Damage by Luthier - is this the norm? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
 
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Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

Hi,

After a long break from the guitar I decided to jump back in and treated myself to a RG2550Z in December last year (3 months ago). After reading this and other sites, I decided to take it to a local Luthier to have the frets levelled and a full setup done.

I don't play in a band or gig so the guitar sits at home being pampered and went in to him in immaculate condition. When I picked it up though I discovered a number of scratches on the headstock and a scratch on the body. They aren't massive but they show up easily in daylight and under my lighting at home. The main issues are shown in the images below


Body scratch



Headstock scratches





(the lighting looks a little odd but it was the best way to photograph them)

I've contacted him about these issues and his approach is that guitars will get scratched anyway and it's sound/playability that counts and this damage can happen when setting up. Personally I don't think this attitude is right and if I'm paying a specialist to carry out work on something, I expect to get it back in the same condition I sent it in (especially as it's effectively a brand new guitar).

Something else I'm struggling to get my head around is he replaced a shim under the nut to lower it and it seems the new shim was too wide for the nut pocket. Rather than order the right size shim or file it down, he cut the nut pocket wider to fit the shim.

The point of the post is to get some opinions on whether this is the norm when having setups done by Luthiers, in which case am I being too picky?

He's offered to try and polish out the scratches but I know enough about paint/clearcoat correction to know it's not a quick job and I'm reluctant to send it back in case it ends up in even worse condition.

Your views would be much appreciated so I can decide how best to deal with this.

Cheers,
Carl
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 09:59 AM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

I wouldn't accept that. I've just sent in my 570 to my luthier and specifically mentioned that I'm not too fussed about cosmetics since its already in ordinary condition. But... if I took my jem into him (not a ding or scratch) and it came back like that I would be furious.
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 10:13 AM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

The luthier you went to is probably not professional enough to treat every guitar with due respect. Yes, when working on or setting up the guitar, scratches might be inflicted due to the tools or mishandling. But a pro would minimize such damage or would take the extra care not to inflict any damage at all. For eg, some people would simply allow the trem to rest on the lion claws when releasing the string and this might cause chips to the lion claws. An experience luthier would most certainly stuff a foam or somthing in between the trem and the lion claws.

You probably have to treat it as a lesson learnt. He will likely not compensate you. However, these scratches can possibly be buffed out if it is not deep as the pics shows. Even if he offered to buff it for you, you would not want him to work on your guitar either after knowing his attitude and standard of care.

Best to learn how to setup from the tutorials in jemsite and you can be assured no one would treat your guitar this way again and getting paid for it as well. Lastly, tell everyone to avoid the luthier...
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 10:21 AM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

That's terrible workmanship. It looks like he scratched the headstock by either using a wrench to tighten the tuners, or when he changed the strings. Also, it looks like he tied them on like an old Jazz player would. Stupid for a locking nut guitar.
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 10:46 AM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlG View Post
I've contacted him about these issues and his approach is that guitars will get scratched anyway and it's sound/playability that counts and this damage can happen when setting up. Personally I don't think this attitude is right and if I'm paying a specialist to carry out work on something, I expect to get it back in the same condition I sent it in (especially as it's effectively a brand new guitar).
All that matters is what you the customer think. He of course is entitled to his opinion but ultimately it's your guitar and after he's done working on it, you have to happy with the results.

Quote:
Something else I'm struggling to get my head around is he replaced a shim under the nut to lower it and it seems the new shim was too wide for the nut pocket. Rather than order the right size shim or file it down, he cut the nut pocket wider to fit the shim.
That just seems like he was being lazy in a way but I would ask him point blank why he did that. After he tells you, I'd be interested to hear what he said.

Quote:
The point of the post is to get some opinions on whether this is the norm when having setups done by Luthiers, in which case am I being too picky?
Guitars will also get tiny little scratches from being handled and played but the ones in your pics aren't those types of scratches, especially the ones on the headstock. As another poster pointed out, those scratches appear to be the result of using the wrong tool for the job which indicates sloppy, careless work.

Quote:
He's offered to try and polish out the scratches but I know enough about paint/clearcoat correction to know it's not a quick job and I'm reluctant to send it back in case it ends up in even worse condition.
Go with your gut. If he screwed it up once there's a chance he'll screw it up again. If it were me, I'd cut my losses.

