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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

The scuttlebutt on USACG

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Ronkirn, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Many have been wondering... and a lotta you guys have been contacting me since have known Tommy for so long....

    Ok, here's what's going on....

    Tommy is no longer associated with USACG... the new Owner, Kevin Hill is pursuing a direction counter to those Tommy had built the company on. As "conflicts" surfaced at an ever increasing interval.. Kevin elected to show Tommy the door. It looks like Kevin's future plans will include introducing a new guitar, under the "Langdon" name.

    To me, getting rid of Tommy?? Well, that's kinda like Versace getting rid of Donatella, or Chanel kicking Lagerfeld out... (sorry I spent a lotta time in advertising too, photographing Fashion..I knew a lotta those people..)

    What the future holds remains to be seen... I do not know Kevin, or if he really knows anything about making guitars, However we have had some very pleasant conversations.. seems like a nice guy. But as Henry Ford said to H. L. Mencken, a notable journalist of the day, and known for "heckling" Ford for not having a formal education... "Can you even spell Automobile?" Ford's reply, "No, but give me five minutes and I'll hire someone who can". Point being, Kevin can hire whomever he needs.

    As for Tommy, I can only guess.. I'll bet there was some kinda non-compete clause in whatever "deal" that allowed Kevin to bring capital to the company, there usually is.. So it's unlikely Tommy will be opening a new company any time soon. As long as Kevin can deliver, I have no objections other than, c'mon, 8 - 12 weeks.... that's killer for a company that used to get them to me in 2 weeks...

    It all saddens me greatly. I've known Tommy since the mid 80's when he was with Warmoth... In his new incarnation as "skipper" of USACG, beginning in 1999, his willingness to accommodate about any "weirdness" you guys wanted in your necks was unparalleled.. That will be missed almost as much as the "chats" I enjoyed with him over the years...

    So, I tip my cup in salute to Kevin, and wish him well, and hope things remain unchanged... and for Tommy, knowing he's no longer at the other end of the phone makes for a very dark grey cloud looming. I can only say, God, it was great for the past 30 + years. You're gonna be missed... c'mon back soon now, ya hear?

    Ron Kirn
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
    2blue2, MitchMiami, TigerG and 18 others like this.
  2. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 24, 2009
    Thanks for this.

    And I'm glad I got my Tele neck when I did. Tommy was great to work with.
  3. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013

    I received my customized neck in 3 weeks, mid-February. Kevin answered emails in timely fashion. I'm very happy with the neck.
  4. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2013
    I placed an order with them (paid for the neck) on October 29th. Still don't have it. I did email Tommy, however given his situation, there's no wonder I never heard anything. I emailed through their "contact" portal yesterday and was responded to promptly by Kevin. I explained the situation (4 months with no contact from anyone) and he moved my neck up in line. However, I don't know how ndcaster was getting a neck in 3 weeks while mine sat for 4 months. Admittedly, I was busy (I wasn't calling them everyday) - and Tommy did tell me 10 weeks. However, I shouldn't have had to call them at all. If there was an issue, they should have let me know that it would be significantly delayed and ask me if I wanted to wait or get a refund.
    drlucky and nojazzhere like this.
  5. horax

    horax Tele-Holic

    Jul 1, 2011
    colorado springs
    so are the new necks not as good as they normally are? How does this affect production and QC?
    Quake-caster and nojazzhere like this.
  6. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    There is opprotunity for an upstart here.
  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    I spoke with Kevin yesterday.. at present they are not taking orders from private individuals, they are concentrating on getting the commercial orders, and those that have fallen behind.. out . I would think they would post a notice on the site...

