Need opinions on warranty work

Mountainpassing

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So I bought my first Telecaster a lil while ago. A sweet honeyburst American performer.I was trippin when I got it cause it sounded so awesome with the music I play. I personally love the yosemite pickups on it and think they compliment each other so well. Anyhow the only problem was a very nasty fret buzzz on E and A consisting of a majority of the frets on those two low strings.The A string buzzed on not nearly as many frets as the E string though.
So I get to adjusting the relief and action even to the point of being unplayable.Still the nasty rattle ,really not a buzz per say.
Fender says take it to the local luthier that is authorized by them. He gets good reviews online too (limited but good).So he puts us on slow walk and then finally gets around to lookin at it and says it needs a fret mill.He will have to "ask' Fender, so more slow walkin. Finally gets back and says he can work on it for a couple hours for warranty..

Its like two weeks this whole process, got the guitar back today, wife picked it up.
No more rattle but the guy drilled a whole in my headstock (without asking) and installed dual string trees from graphtec, says my D string "needed" them. I took it to him for E and A mind you and had no problems higher than that when I put the strings on correctly.Perhaps worse than that tho is that the B string now sounds very dead and like a sitar(probably cause the tree height aint right, i dont know) . Finally the cherry on top is that the whole guitar sounds completely different now, I mean nothing like it did when we gave it to him. It sounds like the pickups were hit with magnets or that maybe the electronics were swapped I mean it sounds so bad.I am trying to make some recordings right now and I kid you not I got a tear...he killed my guitar sound.

So we are initiating an exchange with Fender but man does any of this sound normal to you guys?
I personally think it is insanity.
_ drill holes without permission
- put non stock hardware on without permission
- Make all the strings dead sounding
_really screw up the b-string

In addition i told him to set it up to Fender spec like i delivered it and it came back with innacurate relief,wrong pickup height,wrong string height, and 12 cents sharp for intonation.I havnt checked the radius yet.
The strings were not nearly stretched and the switchplate was half unsrewed. Who is this person???
Anyway sorry to rant but i feel like i lost a friend.

Nice forum btw.
 

old_picker

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First mistake asking Fender for help. I suggest asking local players who the go to tech is in your district. Take the guitar to him and ask for a setup outlining the problems to be addressed. I'm pretty sure your new tele will come up aces high. It's a very basic machine and doesn't take a brain surgeon to get one playing properly.
 

Freeman Keller

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Mountain, you have my complete sympathy but there are also a ton of questions that come up any time I read a story like this. Did you buy that guitar in a store? Did it have that buzz when you bought it, if so did you show it to the sales person? Was the tech that did the work associated with the store where you bought it? What exactly did you do to it? What was your discussion with Fender?

A good tech should have carefully measured everything on the guitar during your visit and should have given you a detailed estimate of what he/she was going to do. If you requested it be set up to Fender specs then they should know exactly what that means. Ideally you would have picked up the guitar instead of your wife and the tech would have gone over exactly what was done. The tech should have watched you play it to make sure you were satisfied.

If this tech truly is Fender Authorized then Fender should know about your dissatisfication. Before you do anything else you should take it to another Fender Authorized tech and have them evaluate the guitar and setup - if they feel it is out of spec send their evaluation to Fender. There are many good setup technicians in the Seattle/Tacoma area who could look at this for you.

You also didn't say if you took it back to the person that did the work, but you should. Give them a chance to explain what they did and make it right.

If you are actually traveling across the mountain passes I am on the east side and would be happy to take a look at it with you. I have a very detailed evaluation process that I do to every instrument that crosses my workbench before I do anything to it. I am not a professional and am not Fender authorized but people think I do pretty good work.

Good luck, keep us posted, and by the way, welcome to the forum.
 

Mountainpassing

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Mountain, you have my complete sympathy but there are also a ton of questions that come up any time I read a story like this. Did you buy that guitar in a store? Did it have that buzz when you bought it, if so did you show it to the sales person? Was the tech that did the work associated with the store where you bought it? What exactly did you do to it? What was your discussion with Fender?

A good tech should have carefully measured everything on the guitar during your visit and should have given you a detailed estimate of what he/she was going to do. If you requested it be set up to Fender specs then they should know exactly what that means. Ideally you would have picked up the guitar instead of your wife and the tech would have gone over exactly what was done. The tech should have watched you play it to make sure you were satisfied.