I had one local tech work on a guitar for me and while I didn't have issues like yours, I didn't like the way he did things so I found another tech who I am happy with. I also make it point to meet the tech who's going to work on my guitars in-person so I can establish a relationship with them. I want them to know that there's a person attached to that instrument and both the player and guitar need to be treated with respect.
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 10:46 AM
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

That's absolutely unacceptable. That luthier is out of his mind. You should go scratch the paint all over his car and say 'It's just going to get scratched anyway.'
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

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Originally Posted by GilkyBear View Post
That's absolutely unacceptable. That luthier is out of his mind. You should go scratch the paint all over his car and say 'It's just going to get scratched anyway.'
This !!!

I've done enough setups on customers guitars over the years, and i'll be honest, only once have i had to polish a scratch out (i had to point this out to the owner, and after pointing it out he could barely see it and said it was OK) However I KNEW it was there, and did a full polish and made good my very minor damage, imho any "Luthier" should do this without hesitation or being asked to.

Take it back, get him to polish it out, free of charge ofc, and tell him you are far from impressed.

Taking pride in making someone else's pride and joy the very best it can be is how i perceive it to be, how it should be end of story.

Keep us all updated, and get his email/website address (PM me if you have to) so i can warn my friends out that way to steer clear.

Rob
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the replies, it's good to know others feel the same and that I'm not being overly fussy.

I'm gutted to be honest, I know it's not a priceless collectors item but in the UK it's still a fairly pricey guitar so I want to keep it looking good (not that price matters in any way). Ultimately, if it gets damaged in my hands that's one thing but I expect better treatment from someone offering the services he does.

Some of the scratches are definitely from re-stringing as one of the string ends was stuck in the headstock before I trimmed it back! To be honest, he may be able to resolve it but I've no confidence that he'll do the job to the standard I want. I'm going to ask him for more info on exactly what he intends to do before I decide for sure.

I've held off from naming and shaming until it's resolved one way or the other but I'll keep you updated on progress.

Cheers,
Carl
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

I would not bring the guitar back to him.
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

oh dear, he as someone has said is certainly not an ibanez specialist, thats carelessness on the headstock and the body scratch !! well, who can tell ? carelessness again I guess.

post it to me next time
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post #11 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 01:45 PM
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

That's a shame. The guy should surrender his hack license immediately.
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post #12 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 02:00 PM
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

Small claims court. Seriously, if a guy keys someone's car it's criminal damage...

I'd want financial compensation for the damage done. You're right though, whilst it's not a collectors piece, with prices in the UK as they are it's an expensive piece of kit! The luthier has no right to be treating it with such little respect. I'd not pay him and demand compensation.
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post #13 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

Sounds like you found one of those old school guys who don't have any respect for guitar unless they say Gibson or Fender on the headstock I would remind him with my backhand slap that we no longer live in the 1950's and superior guitars these days say MIJ on the back of the headstock.

This guy was probably just a tech anyway not an actual luthier. Anyway just cut you losses consider it "broke in" and play it like you stole it. You can't really enjoy a guitar until it has a few blems anyway.
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post #14 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

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Originally Posted by jono View Post
Small claims court. Seriously, if a guy keys someone's car it's criminal damage...

I'd want financial compensation for the damage done. You're right though, whilst it's not a collectors piece, with prices in the UK as they are it's an expensive piece of kit! The luthier has no right to be treating it with such little respect. I'd not pay him and demand compensation.
Yeah, don't they have Judge Judy over there?
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post #15 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Damage by Luthier - is this the norm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaden View Post
oh dear, he as someone has said is certainly not an ibanez specialist, thats carelessness on the headstock and the body scratch !! well, who can tell ? carelessness again I guess.
Oh the irony, the reason I chose him was due to him claiming to be an Ibanez specialist! To be fair, from a playability point of view he seems to know what he's doing. Shame that isn't matched with the care and attention you'd expect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
Anyway just cut you losses consider it "broke in" and play it like you stole it. You can't really enjoy a guitar until it has a few blems anyway.
Probably the best idea, I'm going to look into polishing out the scratches (either myself or taking it to someone else). I've not finished discussing it with him yet though and instinct says don't take it within 10 miles of him (which I won't) but I'll see what we can sort out. To be honest, an apology would make me feel better but I've not even had that so he obviously thinks he's done nothing wrong.

As for Judge Judy, think I'll have to ask the wife about that ;-)

Thanks for the support, it's appreciated (problem shared and all that).

Cheers,
Carl
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