A cautionary tail for DIYers out there!

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by AxRookie, Jun 16, 2019.

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  1. AxRookie

    AxRookie Tele-Meister

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    I've always been a DIY kind of guy my whole life which includes working on my own guitar with the latest work being a new body for my guitar that went south hard and myself getting burnt by a guitar shop and more to the point the owner of the guitar shop!

    Normally I would share a little about myself and my guitar but when I did that in two other guitar forums it didn't go so well so I just get straight to it...

    1 - The guitar shop owner in question of what happened was running a custom guitar business and website which listed all of his services, The website in which he was self-described as Luthier / Owner of his custom guitar shop with his business also on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter with an online presence on ebay listing some of his offerings such as guitar bodies of your choice with your choice of tonewood, routing for the pickups of your choice, and routing for the bridge of your choice all included in the price of the body which I bought one of on ebay...

    2 - I had everything else besides the body that was needed for a complete guitar such as a quality birdseye maple neck, a relatively new Floyd Rose Pro complete tremolo system, and all the quality electronics such as the volume pot, pickup, and everything else needed.

    So being as he runs a custom guitar shop and I had just bought one of his guitar bodies I asked him if he could professionally install my guitar neck correctly to the body I had just bought while having a good idea of his answer which was yes...

    3 - I then informed him of the one concern I had with my neck which was the neck mounting locations didn't appear to be squarely located and asked him if there was a fix for this again having a good idea of his answer from reading about how guitar necks can be repaired of issues in many cases, and I also asked if he could perform such a repair before he installed the neck on the body I had bought from him which said yes to both questions...

    4 - I decided I also wanted him to install my Floyd Rose Pro Trem and string it up and verify that everything like a low string height, neck bow, intonation and so on could be adjusted correctly so the guitar could play correctly and he said he could do that and we agreed on the price for all the labor and to get it all started he would need half on the labor cost up front and I needed to send him my neck, all of the Floyd Rose setup, and a set of the string that I will be using on my guitar, So I paid the half up front and sent him everything he asked for...

    And I'll say I had no problems with any of that then or now...

    Now to the burned part, Months go by and I would check in with him once or twice a month and ask how everything was coming along and these are just a few of his replies...

    "I would like to get this guitar to you soon"

    "You are at the front of the line, but I have three shows to do so, I will try to get to work as soon as my shop dries out"

    "I will probably string it up on Monday evening after work when it gets cool.
    I did a little more work to it and will finish the routing later today"

    "There is a chance that it will get finished today"

    "The pins are not installed yet, but I did repair the neck screw holes and install the new nuts in the neck. I will install the pins after I am able to put some strings on it and make sure the neck is 100% straight"

    So ok no cause for concern...

    Now at the 8-month mark, I get pictures!

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    And right away I notice that none of the routing work has been done to the body and it appears to look like my neck just bolted to one of his generic bodies?!?

    So I ask him about it and was told that none of the routing work had been done because he is behind schedule but all the work would be done soon.

    More months go by and now it's a year later and I go to his shop website for some reason that I forget now AND HIS WEBSITE IS GONE and the domain is for sale!

    I try to contact him by email and by phone with no luck, So I make a facebook account and message him there and he answers, Of course, the first thing I ask him is what the hell is going on with him and my guitar!

    He informs me he closed down his business and he has joined a local band! And he tells me he will be sending me my guitar and will refund my money, Of course, I'm upset but I thought nothing gained and nothing lost but a LOT of time wasted.

    A few weeks later my guitar shows up and unpacking it I realized there is no body and in a years time with my guitar that NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE, NOTHING, Other than on inspection of my neck I see he had attempted to relocate the neck inserts and he had made a total mess of it by mangling the neck insert which were not even installed all the way into the neck with a portion of each one above flush of the neck AND not only that but now there were large cracks in the neck coming out the poorly relocated insert holes!!! and add to that the insert kit I sent him had 4 stainless steel inserts BUT two of the most mangled inserts were now brass!!!

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    At this point, I have written off the money which wasn't that bad but it's what he did to my neck that really hurts...
     
  2. AxRookie

    AxRookie Tele-Meister

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    At the very least he won't be doing something like this to anyone else because he wisely closed that hack of a "guitar shop" of his down and I did get my new Floyd Rose Pro tremo with the fat tungsten sustain block and the new Schaller da Vinci tuning pegs that were on my neck back from him, I guess it could have been worse...

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    Lake Placid Blue likes this.
  3. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Well, that's some experience you've had.
    At least there's one good thing - it happened to you and not me.

    Long time between follow-ups. Lesson: use a local luthier and check progress regularly.
    If you're a DIY kind of guy, do it yourself. Shipping off all the parts to someone else is not really DIY.
     
    CFFF, RodeoTex, Deeve and 2 others like this.
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Sadly today, the term "luthier" is used by many who have little experience with instruments. Some webpages can be made in an hour. Your situation happens more often than not, and we've seen and heard similar stories here in this forum over the years. Perhaps this will be the motivation for you to pick up some tools, learn how to use them, and do the work yourself. There are plenty of resources in this forum. We have people who know how to do this stuff and are willing to share the knowledge so you do it too.
     
  5. AxRookie

    AxRookie Tele-Meister

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    I didn't ship everything to the guy, Just the neck for him to correctly fit to the new body and the bridge so he could string it up to make sure the neck fitting was done correctly...

