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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkfan
    I just love the camaraderie in this community! archtop.com
    me too !

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkfan
    I just love the camaraderie in this community! archtop.com

    DITTO. I am newer than most ...kinda. Well, I have done several stints here before, some going back a few years. The Yahoo group was cool back when and I had some buddies there, but it withered away.

    This place has friendly helpful people. Real jazz guitar players and some more players in making. Cool folks though. There is some jazz baggage and some sarcastic quips (from me and a few others at times) but no disrespect or troll attitudes (mosty. ha!). Lot's of valuable sharing. Weeeee.

    I've been happy to contribute when I can, and learn when I can.

    Thanks everyone....

    Doc

  4. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz_175
    You've been talking a lot about this Legrand model, but is there anyone who can spend a couple of words about the L5 Ritenour model, which is the model the OP intended to buy.
    Just to hear someone who had experience with this guitar.
    Check out that Ritenour L5. Nice!

    Used Gibson Custom Shop Lee Ritenour L5 Electric Guitar Antique Sunburst | eBay

  5. #104

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    Yes, for a while recently on Reverb.com that Music Zoo Rit L-5 was 15% off with a promotion code, making it under $6K.

  6. #105

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    I bet that TMZ would be willing to sell the L5 Lee Ritenour for under $6000 when approached directly.

    Ebay takes a 10% cut. Paypal takes about 3%. By buying directly, TMZ realises the same amount from the sale. It is listed on its own website anyway so there is nothing unprincipled about it.
    Used Gibson Custom Shop Lee Ritenour L5 Electric Guitar Antique Sunburst | The Music Zoo

    Like Vinny's 2014 Super 400CESN I bet that there is very little of it that is "used" except for the price.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 01-02-2016 at 10:10 AM.

  7. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    I bet that TMZ would be willing to sell the L5 Lee Ritenour for under $6000 when approached directly.

    Ebay takes a 10% cut. Paypal takes about 3%. By buying directly, TMZ realises the same amount from the sale. It is listed on its own website anyway so there is nothing unprincipled about it.
    Used Gibson Custom Shop Lee Ritenour L5 Electric Guitar Antique Sunburst | The Music Zoo

    Like Vinny's 2014 Super 400CESN I bet that there is very little of it that is "used" except for the price.
    thanks, someone is already on the way to check it out (see #97)

  8. #107

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    Wish I was on the other coast! TMZ has a guitar I'd like to check out too!

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by kid335

    ......
    The story has a happy ending though. I reached out to the builder of the guitar, who in turn referred me to another local archtop builder who was able to identify and completely fix the problem. It has turned out to be one of my favorite guitars and one that I expect to own for many years.
    ...
    ...just out of curiosity, which guitar was that and what kind of problem you found?

  10. #109

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    I am getting ready to pull the trigger again at TMZ. Better hurry up and snatch up that Rit L5 before I do. They will honor the 15% off. I can guarantee it is brand new old stock. That Rit L5 is the only Gibson you can get with a "true" JS pickup.

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    I am getting ready to pull the trigger again at TMZ. Better hurry up and snatch up that Rit L5 before I do. They will honor the 15% off. I can guarantee it is brand new old stock. That Rit L5 is the only Gibson you can get with a "true" JS pickup.
    No rush necessary, i'm already trying to contact them ;-).
    And yep that pickup is much more likable than the BJB.

  12. #111

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    JazzNote, Talk to Garrett. He will give you that price. He also offered me that wine Brydland for $5100 delivered.

  13. #112

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    First of all, Julie and I would like to wish all members of this thread a very Happy New Year, with special thanks for all those who spared a good word for us. We apologize for not responding to the thread more quickly, but have just been pointed to it by one of our trusty guitar students. As sunlight is the best disinfectant, we wanted to correct several statements that require some clarification, below:

    …my experience submitting a guitar for consignment was not a good one.
    phantom setup charges and substituted parts…


    To be clear, we have never assessed ‘phantom charges’ on any instrument. When an instrument arrives, clean, properly set up and strung, it goes straight to the showroom, But shipping valuable instruments is expensive for our customers, and doubly so in the event of a return. So if an instrument arrives that needs some attention, we owe it to our customers to ensure it looks and plays its very best, right out of the box. This attention to detail, which some might call obsessive, has paid off well over the years in happy customers, maximized return to consigners, and an enviably low return rate.

    If an instrument should need vintage correct parts or hardware to maximize its sales price, we are happy to supply them, while keeping whatever non-original parts were removed included in the case. We never perform any work on an instrument that is not intended to improve its sales price, and we estimate that every dollar invested in proper preparation yields many times its vale at the time of sale.

    Moreover, we never require our consigners to pay for any labor or materials out of pocket: we cover all costs until the instrument is sold, regardless of how long it takes, interest free. If however a consigner should prefer to have their instrument prepped in advance, we’re delighted to provide our detailed setup specs directly to their luthier: it makes our job a whole lot easier to have instruments arrive in sales-ready condition.

