Updated pics of my guitar

She's a beaut. I'll be honest, when I opened the email yesterday and saw the pics, my heart skipped a beat and I started to get butterflies in my stomach. I can't wait. Should be at my doorstep in less than 2 weeks.

(I posted the 6 previous pics as well in case there were others that wanted to see them)


NOTE: They ended up using Cedar for the sides, which I was pretty psyched about (the original was going to be Mahogany) because of it's strength and ability to finish & blend w/ Koa (the top & back).

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Thanks for the pics Shake, i have to agree with you, as much as the guitar has the looks of a Bentley continental, it suffers with the build quality of a 1982 Lada with a DIY soft top conversion.
i would be up in arms at some of the scrappy work on that guitar, the bad binding, the bad neck join is just not on, you must have 30 faults on that guitar, if it were mine i would want my money back.

What does everyone else think?

A lot of it looks sloppy/lazy (the glue/binding/sanding off the finish etc) but the neck join would give me concern about getting another as that comes down to the actual cutting of the components...

Wow man that looks like an awesome piece of work. You must be very proud.


Hey Sean, welcome to the board...
You might want to read through the rest of the thread tho to get up to speed with the problems Shakedown is having with this guitar.

Whats the latest Shake?
Are you gonna get your money back?
Has he admited the work is not up to scratch?
That neck joint is sloppier than a 70's Fender Strat.

Thanks for the honesty guys. It's hard to swallow, but it's what I need.

As for what to do, as of now I'm permitting them to build me another one. They were very apologetic (not sure what good that does considering the state in which it left their shop) and want to "make it right", so when I gave them the option of either sending me back my money or building me a new one, they predictably chose the latter.

The hard thing for me at this point is that they're allowing me to keep the 1st one (which sounds incredible, just the asthetics that are bad, as you saw) until the 2nd one is finished. It's tough for me because I waited so long for this one, and it sounds great, so it's hard to give up, even despite the issues, because I know if I go this route I'll hopefully have the *right* one in about another year or so. This allows me to at least play this one until the 2nd one is done.

I have not sent the pics you have seen to them yet; I am awaiting a letter from them addressing the issues, agreeing to let me keep this one until another is built, and guaranteeing that if the 2nd one is still not up to par, to refund my purchase price in full.

Do you think that is a good move on my part?

I will be sending him the pics and he has vowed to pay extra close attention to these issues the 2nd time around, but again, I still have a little apprehension as to what that actually means, you know? I mean, how did this guitar leave their shop in this condition in the first place? And who's to say the 2nd time around will be any better?

It's either that route, or send this one back, get my money back, and have a local guy (who I have a LOT of faith in) build me the same thing. Problem with that route is that I go another year without my guitar. There's a lot to think about here, and I appreciate any feedback/advice, it really means a lot that "strangers" (:D) are willing to take time out of their day to help me in such an important and emotional decision for me.

So THANK YOU. :wink:

Shake, much as this thread is of help to you, we also owe you a big THANK YOU. The comments you've received are a result of your constant updates and appreciation of the POV of others. Many of us here dream, at least, of building/designing our ultimate guitar and some of us have taken a few steps that way. You've actually led us through the whole process; warts and all. Much more readable than those "my new axe awsomely rocks" types of posts.

Onto your position, though. I suppose your luthiers would have been criticized worse if they had played hardball, but I find it slightly strange that they agree to a new-build with so little argument. Almost as if they "hoped" to get away with sending it but realize they've been rumbled. I repeat, I understand they're in a no-win-sitch either way, but I am surprised that they seemed to know your misgivings merely from an email or two.

Your alternatives are to return it for a refund or to play the guitar (sounds nice but bad cosmetics - and that's important at this price level) until a replacement is sent. The 2nd option sounds fairly attractive (carry on playing until nirvana arrives) but I'd advise you to check thoroughly two very important points before agreeing to this.

