you will ever find for the price. Great guitar for the money. Has to be best in Class. Manufacturer Support: Have not had to use Martin for anything yet. The Zzounds staff is great. Very patient and very helpful and most of all very friendly. The Wow Factor: I was blown away with this guitar. This is a guitar I will hold onto for the rest of my life. Overall: Hands down this is the best acoustic guitar I have played for the money.
15 of 15 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"DRS1?.....YES!" submitted July 17, 2011

By a customer from sympatico.ca
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Musical Background: Part time Musician
Music Style: Folk/Rock
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Sound: This guitar is clear and deep sounding....it sounds wonderful with light to medium strumming and is a fantastic finger picker. A very expressive guitar with a sweet and very Martin like sound. If it could handle heavy strumming I would have given it a 10....but to be fair you really have to be very heavy handed to make it break up even a little bit. For my style of playing Folk/Country/Rock ballads it is awesome! It is very hard for me to stop playing this guitar. Very melodious when strummed...not clashy sounding. Finger picking heaven! Great projection and volume...in short...I love it! Feature: Martin put Lifespan SP strings on this guitar...along with a natural sounding Fishman Sonitone pickup with volume and tone control easily accessed in the soundhole...and to top it off, they even put a perfectly mounted strap pin on the neck heel...God Bless you Martin for giving me a complete package (including a hardshell case)! This guitar is gig ready and wanting for nothing! Ease of Use: Ok....I just have to give this a 10 as it is a very comfortable and easy to play neck. I also like the overall weight balance. The tone control is helpful. I run it through a Crate Taos amp and all I have to do is scoop out some lower mids to get it sounding very natural. Quality: 8...Immaculate workmanship, beautiful grain, tuners are very nice too. Gave it an 8 as the pickup needed adjustment to even out the string to string volume balance. This should have been checked by their quality control before it left the factory. Value: This is The Best Value for the money....I compared this guitar with many others worth a little less and a lot more and hands down this one is a clear winner. Had I been strictly a finger picker I may have chosen another brand, however for both strumming and fingerpicking the DRS1 was the best sounding ... piano like deep clear bottom, thick and clear trebles and plenty of mids. Easy to play and delightful to strum. All this in a guitar that can be plugged in too....amazing! Mr. Martin, you made a great Guitar in the DRS1! Manufacturer Support: Can't rate them as I haven't had to contact them. Adjusted the pickup myself so did not need to send it in for service. The Wow Factor: I love the simplistic beauty of this guitar....no bling, just beautiful wood grain! Overall: Ok....I would only trade this guitar for a Guild jumbo 6 string worth at least $2000....or an Olsen....in a nutshell....It would take a great and very expensive guitar to make me give this one up!
66 of 70 people (94.29%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"World Class Acoustic at Mid-Class Price" submitted November 1, 2011

By a customer from bellvillemusic.com
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Musical Background: 35 yrs/active musician in Christian music
Music Style: Rock/Jazz Christian
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Sound: Simply put, after playing 35 years, with this DS Martin, I have my first world class acoustic guitar. I've owned dozens of acoustics and electrics. Speaking specifically to the acoustics, this guitar, with Sapele wood body from Africa (a relative of the more expensive Adirondack Mahogany that Martin uses on its $3000 and $6000 and $8000 guitars) is simply incredible. The projection of the sound and the feel, is out of this world. I admit, I played this model at a large retailer before ordering from zzounds in order to take advantage of the payment system. I could not be happier. Feature: The only reason I do not give this a 10 is I will have to reach my hand inside the sound hole when I need to replace the 9v battery. Otherwisde, the qualities are there. Ease of Use: As acoustic guitars go, this one belongs on stage. It has a great acoustic sound that is very, very difficult to put down. I am exploring alternative tunings like never before, because drop D and drop C is magical. Quality: Made in Mexico, there was one flaw on the headstock and zzounds comped me $85 because of it. Made very, very well. Value: Great value. Manufacturer Support: Zzounds' support is second to none. I compare them as better than AMS and Music. Friend, by a long shot. Clearwater did not accept my credit card, zzounds did. I own a home and I paid off so many products that are listed on my credit report. So I told Clearwater officials, thanks but no thanks in the future. The Wow Factor: Great look and feel. The dark wood is awesome. Overall: This is a lifetime, never-get-rid-of product. Decades...
35 of 38 people (92.11%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Great purchase" submitted July 3, 2016