    "Hand antiqued" really means well-used.

    Not at all. Our hand antiqued parts are always brand new, and carefully aged to look as close to original parts as humanly possible.

    I've seen several guitars w/obvious known issues that I previously owned appear for sale w/no mention of said issues.

    To protect our customers, we do inspect all instruments we receive as intensively as possible. But we do have to rely on our consigners to alert us to any issues that may have arisen in an instrument’s history. But if they have failed to do so, for any reason, we’re the ones who have to accept the responsibility. And if we have somehow missed any significant issue with an instrument, we do refund all costs, including shipping in full to the customer, both ways. It’s expensive, but we do it because it’s simply the right thing to do, regardless of where the responsibility ultimately lies.


    Yeah, not being able to get a hold of him within the 48-hour trial is a familiar tune.

    In point of fact, we are very flexible with our approval period, and have never declined a request for an extension of the approval period. In fact, the only time we have ever declined to accept a return request was one that arrived several weeks after purchase, well after we had already paid the consigner in full.

    Yeah, you WON'T get that (25% excise tax) back from your Customs and Excise should you have to return it. Joe knows...

    Actually, Joe, doesn’t. We ship instruments to dozens of countries worldwide, and if we were to try to monitor every individual set of tax regulations, we’d wind up doing nothing else. However, we are more than happy to help expedite and customs or import issue as best we can, and we do this regularly for our valued overseas customers.

    One person had the original knobs of his guitar swapped out and a $200 bill because "nobody wants those knobs".

    Outrageous…if it were true. We looked up the service record for this particular instrument and found it actually received: 1) a custom made vintage correct pickguard, 2) cleaning and buffing for scratches and dings, 3) a complete top-to-bottom setup, 4) a new set of strings, and 5) an extra set of hand-antiqued Gibson knobs. Total cost for the new knobs: $7.50 apiece. And the knobs it came with, of course, stayed with the guitar.

    He also told me that he would pay the expense if it was indeed set-up related. This was memorialized in email correspondence as well.

    If you still have a copy of this correspondence, please forward it to us at your earliest convenience. More importantly, if you still have the repair invoice, please forward a copy as well, and we will be more than happy to reimburse you for your setup costs in full, no matter how long ago this may have occurred.

    …he charged me a 20% restock fee plus shipping back…

    This is a bit confusing. As a matter of policy, we do not charge restocking fees on returned instruments, and searching our records, can’t find a transaction that matches these details. In the event of a return, our customers cover only the shipping costs. (If the purchase was made with a card, VISA, MC etc do not refund their processing fees, typically around 3%, so we can’t refund these either.) If however, you still feel you have been charged unfairly for anything, please forward us a copy of your invoice and we will look into it asap for you. If you can’t locate your invoice, just forward your name, and we will pull it up for you ourselves, with thanks in advance for your prompt attention.

    As we at archtop.com celebrate our 20th year, Julie and I have been gratified to have played matchmaker to players and their beloved guitars, and made good friends in the process all over the world, from celebrated artists to Sunday pickers of all kinds. We’re humbled to have received a number of kind comments over the years as well, many of which you can see here, if you like:

    archtop.com: Friends

    And finally to all of our valued customers, if you ever have any questions, queries or complaints about your experience, please just call us direct, toll free, at the number below: it goes right to our desks. There's always room for improvement in our customer service, and we welcome the unvarnished feedback from our friends to help us keep improving as well.

    Many thanks, and stay in touch.

    Joe Vinikow
    archtop.com
    toll free: 877-850-1978
    206.325.3737

  14. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    JazzNote, Talk to Garrett. He will give you that price. He also offered me that wine Brydland for $5100 delivered.
    Just a moment ago i ordered the guitar. Now i need to patiently wait for the beauty :-).

  15. #114

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    Congrats buddy !

  16. #115

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    Folks, I don't know how many of you know what 2bop is describing, but I was bitten by the Hi End audio bug, too, in the early 90s. OMG did that get expensive. My buddies and I jumped into the deep end of the pool with cement shoes on, I swear. Class A amps, oxygen-free copper, gold-plated connections, time-phased speaker arrays, paper-in-oil capacitors for speaker crossover networks, 1-bit digital-to-analog converters, etc.

    Things get pretty out of hand, pretty quickly with High End. A pair of Audio Note Gaku On monoblock amplifiers--rated at 45 watts each--cost about $250,000 second hand. The transformers take 500 hours each to manufacture. The wiring throughout--even in the transformers--is pure silver.

    If you think that playing violin or piano is an expensive addiction, compared to archtop guitar, just think about High End audio. Mercifully, I survived that era and now have a relatively modest "stereo." Meanwhile, most people now listen to music via computer speakers or headbuds. We have re-entered the "lo-fi" era in which a Blows table radio is often considered to be good sounding equipment, these days. Hmm? Making matters worse, the bit-rate that many people use (unwittingly) on the music they download is generally 196 kbit/sec. Compared to CD quality (1,411 kbit/sec) this is about 1/7th of the audio quality. You can definitely hear the loss of audio fidelity on most mp3 recordings and transmissions--at least you can when they are reproduced on a system with speakers larger than the ones in your laptop or cellphone.

