• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


No More Boutique For Me...

8len8

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,720
Over the past few years I've tended to buy more boutique stuff because I'm picky about the features and sounds that I'm after, but that's come to an end.

I've had too many bad experiences with boutique vendors (see below). I know that all of the vendors I talk about below (names omitted) are highly regarded here and on other boards, but all I've had are hair raising experiences.

- Pedal vendor #1: I bought their pedal at a local shop and it soon failed. I contacted the vendor and sent in in for a replacement. No word back from the vendor for over 1 week. I emailed and called them but got no reply. After 2 weeks they finally sent a replacement.

- Cabinet vendor #1: I wanted a very specific size and style cab made for a chassis I had. I sent a pic of what I wanted it to be like. There was a huge misunderstanding and he sent me one of his off-the-shelf models that was way to big for my use.

- Cabinet vendor #2: It's now week #5 of his "3 week turn around" custom cab for me. For the past week he's promised to send me a photo of the cab before it gets tolexed, but no replied from him in the past week.

- Amp vendor #1: Ordered a custom amp. After several weeks went by without and feedback I tried getting in touch with him, and got no reply at all. The next few weeks had me wondering if this guy was still even alive. I finally got my amp (a great amp) with apologies.

- Amp vendor #2: Ordered one of his stock amps. As usual, it slipped schedule. After I got it the fuse was blowing left and right, and one of the features wasn't working. He ended up telling me he must not have fully tested it prior to shipment. I spent a lot of time then returning and picking up the amp after it was fixed.

- Amp vendor #3: The guy was offering his "high gain" amp, and had a video on his site of heavy music being played through it. When I got it the gain was nowhere near what the video showed. I had to return it to have him increase the gain.

These are just a few of the issues. I know there will be those of you who will say some of the issues are my fault for not doing due diligence, or are "typical" things you have to deal with when doing internet ordering with a small vendor, but I give up. If these guys are going to go to the effort of selling product they should be more responsible.

I'm gladly now sticking with mass produced product. While all of the features and sound might not be there for me, I know they will have "some level" of customer support, be available for demo'ing at a local store, and be designed and built by people trained to do so.
 

lespaul6

Senior Member
Messages
1,334
thanks for sharing.... all the higher end stuff I have was purchased used- so Ive never had to be the one dealing directly with maker. That said, I enjoy my Marshall reissues just as much as the other amps!!
 

Chevyvan

Member
Messages
369
I never had any bad experiences with boutique vendors. When I needed information and emailed about it I always had fast replys. The ones I talked to are Mark Bartel from Toneking (very awesome guy), Brian Mena, Fulltone, Diamond (they even answered here on the site), PaulC (here on TGP), Durham electronics, Barber, Skreddy and then some more.

I always had fast and helpfull responses and even had to send some stuff to boutique vendors but it never was a hassle or weird issues.

To me this (the personal and direct customerservice) is a BIG plus and the quality throughout all this fancy gear makes it worth to pay a little extra.

I had some other amps like Vox AC30CC2 and Reissue fender twinreverb, Orange head and some Boss pedals but I never felt satisfied with the tones.


I'd choose boutique over mass produced and will never look back.
 

lang.murphy

Member
Messages
3,582
- Pedal vendor #1: I bought their pedal at a local shop and it soon failed. I contacted the vendor and sent in in for a replacement. No word back from the vendor for over 1 week. I emailed and called them but got no reply. After 2 weeks they finally sent a replacement.
2 weeks is unacceptable for turn around?

- Cabinet vendor #1: I wanted a very specific size and style cab made for a chassis I had. I sent a pic of what I wanted it to be like. There was a huge misunderstanding and he sent me one of his off-the-shelf models that was way to big for my use.
Misunderstandings happen.

- Cabinet vendor #2: It's now week #5 of his "3 week turn around" custom cab for me. For the past week he's promised to send me a photo of the cab before it gets tolexed, but no replied from him in the past week.
Another two weeks wait...

