Is this custom made guitar a lost cause? can it be fixed?

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EJTenor

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Hello,

I recently pulled the trigger on a custom made stratocaster style 3/4 body tenor guitar with 4 strings.

However, when I received it, it turned out to be in pretty rough shape, with some questionable craftsmanship. The builder said he had been building them for 40 years. However, this particular model almost seems to be someone's first try.

The following are pictures highlighting some of the flaws of the make, but more importantly when plugged in the guitar is extremely muddy, even if i turn the lows and mids all the way down to zero, and the gain to just under 1, with the tone nob all the way up, it sounds muddy and toneless. There are also strings/frets/notes that are hardly audible while others that are too loud.


Some of the frets are also jutting out of the fingerboard and are prickly and rough. The pickups also have weird wrinkly surfaces for some reason.

I'm thinking about replacing the neck (ive contacted some tenor guitar luther's who may have something available, while also replacing the pickguard and pickups with the bridge to boot.

Any Suggestions?
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,906
Hello,

I recently pulled the trigger on a custom made stratocaster style 3/4 body tenor guitar with 4 strings.

However, when I received it, it turned out to be in pretty rough shape, with some questionable craftsmanship. The builder said he had been building them for 40 years. However, this particular model almost seems to be someone's first try.

The following are pictures highlighting some of the flaws of the make, but more importantly when plugged in the guitar is extremely muddy, even if i turn the lows and mids all the way down to zero, and the gain to just under 1, with the tone nob all the way up, it sounds muddy and toneless. There are also strings/frets/notes that are hardly audible while others that are too loud.


Some of the frets are also jutting out of the fingerboard and are prickly and rough. The pickups also have weird wrinkly surfaces for some reason.

I'm thinking about replacing the neck (ive contacted some tenor guitar luther's who may have something available, while also replacing the pickguard and pickups with the bridge to boot.

Any Suggestions?
...return it?
 

EJTenor

Member
Messages
55
...return it?
He wont take it back. He feels insulted by me I think. He was very short and abrasive with me during the transaction process. When I approached him about returning it he was the same. I told him I would be forced to write a review, and he said he would sue me if i did.
 

naveed211

Member
Messages
2,021
Any hack can attempt to build stuff, not everyone is good at it. This guy doesn’t appear to be.

Try to return it if at all possible (I’d bet he doesn’t accept returns. Edit: just read your response that he doesn’t do returns. Figured.). If not, sure, try a different neck and pickups and have a pro set it all up. If you have it functioning with an ugly messed up pickguard and paint smudges and whatever else, at least it’ll sound good and it won’t be a total loss.
 

treeofpain

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,034
Looks like most of the issues are related to the pickguard, which could be redone easily enough. The tone issue could be faulty wiring - again, an easy fix.

As far as the lawsuit threat, I think he's bluffing. Just stick to the facts like you have done here.
 

billyguitar

Member
Messages
5,129
That sucks! Are the notes dead when the guitar is unplugged? It seems like the only recourse is to trash him everywhere and have someone else try to fix it. FYI: I played one of those new Fender Mustangs with the short scale. I liked it so much I bought it right then! All short guitars aren't bad.
 

EJTenor

Member
Messages
55
Looks like most of the issues are related to the pickguard, which could be redone easily enough. The tone issue could be faulty wiring - again, an easy fix.

As far as the lawsuit threat, I think he's bluffing. Just stick to the facts like you have done here.
You're right about sticking to the facts. I mean i'm very upset as this was a birthday present, and i play tenor as my main squeeze and I was meant to be gigging with this. So its all kinda been jeopardized. I do however want people to know about it.

The pickguard is an easy fix for sure. The pickups too most likely. I can probably have a luther look into the wiring.

Any hack can attempt to build stuff, not everyone is good at it. This guy doesn’t appear to be.

Try to return it if at all possible (I’d bet he doesn’t accept returns. Edit: just read your response that he doesn’t do returns. Figured.). If not, sure, try a different neck and pickups and have a pro set it all up. If you have it functioning with an ugly messed up pickguard and paint smudges and whatever else, at least it’ll sound good and it won’t be a total loss.
The biggest problem will be finding a new neck, most of the tenor guitar luthers ive contacted all say its going to be tough to replace, its a very oddly shaped neck / neckjoint. But if i can replace the neck, then thats like half the battle. Im thinking of getting some lace pickups for it as well.
 

EJTenor

Member
Messages
55
That sucks! Are the notes dead when the guitar is unplugged? It seems like the only recourse is to trash him everywhere and have someone else try to fix it. FYI: I played one of those new Fender Mustangs with the short scale. I liked it so much I bought it right then! All short guitars aren't bad.
there are some "dead notes" too yes.

heh, yes theres definitely part of me that feels like doing that. But i may take it easy at first and make a video, something detailed but factual, reviewing the model.

I’ll certainly be looking elsewhere for my tenor guitar needs.
Good..
 

Winterwind

Member
Messages
378
He should be embarrassed for even selling it to you... assuming he actually takes any pride in his work. And judging from those pictures he very clearly doesn't.

And on what possible grounds could he sue? I don't know US law (assuming you're in the US) but it's pretty much universal that the truth is a defense against defamation and in this case a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. That is shoddy work.
 

wgs1230

Fully Intonatable
Supporting Member
Messages
3,003
He wont take it back. He feels insulted by me I think. He was very short and abrasive with me during the transaction process. When I approached him about returning it he was the same. I told him I would be forced to write a review, and he said he would sue me if i did.
He doesn't have a leg to stand on, so long as you stick to documented facts. See, for example:
https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-6th-circuit/1213191.html
 
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