    I guess we should stick to making live music with our comparatively inexpensive guitars/amps.

  17. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    Folks, I don't know how many of you know what 2bop is describing, but I was bitten by the Hi End audio bug, too, in the early 90s. OMG did that get expensive. My buddies and I jumped into the deep end of the pool with cement shoes on, I swear. Class A amps, oxygen-free copper, gold-plated connections, time-phased speaker arrays, paper-in-oil capacitors for speaker crossover networks, 1-bit digital-to-analog converters, etc.

    Things get pretty out of hand, pretty quickly with High End. A pair of Audio Note Gaku On monoblock amplifiers--rated at 45 watts each--cost about $250,000 second hand. The transformers take 500 hours each to manufacture. The wiring throughout--even in the transformers--is pure silver.

    If you think that playing violin or piano is an expensive addiction, compared to archtop guitar, just think about High End audio. Mercifully, I survived that era and now have a relatively modest "stereo." Meanwhile, most people now listen to music via computer speakers or headbuds. We have re-entered the "lo-fi" era in which a Blows table radio is often considered to be good sounding equipment, these days. Hmm? Making matters worse, the bit-rate that many people use (unwittingly) on the music they download is generally 196 kbit/sec. Compared to CD quality (1,411 kbit/sec) this is about 1/7th of the audio quality. You can definitely hear the loss of audio fidelity on most mp3 recordings and transmissions--at least you can when they are reproduced on a system with speakers larger than the ones in your laptop or cellphone.

    I guess we should stick to making live music with our comparatively inexpensive guitars/amps.
    archtop.com-image-jpeg

  18. #117

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    You know, with all due respect, someone should respond back to Mr Vinikow's rebuttal. Its the fair thing to do.

    I'm not sure how this turned into the "miracle of make-up and proper lighting" thread.

    I'd like to know if Archtop dot com is a reliable, honest vendor. I trust the advice I get from the great folks here. That's what I will go by.

    JD

  19. #118

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    medblues,

    I didn't mean to hijack the thread. While I would agree that for many non-critical purposes lossy media are adequate, I think most of us can immediately hear the difference between live, acoustic music and the same music reproduced on even the best equipment--in the early 90s I heard a money-no-object system at the Epcot Center at Disney World...impressive. The sound stage isn't the same. (This is often a consequence of recording technique, but there _still_ remains a difference.)

    You can do a very simple experiment. Take a ride cymbal and a stick. Tap the cymbal in a rhythm pattern and record it. Play this back at CD-quality, then progressively more lossy playback values. Before you get to 196 kbit/sec you will here degradation of the cymbal sound.

    You can do the same thing with an upright bass. The rhythm and pace of the bass will suffer as you proceed to lossier reproduction values.

    AND, many people will convincingly claim that the CD-quality bit rate is already lossy enough to produce a degraded cymbal sound vis-a-vis high speed analog tape or vinyl playback. Certainly, the drums don't sound quite the way they do live (when you are standing or seated near them).

  20. #119

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    Joe,

    To get things back on track...I think archtop.com is a very respected vendor of archtop guitars. It has been around longer than almost anybody else on the 'net. (Gruhn, Mandolin--shed a tear, looks like they are closing, and Elderly go back farther.) IMO, the _average_ grade of instrument offered at archtop.com seems to have changed over time. Once, it was primarily a place to track down great Epiphone guitars. Gradually, archtop.com expanded to become the place to get the best archtops outside the unobtanium rooms at Gruhn's Guitars, Norm's and elsewhere. Perhaps the quality of the typical guitar offered has slipped a bit, but this seems to be almost universal. As the "boomers" reached peak earning power, they sucked up all of the great guitars. It's mostly player-grade instruments that are trading these days. Go to shows and that's what you see.

    I would not hesitate to purchase from archtop.com, myself. A little pricey, but no more than Gruhn's.

  21. #120

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    "One person had the original knobs of his guitar swapped out and a $200 bill because "nobody wants those knobs".

    Outrageous…if it were true. We looked up the service record for this particular instrument and found it actually received: 1) a custom made vintage correct pickguard, 2) cleaning and buffing for scratches and dings, 3) a complete top-to-bottom setup, 4) a new set of strings, and 5) an extra set of hand-antiqued Gibson knobs. Total cost for the new knobs: $7.50 apiece. And the knobs it came with, of course, stayed with the guitar."



    I already responded in this thread, and don't want to pile on, but I will again.