- Amp vendor #1: Ordered a custom amp. After several weeks went by without and feedback I tried getting in touch with him, and got no reply at all. The next few weeks had me wondering if this guy was still even alive. I finally got my amp (a great amp) with apologies.
Several weeks and "the next few weeks" equals, what, two months, three months? What was the original promised delivery date? Two weeks out, two months out?

- Amp vendor #2: Ordered one of his stock amps. As usual, it slipped schedule. After I got it the fuse was blowing left and right, and one of the features wasn't working. He ended up telling me he must not have fully tested it prior to shipment. I spent a lot of time then returning and picking up the amp after it was fixed.
Now this would be totally unacceptable to me. Dude admitted he must not have fully tested? Whoa! In this case, I hope the vendor picked up the cost of shipping, at least.

- Amp vendor #3: The guy was offering his "high gain" amp, and had a video on his site of heavy music being played through it. When I got it the gain was nowhere near what the video showed. I had to return it to have him increase the gain.
No explanation from the vendor on why the amp delivered to you was so much "less gainy" than the demo vid? Did vendor pick up shipping costs?

These are just a few of the issues. I know there will be those of you who will say some of the issues are my fault for not doing due diligence, or are "typical" things you have to deal with when doing internet ordering with a small vendor, but I give up. If these guys are going to go to the effort of selling product they should be more responsible.

I'm gladly now sticking with mass produced product. While all of the features and sound might not be there for me, I know they will have "some level" of customer support, be available for demo'ing at a local store, and be designed and built by people trained to do so.
Yah... I don't know... I would say a couple of weeks of extra waiting time is not a horrible imposition. If the wait stretches to months, hella yeah, sux.

I've purchased two bonafide boutique amps used: a Goodsell Super 7 Plus and a Swart Space Tone Reverb and have to say the customer support from both companies (Read: Richard and Kelly) was freakin' OUTSTANDING.

I've purchased two bonafide boutique amps new: Reeves Custom 6 and an Emery Sound Superbaby. Customer service? OUTSTANDING. (Thanks to Bill and Curt, respectively...)

I had a Tech 21 Trademark 30. In a way, I consider Tech 21 kind of a boutique company... small, high quality products come out of their shop. Customer service? Yep, the big O again. For an amp I bought used.

I did have a horrible experience with a not-to-be-named-in-public vendor (not builder) that took an order for an amp that I eventually cancelled after months and months of no replies, and when replies were forthcoming, they were filled with excuses that were, in effect, BS. The truth came out later on... and I was like, dude, why couldn't you have just told me the truth?

And I did briefly own one of the top flavor-of-the-month amps. The builder did respond to queries but his responses were curt and verged on condescending. That said, I've seen others who have claimed the ultimate in customer service from the builder, so maybe my expectations were too high in that particular case.

In the end, sounds like you might be suffering from "the straw that broke the camel's back" syndrome. Multiple missed dates, however short the extension, would be, I think, cause for frustration.

And... I'm not saying right/wrong here... just adding my two cents to the thread. I'm not looking for agreement/disagreement. 'Jes sayin', is all.
 

Billion81

It'd be a whole lot cooler if you did.
Messages
2,892
Over the past few years I've tended to buy more boutique stuff because I'm picky about the features and sounds that I'm after, but that's come to an end.

I've had too many bad experiences with boutique vendors (see below). I know that all of the vendors I talk about below (names omitted) are highly regarded here and on other boards, but all I've had are hair raising experiences.

- Pedal vendor #1: I bought their pedal at a local shop and it soon failed. I contacted the vendor and sent in in for a replacement. No word back from the vendor for over 1 week. I emailed and called them but got no reply. After 2 weeks they finally sent a replacement.

- Cabinet vendor #1: I wanted a very specific size and style cab made for a chassis I had. I sent a pic of what I wanted it to be like. There was a huge misunderstanding and he sent me one of his off-the-shelf models that was way to big for my use.

