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Problem with Philtone Guitar Luthier

musicman1

Member
Messages
4,701
Whoa....I found Phil in a guitar repair ad. I took one guitar to him in 2007 and another in 2010. He told me that I would need to leave the guitar for the day - it was no picnic figuring out what to do in Baltimore for several hours, and I really didn't want to leave the guitar(s).

Don't take insult from my posting, and certainly don't try to allign my post with what is currently taking place.

I'm nobody. I was, and still am, a person who lives an hour and half outside of Baltimore. Phil was willing to work on my guitar, but demanded I not leave it with him.

I'm simply sharing my story - nothing more, nothing less.
Mike this is not slanted as anything towards you at all and if a luthier told me he d get it done in the same day id probably do the same as you because id assume he wasnt slighting anyone else and might have been having a lull in his day. But phil s rep for not getting others work done is rampant. This is totally on phil not you.
 

Drak

Senior Member
Messages
5,055
I wonder if there's truth to the adage: 'There's a nail made for every hammer'.
Meaning, for whatever reasons, there are just certain types of people who gravitate to other certain types of people.
And there is not a thing you can do about it but sit back and watch the trainwreck with some sort of wry smile.

Like, the people who take work to Phil, are exactly the kind of people who will put up with all the BS.
They're 'those' kind of people. They are attracted to people like Phil.
And everybody else would simply never even think about taking their instruments to a guy like that.
Would Never Consider it. Ever.
These people are the ones on these threads that can't understand why the ones who do it, do it.

Like certain women Always seek out shite dudes who beat them, and constantly complain about them, but can Never leave them.
And most Other women would Never even be attracted to 'those guys' in the First Place.

It's like that.
So the guys who find him, are the guys who are meant to find him, there is some sort of match taking place.
Because it seems to me most of these people cannot straighten it out themselves.
They seem totally helpless at the hands of some guy who works on guitars.
They just accept whatever is dished out to them, as if there is no other solution available.
And if you bring this to their attention, it simply does not compute for them.
 

Ramboorider

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,015
Wow. I’d never seen this thread or heard any of this about Phil. I’ve had exactly one experience with him and it was great. Just about a year ago, February of last year, I emailed Phil asking about getting some work done on a strat. He called me back the same day. We talked a couple times over the course of a couple days. He explained a couple wiring options to me in some detail. I sent him the guitar asking if I could pick it up about two weeks later because I was going to be driving through Baltimore. He said no problem and actually asked if I could come sooner because he’d prefer not to wait that long to get paid. I told him to just give me a call when the work is done and I’d pay him via credit card.

He called several days before I was gonna be there, said the work was finished, gave me a detailed breakdown of what he’d done, said he thought it had come out really well. I paid him and stopped by when I said I would. He wasn’t there but his assistant was and I hung out for a little while and checked out the shop and then took my guitar with me. It was like a whole different instrument. It’s a MIM Robert Cray hardtail - I recently played it back to back with a Silver Sky for a couple days and thought mine played better. The Silver Sky has amazing and better balanced pickups, but I didn’t think it played as well as the Cray. Close, but the Cray plays cleaner everywhere.

Man, if I’d seen this thread, I never would have taken my guitar to him. I’m not sure I would again after reading this. I don’t know why I got so lucky, if he took a liking to me or I just hit some kind of gap in his schedule? But his service was as good as his work and his work was exceptional... Really nice guy too. Damn, sometimes ignorance is bliss...

-Ray
 

eoengineer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,717
Resurrecting this thread. I’m looking at getting a few guitars PLEK’d and Phil is about 90 mins from me.

Anyone used him recently? Still issues? I was also considering John Thurston.
 

fretnot

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,365
Phil’s work is incredible. I’d plan a day with him where he’d do the work while you wait since you’re close. Grab lunch or whatever. Plek’s are bread and butter for him.
 

COYS

Member
Messages
6,260
There are a bunch of other threads here you can read for more context. Does not sound like I would chance it. There are plenty of places out there to get something pleked.
 