    nojazzhere likes this.
  8. Peckhammer

    Peckhammer Tele-Holic

    Dec 1, 2014
    That’s a bummer. I’ve worked with Tommy as well, choosing to drop in and rummage through necks and bodies on the shelves rather than order on-line. He is a truly stand up guy and knows guitars inside and out. He’s the sort of leader who inspires good work and dedication. I hope someone picks him up, or he has an opportunity to start something new. Hell, i’d contribute towards getting a CNC machine to help get him established again.
    PhatBoy, rogb, Flakey and 1 other person like this.
  9. ftbtx

    ftbtx Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    I recently ordered one of their "in stock" necks; it was fairly inexpensive, nice quality and received it quickly. What a shame about Tommy though, he was great to email with any questions or ideas, I hope he does something else. You could always rely on him for help and good conversation.
  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Doesn't this just exemplify too many businesses today? I'm sorry to hear this, even though I've never bought a neck from them. I did buy a Warmoth "conversion" neck last year. I chose all of my specs from their menu, so I wasn't asking for anything terribly unique....but I got exactly what I requested. So, does it look like this will affect your business? Are your fulfillment times going to change a lot?...or will you go to other suppliers for at least some of your needs? Or, is there any chance with customer pressure Kevin could be persuaded to bring Tommy back into the fold? Thanks again for your information and the way you so kindly share your knowledge.
  11. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Sep 21, 2012
    Good Info - thanks

    TELE_BLUES Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Sorry to hear this.It was nice to call and talk to the owner directly.Nothing but good things to say about my exeriences with TOMMY and USACG.
    Flakey likes this.
  13. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    I think it may be because I ordered one of their sale necks, which has a small blem on the back. So it was already milled and ready for radiusing, dots, and frets. I got to pick those, but they were probably able to do that finishing quickly.
  14. rogb

    rogb Tele-Holic

    Jan 3, 2012
    London, England
    Very sorry to hear that, I've got 3 USACG necks, one I have already refretted with stainless, and will do the others as needed so they should see me out.
    I've dealt with Kevin too, and he was a nice guy to do business with at the time.
  15. Praxis

    Praxis Tele-Meister

    Dec 11, 2007
    Out There
    Thanks for the update, Ron. I always had great experiences with Tommy; sad to see him go. I surely hope Kevin can pull it together and continue to make a great product.

    I'm fortunate to have a few USACG pieces: a complete tele, a really nice exotic wood fretless bass neck, and a double precision bass body (like Leland Sklar's). Every one of them is top-notch, and "custom," in that they have lots of non-standard options. Tommy was always great to work with on stuff like that.
  16. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    It won't. I'm sure Kevin will be able to produce... and if issues arise, I can still make my own, or . . there are a number of other very fine suppliers that have been "courting" my business...

    I may do what is actually a more pragmatic approach.. pursue alternatives, so if there ever is a hitch, I can tac, and remain fluid.. after all, Leo did use several suppliers of Nitro other than DuPont..

    drlucky and nojazzhere like this.
  17. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

    May 17, 2003
    Great Pacific NW
    Wow, I had no idea. Thank you for the information Ron. Very well stated. I too have known Tommy for quite a while. He went over and above helping me with my body and neck 16 years ago. To this day, the guitar inspires me each time I pick it up... which is often as its been my #1 since day 1.

    Tommy is a class act and I wish him well. Also, best to Ken....I hope it works for him.
  18. PhatBoy

    PhatBoy Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    OKC, OK
    Thanks Ron for the info0.
    Was just recently on the site....

    Guess I'lll drop that tab off the menu bar. Kevin's new direction I'm pretty sure w'ont be including me.
    Best to Tommy in his new endeavors, as he was very helpful with my necks an bodies
  19. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

    Apr 22, 2011
    It's a sad day when a founder is forced to leave his or her own company. I hope that USACG will continue to make such fantastic guitar necks and bodies, but it certainly gives one pause.
    AndreasF likes this.
  20. guitar0621

    guitar0621 Tele-Meister

    May 30, 2017
    Wasn't a bit surprised to see that the "Custom Orders" didn't happen on March 1 as scheduled. They stopped finishing; the stopped international rosewood; huge backlog of custom orders. Pretty clear Kevin is focused on builders, with his brand being the main focus. Won't be surprised to see USACG disappear completely and we're left with just his brand, too.

    Get 'em while you still can-- if you can.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
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