At Musician’s Friend, our passion is helping musicians make music. For over 50 years, we have been providing musicians, from beginners to pros, with the gear, knowledge, and inspiration needed to fully pursue their musical passion.

Our Story

Musician’s Friend was founded in 1970 by two high school friends and bandmates, Ryan Smith and Mark Jones. As young musicians themselves, Ryan and Mark knew firsthand the challenges that musicians faced in finding affordable, quality gear. After sharing equipment, researching products obsessively, and helping fellow band members purchase their instruments and accessories, the duo realized that there was a need for a business catering specifically to musicians.

In their parents’ garage, 19-year old Ryan and Mark launched a mail-order catalog selling discounted music equipment. Word spread among the local music community about the deals at Musician’s Friend and business quickly took off. Within a year, the headquarters moved out of the garage into a small storefront in San Diego, California.

As the company grew regionally over 18 years, major manufacturers took note, allowing Musician’s Friend to offer even more competitive pricing on top music equipment brands. When the website launched online in 1998, it opened up Musician’s Friend to musicians across the country. National expansion followed as well as international delivery to Europe, Australia, Asia and beyond.

While no longer operating out of a garage, Musician’s Friend remains grounded in the original vision of Ryan and Mark – to help all musicians pursue their passion by making quality equipment and knowledge accessible. This passion lives on through the family-like culture cultivated within the Musician’s Friend staff. From sales representatives started as customers to the executives leading the company today, the team is deeply invested in serving the needs of musicians.

Our Values

Since those early days in the garage, Musician’s Friend has held onto core values that drive our interactions with customers and teammates alike. These shared values are at the heart of who we are:


We exist exclusively to serve musicians. From beginners learning their first guitar riffs to touring pros perfecting their on-stage sound, musicians are our sole focus. Decisions at Musician’s Friend always start with considering the musician: What solution best enables musicians to keep playing and creating? How can we save musicians time and money? It is our privilege to support musicians’ musical journeys.

Knowledge & Guidance

With catalog spanning all instrument types and music genres, purchasing music gear can feel overwhelming. Through extensive product research, thorough customer consultation, and educational resources, our team helps match musicians to the perfect gear for their needs and goals. Musician’s Friend equips both casual hobbyists and devoted performers with expert knowledge guiding them to great-sounding purchases.


Music by nature connects people together. At Musician’s Friend, fostering community sits at the heart of our culture. Our enthusiastic staff builds rapport with the musicians we serve through genuine dialogue and sharing our own musical passions. By bringing musicians together around their love for music, Musician’s Friend strengthens the worldwide community of artists innovating the future of music itself.

Drive & Grit

Starting Musician’s Friend required tireless entrepreneurial effort from our founders. That same scrappy, focused drive continues propelling the company forward today. We actively seek out ways to expand our inventory, improve service, and reach more musicians to further the original mission. The passion of our diverse staff coalesces around boldly supporting musicians’ development through both disruptive thinking and consistent excellence.

Our Services

Musician’s Friend brings together everything needed for musicians to fully pursue their craft, all in one place. Key services include:

Gear Shopping

Our online and retail stores offer access to the world’s top music instrument and equipment brands across all categories and price ranges. You will find the largest selections of guitars, amps, drums, recording gear, PA equipment, DJ gear and more ready to purchase for any budget. Whether you need to replace a guitar string or invest in a new touring rig, we have you covered.

Expert Guidance

Our team brings decades of collective music experience ready to help guide you to great-sounding gear purchases. Before you buy, consult Musician’s Friend Gear Heads online via chat, email or phone on topics like:

Try Before You Buy

In select locations, our music instrument stores feature hands-on showrooms allowing you to test gear before buying. Dig into the feel of different guitar necks, dial in the tone of amp heads, and listen to mixers in action. Experience equipment in person so what you take home best fits your needs.

Education & Inspiration

The Musician’s Friend Blog and YouTube channel deliver a wealth of knowledge to help musicians continually hone their craft. Our in-house experts and contributing artists dive into topics like home recording techniques, guitarist interviews, drumming basics, live sound reinforcement tips and much more. Video demos and written lessons aim to both educate and ignite creativity within the musical community.

