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Buyer's Remorse: Dealing with a unsatisfactory MJT build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by [J.K.], Jul 26, 2017.

  1. [J.K.]

    [J.K.] Tele-Meister

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    So, I recently decided to put together an Esquire. I went through MJT before for a double-bound T body before, and it was an absolute work of art. The results were absolutely beautiful and they were easy to work with. This time, I wanted something more practical for both live shows and recording, so I decided to go for the tummy and belly cuts (Beck style, but a super minimal relic job) and a contoured heel. After three months, it finally arrived (minus the bridge I gave them, which was shipped back later), and the results were... disappointing to say the least.

    The issues thus far:
    • The arm and stomach cuts were originally all painted, even though for them to be bare. They corrected this at the shop, but the result is rather uneven and shoddy looking.
    • The side of the body toward the top has a lot of unwanted checking that’s already flaking off, and it looks like the paint is uneven. It's not even a "relic" look so much as a shoddy finish job.
    • The mounting holes for the neck were drilled wrong. On both the body and the heel, the mounting holes aren’t aligned properly. MJT even instructed me to tell Musikraft to not drill any holes because they would do take care of it there. I sent them the contoured plate (along with the bridge and tuners) to make sure it was aligned. Now they’re saying that the holes were pre-drilled before they got it, so it’s not their fault, and I should just buy a new neck plate.
    • Not a huge deal, but I opted for a painted headstock, which is a lighter shade than the body for whatever reason.
    When I emailed about the paint and asked what color they specifically used so I could blend it for a touch-up, the response I got was “We use 100% nitrocellulose lacquer. I believe Guitar ReRanch has touch up pens that may work for you.” Not especially useful considering ReRanch doesn’t offer a “white blonde” color. Now they're offering to try and find a closer finish to send me, but I'm not thrilled about having to isolate the areas around the contours to paint up and blend in... I mean, that's precisely the reason I ordered from them was so I wouldn't have to deal with painting, especially since I live in an apartment in the city.

    I’m really not sure what to do. Considering the Musikraft headstock was painted to match (and I spent extra cash on that to get the roasted maple option), I feel pretty committed to the project and having a matching body. I genuinely think the work is sub-par beyond what I’d even call “b-stock” (say what you will about nitpicking, but I don’t know many guitarists who would be happy if their custom guitar was a surgery patient before it was even assembled).

    I’ve had good experiences with MJT in the past. They’ve been great to communicate with, and my last build was without issues. I’m having a hard time communicating with them over this because I still respect them (and I think the community as a whole does as well), but the fact that they didn’t readily offer some remedy beyond “go somewhere else and get some paint, and we didn’t drill the holes, so that’s not on us,” is kind of infuriating. It's like they stand behind their work if your happy, and if not... oh well.

    What would you do? Refinish it? Take it to a luthier? Re-drill it? Shop for another neck plate? Send it back? Just bite the bullet and accept that I just paid for a lemon?

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  2. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I'd ask to speak to the manager of whoever told you to buy some matching paint.

    Maybe you just got the wrong person to provide decent support? It happens.

    But agreed -- That's one botched job.
     
  3. Rich B in Tempe

    Rich B in Tempe Tele-Holic

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    I really see what your talking about!! From the way people talk, MJT CAN DO NO WRONG! Your neck holes are rediculous!
     
  4. Achysklic

    Achysklic Tele-Afflicted

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    That neck will not bolt yo that body the holes are not the same. I would send the body back and ask for it to be done right. This is crappy work. I am not s fan of their work , but this is bad even for them.
     
  5. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Why do you feel the need to have two complaint threads about this build and MJT at once? Was one not enough? If you think the body is defective or differs from the agreement, try to return it or get it redone. 3 months is not long to wait for a body to be done and painted, btw. If you are trying to cobble together a build from 3 or more different manufacturers you can expect to have to do some re-engineering on your end, IMO. Regardless of who does a body and/or neck, it is not uncommon to have to dowel and re-drill the holes so that the body, neck and plate all line up.
     
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  6. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    I love the irony of a thread complaining about unwanted checking and flaking paint on a relic body.
     
  7. [J.K.]

    [J.K.] Tele-Meister

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    The original thread in the "Finely Finished" forum was due to the fact I only noticed the finish problem and wanted advice on that, especially considering I wasn't going for a "relic" look, and even then there's a big difference between relicing and a bad paint job. Then I began editing it as I noticed more problems, which I feel like warranted a different sort of discussion of it; now it's no longer a finishing issue so much as an overall issue.

    I can delete the other thread if you really think that two threads is a hyperbolic response to enumerating problems, but there's a very reasonable logic to broadening the topic in hopes to get more input from other buyers and players on this. To me, I paid for a job that was poorly fulfilled, but I also want to hear how other people would handle this before I commit on anything else.
     
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  8. [J.K.]

    [J.K.] Tele-Meister

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    To be fair, I think it's a fairly small operation, and in emails, I've talked to just about the whole hierarchy.

    If it is an issue of the plate being non-standard, that's one thing. I'm not opposed to having to replace the plate, but the fact that it's even an issue to begin with considering I asked about the specific plate I had before the order and even sent it in—I'm inclined to think that should've been reconciled on their end before even drilling the neck. Furthermore, I'm concerned about the neck holes also being slightly offset from the body holes.

    That said, I haven't tried fitting the neck yet because the pocket is too tight and I don't want to start sanding it down until I get a better sense of how to handle things.