If this tech truly is Fender Authorized then Fender should know about your dissatisfication. Before you do anything else you should take it to another Fender Authorized tech and have them evaluate the guitar and setup - if they feel it is out of spec send their evaluation to Fender. There are many good setup technicians in the Seattle/Tacoma area who could look at this for you.

You also didn't say if you took it back to the person that did the work, but you should. Give them a chance to explain what they did and make it right.

If you are actually traveling across the mountain passes I am on the east side and would be happy to take a look at it with you. I have a very detailed evaluation process that I do to every instrument that crosses my workbench before I do anything to it. I am not a professional and am not Fender authorized but people think I do pretty good work.

Good luck, keep us posted, and by the way, welcome to the forum.
Yes ,tx for the words!
So I bought it from Fender direct thru their website and it shipped from there. The purchase supposedly included a thorough inspection at their factory and I had an expectation that I may have to do a set-up but that the guitar would be manufactured well enough. The relief,action,and hardware check were done by me trying to locate the source of rattle to no avail.So I increased relief to stop rattle but it wouldn't cease. I raised the action but it wouldn't cease. I checked hardware for defects or looseness but it did not yield anything. I then set everything back to spec from Fenders website.My research told me that from there it was either a bad nut ,bad frets, or twisted neck.

Fender has various authorized luthiers in their network (which I used due to warranty) and I chose the closest . He works out of his garage.
The stated issue we gave him was rattle on E low(11 fretted notes) and on A (4 fretted notes).
He finally put a straight edge on it and did the rocking ,then diagnosed the need for fret milling, which of course was a manufacturing issue and not a set-up issue.
Fender ok'd the milling under warranty.
The guitar was picked up by my wife as I was at work. The rattle is gone but somewhere along the line he invented a problem on the D string and added a hole into the headstock for a pair of ugly string trees which he said it needed(even tho he said he would call if anything other than the mill was needed).
I didn't have a problem with d prior . Or g for that matter.I also don't appreciate my headstock being drilled without my permission as it ruins resale value and there was no problem with those strings.Also I don't think he has proper height on those trees and that is why B sounds like a full blown sitar now.Not to mention bending behind the neck was taken from me too..wait i guess i did mention that huh? lol

I also strongly suspect (but dont know) he used a magnetized screwdriver to clean up fret shavings from around the pickups as that would maybe explain the very pronounced dead and flat sound the guitar now makes.Either that or he somehow messed with the electronics as he seemed obsessed with getting inside the control plate both times the wife says.
So really it has gone from unacceptable rattle to mutilated,dead sounding,and sitar like. Basically un-recordable.

The Senior gear manager at Fender is supposedly going to speak with him but honestly who cares?Quality comes from within and when more and more people in society don't care then everything ends up garbage eventually.Irony included.
With regards to letting him explain himself and correct things, that is an uphill battle that I didn't pay for.Will he wire new pickups on his dime? Will he admit his multi-mistakes? Will he just use wood putty to fix the head? No ..im sorry but he failed his audition with me.Someone who gives a guitar back in that shape is like a mechanic who gives a car back and forgets to put brake fluid in after a brake job..dangerous.
Have to just see what happens by way of Fender in this matter, I appreciate your offer. I dont have much experience with luthiers but this stuff ,and a bunch of other little stuff ,makes me think this guy is simply whack.
 

Freeman Keller

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Well, only knowing what is in your two posts, the guy is simply whack. Nobody stays in business doing that kind of work, and Fender should have received complaints from others.

I see two reasonable options for you and you need to work with Fender for either of these. One would be to simply ship it back and ask them to return it to factory specifications.

The other option would be to take it to another Fender Authorized technician and ask for a complete evaluation. Not necessary have the work done, but have them evaluate the guitar and help you communicate with Fender. You might have to pay for the evaluation and you definitely should use someone who's opinion Fender will respect.

There are a lot of things that complicate this - the fact that you bought it by mail, did some work yourself, apparently did not have good communications with the technician that worked on your guitar. A new guitar should not need eleven frets "milled" but I'll be honest and say I'm frequently not that impressed with factory fretwork, even if its been "Plek'ed". And again, without seeing the guitar I won't say anything else.

I'll add that I usually put two string trees on F style guitars that I build - I don't like them but find that they are usually necessary.

Good luck
 

bobio

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If it were me, I would contact Fender Consumer Relations and explain what has transpired.
I have had good luck dealing with warranty issues this way. Worth a shot anyhow...
They have always responded quickly for me, usually within 24 hours.