    I specified that I wanted to avoid setup charges and the like and sent a guitar that was cleaned and setup already.
    Then w/out my consent or knowledge, the original knobs and truss rod cover were removed and a new pickguard made and installed.
    It was only after receiving my check did I become aware of the following deductions:

    Custom pickguard, Gibson 5 ply wide bevel antiqued edge $85
    Knobs, Gibson gold reflector cap, antiqued [4] $35 [not $7.50 ea. as stated above, but whatever]
    Truss rod cover, Gibson 3 ply, antiqued $15
    Set up, [blah, blah ,blah--read the bottom of one of their ads for all the standard details] $50
    Restring $15

    Total cost $200, removed from my check.

    so yes, it wasn't $200 just for knobs, but rather $200 for unecessary changes.
    The pickguard may or may not have been original, though if it wasn't it sure fooled me, and I've been around the block a few times when it comes to vintage guitars and their parts/specs as many here know.

    whether archtop.com or anyone else likes or dislikes the original parts or feels replacing them would facilitate a sale is pointless. it was done w/out my knowledge. only when I received the check w/deductions did I become aware of this.
    and as I said before, I know of NO other dealer that removes original parts!

    "Outrageous" indeed.

    I'm not telling anyone to buy or not to buy from them and I'm sure they've had enough satisfied customers to stay in business this long, but just relating my own experince since it was asked in this thread.

    ymmv....
    Last edited by wintermoon; 01-06-2016 at 01:34 PM.

  22. #121

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    I would not hesitate to buy again from archtop.com, but I would be very explicit with my questions and would not assume anything based on the write ups.

    However well-intentioned Joe is, the ad copy utilizes too much boilerplate content and somewhat irrelevant general historical information for me. I don't need to know that a Gibson L-5CES began life in 1922 as a fully acoustic instrument. Just tell me more about the specific guitar being sold, please. Don't bury those details in so much generic and flowery copy.

  23. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco
    You know, with all due respect, someone should respond back to Mr Vinikow's rebuttal. Its the fair thing to do.

    I'm not sure how this turned into the "miracle of make-up and proper lighting" thread.

    I'd like to know if Archtop dot com is a reliable, honest vendor. I trust the advice I get from the great folks here. That's what I will go by.

    JD
    I can tell you that I indeed had to pay a 20% restock fee and shipping both ways on a bad X700 because I could not make the 48 hour return period because he was unavailable. Believe me if I still had the receipt it would have already been posted here but this was several years ago. I was quite upset at the time as I had done countless transactions prior with JV. After that I only sold with him. He will sell your guitar for sure. If you want to do a consignment sale he is one of the best. Only downside is if it doesn't sell in a timely manner he will drop the price without asking you first. Just remember 20% and shipping costs off the top also but he does seem to get high end market value for your guitar.
    I will say his opinion and my opinion of mint is very different but so is everyone's. Is he honest ? I would say yes.

  24. #123

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    if someone bought a $10,000 guitar and had to pay $2000 in restocking fees because you couldn't reach a dealer w/in a pre-determined time frame, that's absolutely ridiculous.

  25. #124

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    Speaking only from my personal experience buying from archtop.com, I would not hesitate to purchase a guitar from Joe again. Of course, like for any guitar purchase from any seller, private or dealer, one has to ask all the right questions first, especially if one is buying online. It's also a good idea to discuss the return policy to make sure that all parties understand and agree.

    All sellers have their idiosyncracies. Spending a little time in their store or on their website will reveal them in no time.

    I am sure that a thread about any dealer could turn into a series of posts detailing bad experiences. They happen. Sometimes due to miscommunication, other times through more or less honest mistakes from one side or the other. Truth is though, the long time dealers have to do something right or they wouldn't have been in business for that long.

  26. #125

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    Like I said, I had one bad experience with him. All the rest were good. I still sell guitars with him.

  27. #126
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but in his response, he didn't deny that he makes unauthorized repairs to the consignor's guitars. Nor did he deny that he deducts any amount that he sees fit for these repairs, from the amount ultimately remitted to the consignor.

  28. #127

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    As far as I'm concerned, any guitar that I consign to a dealer is still MINE until it has been sold and accepted by a new owner within any try-out period.

    So not a single thing should be done to it without explicit communication with me and the granting of my permission. If that means slightly less market value, then so be it. And I have the right to request MY guitar back at any time. I have avoided consigning with them because I've read about this stuff happening, and they are 3,000 miles away from me, making any recourse very inconvenient.

  29. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    "One person had the original knobs of his guitar swapped out and a $200 bill because "nobody wants those knobs".

    Outrageous…if it were true. We looked up the service record for this particular instrument and found it actually received: 1) a custom made vintage correct pickguard, 2) cleaning and buffing for scratches and dings, 3) a complete top-to-bottom setup, 4) a new set of strings, and 5) an extra set of hand-antiqued Gibson knobs. Total cost for the new knobs: $7.50 apiece. And the knobs it came with, of course, stayed with the guitar."



    I already responded in this thread, and don't want to pile on, but I will again.

