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9 ways to get a discount at Guitar Center

9 ways to get a discount at Guitar Center
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Theo Thimou |
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If you’ve got a kid who loves making music — or maybe you’re a musician yourself — you’ve probably heard of Guitar Center, at least in passing.

Right now through May 9, Guitar Center is having its annual Guitar-a-Thon sale. It’s a good time to get some great deals on musical equipment.

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You don’t need a Guitar Center coupon to get a great deal!

Everybody’s familiar with the old standby of buying used when it comes to musical equipment. And Guitar Center doesn’t disappoint, with an entire section of its website dedicated to used instruments and a selection of secondhand gear in stores.

But here are some other ways you may not know about to find the best deals on the floor and online.

1. Look for the yellow Guitar-a-Thon tags

The Guitar-a-Thon is one of Guitar Center’s periodic big blowout sales. You can identify Guitar-a-Thon items by the prominent yellow tags.

guitar-a-thon sale

But even though it is billed as “The Greatest Guitar Sale on Earth,” Guitar-a-Thon isn’t just all about the six-strings.

The deals extend to other musical equipment like this Williams Allegro2Plus keyboard. At $299, that’s $50 off the list price of $349.

2. Orange tags mean clearance items

Here’s where you’ll find some real deals, regardless of the time of year you come in the door.

This Acoustic BN210 600W 2×10 Bass Speaker Cabinet was priced at $199 to move out the door. That was a full $300 off the list price of $499!

acoustic clearance sale

This guitar below, priced at $279 on clearance, was $120 off the regular list price of $399.

clearance sale at guitar center

You’ll find the clearance guitars grouped together off to the side on the guitar wall. Other types of clearance items will likely be grouped together in other sections, too.

3. Blue labels mean scratch-and-dent items

Money expert Clark Howard loves scratch-and-dent items when it comes to appliances and furniture. Guitar Center offers some scratch-and-dent gear and it can be a bargain — with one big caveat.

We found these 600-watt 12″ Harbinger Vari V2212 2‑Way Class D Loudspeaker for $199 with the blue scratch-and-dent label.

The listing noted the speakers had some physical damage, though none was apparent to the naked eye.

scratch and dent at guitar center

At first glance, $199 seems good because that’s $50 off the list price of $249.

Sounds like a great deal, right? Not so fast…

A quick web search revealed the exact same loudspeaker — minus any physical damage — was available on the Guitar Center website for $20 less. With free shipping, to boot!

harbinger vari loudspeaker

The moral of the story is be sure to comparison shop Guitar Center’s physical-store prices against their online prices. And don’t forget to check regional competitors like Sam Ash and regional players like Ken Stanton Music.

But here’s the nice thing about Guitar Center. If you find a lower advertised price on the exact same instruments or gear from a competitor, there’s a 45-day price guarantee.

If at any time within 45 days of your purchase from us, you find the identical item advertised by any authorized dealer (including Guitar Center) in the print or online media identified below at a price lower than what you paid, just bring in the dealer’s ad, along with your original Guitar Center receipt, and we’ll gladly refund you 100% of the difference.

4. Look for random one-off deals

Not every sale is part of big knock-down, drag-out bonanza like Guitar-a-Thon. Sometimes you happen upon isolated deals like these specials on guitar picks and guitar strings:

Buy 2, get 1 free sale on guitar picks

ernie ball strings sale at guitar center

5. Shop online for open-box items

Like a lot of retailers, Guitar Center has a part of its website dedicated to what it calls the “Outlet.”

Here you’ll find open-box, restock and clearance items, all in one place. You can see the outlet inventory at your closest store, too.

So what kind of savings can you get by buying open box?

Take this Mitchell MD400 Modern Rock Double-Cutaway Electric Guitar:

mitchell guitar

You could save an additional $36 by buying it open box on the Outlet site.

You’d pay $263 instead of $299.

outlet at guitar center open box

6. Take free classes

A part of every Guitar Center store is dedicated to space where music lessons are conducted for aspiring players. But there’s a freebie to be had here.

While you could pay for private music lessons, you could also skate for free with a variety of free community classes.

These free community classes offer group instruction — not the one-on-one lessons you’d get as a paying customers — and there are three flavors of class: one for seniors, one for children and one for women. The free community classes repeat on a monthly basis.

Call your local Guitar Center to find out when the next free classes are being held at your local store.

7. Get $5 off when you sign up for the Guitar Center newsletter

When you go to for the first time, you should get hit with this offer below. It’s an easy way to pick up a savings of $5.

guitar center email sign-up discount

8. Get discounted gift cards online

This trick applies to pretty much any retailer that offers gift cards!

Sites like and will facilitate the resale of Guitar Center gift cards at a big discount from their face value. The sellers are people who were given the cards as a gift but don’t want them.

At the time of this writing, you could score up to 15% off the face value when you buy a previously owned Guitar Center gift card at

gift card granny guitar center gift cards

That means a $175 gift card will cost you only $148.75!

These cards are typically guaranteed to work for up to 180 days after purchase, though be sure to double-check the policy carefully before buying.

9. Employees get deep gear discounts

If you have a teen who loves music, they might consider working at Guitar Center. There are at least two separate merchandise discount programs for employees list on the careers section of the retailer’s website.

One associate we spoke with told the discount programs allow him to buy select instruments and gear at 10% above Guitar Center’s cost. That works out to be a substantial savings of 50% or 60% off the everyday prices that customers pay, we were told.