Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Manchester, England
JCRG5 V V
My cutom made guitar was a nightmare, from different and get myself a unique guitar exactly to my spec. *I scoured the music press and there were few luthiers who provided a COMPLETE custom service. *So I phoned Guitarist (UK) magazine to ask their advice and they recommended a certain luthier who supposedly was of some repute. *I approached him with my ideas (which were far from radical), looked at his other guitars, paid my 50% deposit and waited. *
What arrived on my doorstep was a little odd. *There were numerous little flaws like blue paint leakage on the headstock (inadequate masking) pencil marks on the fretboard (pressed too hard),scratches in the finish. *I was surprised but didn't really know what to expect-human hands aren't perfect, afterall. *The major thing that worried me was the guitar was incorrectly intonated. *So I took it to a luthier in Manchester (who I trust) for a set up. * Whan I went to pick it up he had BAD news fro me-either the frets were incorrectly placed or the bridge was placed too far back making it impossible to intonate! *I was distraught. *I brought it back to a luthier in Glasgow (and ex-barrister) who did a complete check on the thing and wrote a critical report on the guitar. *He finished with the statement that the guitar contravened the 1979 Sales of Goods Act. *I sent the guitar back to the maker who proceded to try and repair the damage. *He made it marginally better (still out of tune) but added a sanding burn to the neck and more chips and nicks *in the finish. *I was ready to slash my wrists by this point. *Another threatening letter from the Glasgow luthier and the maker reluctantly agreed to make me a brand new guitar with upgrades such as a solid rosewood neck and better pick ups. *I thought he wouldn't bodge this one up-he'd be so careful, wouldn't he? *
Six months later my new guitar arrived. *The bridge pick up was mis-aligned (F spacing for a Gibson bridge), The bridge recess was not cut straight in the body (two mm gap one side and 1mm the other), he'd put left handed machineheads on a right handed guitar and finally the neck had an 'S' shaped bend that couldn't be corrected with the truss rod! *It was a pile of junk! *I could believe his incompetance. *He clearly didn't know what he was doing and I phoned him and asked formy money back (Sales of Goods Act). *Well, he lost it and shout and swore down the phone at me. *I kept my cool and allowed him to rant and rave about ME being a pain in the arse. *I put the phone down, arranged the guitar to be analysed in a 'PLEK' machine and Chandler Guitars (a very respected repairer who fixes all the big names guitars when they're in the UK). *This report confirmed the guitar was pile of junk and I wrote to the maker and threatened him with court action! *
Now, events conspired in my favour. *He is launching a new range of guitars here in the UK and a new company and I said I'd let every news group know abut his pathetic luthier skills if he didn't give me my cash back. *Eventually he conceded and gave me a full refund without apology and ignoring the additional £400 it cost me getting all the reports etc done. *I took the money and ran! *
I've aged about 10 years since all this started but I'm so much the wiser and have learned a lot about consumer law etc. *One tip: always buy your gear with a credit card and NOT cash or cheques, as you have *much more security.
So this 'luthier' is launching a new company and new range of guitars. *i don't know how he's going to get away with it since he doesn't know what he's doing. *I think there are going to be a lot of very disappointed people buying his new guitars. *I won't say who he is for legal reasons. *Suffice to say he advertises in Guitarist (UK) and Jan Cyrka is his endorser! *By the way, editor of Guitarist UK is a persoanl friend of the guitar maker and even went out with his sister! *This is why I got a biased recommendation when I called them up!
So I decided to go for a big name (Ibanez) of whom I've had positive experiences and go for the JCRG5.
That's my custom guitar horro story. *One of the worst things about it all was that I couldn't bare to pick up my other guitars and practise for a whole year-it was too upsetting. *Without my guitars I am NOTHING. *I feel much better now and can't waith for the new guitar!
If you have any further question, please don't hesitate to ask.