    I specified that I wanted to avoid setup charges and the like and sent a guitar that was cleaned and setup already.
    Then w/out my consent or knowledge, the original knobs and truss rod cover were removed and a new pickguard made and installed.
    It was only after receiving my check did I become aware of the following deductions:

    Custom pickguard, Gibson 5 ply wide bevel antiqued edge $85
    Knobs, Gibson gold reflector cap, antiqued [4] $35 [not $7.50 ea. as stated above, but whatever]
    Truss rod cover, Gibson 3 ply, antiqued $15
    Set up, [blah, blah ,blah--read the bottom of one of their ads for all the standard details] $50
    Restring $15

    Total cost $200, removed from my check.

    so yes, it wasn't $200 just for knobs, but rather $200 for unecessary changes.
    The pickguard may or may not have been original, though if it wasn't it sure fooled me, and I've been around the block a few times when it comes to vintage guitars and their parts/specs as many here know.

    whether archtop.com or anyone else likes or dislikes the original parts or feels replacing them would facilitate a sale is pointless. it was done w/out my knowledge. only when I received the check w/deductions did I become aware of this.
    and as I said before, I know of NO other dealer that removes original parts!

    "Outrageous" indeed.

    I'm not telling anyone to buy or not to buy from them and I'm sure they've had enough satisfied customers to stay in business this long, but just relating my own experince since it was asked in this thread.

    ymmv....

    I want to add that if original parts were not substituted on my guitar and 'services' performed w/out my consent that were subsequently subtracted from my check as I stated above in post #121, I'd have been happy to send many more high end guitars to them.

    so the $200 extra I was dinged for ultimately resulted in a quite a loss of extra profit for them as well as me.

  30. #129

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    Thanks for helping set the record straight on the '$200 knob' urban legend. This sort of toxic myth can blow up very quickly on the web, as some earlier comments on this thread have amply demonstrated.

    But we will have to differ that any of the steps required to set this guitar in order were 'unnecessary' in any way. To be clear: the guitar arrived with a cheap, flimsy aftermarket pickguard clearly wrong for the model, which we replaced with a sturdy custom made guard with vintage correct specs, properly antiqued to match the original binding. (And we replaced it at our cost, with no markup.) It also needed strings, a complete setup, and cleaning, among other things.

    As one can clearly see from earlier comments in this thread, vintage customers care passionately about the tiniest of such details, and won't hesitate to subject any instrument to the most microscopic scrutiny. If the most incidental item isn't exactly right, you can bet we're going to hear about it, and plenty. And these are precisely the details that make the difference between a successful sale and a return, which is bad for both the purchaser and the consigner. And finally, these 'unnecessary' details repay themselves many times over in added value at the time of sale, in a market where too many retailers won't even change a rusty set of strings.

    The bottom line was we sold this instrument (a peculiar custom piece with an extremely short scale, a tough sell in any scenario) for top dollar, in very short order. And if we recall correctly, this item had languished unsold elsewhere for quite some time. As we've stated earlier, if a seller prefers to have their luthier bring the instrument up to specs themselves, more power to them, and less work for us. But no one can expend the labor and materials that any professional repair person would charge, and simply write them off altogether. And while we're wiling to absorb the costs ourselves for as long as it takes to sell the instrument (a service we believe is unique in the vintage market) at some point we simply do have to recoup our actual costs for labor and materials.

    That said, if there was a failure of communication in this regard, we sincerely apologize: there's always room for improvement here, and we take feedback from our valued customers very seriously. But we'll never apologize for our commitment to deliver the most meticulously restored and most highly playable instruments that we possibly can. It's a reputation we've fostered diligently over two decades, with happy customers now numbering in the thousands, and we'll defend it vigorously in any forum, at any time.

    (And, just for the record, our customers really *do* hate amp knobs on Gibson archtops. Nothing says 'cheesy '70's Norlin junk' like black witch hat knobs, which is why the company themselves ditched them for good, just as soon as they decided that a pleasant traditional appearance was actually an important feature on very expensive guitars. And don't forget the new owner can always put them back on if they want. We'll bet you a beer they never do.)

    So thanks for taking the time, end of rant. Stay in touch.

    Best Wishes,

    Joe Vinikow
    archtop.com

  31. #130

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    I haven't bought or sold a guitar through Joe, but I once sent him a vintage Gibson tailpiece to have the broken hinge repaired. Weeks later I mounted the tailpiece on the guitar, but several days later the repair broke again. Joe readily agreed to have the repair done again at no charge. This time it was successful and has held fast for several years. I don't think Joe had a great profit from this transaction, but he built a lot of goodwill.

  32. #131

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    Im sorry if I came off being Pissy or bossy on this. I am the last person to ask people to get back on topic. I am the #1 violator. Im sorry guys.