Hassle-Free Support

Even professional musicians run into technical problems on occasion – instruments lose their intonation, cables short out mid-gig, guitar strings suddenly snap. Musician’s Friend offers rapid solutions getting you back up and running, so the show goes on. Extended warranty plans provide further peace of mind defending against damage. For smooth sailing with your musical investment, the Musician’s Friend support team has your back long-term.

Our Impact

Supporting Musical Innovation

Both emerging artists and music legends rely on quality instruments enabling them to translate artistic vision into recorded songs and impactful live shows. Musician’s Friend supplies pros across genres with the gear integral for their signature sounds and influential albums. Our catalog spans iconic instruments heard on some of history’s most pivotal recordings – Fender Telecasters, Gibson Les Pauls, Ludwig drum kits, Neumann microphones and beyond. Outfitting musical creators of all levels sparks innovation rippling across the wider culture.

Music Education Access

Cost often prevents aspiring musicians from picking up an instrument or participating in instruction. Musician’s Friend partners with schools and community organizations to donate both new and used instruments helping remove barriers limiting access. Students unlocked opportunity through past instrument donations praise the joy of musical discovery, sense of achievement performing, and growth in discipline. We believe all students deserve a chance to develop their inner musical abilities regardless of economic hardship.

Preserving Music Traditions

From Indian sitars to African djembes, Irish tin whistles to Hawaiian ukuleles, musical instruments give voice to cultures worldwide. Musician’s Friend stocks instruments central to traditions spanning the globe so musicians everywhere can celebrate heritage through song. Beyond commercial value, instruments carry generations of history within their tonal construction and symbolic designs. We handle sought-after vintage models with care, finding them new homes to preserve fading craftsmanship and sounds from the past.

Sustainability Efforts

At Musician’s Friend, we understand the environmental toll of mass manufacturing and shipping. That is why we have implemented comprehensive sustainability initiatives guiding company operations. All facilities utilize solar roofing, recycled packaging, and office-wide commitments reducing paper and plastic waste. A portion of each sale helps counteract emissions from delivery vehicles via investments in carbon-offset nonprofits. As demand grows globally for instruments and audio equipment, Musician’s Friend leads the industry taking responsibility towards environmental solutions.

Our Future

Even after a half-century in business, the energy and ambition within Musician’s Friend runs high. We move into the future guided by our long-time service to musicians yet responsive to consumer and technology shifts reimagining music creation. Musician’s Friend evolves while upholding our original identity – trusted advisors placing musicians first.


The modern musical landscape spans a diverse array genres fusing once disparate styles – folktronica, jazz-metal, afrobeat-house. As musical trajectories personalize, musicians demand specialized gear catering to niche creative approaches. Musician’s Friend continually expands inventory targeted to micro-communities allowing any artist to actualize their distinctive musical vision.

Digital Acceleration

Music production technologies enable bedroom musicians unprecedented power arranging songs on laptops. Through strategic partnerships, Musician’s Friend integrated digital solutions help artists compose, edit, record, process, and publish music all from their phones. Our online Artist Hub consolidates these creation tools providing user-friendly, affordable packages for hobbyists to seize the benefits of musical technologies.


Environmental responsibility steers companies worldwide as climate impacts escalate globally. Beyond current sustainability practices, Musician’s Friend researches renewable materials substituting tonewoods and petroleum-based plastics across our product lines. Through advocating greener vendor policies plus offsetting all operations emissions, we aim for full carbon-neutrality within 10 years without sacrificing quality or accessibility. The future of music must safeguard natural resources for generations to come while still equipping artists everywhere through disruption.

Expanded Community

Looking back 50 years, Musician’s Friend began as a humble garage start-up between two high school friends. Looking ahead, our community now extends across borders and oceans numbering over 10 million customers and growing. Yet even at global scale, we nurture the same personal connections and musical camaraderie foundational to our inception. Through online forums, in-person events, and social platforms, musicians unite through Musician’s Friend into a supportive ecosystem encouraging artistic development at all skill levels. Our crew of Gear Heads swell to match our broadening community presence as trusted advisors and musical advocates.

At Musician’s Friend, the song remains the same as 1970 – equipping musicians so music never stops. We carry the fiery dedication of founders Ryan and Mark into an emerging era guided by our commitment to musicians, ready to amplify artistic passions however technology and culture evolve. The musical adventure continues as we write Musician’s Friend’s next chapter honoring the creative communities making the soundtrack of life across the planet. Our greatest achievements are yet to come.