CUSTOM: been screwed yet again, need to start over

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Thread: CUSTOM: been screwed yet again, need to start over

  1. #1

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: camden town, london
    ME: deadlight deception
    MA: dean SE7/GN
    MB: squire 5 string
    Rig: peavey 6505+, JSX cabs

    iTrader: 0

    CUSTOM: been screwed yet again, need to start over

    as some of you may remember, i got screwed over quite badly with some early custom attempts:

    following that, i got a partial refund from roter and some of my gear / hardware / electronics back which i then reapportioned into a new build from a UK luthier recommended to me in south east london...

    he took my money & parts and promptly disappeared for the best part of nearly a year. repeated attempts at contact for updates were met with total silence until finally, after sending letters to the manager of the complex his workshop is in, he returned with an email explaining that he had had problems with an apprentice he'd taken on (and had therefore taken on a lot more work) who then left suddenly and dumped him with an unmanageable workload.

    no explanation as to why he had completed other jobs that had been booked after mine or as to why he hadn't contacted me to explain all this during the time that we'd missed deadlines (gigs, videos etc.).

    two weeks later, i'm told i can pick the guitar up. it was pretty clear it had been made within those two weeks and many aspects of the spec had been ignored, however i was shortly due to embark on a tour of western europe with my dying bride and needed the instrument with me. once i returned from picking it up, i'm then told that i owe X amount more money for time put in for an ebony 'veining' feature on the top wood that he had failed to inform me would be charged additionally. a payment plan was set up.

    on tour, sh*t started to go wrong big time, including (but not limited to) electronics that we later discovered had been totally bodged, the strandberg bridge being placed too high and too close to the neck (causing severe intonation issues), the finish coming off to the touch (when i'd specifically asked for a stain, not lacquer), the fretboard starting to split from the neck etc etc.

    once i got back from europe i messaged the luthier to detail these issues, backed up by independent reports from our tour manager, our backline tech and MDB's guitar tech. no reply. i ceased payments. he still has my business partner's hohner headless guitar he was using as a template for the body design. no news about getting that back.

    late last year, i get the guitar out again to prepare for our UK tour with the monolith deathcult booked for feb 2014 and discovered this:

    it turns out that the luthier had decided to glue these individual string stops to each other in a line and then use two small screws to attach them to the neck, rather than fix each one to the neck individually... which itself was made of an indeterminate wood and which it now transpires had split off at this point several times before; it was now simply flaking away.

    i sent the remnants of this guitar over to a friend (here in the UK) who works as a luthier, he quoted me a discounted price to build something entirely new by using some of the parts from this last one and some new bits of gear that i had bought especially and to a design that i have spec'd out myself completely. this was sent off just before the new year, together with full payment.

    ...cut forward to now.

    i'm still hazy about what exactly has gone down, but after 6 months of basically no build pics i was told in june that apparently my friend's new workshop had been burgled and that his machining tools had been stolen from it. despite saying that the guitar had been fully strung and was ready to be sent after settling in for a couple of weeks, it then apparently had its strings and all hardware stripped bare for further work (?) on the worktop and received a 'ding' during the burglary.

    i'm then told that he wouldn't be prepared for the guitar to go out to me as a finished product since it still has work pending on it. given that this work would apparently require the use of the stolen tools & machines, he would then be returning my OLD guitar to me (the one sent for parts that was in disrepair) along with a full refund of monies paid and the new hardware & electronics. no further information or reasoning given.

    i have asked that i'm instead sent the new guitar, regardless of its state, so that i can get someone else to finish off what's necessary or decide for myself whether this 'ding' (and/or alleged further work) was really that outstanding. i've been denied this. i've since received the refund and have today accepted the delivery of the old guitar & parts package, though i'm yet to check it.

    i really don't have much luck with luthiers.

    i'm now left with one buggered 'custom' that is probably beyond repair, a small amount of cash that was itself a discounted amount and a complete design with full hardware & electronics... but no main, workable guitar.

    any suggestions welcome.

    H - 'asylum' (out now)

  2. #2

    Join Date: Mar 2012
    Location: Nashville
    ME: Gibson
    MA: Fred Welker
    MB: USA Jazz Special
    Rig: ENGL

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    Sheesh man, thats terrible.
    The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No. ― Alan Moore

  3. #3

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: King of Prussia, PA
    ME: PRS CE22
    MA: Richard Cogger Classical
    MB: Fender Bulletbass
    Rig: Mesa Mark V/TA30

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    sell the parts on ebay, buy an Ibanez. Buy an Anderson, Suhr, or the like from a store with a return policy when you have the cash.