    Joe DeNisco

  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtops
    Nothing says 'cheesy '70's Norlin junk'
    I'm hoping you don't really feel that way about the 1975 L-5CN you sold to me. It was listed as a '70-'72, but the tailpiece has no Varitone hole (a post '73 phenomenon). I happened to find a Les Paul with a serial number about 10 digits away, and the pots on that guitar dated to 1975, so that's what I'm calling it.

    The ad said there was a Kalamazoo label inside the f hole - but my guitar has no label at all. That's copy/paste working against you. Not a big deal of course, but it was misinformation nonetheless.

    While I now love this guitar, it had fret, nut, and fingerboard issues that prevented it from being as silky perfect as it should have been for the website description (and the top dollar I paid). I had to spend a few hundred to make that right. It wasn't optional or bogus or made up... it was real. I can't prove it. But this was a dream "I gotta have it" guitar for me, yet I was on the verge of selling it when I took a chance on the repair. Fortunately, it was a night and day difference.

    I never reported any of this, and that's my fault - but the general sense that archtop.com is not very understanding about returns is the reason I didn't. Please at least be aware that the sentiment is out there, despite the many glowing reviews and happy customers that are also out there.

    Respectfully...
    Last edited by rpguitar; 01-06-2016 at 05:56 PM.

  34. #133

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    Joe, Did you approach the seller and tell him what you were doing before you did it? It think that's the issue here.
    And, if you take the position of being flexible on waiving the 20% restocking fee when the seller did try reaching you within that time period, are you open to refunding him the restocking fee that you took from him?

    Joe DeNisco

    Quote Originally Posted by archtops
    Thanks for helping set the record straight on the '$200 knob' urban legend. This sort of toxic myth can blow up very quickly on the web, as some earlier comments on this thread have amply demonstrated.

    But we will have to differ that any of the steps required to set this guitar in order were 'unnecessary' in any way. To be clear: the guitar arrived with a cheap, flimsy aftermarket pickguard clearly wrong for the model, which we replaced with a sturdy custom made guard with vintage correct specs, properly antiqued to match the original binding. (And we replaced it at our cost, with no markup.) It also needed strings, a complete setup, and cleaning, among other things.

    As one can clearly see from earlier comments in this thread, vintage customers care passionately about the tiniest of such details, and won't hesitate to subject any instrument to the most microscopic scrutiny. If the most incidental item isn't exactly right, you can bet we're going to hear about it, and plenty. And these are precisely the details that make the difference between a successful sale and a return, which is bad for both the purchaser and the consigner. And finally, these 'unnecessary' details repay themselves many times over in added value at the time of sale, in a market where too many retailers won't even change a rusty set of strings.

    The bottom line was we sold this instrument (a peculiar custom piece with an extremely short scale, a tough sell in any scenario) for top dollar, in very short order. And if we recall correctly, this item had languished unsold elsewhere for quite some time. As we've stated earlier, if a seller prefers to have their luthier bring the instrument up to specs themselves, more power to them, and less work for us. But no one can expend the labor and materials that any professional repair person would charge, and simply write them off altogether. And while we're wiling to absorb the costs ourselves for as long as it takes to sell the instrument (a service we believe is unique in the vintage market) at some point we simply do have to recoup our actual costs for labor and materials.

    That said, if there was a failure of communication in this regard, we sincerely apologize: there's always room for improvement here, and we take feedback from our valued customers very seriously. But we'll never apologize for our commitment to deliver the most meticulously restored and most highly playable instruments that we possibly can. It's a reputation we've fostered diligently over two decades, with happy customers now numbering in the thousands, and we'll defend it vigorously in any forum, at any time.

    (And, just for the record, our customers really *do* hate amp knobs on Gibson archtops. Nothing says 'cheesy '70's Norlin junk' like black witch hat knobs, which is why the company themselves ditched them for good, just as soon as they decided that a pleasant traditional appearance was actually an important feature on very expensive guitars. And don't forget the new owner can always put them back on if they want. We'll bet you a beer they never do.)

    So thanks for taking the time, end of rant. Stay in touch.

    Best Wishes,

    Joe Vinikow
    archtop.com

  35. #134

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    "But we will have to differ that any of the steps required to set this guitar in order were 'unnecessary' in any way. To be clear: the guitar arrived with a cheap, flimsy aftermarket pickguard clearly wrong for the model, which we replaced with a sturdy custom made guard with vintage correct specs, properly antiqued to match the original binding. (And we replaced it at our cost, with no markup.) It also needed strings, a complete setup, and cleaning, among other things."

