Echopark Guitars

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by datguytim, Jan 27, 2013.


  1. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    Whoa. I never said I hope your guitar has problems when delivered. I hope your get the full EP experience, like Mooster well describes. He seems to love his EP's in spite of some shortcomings. My understanding of wabi-sabi is it's Gabe's handmade mojo. It is part of the charm of the guitars for many. I have had 7 custom builds, and I would not want anyone after a wait and $$$ spent to get a ****** guitar---even you. I certainly hope you don't experience the extended wait and poor communication that LenPort has suffered through. Additionally, build issues documented in this thread that I have had a problem with were declared "miniscule" by you anyway, so I'm not sure what you are worried about.

    And I totally disagree that you have tried to be polite. You came in swinging, IMO. I see you did remove some of your rude posts, one of which i had already quoted, so it is still there on page 70. If my comment truly sickened you, feel free to report me to TGP "gods".

    Finally, this is not a ridiculous thread. It is an instructive thread. It has made clear what could happen if you custom order a guitar from Gabe. It has told many that do want an Echopark to buy used or look in retailer stock. The thread has also made it clear that the guitars typically play and sound great in most cases, in spite of easily preventable build issues that never should have gone out the door.
     
  2. Crshngdstryr

    Crshngdstryr Member

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    Fair enough. And just so you don't think I was trying to re-write my own history, I didn't remove some of my old posts; TGP did.
     
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  3. kbgear

    kbgear Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree with this sentiment, but with one caveat:

    shill, n: an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others.​

    On its face, this is a harsh word. But the reason that TGP (IIRC) requires disclaimers of affiliation (i.e., bias) is because of this kind of person—someone who claims to be objective and unbiased who leverages that perception to get their actually biased opinion to carry as much or more weight as others'.

    I don't think it matters if you're biased—as you say, adults can make up their own minds—as long as you point these biases out.

    But some people have such strong biases (which they don't disclose and of which they may even be unaware) that they look like a shill and quack like a shill. Which isn't constructive for anyone.

    And none of the above is loaded to any particular person. I just want to reinforce the importance of revealing honest biases and affiliations, and the equal importance of not harping on those biases or affiliations.

    Yes. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
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  4. Mooster

    Mooster Member

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    Although I will get slated for this, I want to return to the concept of wabi-sabi, mushin and shibui. Why do I want to go through it again? Because I don’t think I went through it thoroughly enough and people dismissed it as hocus pocus. Also, it is an important part of the desirability of an EPG, and has to be understood if you do not have one in front of you to touch, feel and connect with so only see its objective flaws. I do not think for one moment that Gabe internalises and practices the disciplines of a Zen monk, but whether intentional or not, the objects that he creates display similar characteristics. The deepest he probably thinks about it is, he is “doing his thang.” For me, what marks his pieces out as so is what Alan Watts describes in his lecture on mushin:

    “…also, and there is a very curious thing. If a person who is untrained in painting makes a mess with a brush it’s liable to be a mess. Whereas a person who has the feeling of painting in them for a long time, and they make a mess with a brush or just do anything, it looks interesting. And that’s why if you try and copy the best people in modern, abstract non-objective painting you’ll find it’s a very difficult thing to do. Because there is more to spontaneity than caprice and disorder…”

    Taking everything else we know and putting it to one side, if you look at this image of a cup in the shibui aesthetic:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibui#/media/File:Small_Seto_sake_cup.jpeg

    It is both a piece of junk and yet rather interesting. It is on the one hand irregular and roughly made, ripe for improvement. But it brings with it something different, something that catches the eye. I won’t elevate EPGs to a high form of art, but I think that to play them and use them is to subconsciously be charmed by the shibui and wabi-sabi aesthetic whether you think of it consciously or not. Players that play EPG might not care for this analysis or concept, they just like “that thang he does.” This of course does not excuse or justify his building methods, but it hopefully will explain to people shaking their heads at the whole thing why EPG is so successful and why it has garnered such a fanbase willing to shell out top dollar to join the club. Charming or BS, you decide.
     
  5. '59_Standard

    '59_Standard Member

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    I think what you are confusing above with is what you previously described Gabes' attitude as: he doesn't GAF. You are trying to defend the indefensible. People weren't paying for sub-par work. Nobody here has said its what I wanted from my build.

    In reality Gabe doesn't seem to be in his mind (until this arose) sending out sub-par items (I'm not saying they all are, either). When he says he will wants to do his best and be untouchable there is no intentional wasi-sabi from the start until now. Somehow things went FUBAR on his end.
     
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  6. cmatthes

    cmatthes Member

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    Stop trying to pretty it up - you're embarassing yourself. It's sloppy, careless and shoddy workmanship. Anything else is just BS. He truly does not GAF.
     
  7. beorn

    beorn Member

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    I see the point Mr. Watts is making. However, he's using the boldfaced terms as if they are factual -- as if a "mess" is objective or "interesting" is objective.

    Is that true? Not IMO. People who aren't "trained" in painting have become successful painters anyway, because their customers found their messes interesting... and forgeries of abstract art by famous painters, that sold for enormous prices, are far from uncommon.

    Still, I think we can agree that with Echopark guitars, aesthetic quirks like chunks missing from a pickguard can be considered a deliberate style. And if people like that style (as many people like the art of Jackson Pollock), and they feel like paying an unusually large sum to get it, that's just the free market at work.

    OK. But I don't see how that excuses sending people either no guitar, or a guitar with the wrong top/fingerboard/pickups/etc... because there's nothing stylish about that.
     
