Echopark Guitars

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

  1. sksmith66

    sksmith66 Member

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    based on the growing wait times and delivery delays I'm guessing they may take 40 orders a year but they aren't delivering 40 guitars a year.
     
  2. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    If he is only doing $240K a year, he is in trouble. That is revenue, not profit, and at his prices, not a lot of guitars. I think his bubble has burst.
     
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  3. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Supporting Member

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    If you saw my posts on the business magazine article you know I agree. I know a number of people here have solid reasons to be furious with GC but I have to say that in some ways I have to admire the guy. A different kind of person would curl up in a ball and suck their thumb, and when the dust eventually settled, get a straight job. He'd probably make more money with less grief working on guitars for someone else. But he doesn't stop charging. He got the kind of chutzpah, moxie, optimism, self-delusion, or whatever it takes for entrepreneurs to get something like this rolling, to make something out of practically nothing.

    Is he conducting business the way a lot of people think he should? No, absolutely not. I was CFO to a CEO with similar attributes - completely autocratic, ex-Army full bird Colonel, screwed up royally on occasion and cost the company a lot of money being a block head. I was drained by the constant conflict he generated but the criticism never touched him or made him reflect for one second on his bad decisions. He just kept going full tilt, working 70 hour weeks year in, year out, getting up early to do his yoga and volunteering in all kinds of civic projects. After a dozen years at the helm he left the company in much better shape than it had been in when he arrived. It wasn't pretty or easy or fun but things got done.

    GC boasted publicly that he's going to increase revenues to ten times $240,000 in 5 years. I wonder if he has even the outline of a plan on a napkin, or any inkling of the capital requirements for increasing his production capabilities ten times, his staff ten times or more, his sales ten times over, and all of the unexpected headaches that would entail that would pull him out of hands-on guitar making. I would bet not, but I doubt practicalities would dissuade him from trying.

    My bet is Echopark is more likely to implode within five years than it is to even double its gross sales, especially with what I think is going to happen to the economy in the near future, but then I'm sitting here typing, not pumping out the ship with one hand and loading cannon with the other.
     
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  4. magnus02

    magnus02 Member

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    But But But the celebrities seem to have perfect guitars so they all must be perfect.

    Right. No flawed logic there.

    A sad story all around and seemingly based on one man's ability to market and the greed that fuels it all.

    Best wishes to everyone with money floating out there.
     
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  5. JPH118

    JPH118 Member

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    Because the market for $4k+ custom instruments is growing so fast... :rolleyes:

    His best bet would be to match the aesthetic of his custom builds with a CNC line that has all the "handmade" quirks ironed out. That, and, ya know, be nice to your customers...
     
  6. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Supporting Member

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    If the EP name carries sufficient weight at some point he might benefit from subbing out his "more affordable" line of guitars to an overseas manufacturer - something like B&G Sisters or something did almost right off the bat. Apparently GC can make some killer guitars in small quantities when he can take his time and work his magic. This thread says enough about what happens when you try to force that "one off" approach into mass production.

    I remember from school waaaaay back that the characteristics that make a successful business creator do not always translate to the ability to run and grow an existing business smoothly - sometimes those risk taking attributes can be destructive. Being an intense artist who expects his customers to trust and value his artistic expertise when he takes license with their commissions and being polite and accommodating with customers who expect him to do as they ask and adhere to their timeline might be similarly mutually exclusive, especially when production isn't going as well as he would like. Not excusing bad behavior or saying one is right or wrong, only that some personality types have difficulty shifting roles, especially when they're under pressure already.
     
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  7. Rdcline

    Rdcline Member

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    I haven’t posted anything recently because i rarely read this, but i can assure you, my posts were genuine —i am an amateur player and collector with a number of echopark instruments. I am sad to see all the negative posts as I have had positive experiences with the instruments and wish the best for Gabe. I very recently got a guitar I ordered from him and, while it took longer than promised, i could not have been happier. The only issue was that I had asked for a Mastery bridge and Gabe used a Staytrem. However, being a Staytrem fan and given the recent difficulty in ordering a Staytrem in the US, it was a non-issue for me—it may have been a bigger issue with someone else. I was so happy with the last guitar that I recently ordered a case study from Gabe—I sincerely hope and expect it to be as good as the other 4 echoparks I own. I am not here to dispute the other dissatisfied posts and if the experiences are accurate, I might be upset as well. I did want to dispel any thought that my posts were not from a genuine collector or were somehow planted by Echopark. I am nothing more than a purchaser of a number of the guitars. I really hope these issues gets straightened out as the last guitar I got is a dream to play, has great tone and looks killer. I am obviously a fan of the guitars and hope the company prospers—only time will tell. I suspect this will be my last post for quite awhile as I rarely read this page and post even less, but this is the post of a collector with no economic interest in the company other than currently having a case study on order.
     