- Cabinet vendor #2: It's now week #5 of his "3 week turn around" custom cab for me. For the past week he's promised to send me a photo of the cab before it gets tolexed, but no replied from him in the past week.

- Amp vendor #1: Ordered a custom amp. After several weeks went by without and feedback I tried getting in touch with him, and got no reply at all. The next few weeks had me wondering if this guy was still even alive. I finally got my amp (a great amp) with apologies.

- Amp vendor #2: Ordered one of his stock amps. As usual, it slipped schedule. After I got it the fuse was blowing left and right, and one of the features wasn't working. He ended up telling me he must not have fully tested it prior to shipment. I spent a lot of time then returning and picking up the amp after it was fixed.

- Amp vendor #3: The guy was offering his "high gain" amp, and had a video on his site of heavy music being played through it. When I got it the gain was nowhere near what the video showed. I had to return it to have him increase the gain.

These are just a few of the issues. I know there will be those of you who will say some of the issues are my fault for not doing due diligence, or are "typical" things you have to deal with when doing internet ordering with a small vendor, but I give up. If these guys are going to go to the effort of selling product they should be more responsible.

I'm gladly now sticking with mass produced product. While all of the features and sound might not be there for me, I know they will have "some level" of customer support, be available for demo'ing at a local store, and be designed and built by people trained to do so.
Why not call out the vendors by name here rather than these ridiculous generalizations? So, I'm calling you out since you give an experience based on some nameless "boutique" builder.

I struggle with these threads that give no real info other than to bash Boutique markets as a whole but the info provided is vague and obtuse...How do we know that the builders this fella dealt with are actually boutique at all?

But- I agree, the OP should stick with Stuff he can buy from Brick and Mortar retail..
 

dharmafool

Member
Messages
1,163
I sympathize. Ordering boutique gear has been a real crapshoot for me. In some instances, the product exceeded my expectations. In others, the experience was deeply frustrating. In others still it was deeply frustrating and the product exceeded my expectations. Going forward, I am more likely to buy used boutique gear. There is a lot of it out there now.
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,707
Great points made by both the OP and #2 post.

It's also important to understand that no matter how well an amp is built, or whether it's made of tubes, solid state or magic ju-ju beans, components will fail and need servicing; pots go out, switches fail, filter caps leak, tubes sometimes short and cause collateral damage, jacks (especially switching jacks - even Switchcraft!) fail.

Two key considerations when buying an amp should be:

  1. How easy is it for someone to service?
    • Are they going to have to charge you an extra 2 hours just to remove everything in order to service your failed component?
    • Are they going to have to disassemble the chassis just to change tubes and charge you that extra time?
    • Are they going to charge you a half day's bench rate to try to trace down a problem where the amp maker covered up his "proprietary, secret-sauce circuitry" with epoxy?
  2. How cheap and readily available is the amp in case you need to just replace it?
 

8len8

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,720
Why not call out the vendors by name here rather than these ridiculous generalizations? So, I'm calling you out since you give an experience based on some nameless "boutique" builder.

I struggle with these threads that give no real info other than to bash Boutique markets as a whole but the info provided is vague and obtuse...How do we know that the builders this fella dealt with are actually boutique at all?

But- I agree, the OP should stick with Stuff he can buy from Brick and Mortar retail..
I won't bash a vendor and possibly impact his/her business based on my single experience with them. If I had had multiple problems with a single vendor then I'd have no problem mentioning names, but in this case it was just single problems with multiple vendors that turned me off to that whole type of business dealing.
 

8len8

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,720
2 weeks is unacceptable for turn around?
Several days of no communication with the vendor was my issue here. If they decide to create a business and provide product/support then they should have the resources to reply to an email inquiry within a week.

If they don't have time to do so then they don't have enough employees or they aren't spending enough time on the business.
 

