Ever hear of a small company luthier guitar that underwhelmed the buyer ?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by BryanMatthews, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

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    I would so love to one day tread the small company luthier path to building me the perfect guitar for me. Its always been single cut les pauls for me , but my sweat is literally battery acid and if a guitar has a nitro finished neck.........then im screwed. Those nitro finishes on necks turn to sticky gunk on humid days if im playing them and poly finishes work just great. Ive drooled over the incredible huber orca singlecut guitars which are poly finished, but the prices would have my wife draggin me by the nuts to divorce courts.Im not moved in any way by anything PRS make , this includes their singlecut models. If I took the small company plunge id be looking maple cap / mahogany body , abr1 type bridge and tailpiece ( absolutely no wrapover types ), rosewood neck and gotoh 3 a side tuners. The guitar would absolutely be a high quality poly finish and sticky neck need never become an issue. But my worry is the situation where somebody specifies a guitar to a small company builder, it arrives in the mail and it underwhelms its new owner. Has anybody ever heard of such an experience ?
     
  2. clarkram

    clarkram Member

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    there have been a few here, but I don't recall any specifics.

    I've had 5 guitars built by 3 different luthiers well known to this forum.

    For me, I was underwhelmed by a Thorn R/S (strat). My theory was since I had 2 other Thorns that I liked I would give the R/s a try, however my theory was in error because I have never been a strat guy and in the end Ron couldn't change that.

    My being underwhelmed had nothing to do with workmanship/sound, I just don't like strats.

    I'm guessing here, but like myself, I think if people have been underwhelmed by builders with solid reps, then the reason is likely because they chose or specd the wrong guitar for themselves.
     
  3. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    I bought a Blackmachine guitar in 2006 or so and it was a poorly crafted instrument with sloppy routs and loads of ugly white filler around the binding where there had been some grain tearout. It played passably but for a $4000+ guitar is an absolute piece of garbage. Oh and I forgot to mention that the builder completely ignored the specs for the guitar and shipped an instrument with a completely different body wood.

    If you dont want to be disappointed, buy from reputable builders that have made a lot of guitars and buy what that luthier does best. Dont ask a strat guy to build you the ultimate les paul and vice versa.
     
  4. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    My guess is this isn't too uncommon, but you usually don't hear about it because the buyer has every incentive to keep it quiet unless they are stuck with an absolute POS that they can't return or resell.
     
  5. dukeh62

    dukeh62 Supporting Member

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    Unfortunately, I've had it happen to me more times than not. Enough to make me very skeptical of the "holier than thou" status that TGP tends to don on many builders. Of course, that's just my experience. And I am a picky bastard.
     
  6. Carltone

    Carltone Gold Supporting Member

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    I would take a long weekend and make my way to a city that carries brands like Tyler, Suhr, Anderson, Collings, etc... and actually try one in person.

    I thought I was a Les Paul guy until I tried a Suhr in person.

    Since I've tried out a few in person and actually owned some I know better what to look for in the areas that matter to me...
     
  7. Longer

    Longer Member

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    All comments have been spot on, but about the neck finish. If you haven't tried shellac on a neck, you got to go find one to try out. I could not believe how much I loved it.
     
  8. 19181911

    19181911 Senior Member

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    I custom ordered an Anderson once, as soon as I plugged it in and played, my heart sank, my 52 RI blew it away tonaly... traded it away real fast

    Bought a Grosh T once, as soon as the strings settled, I realized I got a dead guitar, traded that one off too.
    '
    'Both were extremely well built and played awesome, but my ears disapproved.
     
  9. AnthonyL

    AnthonyL Silver Supporting Member

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    Bryan,

    What price point are you considering?

    Have you ever considered the Tom Anderson Bulldog? After discount, they're not too steep...


    [​IMG]
     
  10. coldfingaz

    coldfingaz Member

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    Yes, it does happen & several instances were much more publicly & widely discussed on other forums. Not so much here because of the rules.

    I think due diligence, including plenty of research & up front communication with any builder(s) you are considering is an absolute must before you make a decision.
     
  11. korby

    korby Member

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    I've had a handful . Boutiques can be tough to sell and I was pretty panicked to dump them quickly .
     
  12. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

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    because a custom ordered guitar can have so much of your personality and preference built into it, can make it bleeder to get rid of if it dont blow your mind. so many pitfalls considering the small builder custom route....8-(
     
  13. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    I think that happens more often than folks care to admit.
    Sometimes guys think themselves into a corner, or are so set on how it LOOKS, that they don't give enough thought into what their needs as a player is.

    One of the reasons I stayed very tried and true to the wood recipe I did for my one full custom guitar. I know what I dig, I know Mahogany and Maple works for me, so there was very little risk involved from that standpoint. Neck shape was copied of a favorite guitar, pickups were the only 'reach' and that wasn't a bad thing.
     
  14. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

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    those huber orcas look absolutely astonishing, i wouldnt be at all surprised if they gave a custom shop historic gibson a complete pasting. id love to spend some time with one of those babies with a nice set of paf pickups.
     
  15. DamianP

    DamianP Member

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    Do you want a guitar to reflect your personality or as a musical instrument?
    It`s vital to focus on the instrument aspect first and to make no compromises for the sake of preference.

    It`s also important to remember that it will only be a guitar. The heavens will not open, crowds of nubile virgins will not form an orderly queue. It is not 6 numbers and the bonus ball.

    Then find a builder who is confident enough to give you your money back if you aren`t happy.
     
  16. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    Heretic, burn him!
     
  17. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    :beer

    Best post on TGP in ages.
     
  18. Malinoski

    Malinoski everything wrong possible

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    I agree with Damian and will add to please trust the maker.
    Don't come to him with "the list" and expect he will be your elf
    or try to redesign their work like it is an a la carte menu to make your masterpiece.

    Let the maker do what he does best and you will have better luck.
     
  19. edwarddavis

    edwarddavis Supporting Member

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    There's another forum for magic wands.do your homework
     
  20. Down and Out in NYC

    Down and Out in NYC Gold Supporting Member

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    Love that response. what do I need to do to make it my quote.
     

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