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  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    this type of thing is exactly why I won't order a custom guitar. I once put a huge down payment down on an instrument that was supposed to be ready in 6 months and there was delay after delay after delay. Then he didn't have the cash to refund me until he sold some more instruments. Another time, I sent back an instrument for repair because the glued-on bridge (acoustic) was in the wrong place and couldn't be intonated. After I sent it in, he stopped replying to emails and eventually his line was disconnected. I ended up paying a PI in his home town to get me a home address and contact information. I eventually got the instrument back unrepaired.

    I would never send a luthier money in advance again unless it's someone like Sadowsky or Benedetto.

    It happens but there are also many builders who operate year after year without any of these sorts of problems and keep enough cash on hand to handle contingencies.
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  2. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    It happens but there are also many builders who operate year after year without any of these sorts of problems and keep enough cash on hand to handle contingencies.
    yes I agree and you are one of the best.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway View Post
    It happens but there are also many builders who operate year after year without any of these sorts of problems and keep enough cash on hand to handle contingencies.
    To Jim’s point, In my experience stories like this are uncommon particularly among legitimate luthiers with track records. There are however many horror show stories on TGP regarding “wild west” of electric guitar builders.

    I have commissioned MANY custom guitars with > dozen solo custom luthiers. In all cases, communication was excellent, tone, playability and fit n’ finish met my expectations and delivery timing in most cases was on target. In a few cases with clear, prospective communication delivery time did slip 3-6 months (on 12-24 month estimates).

    My $.02
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  4. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Sorry, I've been involved with a lot of luthiers over the years , and not one of them made a mistake like this. My view is that it is not a mistake. He made the guitar for someone else....
    You have a point and I won't in any way excuse the guy, but this kind of thing can happen pretty easily if there's an apprentice involved, and especially if you're working on multiples. You explain to him exactly what needs to be done (as far as you can tell) but he loses focus somewhere along the way. "We always put 2 pickups on this model. That's what I've always done before!"

    Then you're faced with continuing on and dealing with what we're dealing with now, or fixing it right then and there before investing any more resources in the mistake. Obviously the correct course of action.

    So maybe our luthier made the bad decision. Which actually makes him look worse in my book. If he's in this biz he should know a little something about guitars and guitarists. To think that one VS two pickups, or gold VS silver hardware isn't going to matter shows a total lack of understanding of what he's doing for a living. Or worse, it shows greed and a willingness to try to get away with something.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    this type of thing is exactly why I won't order a custom guitar. I once put a huge down payment down on an instrument that was supposed to be ready in 6 months and there was delay after delay after delay. Then he didn't have the cash to refund me until he sold some more instruments. Another time, I sent back an instrument for repair because the glued-on bridge (acoustic) was in the wrong place and couldn't be intonated. After I sent it in, he stopped replying to emails and eventually his line was disconnected. I ended up paying a PI in his home town to get me a home address and contact information. I eventually got the instrument back unrepaired.

    I would never send a luthier money in advance again unless it's someone like Sadowsky or Benedetto.
    Wow, that is just awful. How can a person like that sleep at night? Does this guy still make guitars and if so who was it? I’m sure there are plenty more good and honest builders out there than these guys but there should be a list of problem luthiers, what happened and how did the situation resolve. I can accept that accidents happen and how they handle their mistakes could actually have me choosing them, assuming I was ever going to buy a guitar made for me. Buying guitars over the past couple of years I was considering going that route but there were Gibsons and Ibanezes I had wanted for a long time so I went with that. But after hearing your story and the OP’s, despite just being two bad situations, I don’t think I could handle the potential of something like that happening coupled with not knowing what I was going to get or how I would like it until after several months of waiting. The only one I might try for fun in the future is Mr. Wu since it is inexpensive and he will really do whatever people ask for, which could be the closest I’d ever get to designing a guitar.


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  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    this type of thing is exactly why I won't order a custom guitar. I once put a huge down payment down on an instrument that was supposed to be ready in 6 months and there was delay after delay after delay. Then he didn't have the cash to refund me until he sold some more instruments. Another time, I sent back an instrument for repair because the glued-on bridge (acoustic) was in the wrong place and couldn't be intonated. After I sent it in, he stopped replying to emails and eventually his line was disconnected. I ended up paying a PI in his home town to get me a home address and contact information. I eventually got the instrument back unrepaired.