    Myself and wood don't really see eye to eye so the woodworking I needed someone else to do but painting the guitar, assembling work, wiring, electronics, Floyd Rose bridge setup, or adjustment of everything I do myself, I'd say that counts as DIY...

    "pick up some tools, learn how to use them" lol that's funny!

    Don't let my user name fool you, I'm am a very capable and skilled individual (i don't know of any way to say that and not sound like I'm full of myself)...

    Some of my skill sets include...

    Overhauling Bendix and TCM aircraft mechanical fuel injection systems

    Repairing and restoration of vintage Bulova wristwatches

    Building computers from scratch and OS installation

    Laptop repair and upgrading

    just to name a few...

    For a while I was in auto repair and the owner of the shop I work at once told me "There just isn't anything I can break that you can't fix" after I fixed a bent valve stem which was caused by the incorrect installation of a timing belt that lead to the valve making contact with the piston, I fixed the bent valve without the need to remove the cylinder head which saved the owner a LOT of money...
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  6. AxRookie

    AxRookie Tele-Meister

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    The reason I didn't follow up more or think anything was amiss was that I had repeatedly stressed that time was not an issue with me and the only thing that mattered was that the work was done correctly...
     
  7. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Looking at those pic's, I don't know whether the neck is salvageable, but as "guitarbuilder" said, there are people on this site with expert knowledge of anything guitar related.
    Good luck with it. Hope it works out.
     
  8. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    The guy owes you a new neck.

    Get some word of mouth recommendations and take it to someone else.
     
  9. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    I have almost the same story. Decided to let a shop set up my DIY guitar after the main assembly - asked for fret level and dress. After 3 weeks, I was told it was ready. When I went to pick it up, at first they couldn't find it. After the guy at the counter made a phone call, the "luthier" showed up with it after 20 minutes. I looked it over. The neck showed no signs of work apart from steel wool scratches. Steel wool fragments had become magnetically lodged in the pickup coils. When I played it, I instantly noticed that the nut slots were high - they had never been filed down from the factory cuts. I pointed it out, and the guy became enraged. He grabbed the guitar out of my hands and started to play, "Seems okay to me, plays fine". I walked away $200 poorer and took it to a shop with a good reputation in another town.
     
  10. AxRookie

    AxRookie Tele-Meister

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    The guy had the nerve to say that those cracks weren't structural and it would be fine...
     
  11. AxRookie

    AxRookie Tele-Meister

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    OMG, Yeah that's a lot like what happened to me!
     
  12. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I'm no expert, but thats structural (from the pic's). I'd be p***ed.
     
  13. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    I did not read all the replies But the thread inserts on the neck are installed upside down, The part that looks like it fits a screwdriver goes down. Not sure if anyone mentioned that BTW I learned it the hardway

    Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 7.00.19 AM.png View attachment 616485
     
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  14. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    "Months go by" for work that any reputable shop would have done and back to you in 2-weeks? That is very alarming. I have a local shop that has 2 extremely experienced people, one being a touring tech / luthier with 20 years experience and the other over 35 years amp repair with Fender. The shop becomes very busy in the Summer yet still gets all my work requests done in no more than 3 weeks.

    What you hired is a disgrace.
     
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  15. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Afflicted

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    Not nearly as bad, but once I took a guitar to a well regarded local shop for a setup and when I got it back $150 later, I played it and it still had some fret buzz. The guy spent about 5 minutes telling me that it didn't matter what it sound like acoustically, only if it did that when plugged into an amp. Well I realized that I mostly play even electric guitar around the house unplugged and since I am used to playing acoustic, I pick really hard. So maybe the guy had a point but I was still none too thrilled. Later I did some setups myself and they came out OK. I just do not try to get a super low action on my guitars because I do pick really hard and it doesn't work out well.
     
  16. AxRookie

    AxRookie Tele-Meister

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    To be perfectly honest I had no idea how long that type of work should take as I, for the most part, do all my own work at any pace I feel like at the time...
     
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  17. AxRookie

    AxRookie Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, They are supposed to be installed with a little "bolt" tool that comes in the kit which I sent to him and got it back, For all the good it did...
     
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  18. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

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    Dave,
    they can be installed either way but when installing with the "screw tabs" up one needs to use the correct installation tool not a screwdriver. (A sure way to muck it up) Like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015CAPC14/?tag=tdpri-20
     
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  19. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    No way should an electric have fret buzzes, even acoustically. If the action is set very low, all the frets will snap more but that is not the same thing as a buzz on some of them. In fact, string height is a trade off between clear attack and play-ability. It is true that it is harder to detect through the pickups but that is not the point.
     
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  20. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Meister

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    Wow!

    Sorry for your hassles... But frankly it needs to be rewound all the way to the fouled up neck to begin with! I'd have been pounding on the door of the guy who sold me that initially! The problems you had, aside from builder jerking you around, were entirely predictable in my experience of building things...

    Like you I'm a DIY but again like you have learned some things the hard way. I've gotten better at cutting my losses closer to square one and investing from the start on items that will assure a successful project.

    Why didn't you go with a Warmouth body and neck and be done with? Or even finding a CL score and rehabbing with the gear?

    Don't mean to be a ball buster but like watching a movie and imagining in hind sight how I'd do it (when in all likelihood I'd have tried to save that neck too! :D)

    TEX
     
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