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  8. svenhoek

    svenhoek Member

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    Can I just say... pics, or it didn't happen
     
  9. JPH118

    JPH118 Member

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    Let me guess... he didn’t refund you the difference in price between the two, did he?

    I’d take a Staytrem, too, but that has a lot to do with price/performance reasoning.
     
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  10. Mooster

    Mooster Member

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    Why do pro-EPG comments include excuses?

    It arrived later than what I was promised, BUT…

    It was not what I ordered, BUT…

    Think about it, you have to create these excuses to cover for Gabe. It’s perfect, you care more than he does and have to reconcile the situation in your head as he continues, zero fkks given.

    As an example, I bought a watch recently from a micro-brand known for its customer service. It was delayed by a few weeks and he knocked off the delivery cost to say sorry. He didn’t have to, I didn’t ask for it, it was gesture of goodwill. Another customer found out his watch wasn’t keeping correct time. Even though it was most likely due to it being magnetized in-transit, he was offered an immediate full refund, no questions asked. And this was for a sub $1k product, not an over $4k product.
     
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  11. Rdcline

    Rdcline Member

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    It just wasn't a big issue to me--I never raised it as a price issue. The guitar went through a number of changes from the first order to the finished product and there was not much talk about price. Quite frankly, what I ended up with was a much better guitar than what I originally ordered--the staytrem is much more in character with the vibe of the guitar. Gabe also made a number of other suggestions that resulted in a different guitar than wht I ordered but a better guitar in the long run. Also, I had the identical issue with another builder who put a Staytrem on an offset I ordered instead of the mastery. When I realized that the Staytrems might be as hard as hen's teeth to get, I was happy to stay with the Staytrem (no pun intended) on both guitars--I was not a stranger to staytrem and had replaced the stock bridge on a Johnny Marr Jag with a staytrem--as much as i like the Mastery, I am a Staytrem fan as well. I didn't ask the other builder to give me a refund either--like my echopark, I felt the guitar was well worth the price. Again, I am not here to defend Gabe and, unfortunately, it sounds like some folks feel they have real beef with him--I hope it gets worked out. It just has not been reflective of my experience so far over several years. I have 4 beautiful sounding guitars I love and am waiting on a fifth. I think Gabe has a ton of talent and I like seeing boutique builders do well. I have an number of Billy Rowe's guitars and while his company is a different deal than the Echopark, I love everyone of the R&R Relics I own--they are a blast to play and probably get played more than some actual vintage Gibsons in my collection. Same goes for OX4 pickups, Swart and Toneking amps and the Parsons guitars--you have some real artisans doing some amazing things for the guitar lover--I want to see them prosper but certainly not to the detriment of the consumer. Dan Strain at Danocaster is putting out amazing instruments that are a blast to play for an incredibly reasonable price. I have named some of the folks I like because this is the stuff I own but I am sure there are a buch of other boutique guitar, amp, pickup, etc. manufactuers that are making equally killer stuff that I have left off--I want them all to do well. For anyone that has had a bad experience, I sincerely hope it gets worked out and would recommend that no one buy a guitar based on my posts--you should do your own investigation and get a feel for who you are dealing with and what type of arrangement makes you confortable. When it comes to custom builds, I am sure that I am much more willing than some to give the builder discretion--And, if it is shoddy work, that is something that should never be countenanced. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, my primary experience with problem guitars has been in the vintage market where I got burned a little on a 63 hummingbird but fortunately got it to a great luthier who was able to get the instrumant back to its glory days. Again I probably posted more than needed but wanted the record of my experience to be clear.
     
  12. JPH118

    JPH118 Member

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    So, no. Got it.
     
