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ozboomer

New Guitar Problems - Return, Repair (Refund?) ... or a Job for my Regular Tech?

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ozboomer    0

'lo all...

Not sure if this belongs in the 'Buying A Guitar' sub-forum... but oh well..

Have bought myself a new year present something over a week ago, being a Strat-style guitar and have only now had the chance to try it out properly.

Whilst it sounds pretty good (as far as pickups, etc are concerned) there are some annoying buzzes in certain parts of the neck; they're not trivial as the buzzes sound through the amp.

Now, I'm just wondering which way to go. The shop I bought it from supposedly did an "intonation and action" set-up (at some additional price) and yet, the intonation sounds off, as well as these fret buzzes happening. I went the 'economical' route at purchase time, as the 'full set-up' (with truss rod adjustments, etc) was twice the price (which, I guess, was sort of surprising that they would supply a new guitar that wasn't set-up as best as possible anyway? Why did I really need to pay to have the set-up done on a new guitar?? ... 20/20 hindsight.. hmmm)

So, as this is a shop I've not dealt with before, I'm not too confident about what they do, given the mis-intonation and the buzzes. Should I go back to them with the guitar and ask them to 'fix it' (and I'm guessing they will say I need to pay again for the 'full set-up' ... which I'll balk at, since they didn't do what they said they would do)... or do I take it to my regular guitar tech who will charge a higher price but I know he will set it up correctly...?

It's a matter of whether I try to be 'considerate'(?) of this new shop and give them a chance to fix what they said they did in the first place (and try to push the 'do what you said you would do' line) or (possibly) not waste my time and go to the regular tech and get it 'right' (given there may actually be unresolvable problems with the guitar).

Thanks in advance for any thoughts...

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They should most definitely fix it. I've never heard of a shop that didn't set-up new guitars. It's a very quick process(in the amount of time spent on it, not duration of the work) for someone who knows what they are doing.

If they won't do it, go to Fender's site and look up their intonation and setup guide. Learn to do it yourself, as it is a useful thing to know how to do.

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ozboomer    0
...go to Fender's site and look up their intonation and setup guide. Learn to do it yourself, as it is a useful thing to know how to do.

Oh, that's been on my ToDo list for months :)

...that was why I bought the Bullet (Strat) I have, to practice doing set-ups and to try the GuitarNuts shielding procedure... but I haven't got to that yet...

Poop. 'tis a mongrel that I have a hard enough time getting my practice done, let alone playing hardware... but Fanx! for the suggestion :)

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krissovo    0

Take your business elsewhere, if they do not set up a new guitar fully from new then thats poor customer service IMO. To charge for various levels of setup is just shocking! My local shop will do a full setup with new strings for about €20, that includes a fretboard clean and some lemon oil. The only thing that bumps the price is a fret dress or any other work.

If thats your only shop in the area you will be a bit limited, buy online and save a few $. There are some excellent articles on here that walk you through a setup, spend a few extra $'s on a set of pliers, allen keys (hex, dont use the cheap ones that come with guitars they can round off to easily), snipe nose pliers and a few screw drivers.

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ozboomer    0
Take your business elsewhere, if they do not set up a new guitar fully from new then thats poor customer service IMO. To charge for various levels of setup is just shocking! My local shop will do a full setup with new strings for about €20...

Hmm... food for thought..

For the 'intonation & action' set-up, this shop charges (the equivalent of) €24.. for the 'full set-up' (truss rod, etc), they want €60.. My regular tech (even though he works at a place that is more of a 'boutique' service centre) would charge €48...

So, the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to just go to the shop and ask them to get things right.. and if they want to charge me for anything, I'll just forget them entirely and take the guitar to my regular tech.. and see if he thinks it's worth spending the money on it.

Granted, it's a relatively cheap guitar (about €200).. but if it starts costing me much more, just to get it reasonably set-up, I may just dump it (*sigh*), put the whole thing down to experience and save-up for the American Vintage '57 Stratocaster (about €1000) like I was going to in the first place :)

Decisions, decisions...

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allthumbs    8

If you bought a cheapy guitar then it is not uncommon for some music stores to just hand over the guitar still boxed with just the factory setup.