    I have to disagree, and to be clear for the last time, I sent the guitar w/ new strings, cleaned the guitar and set it up perfectly. I also emailed before the sale stating that I performed these tasks to remove any possibility of being charged for these tasks.

    your ad even mentioned that the guitar "has been impeccably cared for, as befits an instrument of its distinguished pedigree" and "remains in immaculate showroom condition, free of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear"


    "(And, just for the record, our customers really *do* hate amp knobs on Gibson archtops. Nothing says 'cheesy '70's Norlin junk' like black witch hat knobs, which is why the company themselves ditched them for good, just as soon as they decided that a pleasant traditional appearance was actually an important feature on very expensive guitars. And don't forget the new owner can always put them back on if they want. We'll bet you a beer they never do.)"

    and once again, whether you or anyone else dislikes the original equipment that came w/the guitar is pointless and irrelevant. I'm aware that many people dislike them, but if a customer truly hates any original factory equipment, they are welcome to change them after purchasing @ their expense, not mine, and not w/out my approval.

  36. #135

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    To rpguitar: Thanks for your note, and we’re glad you were finally able to date your L-5 more accurately. As we all know, Gibson Norlin-era serial numbers between 1970 and 1975 are notoriously redundant, making positive dating on these instruments a challenge, even with the most accurate numbers currently available. As to the setup, we do regret if it was not entirely to your expectations. While we likely spend more effort to provide a high-precision setup than most other retailers, we acknowledge that individual players may have widely varying requirements, and that instruments may require additional dialing-in of setups post-purchase to suit specific needs and tastes.

    As to our return policy, it has been consistent, and exceedingly flexible from the very beginning. We accept returns for any reason, or no reason at all, and we refund the purchase price promptly upon return of the instrument. In order to protect our consigners, we do require that customer make a return request within 48 hours of actually opening their parcel and inspecting the instrument. Whether by phone or email, this may be done at any time of night or day, weekdays or weekends, and the approval period stays open until we are actually able to reach back to the customer. We don’t play ‘gotcha’ with time limits, and we have always been happy to extend an approval to accommodate a purchaser’s appointment with a local luthier for inspection. We’ve always taken pride in having a clear, generous and hassle-free return system, and hearing of any perception otherwise would certainly be a surprise to us.

    To Joe DeNisco: Thanks for your question, and we still remain puzzled by this ‘20% restocking’ claim. We have never charged restocking fees on instrument returns, and cannot recall any instance where we have done so. (The only scenario we can imagine for any such charge might be if an instrument were somehow returned with uninsured damage.) We’re still awaiting contact from the individual who made this assertion, so we can try to reconstruct any circumstances that might substantiate such a claim. We have yet to hear back from them, and remain eager to set the record straight in this matter once and for all.

    To wintermoon: If you sincerely believe any of our prep charges failed to add value to the sales price of your instrument, or failed to expedite its sale in a speedy fashion, please contact us directly and we will arrange for a refund accordingly. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction: full stop, end of story.

    With many thanks again for your kind and informative comments, I remain

    Yours Sincerely,

    Joe Vinikow
    archtop.com

  37. #136

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    Joe V,

    It was me Vince Kowski one of your most valuable customers for the last 15 years that you charged the 20% to. It was about 5 years ago on a X700 that I paid $3495 for. I no longer have the receipt to prove it but after that happened as you noticed I only sell guitars with you now. You have my mailing address if you want to make it right. I am sure you remember that I was not happy. In fact after that incident I didn't talk to you anymore. Since that happened I have only communicated with you via email. You also know that I have always left very positive remarks on your website regarding our business transactions. The X700 was the one bitter pill. Every other transaction was a pleasure to do with you.

    Sincerely, Vince Kowski

  38. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtops

    To wintermoon: If you sincerely believe any of our prep charges failed to add value to the sales price of your instrument, or failed to expedite its sale in a speedy fashion, please contact us directly and we will arrange for a refund accordingly. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction: full stop, end of story.


    Yours Sincerely,

    Joe Vinikow
    archtop.com
    To my understanding, his primary complaint has to do with you having done the modifications WITHOUT his knowledge and/or consent. It's HIS guitar until it's sold. Any changes you deem necessary in order to bring the guitar up to spec MUST be approved by him.

  39. #138

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtops
    ...we acknowledge that individual players may have widely varying requirements, and that instruments may require additional dialing-in of setups post-purchase to suit specific needs and tastes.
    Sure. This was a re-fret, new nut, and surgical fingerboard planing to compensate for a sloping issue that could not be dialed out. Those are out of bounds for "setup."

    Anyway I do thank you, Joe, for being here and addressing the issues in this thread personally.

  40. #139

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    Vince, Thanks for getting in touch. We did find your invoice from 2008, and it does show a restocking charge of 10% on this instrument. As our email records are incomplete for this period, we can't tell exactly why this charge was assessed, as it is quite unusual here. As there's no way we can clear this up conclusively without documentation at this late date, we'll be happy to issue you a refund for the balance, minus only the shipping costs.

    Please email us directly at info@archtop.com, and we'll forward you a copy of the original invoice as well. Best, -jv

  41. #140

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    Thank you very much Joe.

  42. #141

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkfan
    To my understanding, his primary complaint has to do with you having done the modifications WITHOUT his knowledge and/or consent. It's HIS guitar until it's sold. Any changes you deem necessary in order to bring the guitar up to spec MUST be approved by him.
    I agree.