    I would never send a luthier money in advance again unless it's someone like Sadowsky or Benedetto.
    A teeth grinding experience.

    FWIW, I have three times through the years ordered and recieved custom built guitars. The luthiers delivered exacly what we had agreed on, according to detailed specs sheets, at the scheduled time and at the agreed price. There was a pleasant and to the point communication before and during the build process. The guitars were packed well and arrived on time without accidents (two with UPS, one with FedEx). No issues have arisen after the reciept of the guitars which I still play happily. I was a fully satisfied customer, so I can without reservations name the three luthiers: Bob Benedetto, Jim Triggs and Tom Painter.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  7. #97
    Just to give another POV to this topic (and this has nothing to do with the OP!), I've spoken with a few top luthiers about this subject, and they have some real horror stories about their customers. Many of the collectors don't know much about guitars, especially if they're not players, and can make a luthier's job a nightmare, while they also try to destroy the luthier's rep online.

    OTOH, I've never commissioned a build, and I don't ever intend to.

  8. #98
    The more I think about this, the more it bothers me. What ever happened to "Measure twice, cut once?"

    The same should go for reviewing specs and plans before proceeding.

    What if he ordered non-cut and the guy built a cut? Or vice-versa?
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  9. #99
    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    The more I think about this, the more it bothers me. What ever happened to "Measure twice, cut once?"
    Repeat as needed. It's called developing your chops; practice makes perfect. Since when is it necessary to state "You don't make the client pay for your practicing". Go to a gig, you don't pay for a practice session. Get to a guitar, you don't pay for a builder practicing getting it right.

    We had another adage. An apprentice makes mistakes. A journeyman learns to hide his mistakes. A master doesn't make mistakes. Where do you think this builder ranks?

    David

  10. #100
    When something goes sideways in our shop, we have a little joke to make us feel a bit better about re-making:

    "We make it nice 'cause we make it twice!"

  11. #101
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    I keep wondering how this is going.....

    I remember one of the good ol' boys at one of our factories telling me a long time ago that some orders are 'snake bit' from the beginning.....a dumb mistake would get made early, get corrected and then everyone would think they were back to normal, and then another screw-up would appear out of the blue.....he'd say they'd start out bad and no matter what you did, or thought you could do, they'd stay that way.....

    Bottom line, again, good luck to the OP.......and this may just be me, but no way I'd give this builder another chance and risk going through this all over again......

    Just MHO

  12. #102
    I know how my mind works...

    If this was me, there is NO WAY that I would accept his offer for something you did not order.

    Even if they accidentally top off my cheeseburger with pastrami,
    I didn't order it that way... not gonna eat it (well maybe)

    ... but not on a custom order guitar when you have the paper trail.

    I would make him do a rebuild to your original spec, then go back to waiting for him to finish.

    If you out him, or ask for a rush job there is no way you are going to win.

    If you even have one inkling that he is screwing you... then he is screwing you...

    In that case, I would DEMAND my refund and go elsewhere, then and only then...

    LET THE OUTING BEGIN!
    measure with micrometer... mark with chalk... cut with axe

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    As both a builder and a lawyer I've been watching this thread with great interest. Most everything that could be said seems to have been. But I feel that there has to be more to the story we aren't privy to. Not because the OP is hiding anything. But one side can never tell a whole story.

    On the face of the story it is beyond outrageous. I can understand if the OP had asked for a "slight V neck profile" and felt he received a "C profile". Or if the OP asked for a French polished finish and is disappointed that it isn't as glossy and perfect as a poly finish applied by robots. Or the OP inspected the guitar with a looking glass and mirrors and found some glue squeeze out on the inside and now didn't want to take delivery and was demanding their deposit back. But cutting into a carved spruce top to make a second unwanted pickup rout? It is inconceivable. The builder in me says, WTF?!! How do you make a mistake like that? I agree with some that it doesn't even seem like a mistake. Something is fishy.

    Likewise, having made such a colossal mistake, how do you even present it to the client? How are you not mortified when the client discovers the mistake? Why not drop everything to re-top the guitar? For that matter, what well known builder with a long waiting list can't afford to immediately refund a deposit? We live in a world of disposable $600 guitars from Guitar Center. How does a builder who has somehow managed to build up a waitlist on $5,000 plus guitars have business practices like this?