I agree that they should have done the basic setup as part of the sales price but, on low end guitars the setup time can't be absorbed in the sales price. Usually, that doesn't include truss rod adjustment because string height is a matter of taste for each player.

The Bullet is the bottom of the barrel for a Fender. I am not surprised your having trouble with it. I would take it back and upgrade to a better quality product. Some people get lucky with low end guitars and the guitar gods were smiling that day. Most of the time, it takes a lot of tinkering to get them playable. It is not worth it if you have to pay for someone else to fix it for you.

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starsailor    20

As you've bought it recently and assuming you still have the receipt you could just take the guitar back to the shop and ask for your money back I know it's only a $200 guitar but you also paid them for a set up if they sold it to you in a package as seen it would be hard to argue your point but you'd expect your guitar to be ok after paying for a pro. to set it up, if it was me I'd ask for my money back add that to the money you were contemplating spending on getting it fixed and upgrade a bit but it is up to you. smaller stores are dependent on their reputation so I'm surprised that they let you leave the shop with a dodgy guitar, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt on a guitar package as they're a bit hit and miss, what would annoy me is a shop saying it was set up properly then finding out it doesn't sound good, that kind of practice is the kiss of death for a small retailer, they definitely shouldn't charge you again that's just taking the Mickey.

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ozboomer    0
The Bullet is the bottom of the barrel for a Fender.

Sorry, I didn't make it clear in my post. The Bullet is another Strat I bought some time ago. This current purchase I'm having trouble with is a Monterey Vintage Replica Strat.

The Bullet I have is actually a nicer guitar, finished better, plays well although it was less than half the price and it has a couple of minor buzzes but they don't make their way through the amp.

I guess I'm just trying to suss out how much of a mess I made of this purchase(!) and what I can/should do about it.

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ozboomer    0
...what would annoy me is a shop saying it was set up properly then finding out it doesn't sound good, that kind of practice is the kiss of death for a small retailer, they definitely shouldn't charge you again that's just taking the Mickey.

'tis more and more looking like I'll give them the opportunity to 'make good' on giving me a guitar that was supposedly set-up correctly but still sounds poor. If they want to charge me to fix their muck-up, I'll forget about the whole thing, I guess, as I also doubt they'd do a refund, given the info you've all provided about 'packages' and so on.

..and there's not too much point in 'sending more good money after bad' (or whatever the saying is)... Maybe I'll make the Monterey my 'let's butcher it and learn' guitar and sell/upgrade through the Bullet, 'coz it's not too bad a lil' guitar, really...

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allthumbs    8

They should make good on it if it is directly related to their setup. It sure sounds like either the action is too low or some of the frets are too high. Sorry about the mixup about the bullet.

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karcey    42

I reckon you should take it back. Consumer protection in Oz is not just a myth. I'd guess the man will be quite OK about it and have another try. Worst case scenario is the guitar has a fault and the setup won't make it playable. In that case, because the guitar is still under warranty he'll swap it or refund. On the other hand, maybe his storeman, (or his son) who did the setup in the first place, didn't get it right, and this time it'll be good. Might even turn out to be the best guitar you've ever played!

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ozboomer    0

Well, I have to laugh...

I spoke to the manager of the local music shop where I bought this guitar.. and he said that he normally doesn't do a set-up on a guitar before it leaves the shop (! - He's happy for a guitar to go out sounding bad?!)

Instead, he prefers for the guitar to go out and have it used for a couple of weeks and then have you bring the guitar back and THAT's when he'll do the first set-up (for the full fee). This assumes the guitar is playable, which this current guitar isn't, really... So, from what I've read/heard from people in here, this sounds a bit like "...a heck of a way to run a railroad."

He said he's not surprised there are buzzes and the intonation is off... He believes the guitar needs to 'settle down'and 'stabilize' before he does *any* sort of set-up... I can understand about that but I would've thought it's the shop's responsibility to get the guitar usable on delivery.. and it's just 'maintenance' to maybe have it adjusted again in a couple of months or something... but I haven't had to do that (that quickly, anyway) with the other two guitars I've bought in the last couple of years (from a couple of different shops).

So, it seems this shop is going to be difficult and they will be charging me AGAIN for doing ANOTHER set-up... so this is sounding like a bad idea... I won't even bother to try for a refund... but I still might take it to my regular tech to get an assessment...