[email protected]
 

old wrench

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I think I'd pursue the "exchange" with Fender, if you can make that work

It sounds like whatever magic was in that guitar for you personally, was let out when the hole got drilled in the headstock ;)

We live in an age of instant experts - learn some of the lingo, buy some tools, do a little creative advertising, and you too can be in business :)

There still are good solid craftsmen (and craftswomen), but you need to find them

I think Freeman's suggestion to take it to a well-qualified tech and have it evaluated will make a real difference in how well your "exchange" with Fender works out - it should at least put you in a better position to negotiate

Persistence ;)

.
 

Mountainpassing

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If it were me, I would contact Fender Consumer Relations and explain what has transpired.
I have had good luck dealing with warranty issues this way. Worth a shot anyhow...
They have always responded quickly for me, usually within 24 hours.

[email protected]
Yeah this is what happened hours after getting it back. We started a ticket with that dept. and requested an exchange already.They are having one of there senior somebodies get ahold of the "luthier" but probably we wont hear back till Mon. They were real quick to authorize either an exchange ,return, or repair dude the first time we called with the buzzing. I thought i was being kind letting them work on it instead of just sending it back, but i guess that plan sucked.:)
 

Mountainpassing

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I think I'd pursue the "exchange" with Fender, if you can make that work

It sounds like whatever magic was in that guitar for you personally, was let out when the hole got drilled in the headstock ;)

We live in an age of instant experts - learn some of the lingo, buy some tools, do a little creative advertising, and you too can be in business :)

There still are good solid craftsmen (and craftswomen), but you need to find them

I think Freeman's suggestion to take it to a well-qualified tech and have it evaluated will make a real difference in how well your "exchange" with Fender works out - it should at least put you in a better position to negotiate

Persistence ;)

.
Yes persistence, tx for that!
Has to be some good ones out there, close by even, just gotta find em..story of my life really in more ways than one.. lol.
 

Freeman Keller

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Yes persistence, tx for that!
Has to be some good ones out there, close by even, just gotta find em..story of my life really in more ways than one.. lol.
Seattle and Tacoma (and Portland) have some excellent builders and repair people. I move mostly in acoustic circles so thats what I know best, but drop in to Dusty or Emerald City and chat with the folks there.

I also highly recommend playing a guitar before you buy it, and I like to give my business to the local shops who actually stock inventory and pay attention to their customers. Most small music stores are real gems, I want to give them my business if I can.

Your situation got complicated by both the fact that was warranty work (meaning the guitar was defective from the get go) and the inept person who you dealt with, but it sounds like you are headed in the right direction.

And, if you happen to be passing thru the mountains, I'm just on the dry side and would love to show you what I do.
 

Mountainpassing

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Well, only knowing what is in your two posts, the guy is simply whack. Nobody stays in business doing that kind of work, and Fender should have received complaints from others.

I see two reasonable options for you and you need to work with Fender for either of these. One would be to simply ship it back and ask them to return it to factory specifications.

The other option would be to take it to another Fender Authorized technician and ask for a complete evaluation. Not necessary have the work done, but have them evaluate the guitar and help you communicate with Fender. You might have to pay for the evaluation and you definitely should use someone who's opinion Fender will respect.

There are a lot of things that complicate this - the fact that you bought it by mail, did some work yourself, apparently did not have good communications with the technician that worked on your guitar. A new guitar should not need eleven frets "milled" but I'll be honest and say I'm frequently not that impressed with factory fretwork, even if its been "Plek'ed". And again, without seeing the guitar I won't say anything else.

I'll add that I usually put two string trees on F style guitars that I build - I don't like them but find that they are usually necessary.

Good luck
Yeah good advices , tx for that. I really appreciate your time.
Except according to Fender I didn't actually do any "work" on it as per their warranty "set-up" (relief,action ,pickup heights, etc) is not the responsibility of Fender but the onus is on the new owner. Anything my generic "set-up" didn't fix would then be referred to a tech because of manufacturer responsibility.
It is a very real distinction and my adjusting it was required to enact a warranty claim and to rule out operator (set-up) error.

As far as communication goes "E and A rattling , call if anything else" doesn't sound overly complicated to me.At least on our part the communication was crystal clear. Like the above poster said it shouldn't be too hard to work on these things. He went outside his purview simple as that.

Really the question I would have for you in particular is have you ever drilled thru someones headstock without asking them, then picked the hardware you liked without asking them and then did you leave the trees at an inaccurate height so as to make a string a sitar? If you answer yes i definitely wanna know if others have too, cuz like i said that sounds crazy.

Anyhoo its rhetorical if you dont wanna answer but im sure ill be up and runnin soon and back to my projects in no time, tx for lookin.
 

