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SANTOS custom built BOAT PADDLES ( guitars)

Discussion in 'Reviews of Electric Guitars' started by Humphrey Audio, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. Humphrey Audio

    Humphrey Audio Member

    Dec 11, 2015
    The idea of having a guitar custom-made, is so that it will have the features you want.

    I'm a professional guitar tech, and I've done customizing work galore, set-ups, etc., for 35 years. I know my way around the stuff.
    I had reconstructive wrist surgery, and my sanding days are over!
    I wanted to order parts and put together a nice guitar for myself, to my specs, to accommodate the new wrist. I was looking at A custom built WARMOUTH neck and then choosing a nice body from a vendor.

    I found SANTO on the Internet, and messaged the owner about a body, but they offered me everything I would have ordered, with extra made-to-order features for $1300. A complete guitar to my specs.
    This seemed to be a pretty good deal at the time.

    From the start These guys send an updated build-sheet every week, for you to review, make changes if there are any, and send back. Unfortunately they don't read it!
    They completely ignored some of the most basic features that I wanted.
    In short, they're going to do it THEIR way, and talk you into taking it.

    Firstly, the build was almost 60 days late!! It certainly wasn't because they were taking their time in building it carefully or correctly either.

    NECK: They don't build necks. They order them from venders. For my needs, they had to go to Warmouth. Once again, they ignored the build sheet with my specs, and cut costs by ordering the neck THEY decided on.
    The guitar was already 30 days late when they sent me a picture of the neck, so I settled for it, not knowing that that was just the beginning of the debacle.
    I wanted block inlays and a rounded fingerboard edge. I got a dot neck with a squared edge. Warmouth's work is top notch of course!
    I actually called them to confirm what was ordered by Santo, and sure enough it was built to the specs given them By Santo.

    BODY: I wanted A swamp ash body with quilted maple top. The top is built in to separate pieces and book matched, supposedly.....but NO!
    They took two mismatched pieces and built it like that because nobody who touched it even cared! They didn't even try!
    I also ordered body contours cut for the belly and forearm, which was specified in a dozen or so build sheets.
    NO! I received a square telecaster body with no contours, again, despite MANY build sheets with the same redundant information which they ignored.

    ELECTRONICS: I provided the pickups and the pots because I wanted my old Bill Lawrence Pups installed. Also a no-load tone control. I set my amp pretty fat, and I like the extra bite of the no-load On the combination and neck selections.
    They didn't cut me ANY slack on the build cost for that, and they ruined my bridge pick up! They pulled the wire out of one of the coils, so now it's a paperweight. The signal is thin and ugly.
    That, of course, got by "quality control", which by the way, is completely nonexistent at SANTO.

    NEXT, They burned up the volume pot inside with too much heat from a solder iron, because they don't know how to solder. It looks like an eight-year-old got in there and had a heyday! They sent it to me anyway. You can actually feel the rough spot in the pot when you turn it, not to mention the nasty static, and it cuts out three quarters of the way up. I had to replace it before I could even test the guitar.

    They drilled the bridge stud holes too big, so the stud mount splines have nothing to hold onto. They are free floating in the holes If you use the tremolo, the bridge pulls out from the body. They claim this happened in transit. Absolutely laughable!!!

    They cut the neck pocket too deep in the body, but they didn't shim the neck, so the action was atrocious!! Their final set up guy " Quality control" just let it go like that. It was unplayable!
    No"quality control"! Nobody who touched this guitar, cared.
    When I approached them with that complaint, the owner said,
    "I already told you we dont shim our necks, we cut an angle in bottom of the neck pocket surface. So if the action is too high this is also an easy fix."
    Ok,....so....where is the angle?
    I have to discover the problem first, then send them back to guitar, otherwise they sell me a piece of junk and hope I'll take it.
    Why wasn't it cut initially?
    why would you ship it to me like that, if your policy is this angle in the pocket? It's obviously not, because there's no angle there.
    AND, how does that make sense? Once it's cut too deep, it must be shimmed upward towards the strings. Cutting an angle in the already too deep neck pocket won't miraculously raise the neck. UGH!! Not a bunch of Luthiers working here. Minimum wage assemblers at best.

    HARDWARE: I ordered a Wilkinson trem. The bridge wasn't even contacting the stud! It was resting on wood of the The body cavity cut for the term bridge because it was cut wrong. The stud is just swinging in the breeze, and is easily pulled out by hand, unabated.
    The studs pulled out of the body when the tremolo was used. That raises the action that changes the tuning DRASTICALLY!! Once again
    The bridge stud holes are drilled so wide, that the stud splines had nothing to hold onto. Also they are not drilled deep enough, so if you attempt to seat the bridge flat on the body, the studs bottom out when screwed inward and push the splines upward. This is a rookie mistake that I made when I was 15, before I took a drillbit and took another 8th inch out of the bottom. GEESH!!

    FINISH: I save the best ( or worst) for last.
    The finish is something inexplicable!! I truly thought I was being PUNK'D!
    You have to see it for yourself!
    I have photos available upon request.
    The clear coat was brushed on with a paintbrush, (i'm not kidding) and the deep bristle grooves run the length of the body. The body was also scratched and pitted. It had a rough life during assembly, and zero quality control!!

    In contacting the owner, there's a lot of denial going on, and tons of excusing for his "Luthiers".
    He, Chris Nunez, did offer me a full refund stating that he could easily sell this guitar in its current condition to another customer. (Fool) He couldn't get it by me, but I have no doubt he would try it on the next poor guy! Of course that offer was retracted and the warranty was voided because I took the back cover off of the guitar to inspect the electronics WHEN THE GUITAR SHOWED UP 2 MONTHS LATE AND DIDN'T WORK!!

    I'm quite qualified to perform the work, and just wanted the damn thing playable so I could use it!
    I've now got a $1300 boat paddle!
    I asked him to refund me $500 on the purchase, and I would build it right, in my shop. To Say the least, he has declined!
    This place is actually a music store, and they should just stick to that!!

    As of now, they have stopped responding to my contacts.
    I called Pay Pal who says they will get me refunded 100%, but I'm going to build it into an animal in my own shop and go play it!

    Santo Guitar USA
    4830 Wilson Ave SW, #660 Grandville, MI 49418
    (616) 308-9334 sales@santoguitarusa.com
  2. sixstringfuel

    sixstringfuel Hotdogs kill Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2015
    That sucks I would get a refund from PayPal and start over somewhere else.

    They should have told you to go to Burger King where you can have it your way.
    Humphrey Audio likes this.
  3. Humphrey Audio

    Humphrey Audio Member

    Dec 11, 2015
  4. detroiter711

    detroiter711 Member

    Jul 21, 2010
    Livonia, MI
    Any pics of this monstrosity?

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