By Jesse A in Peoria, AZ
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Musical Background: 14 years. DJ/Synths/Guitar Recording Musician
Music Style: Rock, folk, Indie
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Overall: I've never owned a Martin before and the acoustic guitars I've owned have been good acoustics but acoustics on a budget.You can feel the craftsmanship in this guitar as you hold it and play it. It feels well built and smooth to play. You can actually smell the wood from the guitar and although this guitar is in the seven hundred dollar range, the investment in this guitar will exceed itself. I never quite understood the difference between a hundred dollar guitar and more expensive guitar and my take after owning this is the sheer craftsmanship of the guitar is what separates them. This Martin doesn't look cheap, feel cheap or play cheap. It feels like you're driving a Cadillac as compared to a Kia. They both get you from point a to point b but one gets you there in Luxury. I didn't buy this guitar merely for brand name but I wanted a great guitar that I could always keep and not feel like I shortchanged myself, and this guitar is exactly that. It's a well crafted, deep but rich sounding guitar and one that I will always keep. The Martin brand has lived up to its reputation. I personally feel that the guitar comes even more alive when plugged into an amp and I'm not disappointed in the acoustics when plugged in by any stretch but am excited to plug it in and play it for crowds. I debated inwardly to myself if it was worth it to purchase a guitar of this price but after getting it, I'm glad I purchased it. The case that comes with it is an added bonus. I would've purchased the guitar whether or not the case came with it but now I don't have to invest in one. This a guitar to be proud of in appearance, sound, craftsmanship and play-ability. I'm very happy with my purchase.
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"smooth action, superb sound!" submitted March 18, 2015

By martin huizar in OCEANSIDE, CA
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Musical Background: 25 years, percussions, bass guitar, electric guitar, trombone, piano, organ, saxophone
Music Style: All
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Overall: It's been years since I've picked up a guitar And finally decided to get an acoustic, I learned on bass then picked up on electric. I'm very satisfied to say the least with this guitar. The sapelle looks AMAZING! Can't wait to get this baby broken in and get the aged sound out of it. The case is amazing as well! Came extremely fast even with receiving an email stating it could be delayed due to the winter storms during the period.
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"You will be amazed with this guitar!" submitted November 21, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: 25 years
Music Style: Rock, Blues, Folk
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Sound: Just rings, absolutely beautiful Martin sound. I put elixir medium acoustic strings and new ebony pegs on, and it opened up even more. I have owned many guitars (guilds, fenders mainly). This is possibly the best sounding guitar I have ever played and for the money hands down the best. Feature: The internal battery is a bit of a bummer, but the fishman pick ups are excellent. Ease of Use: Plays like butter. Excellent action, smooth, no fret buzz, perfect allignment. Quality: Like a brick. The sapelle is beautiful and the construction is very nice, despite the Mexico built factor (I don't think you could tell the difference honestly, but maybe resale will be a factor versus USA) Value: Instrument wise, this is the best purchase I have ever made. Manufacturer Support: N/A Overall: This is a keeper for life as far as I am concerned.
8 of 9 people (88.89%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Martin DRS1" submitted October 3, 2014

By Robert Bastian in CHicago, IL
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Musical Background: 25 years playing guitar. Ex professional, now in a weekend coverband.
Music Style: 70's-2000's rock
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Overall: Amazing guitar. Much sweeter to my ears that anything else in the price range. I've never been so happy with a guitar purchase. Plus arrived quicker than I was quoted and was price matched with brick and mortar store. Fantastic guitar and wonderful buying experience.
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"Martin DRS1 Road Series Guitar WOW!!!" submitted February 4, 2014