'58Bassman

Member
Messages
4,930
Over the past few years I've tended to buy more boutique stuff because I'm picky about the features and sounds that I'm after, but that's come to an end.

I've had too many bad experiences with boutique vendors (see below). I know that all of the vendors I talk about below (names omitted) are highly regarded here and on other boards, but all I've had are hair raising experiences.

- Pedal vendor #1: I bought their pedal at a local shop and it soon failed. I contacted the vendor and sent in in for a replacement. No word back from the vendor for over 1 week. I emailed and called them but got no reply. After 2 weeks they finally sent a replacement.

- Cabinet vendor #1: I wanted a very specific size and style cab made for a chassis I had. I sent a pic of what I wanted it to be like. There was a huge misunderstanding and he sent me one of his off-the-shelf models that was way to big for my use.

- Cabinet vendor #2: It's now week #5 of his "3 week turn around" custom cab for me. For the past week he's promised to send me a photo of the cab before it gets tolexed, but no replied from him in the past week.

- Amp vendor #1: Ordered a custom amp. After several weeks went by without and feedback I tried getting in touch with him, and got no reply at all. The next few weeks had me wondering if this guy was still even alive. I finally got my amp (a great amp) with apologies.

- Amp vendor #2: Ordered one of his stock amps. As usual, it slipped schedule. After I got it the fuse was blowing left and right, and one of the features wasn't working. He ended up telling me he must not have fully tested it prior to shipment. I spent a lot of time then returning and picking up the amp after it was fixed.

- Amp vendor #3: The guy was offering his "high gain" amp, and had a video on his site of heavy music being played through it. When I got it the gain was nowhere near what the video showed. I had to return it to have him increase the gain.

These are just a few of the issues. I know there will be those of you who will say some of the issues are my fault for not doing due diligence, or are "typical" things you have to deal with when doing internet ordering with a small vendor, but I give up. If these guys are going to go to the effort of selling product they should be more responsible.

I'm gladly now sticking with mass produced product. While all of the features and sound might not be there for me, I know they will have "some level" of customer support, be available for demo'ing at a local store, and be designed and built by people trained to do so.
How much of this equipment was bought without trying it?
 

'58Bassman

Member
Messages
4,930
Several days of no communication with the vendor was my issue here. If they decide to create a business and provide product/support then they should have the resources to reply to an email inquiry within a week.

If they don't have time to do so then they don't have enough employees or they aren't spending enough time on the business.
Do you realize how much time and money is required to hire, train and keep an employee? This doesn't even assume they're a good employee. Dealing with bad employees is even more costly, in terms of time lost and dealing with the BS they cause. Granted, answering a few calls or e-mails is better done than neglected, but after a day or week of BS, you may not have wanted to talk to these people and they may have wanted to spare you from the effects of a bad day or week.
 
Last edited:

guitarrhinoceros

Senior Member
Messages
2,543
Why not call out the vendors by name here rather than these ridiculous generalizations? So, I'm calling you out since you give an experience based on some nameless "boutique" builder.

I struggle with these threads that give no real info other than to bash Boutique markets as a whole but the info provided is vague and obtuse...How do we know that the builders this fella dealt with are actually boutique at all?

But- I agree, the OP should stick with Stuff he can buy from Brick and Mortar retail..
Relax. You come off as very argumentative. So you disagree and don't believe the OP. Leave the page then. To come on TGP and use it as your personal extension of negativity isn't fun for anyone.

Don't worry, considering your tact, I'll be sure to not read whatever rude response you send me. I'm not your enemy, but merely trying to point out how condescending the tone of your response is. You act as if the OP owes you some sort of reply to be taken seriously. It's just a forum. Relax.

Also -- how are his comments generalizations? They aren't. They are specifics about experiences he had. It would be far worse and irresponsible to call out vendors by name. That would be generalizing. The OP did the responsible thing here in this thread.
 