Mountainpassing

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Seattle and Tacoma (and Portland) have some excellent builders and repair people. I move mostly in acoustic circles so thats what I know best, but drop in to Dusty or Emerald City and chat with the folks there.

I also highly recommend playing a guitar before you buy it, and I like to give my business to the local shops who actually stock inventory and pay attention to their customers. Most small music stores are real gems, I want to give them my business if I can.

Your situation got complicated by both the fact that was warranty work (meaning the guitar was defective from the get go) and the inept person who you dealt with, but it sounds like you are headed in the right direction.

And, if you happen to be passing thru the mountains, I'm just on the dry side and would love to show you what I do.
good leads tx for that. ill keep in mind
 

Freeman Keller

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Really the question I would have for you in particular is have you ever drilled thru someones headstock without asking them, then picked the hardware you liked without asking them and then did you leave the trees at an inaccurate height so as to make a string a sitar? If you answer yes i definitely wanna know if others have too, cuz like i said that sounds crazy.

As I told you before, I am not a professional, I work on friends guitars for little or no payment (swag, a bottle of wine, tickets to the gig....). I have a standard policy that when a guitar lands on my work bench I measure everything before I touch anything. I have a little spreadsheet that I fill out, it is generic and covers most stringed instruments. It has a column for the measurement as found, a target value, and where that target came from (might be that someone wants their guitar set to factory specs, I note that have have most factories values on file). I'll note anything unusual that I see - if I don't feel there is adequate break angle at the nut it would be noted on the work order spread sheet. That takes me 15 minutes to do, 30 if the owner is standing there (and I want them to be). Based on that spread sheet we can decide on a plan of attack, what needs to be changed, what it will take to do it. I like to watch them play because it affects our decisions on how to set it up.

If that was a real business deal I would give the work order to the owner - that basically is a little contract on what I'm going to do. When the guitar is finished their is a fourth column for the actual ending values of all of the measurements - the owner gets a paper copy of that, I file the electronic one.

If you actually want to see how I do this I have written a thread for this forum


The process is the same for almost any stringed instrument, the values and targets will change a lot.

This has actually been turned into a little pdf without all the forum chit chat - you can print sections of the pdf and take them out to the shop when working on a guitar. I also make the spreadsheet with targets specs available if folks want, a few have found it useful.

Once again, good luck and I would say kudos to Fender as it sounds like they are working with you.

Edit - I guess I really didn't answer your question but I would not do anything to a guitar without the owner's approval.
 
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Tenderfoot

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IMHO if installing an additional String Tree was required to correct the D string issue; then the tech was not able to bring the Tele into design specification (which should be possible if correctly setup to Fender's requirements). Putting a "band aid" fix on a new Tele (or any new guitar) is totally unacceptable and Fender should honor an exchange request given the Tele couldn't be setup to play without modification to the design.

Based on my warranty dealings with Fender, it is best to send an initial email request and once a representative answer, get on the phone with that individual. After any phone discussions, send an email summarizing what was discussed and agreed during the phone call.

Good luck!
 

Freeman Keller

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There is a bit of a paradox to this whole discussion. I have a friends P-bass on my workbench right now. I did some work on it because he has a big gig coming up - we changed the string as part of the work. The guitar developed an open string buzz on the third string (the A) that can be killed by dampening behind the the nut. The setup specs are good (and haven't changed from before). These strings have less of a wrap on the ends where they fit in the tuner but they are still wound all the way down the shaft. It looks like they don't have enough break angle and that the guitar needs an additional tree.

The owner is very happy to have me drill a hole in the head and add the tree - I'm just not sure it should be necessary. Rather than doing anything I've posted a question at the bass forum and after a few days discuss with my friend.

Interesting timing...
 

Mountainpassing

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Ok well.. Fender was very professional and methodical to deal with. They had to contact the person who worked on the guitar so it took a bit of time to resolve this issue. My replacement guitar has been authorized with no rebuttal whatsoever.
I am relieved and heartened by their having concurred with my point of view.

Sadly I could see someone less motivated accepting a situation like this cause they wouldnt know anybetter.
Hopefully this resolution by Fender helps to bring some realities into clearer focus for anybody that might read this in the future.
That is to say don't ever let anybody tell you how much more they know about something than you. Instead reserve the right to tell someone how impressed you are by their craft when they have truly proven it and deserve the compliment.A master will never compliment his/her self and that is exactly what a know-it-all is---->a self-complimentary.
Tx for the good advice guys.
 