    That's where the lawyer in me kicks in. When clients tell me stories that can only make sense if the other party is outrageous, reckless, or crazy I always suspect I'm not hearing the full story. Many of us have reacted as if this builder has basically taken the courtesy and good relations of a client and pissed all over it. He fucked up royally, and now is basically giving him the middle finger. And yet the OP doesn't seem as incensed as we are.

    All I can think is either this builder is suffering a major melt down in his business or personally AND the OP has the patience of a saint, or there is something we don't know about the story. Again, nothing nefarious on the OP's part. For example, perhaps he is embarrassed to say that after the written specs the luthier asked him if he was sure he wanted one pickup and he may have given the impression he had changed his mind. He hadn't, but he can see how maybe the builder interpreted it like that. Now he wishes he had been less ambivalent because he realizes he REALLY doesn't want the two pickup guitar. Or perhaps he suggested to the luthier that he could keep the refund until he sold the guitar, and now regrets having made that offer. All perfectly natural and normal things that can happen to someone making a major custom purchase; and also things that would make both parties' actions seem more logical.

    I am willing to reserve judgement on the luthier for now. The story told so far certainly has me wondering if the luthier has maxed out his meds; and it may turn out that is exactly what is happening. But I think it is fair to see how this plays out before the whole weight of JGF comes down on the builder's head.
    I am willing to admit that the first couple of posts were written out of frustration - so as it is with anything you're involved with personally, I was obviously biased. However, even when I read back, there's is nothing in the posts (which I can see) where I twisted a detail to make him seem less than fair.

    I realize you're talking about hypotheticals but I have made it perfectly clear that I wanted one pick up right from the get go, and have never suggested he could wait to refund me. (Although, I wouldn't really mind that anyway, I know the guitar will sell in a heartbeat, should I choose to forego it.)

    I'm just not a very emotional person when it comes to matters like these. I guess yes patient is a word that people sometimes use to describe me. Also, I do think it is an easy and seemingly small mistake to make to write 2 instead of 1 pickups, although the end result is catastrophic, I do understand how it could have happened. Although I'm disappointed at the mistake, I don't hold it against him because we all make mistakes.

    What I did have a problem with was the way he responded AFTER I told him the problem and the fact I thought it was a problem. In my mind that was the totally wrong way to respond to the situation and the amount of business he's done, he should have known better to consider it to be a significant problem right away.

    Anyway, hope it clears up a little bit.

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsall4you View Post
    I'm just not a very emotional person when it comes to matters like these. I guess yes patient is a word that people sometimes use to describe me. Also, I do think it is an easy and seemingly small mistake to make to write 2 instead of 1 pickups, although the end result is catastrophic, I do understand how it could have happened. Although I'm disappointed at the mistake, I don't hold it against him because we all make mistakes.
    So this is still going on and has not been settled ?

    Sorry, but we're not talking about being patient here, I don't believe. I would consider you a patient person if you had been asked and accepted a delay in delivery. But that would also imply that aside from that issue, all other spec's are correct and the guitar is being built as ordered - - it'll just be a little late. This happens all the time.
    But this build is a mistake, with a catastrophic result, as you've said.

    Again, MHO, the longer this resolution is delayed, the lesser your chances of getting anything other than what he proposes.

    Good luck.

  15. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by itsall4you View Post
    I'm just not a very emotional person when it comes to matters like these. I guess yes patient is a word that people sometimes use to describe me. Also, I do think it is an easy and seemingly small mistake to make to write 2 instead of 1 pickups, although the end result is catastrophic, I do understand how it could have happened. Although I'm disappointed at the mistake, I don't hold it against him because we all make mistakes.

    What I did have a problem with was the way he responded AFTER I told him the problem and the fact I thought it was a problem. In my mind that was the totally wrong way to respond to the situation and the amount of business he's done, he should have known better to consider it to be a significant problem right away.

    Anyway, hope it clears up a little bit.
    Makes perfect sense. It's not the mistake, it's the way he is not resolving it.

    Not that it matters, but I am curious as to how far into the build was the error discovered. It's obvious he didn't show you the finished top before it was attached to the body. Doing that could have nipped this in the bud.
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  16. #106
    I had commissioned a guitar to be built by a well known builder. I was very specific about what I wanted. Double cutaway thin line. We had a very friendly exchange over email and when I said I wanted a depth of about half of a full sized guitar, he mentioned that he always liked half guitars.
    Well here's the problem. He just sent me a photo of the guitar and it's not at all what I had in mind. He was apologetic but he said the build was top quality, maybe I'd still like it the way he built it. He tried to say that maybe I was unclear and there are friends of mine who say it's just as good or maybe even better, a step up just to have his name on the instrument, that's a keeper.