RussB

low rent hobbyist
Messages
11,165
Sometimes when one person has so many problem with a wide variety of vendors, a red flag comes up that signals the person may be the issue, and NOT the vendors...

The OP seems to lack patience, and has trouble communicating what he wants to the vendors


just another perspective :)
 

guitarrhinoceros

Senior Member
Messages
2,543
Do yo urealize how much time and money is required to hire, train and keep an employee? This doesn't even assume they're a good employee. Dealing with bad employees is even more costly, in terms of time lost and dealing with the BS they cause. Granted, answering a few calls or e-mails is better done than neglected, but after a day or week of BS, you may not have wanted to talk to these people and they may have wanted to spare you from the effects of a bad day or week.
What does the logistics of running a business have to do with customers and customer service? Customers aren't going to worry about the pains associated with running a business. They are going to go and spend their dollars where they deem the best value is. That's how it works. The argument of 'problems associated with running a business' could be extended to any argument otherwise. What if you order a pizza and on receiving it, discover that you received a sub sandwich instead? Are you supposed to just accept the blunder since the business was clearly experiencing some inefficiency and problems? How would that make sense? It wouldn't. I truly hope this doesn't somehow become a back-and-forth argument. Anything can be argued in the particular. The problem here is that the universal premise you've set forth doesn't apply universally.

:banana
 

somedude

Member
Messages
7,602
Several days of no communication with the vendor was my issue here. If they decide to create a business and provide product/support then they should have the resources to reply to an email inquiry within a week.

If they don't have time to do so then they don't have enough employees or they aren't spending enough time on the business.
I'd imagine that a small time yet semi-popular builder probably gets inundated with emails from impatient people who think the builder has nothing better to do than to quickly produce detailed email responses rather than build product.
 

Chevyvan

Member
Messages
369
Sometimes when one person has so many problem with a wide variety of vendors, a red flag comes up that signals the person may be the issue, and NOT the vendors...

The OP seems to lack patience, and has trouble communicating what he wants to the vendors


just another perspective :)
This.
 

guitarrhinoceros

Senior Member
Messages
2,543
Sometimes when one person has so many problem with a wide variety of vendors, a red flag comes up that signals the person may be the issue, and NOT the vendors...

The OP seems to lack patience, and has trouble communicating what he wants to the vendors


just another perspective :)
That is a possibility. Here's another possibliity -- the OP has had legitimate experiences that were lacking in satisfaction.

It's cool, I love boutique things too. I'm not offended by the OPs posts. How could you assume that the OP has a lack of patience or trouble communicating? I'm not saying he is a good communicator, just that we have no information to determine his communication ability and skills.
 

guitarrhinoceros

Senior Member
Messages
2,543
I don't think it is much to ask to receive some email response within a week.

Also, I don't think customer's should be concerned with whether or not a business is receiving bad emails or SPAM, thus being sympathetic and forgiving to their lack of a prompt response.

That's just me though. If you stand on the side of the fence where you think that sort of wait time is acceptable, you will see this differently. I don't think it says anything bad about the OP though.

The emails could be detailed, semi-detailed or not detailed at all. That is mostly irrelevant. What is relevant is receiving a response. Something letting the customer know that this small company is offering some mechanism for communication.
 

DGTCrazy

Mod Squad
Staff member
Messages
16,075
I've had far more expensive and time consuming issues with Contractor's, Plumber's, Electrician's, Doctors & Lawyer's.........some of the most frustrating times of my life, than I ever did with any Botique builder thankfully.

I can understand why the OP feels burnt by the cumulative number of issues that occured, but life is that way sometimes dealing with one-man shops. I don't want to "wait" for the cool piece of gear any longer than I have to......but in the end, if I get the amp or pedal I ordered, and it works....I'm happy. Even if it takes some tweaking to make it right.

But I've seen so many folks post when they lose deposits, or not even get the gear they paid for.....I have a different perspective I suppose, when it comes to waiting or missed emails so common with Botique operations.
 




Trending Topics

Top