    I'd like to see how he answers this.

  43. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by edh
    I agree.

    I'd like to see how he answers this.
    Me too!

    But, so far, it's "all quiet on the western front..."

  44. #143

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    Quote Originally Posted by edh
    I agree.

    I'd like to see how he answers this.

    guys, he posted here and said he'd refund the money so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
    it's only right, imo, and we'll see how it goes.
    all I wanted was to be treated fairly from the beginning w/no surprises.

  45. #144

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    Thanks again for your kind comments. As a Mom and Pop business, we have always tried our best to get our consigner's instruments up on the web as quickly as possible, and always in the very best possible condition. Through the years, we've had the very good fortune to have had as about much business as we can handle, and sometimes a little bit more. While it's been a good problem to have, this volume of traffic has sometimes meant that on occasion, our communications haven't always been as good as we might have liked.

    When this has been the case, we've tried our best to set the record straight, and more importantly, to make sure we set things right with our valued customers. After we had a chance to review our records, some from many years ago, we've issued refunds as appropriate, to ensure that our customers always know that they will be treated fairly here.

    Once again, we'd like to thank all concerned for keeping the conversation productive and amiable, and look forward to continued good relations in the future.

    Best Wishes,

    Joe Vinikow
    archtop.com

  46. #145

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by archtops
    Thanks again for your kind comments. As a Mom and Pop business, we have always tried our best to get our consigner's instruments up on the web as quickly as possible, and always in the very best possible condition. Through the years, we've had the very good fortune to have had as about much business as we can handle, and sometimes a little bit more. While it's been a good problem to have, this volume of traffic has sometimes meant that on occasion, our communications haven't always been as good as we might have liked.

    When this has been the case, we've tried our best to set the record straight, and more importantly, to make sure we set things right with our valued customers. After we had a chance to review our records, some from many years ago, we've issued refunds as appropriate, to ensure that our customers always know that they will be treated fairly here.

    Once again, we'd like to thank all concerned for keeping the conversation productive and amiable, and look forward to continued good relations in the future.

    Best Wishes,

    Joe Vinikow
    archtop.com
    That's a stand-up guy talking. Few vendors would have come on a forum and been as forthcoming. If I ever get to the point of buying a vintage arch top, you're going to be hearing from me.

  47. #146

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    Joe V just contacted me and said he is sending me a check to make my 1 bad experience with him 100% right so I must say he is a man of his word. I never said he was dishonest just 1 bad transaction. Now I must say that all the transactions I have done with archtop.com over the years have been 100% positive.

  48. #147

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    I remain a skeptic and believe it took a public lashing on a very relevant forum for Joe V to "make things right." Buyer beware.

  49. #148

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    It's always good when misunderstandings are addressed properly by a store owner. My feeling is even if it costs you some loss profit up front, you'll usually end up making it up many times over in the long run. A great example of this is Dave Rogers at Dave's Guitar LaCrosse , Wisconsin. I've seen him personally lose $ in a deal w/ a customer over the phone on a guitar deal. I always liked him and felt he was honest, but this really proved it to me as a bystander.

    My only interactions w/ Joe Vinakow have been mostly positive over the phone. But I will say he wouldn't answer ?'s I had reguarding neck specs in several emails I had sent. Maybe this gets rid of tire kickers, but it also got rid of me.
    I do have friends who have had very good transactions w/ Archtop.com and seem to be very satisfied.

    Again I think archtop guitars is a rather small and specialized market in general. And most players,collectors and dealers have long time repeat customers. So it's only in their interests to make sure the customer comes first, even if you lose out a little some times.

  50. #149

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Joe V,

    It was me Vince Kowski one of your most valuable customers for the last 15 years that you charged the 20% to. It was about 5 years ago on a X700 that I paid $3495 for. I no longer have the receipt to prove it but after that happened as you noticed I only sell guitars with you now. You have my mailing address if you want to make it right. I am sure you remember that I was not happy. In fact after that incident I didn't talk to you anymore. Since that happened I have only communicated with you via email. You also know that I have always left very positive remarks on your website regarding our business transactions. The X700 was the one bitter pill. Every other transaction was a pleasure to do with you.

    Sincerely, Vince Kowski
    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop Tom
    I remain a skeptic and believe it took a public lashing on a very relevant forum for Joe V to "make things right." Buyer beware.

    Precisely!

    If you look at Vinny's issue alone, it seems to have taken Joe V five years, and a threat to his reputation on a large, public forum, to make things right. That, to me, is not a reflection of professional, customer-centered conduct.

  51. #150

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    a friend of mine purchased a guitar from a certain web dealer, and it had an issues that would have been a deal breaker for me. he kept it, but i wouldn't have. my understanding is that the issue was not mentioned in the advert, but i can't be certain that was true. if true, it seems unconscionable to me that the defect was not mentioned up front.

    just one of the reasons that i never buy used stuff.