By Michael L in orange park, FL
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Overall: 1st off spending that amount of money was still a bit for me especially when the guitar is made in mexico. But I was sold on the Martin name and hoped it would hold to their tradition. WOW it sounds rich, full and looks beautiful, well worth it!!
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"My first Martin guitar" submitted May 25, 2013

By Pedro Ferreira in Viseu, NA
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Musical Background: Play for 30 years
Music Style: Blues, Rock, Pop
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Overall: This is my Martin guitar. I have 2 acoustic fender guitar and one Godin nylon guitar. And this guitar are my best steel guitar that i have or heard in any music shop. I like the wood, sapele from african, and is all solid guitar. The tone is dark, the bass is string and good projection and beautiful highs but not thin. The only thing I don't like is the board that is not wood and be warm when play at sun and the pick-guard be stash easily. It come with a good bag and a simple but good sound pickup from fishman. Its really nice guitar and is a pleaser do a chords bar in this guitar. Love it!
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"Best Guitar" submitted July 21, 2014

By Daylan C in Robbinsville, NC
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Musical Background: Play in 3 bands
Music Style: Country,bluegrass,gospel
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Overall: I've played other martins such as HD-28 etc and this one by far plays, sounds, and feels better than any other!
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"great combo deal!" submitted January 1, 2015

By Byron M in Cambridge Bay, NU
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Musical Background: I have been playing for over 5 years. I play guitar, bass and drums. I play for church and at home
Music Style: Christian
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Overall: The electric-acoustic and case (included) is very good quality. The case is very nice and will protect your guitar like you would expect. The guitar has a very nice feel and is built of high quality. Has a very nice sound that exceeds my expectations. Can't be any happier with the awesome sounding electric-acoustic plus a great case for it for a great price.
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"Amazing Guitar" submitted April 26, 2016

By Ron G in Winnipeg, MB
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Musical Background: Christian Worship 10 years
Music Style: Country, blues, christian
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Overall: Went into a local music store looking for a solid wood body guitar. Tried the DRS1 first and then tried several top of the line guitars and kept coming back to this one. The sound is incredible and at this price is it a steal.
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"The Real Deal" submitted January 22, 2014

By Adam S in Boston, MA
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Musical Background: Hack
Music Style: Christian, bluegrass
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Overall: Love this guitar! Tried many different brands and finally decided I wanted something solid wood on a budget, easier said then done. Enter the DRS1. This guitar has amazing sound and plays like a dream. I wasn't sure about the stratabond neck, but it's really top quality and very comfortable to play. Action was perfect out of the box. Sapele wood is beautiful and smells sweet. No imperfections in workmanship whatsoever. Basically, I can't recommend this guitar enough. Don't listen to anyone that says you need to spend a fortune to get that Martin sound - this is the real deal.
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"It is what it is" submitted May 16, 2013

By Jeremy T in Claude, TX
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Musical Background: Worship leader and touring musician
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Overall: I'd played a dozen or so of these over the years in different guitar shops and only ever grabbed one that wasn't incredible. The bad one had a bad neck set and wasn't straight at all. I finally had the money and the urge at the same time and so I grabbed one about a month ago. Haven't regretted it for a second. The solid Sapele back, sides, and soundboard alone make this guitar a stellar deal. The stratabond neck, though not my first choice for looks, it strong, stable, and that's not the mention the modified D neck shape, which feels so good. The electronics leave a little to be desired. The 9v Fishman has the expected piezo 'quack', but can be cleaned up with just some very basic EQ in a DI, or through some decent digital effects processors. I'm not a fan of the combo endpin/strap button, so the first thing I did was pull it and install a standard jack on the bottom bought, fill the hole with a piece of ebony from the shop, and put on strap locks. After a pretty basic setup (shaving the saddle, tightening the tuners, etc) the thing plays like a dream. The warmth of the guitar is my favorite part. Not to mention the fact that it smells incredible (I know... but wait until you stick your hear right down close to the soundhole to hear better the first time and you'll know what I'm talking about). Overall I wouldn't necessarily recommend this for a first guitar, as the subtleties of the sounds and tone might get lost on a novice, but for an addition to a well rounded collection, you will be hard pressed to find better in the price range. The TKL case is an added bonus, though I will soon be replacing it with an SKB.
6 of 9 people (66.67%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"One of the Best Guitars ... Period!" submitted July 30, 2015