Quintus

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
581
My experience from a few years back: Phil’s a great guy and fantastic luthier, however, he just needed to implement the age-old business practice of budgeting his time realistically according to a schedule in order to set and meet customers’ expectations and timelines. He’s been a one-man shop used to operating on a personal basis, often as as guys walk in, rather than just maintaining a set schedule and sticking to it. And, telling some clients to look at other techs if he can’t meet their schedule. This single issue has caused frustration and never-again clients, which is a shame because Phil is a top-notch guitar luthier and really good guy, IME.
 

j_el_jee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,988
Wow bummer to read this thread. Phil did a phenomenal stainless fret job on my 83 explorer and I don’t recall any issues w the schedule... this was about 2004. I haven’t had to get that guitar set up once since then.
 

whoismarykelly

Oh look! This is a thing I can change!
Messages
8,127
My experience from a few years back: Phil’s a great guy and fantastic luthier, however, he just needed to implement the age-old business practice of budgeting his time realistically according to a schedule in order to set and meet customers’ expectations and timelines. He’s been a one-man shop used to operating on a personal basis, often as as guys walk in, rather than just maintaining a set schedule and sticking to it. And, telling some clients to look at other techs if he can’t meet their schedule. This single issue has caused frustration and never-again clients, which is a shame because Phil is a top-notch guitar luthier and really good guy, IME.
AFAIK it hasn't been a one-man shop in a long time. Phil has at least one other guy in there working with him. I do all my own work now but the few times I had him work on things for me I always spoke to another guy before actually coming in to drop of an instrument.

Also, I'd wager the guy turns down work he doesn't want to do pretty regularly. I needed a new brass nut on a Travis Bean once and when I called his assistant yelled across the shop to ask if he wanted to make a brass nut and he yelled back no and the guy said "sorry not interested" and hung up.
 

Quintus

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
581
Fair enough. My experiences go back almost 10 years, so I should have clearly stated that. In any case, it’s good Phil took another person on to manage the work load and expectations. His talent is unquestioned, IME, and explains why so many seek him out. And, he’s a very personable, fun guy who loves interacting with his clientele.
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,010
My understanding is Jay hasn't worked for Phil for some time now. When he did, he did the simpler work under Phil's immediate (over at the next desk feet away) supervision.

Phil recently moved his shop from his warehouse location back into his home. The last I heard, he's limiting taking on new work to get caught up.

The suggestion to book your time with Phil in advance for the Plek job and spend some of your day enjoying Baltimore so you can take your guitar home with you that same day is a solid one.

Phil has Plek'ed several of my guitars, including this one. They all turned out perfect (and I mean perfect).

Last thing I'll add is that don't think that Plek'ing a guitar to perfection ends with setting it up for and doing the Plek job itself. Nothing substitutes for a highly skilled luthier who has done literally thousands of fret jobs going over your guitar, post-Plek-ing, to ensure the result is as fine as it can be, including making minor by-hand adjustments post-Plek. This is your best reason for using Phil.









 
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Ferg Deluxe

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,464
Resurrecting this thread. I’m looking at getting a few guitars PLEK’d and Phil is about 90 mins from me.

Anyone used him recently? Still issues? I was also considering John Thurston.
I just had two of my guitars worked on by Phil about a month ago. Perfect work as always, and he did all the work in a couple of hours.

I’ve sent many friends his way, and they have always had glowing reviews of his work too. One good friend of mine tells me every time he has Phil work on something, and he always raves about how much better his guitars play.

He pulled my a$s outta the fire once by helping me fix a guitar that died the night before an important gig. He’s worked on nearly every cheap and expensive axe I’ve had, and he’s made every one of them better. He tried to steer me away from a certain pickup install in this cool Tele I had, but I insisted and he installed the pups I asked for — and he was totally right.

His refret work has always been spot on, and meticulous. Phil keeps detailed records of the guitars he’s worked on for me, down to setup preferences for each model, and recorded all info he may need in the future.

I live about three hours from Phil these days after living just blocks from him for years. I wrote him one Monday morning and asked if he had time for me on Friday — he said yes, we scheduled it, he did a terrific job and it was nice to hang and talk with him while he worked. He’s one hell of a player too.

I can’t recommend him enough and all my experiences over the past ten years have been positive. His work has been timely, priced accordingly, and beneficial to my efforts as a guitarist.
 

DrumBob

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,755
Get in your car and go down and get the guitar and tell him, thanks for trying, but I'm taking it back.

I have zero patience and no respect for guys like this Phil.

He's an artiste? Give me a break. He may be a talented luthier, but without business skills, he's to be avoided.

Just get your guitar back and be done with it.

Oh, and maybe stop at the police station and see if you can get a patrolman to follow you to Phil's house to get the point across. ;)

I once ordered an accessory item from a guy on Ebay. Three weeks went by and he never shipped it, so I called the police in his town In Florida, got a hotshot rookie cop on the phone who told me he'd pay a visit to the guy in the morning. I had the item four days later.
 
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