*mutter*... *grumble*...

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That settle down line is a load of crap. Seriously, teach yourself how to do the setup, you won't regret it. You'll be saving yourself a bunch of money in the long run. It may take you 8-10 hours the first time to get it down pat, but after that you will thank yourself.

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P-90    1

Sounds to me like he's making excuses for having charged you for a setup which was not done. OK, so if he likes them to "settle down for a couple of weeks" first, that means that he will now do the setup you already paid for, right? At no additional charge?

If not, I'd take it to your tech. That's probably what the shop does anyway, except that they almost certainly charge more than they pay the tech for the work.

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ozboomer    0

Hi, folks... and many thanks for all your contributions :) ...

Sounds to me like he's making excuses for having charged you for a setup which was not done. OK, so if he likes them to "settle down for a couple of weeks" first, that means that he will now do the setup you already paid for, right? At no additional charge?

Heh... that's what you'd think, wouldn't you? ...but oh no... When I asked about that, he said "you'll have to pay for the next set-up"(!)

I have never heard of such cribbage in my life. You got taken. I wouldn't trust them to change strings on a guitar let alone set one up.

Uh-huh, this is what I'm thinking, too.

Actually, the whole event seemed kind-of dodgy, now that I think about it (and I admit it's my own silly fault; I'm normally much more thorough and organized - live and learn)...

There were no allen keys included (although they did give me a whammy bar - Whee), no manual, no warranty form, no statement made by anyone in the shop about any warranty. I didn't try the guitar out very much at the time I arranged to buy it and I certainly didn't try it out on the day I picked it up (I had it on 'lay by'/'lay away' for a month or two). Even the "checked by..." factory tag hanging from one of the tuners wasn't filled-in... and the fact that the headstock is a totally different shape from that shown on the web site for this model, together with the fact there is no serial number anywhere on the guitar makes me wonder if it's even a 'real' Monterey guitar anyway!?

Hmm... I wonder if it's something with the Monterey gear in general? The other couple of shops I've dealt with previously don't stock them because of the Monterey suppliers' 'weird' requirements about how much stock the shop has to hold, etc... and maybe that should have been a warning to me...?

Wot a disaster this whole thing has turned out to be... Pffft!

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Noodler    1

For a second there I thought I knew the shop you meant! It recommends a setup every six months or so. It is total BS. The same "settling down" speil.

I'd hazard a guess that the shop does not know what they are doing. If you like the guitar then get your guy to set it up for you, or learn on it, but never go back to that shop again. Having has similar experiences, they are probably incompetent. I was given a "beautifully set-up guitar" which kept going out of tune and had other problems, mainly intonation. They were kind enough to let me swap it for the exact same model. So I took it somewhere else for setup. Now I have a great guitar.

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allthumbs    8

It sounds a lot like you did get a Chinese knock off of a clone. That is starting to occur more and more as more experienced players are catching the more expensive fakes.

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stratplayer    0

don't trust them learn to do it your self that way you know it will done right the web is full of how to videos on setting up guitars. And its really simple and a great hobby.

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ozboomer    0
It sounds a lot like you did get a Chinese knock off of a clone.

Oh brother! How much more can be wrong with this crazy hunk of timber, plastic and metal!?

Heh... The longer this goes on, the more laughable the whole thing becomes...

If I buy a 'real' Stratocaster, for AUD1500+, I assume I wouldn't have all this strife... but! I know to check out the shops a bit more before I start forking over the $$$, don't I? :)

don't trust them learn to do it your self that way you know it will done right the web is full of how to videos on setting up guitars. And its really simple and a great hobby.

Ya, well, I have a multitude of articles, a couple of repair/maint. books and have collected a couple of videos that show how to do it... I just have to bite the bullet and have a go... and I intends to do that 'real soon now' :rolleyes: (one of these weekends...)

Thanks again, everyone.

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Noodler    1

Unfortunately, you can't just assume if you pay $1500 that the guitar will be great. I had to return a faulty genuine Telecaster recently, but it is OK now and was covered by warranty.

Monterey is a cheap brand anyway. I'd be surprised at anyone making a knock-off of a knock off?? But the fact that the quality assurance tag was blank would give you good cause to return the guitar. It's pretty hard to argue with that. It didn't get checked. Just make sure when you swap it you are happier with the new one.