Wound_Up

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Yes ,tx for the words!
So I bought it from Fender direct thru their website and it shipped from there. The purchase supposedly included a thorough inspection at their factory and I had an expectation that I may have to do a set-up but that the guitar would be manufactured well enough. The relief,action,and hardware check were done by me trying to locate the source of rattle to no avail.So I increased relief to stop rattle but it wouldn't cease. I raised the action but it wouldn't cease. I checked hardware for defects or looseness but it did not yield anything. I then set everything back to spec from Fenders website.My research told me that from there it was either a bad nut ,bad frets, or twisted neck.

Fender has various authorized luthiers in their network (which I used due to warranty) and I chose the closest . He works out of his garage.
The stated issue we gave him was rattle on E low(11 fretted notes) and on A (4 fretted notes).
He finally put a straight edge on it and did the rocking ,then diagnosed the need for fret milling, which of course was a manufacturing issue and not a set-up issue.
Fender ok'd the milling under warranty.
The guitar was picked up by my wife as I was at work. The rattle is gone but somewhere along the line he invented a problem on the D string and added a hole into the headstock for a pair of ugly string trees which he said it needed(even tho he said he would call if anything other than the mill was needed).
I didn't have a problem with d prior . Or g for that matter.I also don't appreciate my headstock being drilled without my permission as it ruins resale value and there was no problem with those strings.Also I don't think he has proper height on those trees and that is why B sounds like a full blown sitar now.Not to mention bending behind the neck was taken from me too..wait i guess i did mention that huh? lol

I also strongly suspect (but dont know) he used a magnetized screwdriver to clean up fret shavings from around the pickups as that would maybe explain the very pronounced dead and flat sound the guitar now makes.Either that or he somehow messed with the electronics as he seemed obsessed with getting inside the control plate both times the wife says.
So really it has gone from unacceptable rattle to mutilated,dead sounding,and sitar like. Basically un-recordable.

The Senior gear manager at Fender is supposedly going to speak with him but honestly who cares?Quality comes from within and when more and more people in society don't care then everything ends up garbage eventually.Irony included.
With regards to letting him explain himself and correct things, that is an uphill battle that I didn't pay for.Will he wire new pickups on his dime? Will he admit his multi-mistakes? Will he just use wood putty to fix the head? No ..im sorry but he failed his audition with me.Someone who gives a guitar back in that shape is like a mechanic who gives a car back and forgets to put brake fluid in after a brake job..dangerous.
Have to just see what happens by way of Fender in this matter, I appreciate your offer. I dont have much experience with luthiers but this stuff ,and a bunch of other little stuff ,makes me think this guy is simply whack.

String trees don't ruin resale value. Where did you come up with that? Thats ludicrous.

What he did to the frets and all that affects the value more than a string tree does.
 

nickmm

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One of my students had a similar thing happen on a non warranty guitar.
Lazy work if you ask me. Seems like many poor repairers can't cut nuts or dress frets properly.
They are not luthiers.
My tech works on many high end vintage instruments and has a skill set to match. Imagine if this happened to your 62 L series or 52 Blackguard.
 

Mountainpassing

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String trees don't ruin resale value. Where did you come up with that? Thats ludicrous.

What he did to the frets and all that affects the value more than a string tree does.
So when it gets sold a person looks at it to see what if any mods were made to the original factory condition. You know ,with the serial number and stuff..
As pointed out ,a question arises as to why it needed it in the first place. Some Telecasters came with two trees as im aware, and some that didn't got trees later on via repair or preference or whatever. They might have been done well and have matched hardware..no biggie in that case or shall we say possibly a no-biggie to the new buyer.
In my case i didn't ask for it and didn't need it unless he made a new problem trying to fix the original problem. Try explaining that one to a buyer with a straight face.
But beyond all this is the fact that he used the large screws that came with the graphtecs with unmatched hardware and now the thing is stuck like it is..unless they are removed and wood filled.
This kind of manipulation results in problems with regards to value but don't take my word for it. Fender completely agrees ,it just isn't something that should be done without an educated understanding of long term consequences.
So I can see it is a very individual thing and in my case Fender thinks it is a problem. The dude reduced the potential buyer pool when he did that. 15 years from now the guitar would simply be passed by for another one by a certain number of potential buyers.
So in other certain cases you probably are being reasonable but in my case you are not and i wouldn't concern myself with it .
While the saying "one man"s garbage is another man's treasure" is sometimes true ,the fact that one man's treasure is another man's treasure is always true.
take it easy--
 




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