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  13. chumbucket

    chumbucket Supporting Member

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    That would be a great idea to get back at EP.
    Crowdfund a billboard near his home or shop that says "Echopark guitars are junk. STAY AWAY!"
    :p
     
  14. Hexum

    Hexum Member

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    I had started to post a similar comment. We're to the point where even the glowing reviews contain things along the lines of, "he told me one thing, then totally did another. And yeah, it took way longer than promised."
     
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  15. Sociophile

    Sociophile "Ignore" Button Aficionado Silver Supporting Member

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    Sometimes people have a hard time reconciling the idea that someone who hasn’t yet hurt them could be guilty of harming others.

    I think the overarching point of this thread, the point that shouldn’t be missed, is that Echopark Guitars often fails to deliver on promises, and has left customers feeling ripped off and disappointed. Anyone considering a purchase from them should be aware of this before laying money down. IMO.
     
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  16. sw686blue

    sw686blue Member

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    Can't we see some pix?
     
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  17. lifeson1

    lifeson1 Supporting Member

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    I have NO doubt that your experience was unlike others, and there are good reasons from a business point that I could see someone like Gabe wanting to make sure that you were especially taken care of. This isn't a reflection on your character, your opinions, your story, your values. You don't deserve to be treated unfairly like anyone else out there. BUT, it's easy to see that you would be what even someone in my business would be called a 'Big Fish'. Whenever 'Big Fish' come swimming in, you always take care of them.

    You are not the average player. . . You are a collector. You will keep him in repeated business, and that's what sets you apart. I'm in the fine arts/photographic world, and we have the same type of enthusiasts who have more disposable income than most, and they are given better treatment - Don't know how to say it clearer than that. Anyone that says Danocaster are 'reasonably priced' is NOT the average Joe. Are they worth it? I would say so, but they are NOT cheap. And if you have four EP's, at THOSE obscene prices, with another one coming in. . . That's a lot of coin.

    Even the builders and dealers on the guitar end that have their upper crust repeat offenders, they get preferential treatment and better looks than most. Why? because they know that if they piss them off, that's a cash cow that's going to go somewhere else. And Mr. EP surely is not that ignorant. Especially with his constant PR machine churning.

    Glad you are in the clear, but it's obvious to see why.

    Personally, I've stressed this before - his guitars do nothing for me. I will never have anything to do with his garbage pile business. 'Case Studies' - What a laugh.
     
  18. Mooster

    Mooster Member

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    That's not the only one with a crooked pickup. Check the one on the left out:
    https://vintageking.com/blog/2017/10/echopark-guitars-detroit/
    In the accompanying video at 1:39, 1:44 & 1:48 you can see the neck pup is clearly not straight.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 5:41 AM
  19. magnus02

    magnus02 Member

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    Yeah nothing is lined up correctly on that guitar. Sometimes perspective does weird things with photos but it can be seen clear as day from every angle.

    Also, the notch where the p90 gets near the pickguard kills me. Looks like a notch for a humbucker but he just uses the same template for the p90 and it's jarring. Nothing aesthetically pleasing about those lines.
     
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  20. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    As I continue to look at the photos and vids in this thread, I keep thinking that the builder should come out with a line of guitars (under which most builds would fall) named "8th Grade Wood Shop Class". Then the descriptions could make you reminisce about your fondest memories from 8th grade or 7th grade wood shop...such as, "Remember when you went to the local lumber yard to purchase the plywood base for your 8th grade wood shop chess board? Remember hand sanding it down, so the walnut and maple squares would fit sorta, kinda together .... and you learned how to use Elmer's glue, wood filler and shellac????"

    I really feel sorry for all the cats that have stepped up in this thread to share their horror stories. Such a shame, when so many gifted, experienced, knowledgeable, honest, qualified craftsmen exist, from which to have the guitar of your dreams made. I have had my share of custom builds and, thankfully, have never been duped like those in many of the posts in this thread.

    In support of my TGP brothers and sisters, I can only offer this - please do not let the stank and horrid results/business practices of certain builders dominate your thoughts of someday getting the guitar of your dreams made. Don't "throw the baby out with the bath water". There are plenty of highly qualified builders - with a handful even building at an apex-level due to their decades of experience and dedication to their life's work.

    On the other hand, thanks to all that have contributed their unfortunate experiences to this thread, so that other don't fall into the same sticky, crappy mess.
     
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