    Honestly, I can't imagine playing it. I know I'm being too picky. But it just seems wrong to me. Should I try it and see if I'm wrong about being so insistent? He says he won't give me my money back because it's already built. He needs to find someone else to buy it first.

    What do you guys think? Bird in the hand? Maybe I don't need all those low notes anyway.

    David

    Wrong custom build-screen-shot-2018-06-12-9-39-38-am-png

  17. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    I had commissioned a guitar to be built by a well known builder. I was very specific about what I wanted. Double cutaway thin line. We had a very friendly exchange over email and when I said I wanted a depth of about half of a full sized guitar, he mentioned that he always liked half guitars.
    Well here's the problem. He just sent me a photo of the guitar and it's not at all what I had in mind. He was apologetic but he said the build was top quality, maybe I'd still like it the way he built it. He tried to say that maybe I was unclear and there are friends of mine who say it's just as good or maybe even better, a step up just to have his name on the instrument, that's a keeper.

    Honestly, I can't imagine playing it. I know I'm being too picky. But it just seems wrong to me. Should I try it and see if I'm wrong about being so insistent? He says he won't give me my money back because it's already built. He needs to find someone else to buy it first.

    What do you guys think? Bird in the hand? Maybe I don't need all those low notes anyway.

    David

    Wrong custom build-screen-shot-2018-06-12-9-39-38-am-png
    He should at least offer to cut the price in half.


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  18. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    He should at least offer to cut the price in half.


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    On the contrary! He said adding a cutaway is an upcharge!
    David

  19. #109
    i play everything in half time anyway
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  20. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    i play everything in half time anyway
    Yeah once the game starts up again, there goes my practicing...
    David

  21. #111
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    Funny, David! Maybe you and Mick can write a new book on "treble voice leading?!"

    In all seriousness, though, what's the update from the OP?

  22. #112
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    FWIW, I'd be inclined to get my money back and try another builder. They are out there.

  23. #113
    Without wishing to sound otherwise or unsympathetic, he needs to put it right, it is HIS error, these things do and can happen, the reality is it is not your doing, but HIS.

    Luckily a guitar and not your health or body, they made a mistake with.

    In building high end guitars he needs to prepared to take the risks and rewards.

    De Niro or Trump would say he should get his F******* act together.

    Do not let emotion sway, as you demonstrated good faith in paying for and waiting.

  24. #114
    So it's been around 3 weeks now, and still no resolution?
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  25. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    So it's been around 3 weeks now, and still no resolution?
    I think the builder has all the resolution he needs. There's no reason at this point to believe it's anything but business as usual for him. Where there's no accountability, some see it as license to continue as long as nobody messes with the flow of money.
    Welcome to the present.

    David

  26. #116
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    Itsall4you

    Please post the builder's name.
    If someone else gets ripped off, you be complicit by your act of omission.

  27. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    So it's been around 3 weeks now, and still no resolution?
    I don't think the guy will be updating this thread anytime soon.

    He's traveling from NZ to the US just to collect the guitar, so I think he'll end up accepting what the luthier will give him and he will pay for the guitar with little or no discount.
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
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  28. #118
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    That is very sad if that is indeed what happens, more so if this person doesn’t have his name posted and has essentially swindled someone with no repercussions. At the very least his name should be put out there.


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  29. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by rio View Post
    At the very least his name should be put out there
    Well, the only certain bit of info about him is that's he's from Texas.
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy
    https://soundcloud.com/theodore-koja...hy-bro-project
    Hy-Bro Test Sound Files

  30. #120
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    I think the OP is wise to keep the name to himself until whatever happens with the guitar is a done deal.
    The threat of bad PR is a small bit of leverage that the OP might find useful if the transaction goes further south.
    If it were me, I'd be playing all Mr. Niceguy in dealing with the builder up to the point where it became clear that no happy resolution was forthcoming. Then the gloves come off!

    I hope the OP finds a satisfactory solution and I hope he shares it on this thread.
    I also hope he shares the name of the builder when all is said and done.
    Inquiring minds want to know -- nobody wants a repeat performance of this deal !!!

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