By Kenson K in Pukalani, HI
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Musical Background: Have been playing for 55 years. I play the piano, guitar and bass for personal enjoyment and group singing.
Music Style: Rock, Country, Hawaiian, Show Tunes, Jazz, American Songbook and Worship.
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Overall: Just received my Martin DRS1 from Zzounds today, just two days after ordering it online as promised... and that's saying a lot coming from someone living in Hawaii! I didn't expect it to be delivered on time because Zzounds is HQ'd in New Jersey, but it came from their warehouse in Reno, NV. They had the lowest shipping cost saving me a lot! The music store on my island refuses to carry the Martin line, though they carry almost every other guitar manufacturer. Something about Martin's lack of innovation and their using the same designs as they have for over a hundred years. Well, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it!' This DRS1 outperforms every guitar in that store. It has that Martin sound ... rich, deep and resonant. I know of another brand that uses the latest in robotic manufacturing technique which helps in cranking out tons of instruments, but somehow their guitars sound metallic to me, like the robotic 'hands' that make them. The DRS1 is made in large part by the hands of Martin's skilled artisans in Mexico, and you can hear it in the sound of this instrument. Incredibly warm and allive! Some have criticized the 'made in Mexico' origin of this instrument, but as far as I'm concerned, they are producing one of the best guitars, period, in the DRS1. If you're thinking of getting one, my advice is to order it ASAP from Zzounds Music. You will not regret it!
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"UpDated Review" submitted August 6, 2015

By Kenson K in Pukalani, HI
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Musical Background: Have been playing for 55 years. I play the piano, guitar and bass for personal enjoyment and group singing.
Music Style: Rock, Folk, Jazz, Country, Christian, Hawaiian.
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Overall: After playing the Martin DRS1 extensively over the last week, here is an update to my previous review. This Martin has a fingerboard radius of 16" which is conducive to finger picking, bending and solo styles. A shorter radius is more conducive to chording and strumming, which is how I primarily play. I find the longer radius fretboards (like the one on the DRS1) make bar chords more difficult to hold, especially as I've grown older and my hands have grown weaker. To compensate, I've changed the original medium gauge strings that came with the DRS1 to an extra light, though I might switch to a custom light later. The DRS1 has such a rich, deep sound that making this switch has not detracted much from the quality of the tone, but it has radically increased the ease of making bar and jazz chords. I sent the Martin folks an email suggesting they offer a choice of either a 10 inch radius fingerboard or the current 16 inch board or even a combination board on ALL their models, and not just the custom ones, in order to offer the perfect set up for various types of players. It is unfortunate that the radius of the fingerboard is not usually mentioned in the specs of guitars, especially since it often determines how easy or comfortable it is to play them.
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"Martin DRS1" submitted February 22, 2013

By Winston W in Moncton, NB
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Musical Background: 20 years. Play electric and acoustic
Music Style: Country and Bluegrass
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Overall: Had this guitar for four months. Got to be the worst I've ever had. Had it back about 10 times to get set up but still buzzing a lot. Changed the strings to Light as suggested but that didn't do anything. I am not getting good service from the martin guitar.
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"A World-Class Acoustic Sound and Look. Unbelievably priced. " submitted January 13, 2012

