I hate to be negative...but I also hate to turn a blind eye.
In the end you can't doll up a pig with lipstick.
Some folks are too young to remember the first wave of budget Italian import guitars way back in the day.
A lot of trash with flashy looks abounded. Same story, just the names have changed as time has marched on.
Their source "tone" wood is totally suspect, they crank em out on assembly lines with near slave paid labor, all that does not help. In the end endless corners are cut to make what are essentially, and this is important...price point copy guitars.
They are built around price and a copy of a classic design to bait and switch in a cheap attempt to mimic the guitar they copy.
Oh sure, you can eventually hit a good one, but it's like the lottery, most players loose. Few win. The odds ares stacked in the manufacturer's favor that many of their buyers have no clue, hardly or don't even play and will not complain, but rather they will praise the guitar they can't even play as they have no clue to if it's even good.
In the end, more often than not, you still get what you pay for.... more or less.
In this age of instant information there are no OMG killer deals on the real thing to be had. Just a lot of BS reviews to boost sales.
Last Edit: May 28, 2020 22:09:22 GMT -5 by guildx700
"Madness is my strength; my brain is liquid flame"
This guitar would have been fine, at the price, had they not messed up the frets before shipping it. At the price, I would have done a proper level/crown/polish.
They screwed the guitar up post-manufacturing.
Yeah, I'm tracking what you're saying. I'm not an expert (my experience has been with domestic manufacturing) but much more aware of how guitar importing works than the average consumer, and that sort of quality control is the domestic seller's responsibility. When you contract guitars in massive quantities overseas you can't just be a reseller, unpacking boxes and reshipping. The QC process belongs to the domestic seller/distributor, and if that is skipped, you're effectively skipping part of the manufacturing process. That is what makes some of the better import brands better, they have an A team domestically going over stuff, will do some surprisingly intense repairs, and often have native speakers of the overseas language in question to be in constant communication on manufacturing methods and materials. Otherwise they're just reselling something with which they can't accept any responsibility. They're little more than a cashier or delivery person at that point.
What happened with your guitar is something else, and something I've seen. The guitar repair/tech/building world is chock full of people who claim to be skilled professionals but are bad. Embarrassingly bad. They do awful work which creates a number of problems, but it also makes it darn near impossible for good employers and good techs to find one another, because often the bad ones are the best at advertising themselves. Certain big box retail stores are notorious for cycling through these guys, and the horror stories I could tell... oh boy. I've seen people claiming to be "luthiers" who couldn't even put strings on properly, got frustrated, and sent the customer away telling them their guitar was defective and they didn't want to deal with it... and keeping their money. I'm not joking. The guy trying to sell these guitars probably has some people under him who have a similar level of delusion to their own (lack of) skills, and really thinks he needs to listen to his "experts". I'm not going to defend the attitude you're getting, but that is likely the reason: he's got someone who claims to be an expert offering an expert opinion, and is oblivious that in this case the customer probably runs circles around his "expert" for knowledge and skill.
I've posted on this phenomenon on the FDP in years past, but it bears repeating. That class of techs doesn't help anyone. I've been told many times that I should be happy because when they lose clientele I gain it, but it doesn't work that way. It usually just turns people off from trusting ANYONE, and gives my clients a case of the jitters. Plus, no one likes seeing otherwise decent guitars get ruined. It also devalues work, and becomes harder to charge for work in a way that is commensurate with the labor involved. They have the potential to sink the industry.
Riffing off of this theme I'm curious about something. Years back I had a well respected luthier work on my personal #1, a parts Strat with vintage frets and radius. I found it to be an extraordinary setup, despite the fits it gave him with a cautionary word that there'd be no next time, a refret was in order. The guitar played magnificently (for me anyway), comfortably low action with no fretting out even on minor third bends. As I gained a little more knowledge I was able to visually see some of his work. Little crowning that diminished to virtually none up high and what I'm sure was a flatter radius than 7.25 north of the 12th fret. Almost compound. It looked funny under scrutiny but played great.
So it brought to mind, have you guys ever done non traditional fretwork that may look ugly to a more educated eye, all in the name of functionality? (Not saying this is relevant to this particular guitar ).
Last Edit: May 29, 2020 8:59:02 GMT -5 by Auf Kiltre
So it brought to mind, have you guys ever done non traditional fretwork that may look ugly to a more educated eye, all in the name of functionality?
Well, in the example you give, it sounds like he was provided with a neck with bad fret work. I'm going to guess a combination of high frets and high centers, which effectively tightens the radius. There are other things about fretting that can make it a nightmare like bouncing frets or others mushed into the fingerboard, but I have no way of knowing if any of that is applicable. What he did was a fret dress, and did what he could with what he had. It obviously meant taking some frets waaaay down. So, yeah. I've done that many times. If an instrument isn't getting a refret and you have to do what you can with the fret level, it can get tricky. If he was particularly frustrated he might have taken it as far as he was comfortable the first time, and then had to revisit it later after it still wasn't playing right. I've done that many times as well. I wouldn't say the results are "ugly" as I still go through the crowning and polishing phase, so the only clue that the work was done should be seeing how low some of the frets are. They shouldn't look substantially different otherwise.
Usually experiences like that lead someone to resolve never to do the lesser of the jobs again, but to dig in heels and do the larger job that it really needed. It sounds like that was his conclusion after wrestling with that.
When I do refrets, there is very rarely any reason to make compromises that might be ugly or weird. The reason is that once you pull the frets and have the ability to both level the fingerboard, reradius it and recut the slots, there is little excuse for not doing it right. I struggle to think of an instance where any ugliness ensued from a refret I've done, and the only thing I can think of is when inlay etchings disappear. That's inevitable. Sanding through inlays is preventable by removing it and reinserting it lower, but etchings sit right at the top and the only way around that is to not level the fingerboard, which to me isn't an acceptable option unless it is a wall hanger... and in that case, why are you refretting it?