    Shallow semantic logic. Everything still has a relative set of standards. If I got a used car at a dealership and they dented it in the lot right after I bought it, I wouldn't accept the dealer saying "I love the irony of a buyer complaining about natural wear and tare on a used car."
     
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  9. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    No, this is more like buying a used car that was all dented from a major hail storm and complaining that there is a scratch on the bumper.
     
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  10. [J.K.]

    [J.K.] Tele-Meister

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    Like I said, I asked for a minimal relic job. No scratches or arm wear. I just wanted a slightly aged finish. A bad paint job from the start is not a relic job, but feel free to keep condescending over your bias that "relic" equates to indiscriminately poor paint coating and misaligned mounting holes.
     
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  11. stratoblaster

    stratoblaster Tele-Meister

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    Where did you get that neck plate? Maybe those body/neck holes line up fine with a Fender contour heel neck plate. I would locate the Fender version. Or... Maybe try to print out a good "to scale" pic of one to use as reference. As far as the paint is concerned, I'm having trouble following what you wanted and what you got. Did you want the forearm and body contours painted and what you got is bare with some touch ups?
     
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  12. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Same here. I wouldn't call bare arm and tummy cuts "minimal" relic by any stretch.
     
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  13. DaveRG78

    DaveRG78 TDPRI Member

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    I don't think that's a fair analogy. I get what he's saying. A relic job is meant to look like natural wear and tear that would happen over a long period of time. I can tell you from having utterly botched several DIY Reranch projects that the kinds of defects that arise from a bad paint job don't look anything like natural wear.
     
  14. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    Frankly, very few of these boutique relics really look like natural wear. It's like a cartoon version of real vintage guitar.
     
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  15. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I would send it back and ask for a refund, and not complain unless you didn't get a prompt refund. Everything should line up, Fender licensed parts are all supposed to be built to a common template.
     
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  16. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

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    OP, you came to the wrong place. The only thing hated more than complaint threads at TDPRI is modern country music.

    Hope you find a satisfactory solution.
     
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  17. [J.K.]

    [J.K.] Tele-Meister

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    Sorry, I should probably have clarified. While I like the deluxe-style cuts that are bare, I didn't want checking, buckle/arm rash, or anything like that. The only relicing I was interested in was having the cuts, and I did specify I wanted both sides of the guitar to be unreliced otherwise. The issue isn't necessarily the cuts themselves, but rather the finish on the first picture and how they "fixed" the original paint. There are cracks, checking, and little lines where it looks like there's no paint other than the clear coat. My assumption is that, in making the wood bear, they messed up the paint and just decided to gloss it and move on.
    You can see what I mean here:
    IMG_1029.JPG

    The original version looked like this:
    unnamed.jpg
    More relicing than I wanted, but I was willing to roll with it so long as they got my one specification correct. The angle of the picture isn't the best, but it's clear that the finish on the side was initially better.


    As for the neck plate, it was in their hands. I emailed a picture of it before the build and physically mailed it to them for the build. I'm willing to shrug that off and shop around for different sized ones, and that's fine. The holes they drilled in the neck, however, are still off enough that I can see it causing intonation problems. Below is a triptych showing the plate on top of one of my other Telecasters (left) where the three "standard" hole placements show that it's perfectly aligned, the Musikraft neck they drilled (center) where the lower mounting holes are slightly uneven and the top one is a little high, and on the body (right).
    IMG_1033.JPG

    This is why I made the thread, though: it's not unusable, and it's all fixable, but the reason I paid MJT to begin with was because I wanted work done by a professional with the expectation that these kinds of flaws were what I would be able to avoid by having it taken care of by professionals. Is it worth sending back? Not if it's fixable. Is it poor enough quality to warrant a partial refund? I'd argue that it is, considering that I'll have to repaint a portion of it and perhaps even re-drill the holes on the neck.

    I know relics and modifications are divisive, and I also know that MJT has a strong following here. I'm also familiar with forums enough that people like to be contrary, especially when talking about problems which don't beset their personal material concerns. That's why I'm trying to tread carefully and ask for opinions on what is a reasonable boundary for how beholden the manufacturer is versus how much I can expect, especially considering the specifications of my order were discussed before the build (specifically the finish job and sending in the plate to have the holes drilled accordingly). Maybe the specificity or length of my initial post made it seem like I was infuriated or irate. I'm not. It's frustrating to be sure, but I'm not trying to savage anyone or incite argument. I'm just trying to get perspective on how people would handle this if they could imagine themselves in my shoes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
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  18. Il Duce

    Il Duce Tele-Holic

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    Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it seems like you didn't get what you ordered so they need to either make it right or give you a full refund. Imho

    Personally I'd go for a full refund.
     
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  19. arielyitus

    arielyitus Tele-Meister

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    I hate it that some times you get a bad job, crappy product and you are stuck with it no matter how hard you try to get support.

    But I dislike even more when people disqualifies a thread where the experience is shared just because they automatically assume is the buyers fault for not knowing what they are doing or for wanting something "stupid".

    We share such experiences here because this is a community with people like us that would understand or relate. We share to get advise not to burn the seller down.
     
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  20. superbadj

    superbadj Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've had two purchase experiences w/MJT...one buying a body and one doing a full build. Both were awesome experiences that led to amazing guitars.

    Disappointing to hear that you're not getting reasonable service. I would push the issue myself. Get it fixed to your satisfaction or push for a refund. It's real money, PLUS real effort on your part to get things right. Don't settle for less.
     
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