By Nathan D in Charlotte, NC
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Musical Background: I've been playing about 23 years total. I sing, play guitar and bass. I play in bands, groups, open mics, churches.
Music Style: Rock, folk, singer-songwriter stuff.
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Sound: The sound is addicting. I find myself wanting to simply take it out of the case and strum a chord and just let it resonate. Very warm, with excellent clarity on fingerpicked notes as well as strummed chords. I couldn't be happier with the sound and sustain. Plugged in, the Fishman Sonitone sounds great. The best Fishman setup I've ever played is the new F1, which stands above all, but this Sonitone sounds better than most I've played (with one caveat I'll mention below under support). Feature: The sound and playability are what jump out at me the most. Upon first seeing it, other players first remark at the beauty of the wood...but then the sound is what sticks with them in the end. Ease of Use: Out of the box, as with most Martins, it sounded good but I could tell that a setup would really bring out its potential. I had one done in the first week and I was right. With some minor tweaking, the guitar plays very nicely and sounds very good. (I should mention that I prefer my action to be lower than the average player. Not quite electric guitar-like, but fairly low compared to say, a bluegrass player.) Quality: Very sturdy craftsmanship. Frets and seams and all the components and edges are well put together and smooth. It just has a quality look and feel. The wood and grain looks amazing. This guitar should be a lifetime keeper for me. Value: The DRS1 is absolutely worth the price. Honestly, as I said before, it could be sold for much more and nobody would argue after playing it. Manufacturer Support: I did have to call for customer service within the first week. The Fishman pickup wasn't working at all. I contemplated a return after digging into the Fishman's connections to no avail. After disconnecting/reconnecting all the available connections, I noticed that the saddle wasn't seated properly. After all that, the system has worked flawlessly. Not sure what connection it was, but what ever it was must have come loose in shipping. I then cancelled the return. The Wow Factor: The look of the Sapele ALWAYS solicits gasps or wows from all who see it. Online pictures really don't do the color justice. It is much darker and more similar to that of the shade of brown that you see in pictures of Martin's D-15, only with a much more appealing luster and complexity to the wood grain. (The wood actually SMELLS good too. ha.) The sound is also a wow factor. It combines the usual excellent clarity/tone of a Martin with a warmer low/mid than you're used to hearing in a Martin. Overall: It is amazing that this guitar is sold at the price point it is. I did some serious playing research before I chose to purchase this guitar. Over the course of three months, I identified six or so guitars that I had read enough about, heard enough about, or seen enough of to possibly want to own one as my next guitar. The list had alot of the regulars on it: Gibson, Martin, Taylor, Takamine, Breedlove, and one dark horse, Wechter. I played all of them, sometimes making more than three trips to the shop to play them again. Near the end of the process, I was down to two Martins. The DCPA4 and the DRS1. Playing the two, I'd be happy with either (who wouldn't!?). But the DRS1 was much warmer and still displayed that Martin clarity along with it. And the beauty of the Sapele top is a sight to see. Much better in person than in online photos. Much. On top of that, it has a lower price tag than the DCPA4. So, the DRS1 was an easy choice. To me, the sound of the DRS1 most closely resembles the Martin D-18. Which is why I am surprised that Martin sells it for so much less than the D18 ($1700 less!). It's safe to say I am now a very happy DRS1 owner. **I went back and forth on this, but my reasoning for not giving it a full five stars is that the location for the Fishman's battery is a bit tricky to get to.**
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3. Nobody Beats zZounds‘ Fast & Free Shipping

At zZounds, we know you want your gear fast, and shipped to you free of charge. That‘s why we have absolutely free ground shipping on every single order shipped within the continental United States. This includes heavy and oversized items. No minimum purchase required. No exclusions. We also ship over 90% of our orders with FREE 2-day shipping. We pull it all off with our strategically placed, coast-to-coast warehouses.

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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.

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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.

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orders $59+
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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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no minimum

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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!