Rule of thumb with cheap (esp Chinese guitars): If you play ten of the exact same model, three will be good, the others rubbish. That is the level of QA they produce. You just need to try the 5 they have in stock and take the best one home. Honestly I have done this and the variation is incredible!

There are also many fantastic Strat copies in Cash Converters, but you have to base each individual guitar on it's own merit, not the brand.

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ozboomer    0

Well, I understand that $$ doesn't necessarily mean I'll get a good guitar; as I said, it would seem that I should be trying a specific guitar, see how it plays, and so on.

...but to think about things from the shopkeeper's point of view for a minute...

I might want a particular model, colour, etc and the shop doesn't have one in stock. Am I really within my rights to ask them to get one in... and then, when I try it out, I don't like it for whatever reason and I don't want to buy it. That means the shopkeeper is left with a dud (as far as he is concerned - he didn't stock it, so there must be no demand for it... but I guess he can always send it back to the supplier...??). Otherwise, I would have to search around the music shops to find someone who is stocking the particular guitar I want, if I stick with the philosophy of I have to try it out before I buy it... and maybe I want something so unpopular that no-one stocks it...? :dunno:

Monterey is a cheap brand anyway. I'd be surprised at anyone making a knock-off of a knock off??

Ya, it sounds sort-of like overkill or something.. especially since, with packages and things, this Monterey ended up costing me more than the Squier Affinity that I bought in 2006(!), which is crazy, given the troubles I've been having...

But the fact that the quality assurance tag was blank would give you good cause to return the guitar. It's pretty hard to argue with that. It didn't get checked.

Well, I'd agree with that.. but the shop has already shown me that they're not interested in taking care of me and my transaction. Rather, it seems they are looking to see how much BS I will tolerate.. and I'm getting more and more jack of 'em :reallymad:

At any rate, have a look at the couple of photos I've attached to this post. The 'quality/check' tag is obviously blank (although, maybe it's faded? Maybe this guitar is so old that it's an ancient model?)... and notice the shape of the headstock -- I'm sorry the 'web' image is pretty ordinary -- it's just that the Monterey web site doesn't have very large photos of its products.

Rule of thumb with cheap (esp Chinese guitars): If you play ten of the exact same model, three will be good, the others rubbish. That is the level of QA they produce.

Well, more and more, it seems I will just have to do the legwork... but I wonder what people do when they purchase on-line? Do they go through the 'try it out' process 'at home' or something? That is, they choose a guitar, it gets delivered, they find it's a dud. They ship it back, get another one.. and repeat. Going through that process could take months!?

Anyway, this little question of mine has mutated into a good bit of info on buying a guitar - Maybe we should make it into a 'sticky' :)

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starsailor    20

I hate retailers that take you for a ride Ozboomer, sounds like your relationship with this one has turned into trench warfare, irrespective of what you do regarding buying another guitar I wouldn't personally let this guy off the hook, I found taking a dodgy item into a shop when there are a few customers around then making sure everyone can here you complain tends to frighten retailers and the customers tend to think twice about buying from them, I'm a pretty laid back sort of guy but when someone tries to pull a fast one on me I tend to think if they're doing it to me how many other people are they going to do it to I'd hate the thought of a person starting out on guitar buying a guitar from this guy, I would chase him until we came to a compromise that I was happy with, I see the warranty's not filled in at all, did this prat give you a receipt, it might be worth checking out what consumer rights you have, I hate dodgy retailers.

In regard to buying online, you can post what guitar you're looking at on here, the best way to gauge if a guitar is any good or not is to check as many reviews as possible, Harmony Central has good reviews and people give a lot of detail, there's always the possibility you'll get a duff one but the respectable retailers always have a good returns policy.

As regards Chinese made guitars they're not all bad, I bought a nice Bass for my Daughter off of a small retailer on ebay but he did know his guitars as he'd been playing for 0ver 30 years, I get on really well with him now he's a good guy to know but you do have to be wary of knock offs as there are some dodgy sellers around, I don't touch any with negative feedback, no returns policy, or ridiculous postal charges.

Sorry you've had so much trouble with this retailer it's ashame, it's up to you if you pursue him but I for one would love to see him get his butt kicked.

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