  4. #4

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: 7th plane of ethereal hell
    ME: Ibanez UV7PWH
    Rig: Mesa Roadking II

    iTrader: 8 (100%)

    I've always found that modding stock guitars works best, parts are replaceable, and if touring messes up a part it is easy to replace. You can get whatever body you want made with whatever wood and it just works out. I've been able to havwe custom guitars built financially, but always preffered modding stocks to my liking. It is cheaper and more foolproof.

    I'd suggest finding guitars you like playing, and going with them, and changing what needs to be changed on them.

    As for the guitar, if anything, jonathan at feline guitars might be able to help you out, he knows his stuff and is a reputable business with a shop front, which is a step up from home build luthiers if you want to see if he can fix the guitar (old one) that you have. You may be left with some plugged holes in the body from moving bridge back to a correct position, but he should be able to fix it, or at least use what's there.

    Find a comfortable neck, get a body made that fits it (using the stock neck), and then select pickups to match and get someone to wire it up. SOmetimes it's best o have one main that is a custom (your old roter?) and then a backup that serves the purpose of being a backup, something that is playable, does the job and sounds decent. It's not going to get played as much, but it'll get you out of a jam, I used a beat up RG for that purpose for years, it wasn't as good as the others, but if push came to shove, and all wentwrong, it'd be there, it'd work and be solid, even if it wasn't the mutts nuts.

  5. #5

    Join Date: Jun 2014
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    ME: Caparisons
    MA: Takamine PTU220 Custom
    MB: Ibanez ATK300
    Rig: Bogner Ecstasy 101A/B

    iTrader: 0

    Ouch dude. Sometimes you just can't pick it whether it's guitars, builders, mechanics or any other small form business. There's always cowboys out there.
    "I'm afraid of new guitars. They're too shiny, I can't play them or take them anywhere. They might get damaged!"

    Studio6 Photography

  6. #6

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: 7th plane of ethereal hell
    ME: Ibanez UV7PWH
    Rig: Mesa Roadking II

    iTrader: 8 (100%)

    Custom builds seem to very much be a catch22 it seems, sometimes you cannot get what you want stck, but then the really good guys are overwhelmed with work and charge accordingly. So, you are left with wanting to pay less and having to go with more home brew guys who tak on too much work, or just don't have the experience. Also, where is the warranty? I know wit second hand it's pretty much the same, but you can get a lot for your money, and you can fix it with stock replacement parts, or custom made parts as the specs are so well known (ie, neck joint measurements etc, ody dimensions etc etc)

    So, it's a balancing act, and in all honesty it's not one i've ever really wanted to try myself, as the other thing is that te reale of a custom by an unkown/lttle known luthier is poor to say the least.

  7. #7

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: camden town, london
    ME: deadlight deception
    MA: dean SE7/GN
    MB: squire 5 string
    Rig: peavey 6505+, JSX cabs

    iTrader: 0

    just to add; this design is for a headless 7 string baritone. all of the hardware (the strandberg bridge, the ABM headpiece) is geared for headless on the basis that i've been playing that type of guitar for a while now - my live performance is based on having that range of movement available to me.

    i've recently been having to play product line guitars in the interim and have been flitting between borrowed schecters, ibanez etc - it's enough to confirm to me that my days of playing those sort of guitars are over. whilst i'm hugely grateful to those who have let me use them, i can't stand the large bodies, short scales and headstocks.

  8. #8

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Woodbridge, VA
    ME: KxK ProtoVii-7
    MA: Martin D-28
    Rig: Mesa/Boobies Stiletto

    iTrader: 2 (100%)

    Learn to go back to playing more obtainable guitars live, or this is going to keep happening to you. Unless you wanna keep getting fucked by "luthiers", that is. What you're looking for is gonna be five grand plus and two years from someone who isn't a hack/crook.
    Division: American Metal without the suck.

    So live for today,
    Tomorrow never comes.
    Die young, die young,
    Can't you see the writing in the air?
    Die young, gonna die young,
    Someone stopped the fair.

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