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.
Sheesh man, thats terrible.