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  8. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Supporting Member

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    Emperor's clothes - people see what they want to see and after spending a lot of money will often defend that decision despite evidence they erred. I go back to the idea that EP guitars were probably exceptional before they were "discovered" and became so desirable that the demand exceeded EP's ability to produce them in quantity and still maintain the quality of the originals.
     
  9. 54GT

    54GT Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, if you check into the history of Pollock, Picasso, etc. you actually see that they generally learned classical technique early on and then made deliberate choices as to how they wanted to disrupt/obliterate it. Not sure that is what is happening here
     
  10. magnus02

    magnus02 Member

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    I get the wabi Sabi point and understand and appreciate many forms of art... But I don't think it applies here. He wants to build perfect guitars (or claims he does) but comes up short. His clients who have invested thousands seemingly have created this wabi Sabi story to justify their guitars and his work but, correct me if I'm wrong, he is trying to build perfect guitars (and I'm sure is perfectly able) but can't slow down enough to do it.
     
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  11. FiestaRed

    FiestaRed Gold Supporting Member

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    Agreed.

    The wabi-sloppy thing is a something-I-tell-myself-so-I-can-put-my-head-on-the-pillow-at-night way to attribute mysticism to poor quality. That way if others call you out on it you can come back with "well you just don't get it"
     
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  12. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

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    Frankly, this small builders actions impact every other small builder or someone looking to purchase a custom guitar. Like it or not, Echopark's actions screw with the ability of every other small builder's business. Potential buyers get pushed away by these types of horror stories right back to the major manufacturers.

    This next statement might not be popular...but someone's past definitely impacts my decision to give him my money and trust him to deliver what he has promised.
     
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  13. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

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    There is a third option....that based on your postings on this subject he doesn't believe you.
     
  14. LenPort

    LenPort Member

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    When I made my choice and gave my deposit, this thread was in its infancy. There was no talk of 'Cabo Wabo', just very positive talk of experiences that were all good regarding the look, the TONE, and the Gabe. Since I had bought 2 other very high end 'LP-esque' guitars via Cliff at DAG, he was the first person I asked about EP. He carried the brand, had sold me a full tilt Gil Yaron just 6 months prior, and in an hour long praise fest told me that the 'Downtowner Deluxe' was actually a step up. He gave me a price to get one started. 11,500$. I pondered for a few days, then decided to call Gabe myself to see what 'the man himself' was like. That's when I took the bait; hook, line and sinker. Gabe knocked 1000$ off Cliffs price. Probably Cliffs commish. That was Jan of 2016, to be completed in September of 2016. You guys know the rest of the saga, but my point is, I wanted top notch, and I was paying top notch. To me, herring bone binding and pickguard cut with pliers are at opposite ends of the guitar cosmos.
     
  15. dinnerpartynoise

    dinnerpartynoise Member

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    So you worked with Cliff on other high end instruments and then were going to purchase another on his recommendation after spending an hour talking to him about it but went around him to save 10% because the builder was willing to undercut his primary marketer/dealer . . .

    From the DAG website:

    We are THE safest way to buy a boutique guitar
    Often, the problem with buying a boutique product is placing your money at risk when placing an order. We take all the risk by paying the builder out of OUR funds while keeping your money SAFE until the sale is complete. Then and only then do we reimburse ourselves for the deposit. Because we implement this measure with each and every order we take you can feel safe during the transaction and enjoy the friendliest possible relationship with the luthier/builder while your guitar is being built. We take on all the risk so you don't have to!

    We guarantee you the LOWEST PRICES allowed by the manufacturer
    It is DAG's strict policy to sell at the guitar or amp builder's minimum allowed price with no hidden costs anywhere. Our prices are given to us by the guitar and amp builders themselves. This is true whether you are buying from our huge in-house inventory of guitars and amps or for a purchase that is drop-shipped directly from the builder or for a custom ordered instrument.
     
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  16. LenPort

    LenPort Member

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    YES. But to be clear, I wanted to talk directly to the builder defore I did anything. I had questions, and I also wanted to see if Gabe had any guitars in stock that I might be interested in. Cliff had just sold the Downtowner Deluxe that was on his site 'the day before' I called DAG. He had nothing else in stock and I had no option there but to just order a new one. Gabe was the one that pushed me to order directly with him, and the 1000$ savings lured me in. In hindsight, I probably should have gone thru DAG, but at that time there were some things about DAG regarding a separate guitar purchase that had made me slightly unsettled. Long story, not going to derail into that here.
    I have made some mistakes here, there's no questioning that, But I've also learned a hard lesson and are much more the wiser. Most of the people in this thread have been nothing but supportive that I get a guitar that I'm happy with. Without that, I would be ripping my hair out.
     
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  17. Stevo57

    Stevo57 Supporting Member

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    Yes but... I ordered a guitar through DAG. The order was delayed three times after which I decided to bail out. Cliff and Patty refunded my deposit within 3 days of contacting them and I was made whole without question. Very happy with DAG and their representing the customer as well as the builder.
     
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  18. beorn

    beorn Member

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    What the rationale for it being a step up?
     
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  19. dinnerpartynoise

    dinnerpartynoise Member

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    Don't get me wrong, nothing excuses the builder not performing regardless of how you got into the deal and my main point for purposes of this thread was that the builder undercutting his dealer was a bad sign from the outset and that there are ways to mitigate some of the risks of going direct, even if you shouldn't have to. I'll take it on face value that you had your reasons for not going though DAG and I really do hope you get your guitar and its what you want.
     
  20. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel Supporting Member

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    I agree, a Builder under-cutting a dealer is crap. Did lenPort actually begin a dialog with DAG about a build?
     

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