1) Being optimistic, we assume that the replacement meets your expectations and you're totally happy. What condition of "reasonable use" are they prepared to accept on the returned original? Surface scratches of the lacquer to front and back, fretwear, fretboard wear. If, for example, the binding starts to lift up after a coupla months, will they accept that this is a further result of bad workmanship or do they reserve the right to charge you for remedial work on return? Bottom line; letting you keep the guitar for a year is no benefit to you if you're forced to keep it in its case for fear of extra payouts. Best to clear this with them.

2) Even more important, I'd like you to look into US consumer law. For the simple reason that I'm a British citizen so I don't know if my rules are the same in your country, but here's my reason for telling you to look up your alternatives. Here in Britain, brand new goods have to be of "merchantable quality". Tricky definition, and sometimes has to be decided upon in court in the case of a dispute. However, most sellers prefer to avoid court like the plague and get you to accept repairs. I appreciate that your guitar maker is a small firm and not some corporate shark, but please read this and check if it has a similar effect on your own rights.

A British customer test-drives a new Ford demonstrator, likes it, and places an order. The new vehicle is delivered to him but it has "orange peel" paint finish, the driver's door only shuts at the third attempt and it sometimes doesn't engage reverse. He flatly refuses to accept it as being not of "merchantable quality" and demands his money back. The dealer offers to fix everything, lend him a car in the meantime etc etc. If the customer still refuses, the dealer might drag feet and ignore letters but, ultimately, the law is on the customer's side. However, if the customer accepts the loan car and lets them attempt repairs, something strange happens. The car can eventually be punted back to him with a Jackson Pollack paintscheme, a door that only opens on Sunday and reverse is engaged by getting out and pushing the car backwards. In law, though, the customer has "accepted" the car and the dealer has made "reasonable" attempts to fix the problems. By all means, you can 'phone those consumer TV programmes but, in law, you are in a worse position than if you had just thrown it back immediately.

Not saying this fits your jurisdiction and certainly not suggesting this applies to your guitar, but I'd feel better if you looked into your rights before agreeing to anything.

You did the right thing Shake.
Let them make you another, im sure the new one will be a real craftsman finish, they will be taking extra care.
The guitar is a great looking one, and if you like the tone then i say let them build another.
Good luck.


Thank you for your responses, much obliged, and keep them coming if you think of anything else that might be pertinant.

1b, thank you for bringing to light some other issues I hadn't thought of yet, namely the expected wear-and-tear on the guitar I have in hand. I've sent the pics/email to them and they've responded, basically saying some things they can fix, others are a result of it being a "hand-made" instrument and not machine made, like some bigger companies, and other excuses I won't get into here. I can accept some of that, others I need to clarify. And certainly your point of wear-and-tear is something I need to bring up in my next email. And the other thing you mentioned about them being so "easy" about building a new one - I found that suspicious too. I've wondered on more than one occassion if they actually built this guitar for someone else, who subsequently sent it back, and maybe they've been trying to get rid of it ever since, thinking they'll slide it off onto an unsuspecting buyer. I certainly wouldn't go accusing them of doing this because it's simply not fair without any proof; all I'm saying is it's one of many "possibilities" (however great or small) that have to be taken into consideration when examining this situation.

So long as they're willing to abide by my requests of building the 2nd guitar, and that if I'm not satisfied the 2nd time around then we're cutting ties, then I'm ok with letting them build another. I do LOVE how it sounds, which is what really kills me, in a way, because (obviously) I don't want to have to send it back, but as you know at this price I have to.

I guess I have a few more emails/phone calls to make w/ them before getting to a solid jumping off point w/ them. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I'll keep you guys posted, for sure. Again, any other tips would be greatly appreciated.

Seeing as it was such a bespoke build, to your specs, I think I'd give them the benefit of doubting that this was some return lying around that they sent to you on the bounce. I just think that they knew about the build issues, and weren't totally surprised when you spotted them.

As long as you're keeping all the potential pitfalls in mind and clarifying them before proceeding, I think you're covering yourself. Please do keep us updated on developments.

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