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Ernie Ball Music Man – A Tale of EXCEPTIONAL Customer Service

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Woodsbass, Jan 21, 2021.


  1. Wow, it feels weird to finally write a conclusion to this story. Long read!

    To give all the details, I’ve got to go back to August 2014. I had just turned 22 and recently obtained a permanent position with my employer, so I decided to celebrate with the purchase of my first new instrument. Up until that point, all of my instrument purchases had been good deals, I had some nice gear but all of it was bought used. Aside from the Jazz bass I already had, there were two other basses that I had always dreamed of owning: a Rickenbacker 4003 and a Music Man Stingray. Living in a rural town in Eastern Canada means limited opportunities to try out an instrument prior to purchasing so I started a lengthy research process to decide what would be right for me. Eventually I saw an ad for a limited run from Music Man that had figured roasted maple necks, mahogany bodies and a unique colour. It was part of what they called the PDN run, and I knew I had to have one.

    Since this run was built to order it took a few months to arrive but when it did the instrument was excellent for the first couple of months, but then it started to go downhill. By mid-March of 2015, all the single coil settings on the bass had a hum so loud that they were unusable, and the truss rod wheel was very tight and hard to move. I contacted Ernie Ball customer service and was told that since I purchased out of province, I would have to pay to ship it out to be worked on by JAM Industries, their service provider at the time.

    So, off the bass went to JAM Industries. The bass was very quickly returned and I was relieved the issue was resolved so easily. The bass had good action, the wheel seemed to move a little easier, and all the single coil settings worked as they should. I continued to play it for the remainder of that year until midway through 2016 when I decided that it could use a good setup. Out came the tools, into the truss wheel and of course it was frozen solid. Couldn’t be moved without what I would define as excessive force, and upon closer inspection the nylon nut that had been under the wheel originally had been replaced by a few brass washers instead.

    Immediately after finding this I contacted JAM Industries again and was told that they were no longer the authorized service provider and I would have to contact Music Man directly. I called the customer service line to try explaining the situation and was notified that since the instrument was out of warranty, I would have to pay to ship it to them and pay for a replacement neck – a price I wasn’t ready to pay less that 2 years after getting the bass. I watched as the neck continued to shift and become less and less playable over time.

    This situation really killed my desire for new gear for several years. I have 0 posts on here from mid 2015 until near the end of 2019 – I just had no interest after such a horrible experience with my first big purchase. I decided to stick with what I already had and figured I’d pay to fix the Stringray someday when I had the extra money (which added up once factoring US-Canada conversion, shipping and duty fees).

    About 6 months ago I decided I needed to do something about the bass just sitting in its case. I intended to pay to fix the neck, sell the instrument and put the money towards a new bass so I could leave this negative experience behind me. I reached out again to Ernie Ball customer service, who listened patiently to the entire story and asked me to send my correspondence with JAM industries. Shortly after I got a call back - telling me to pack up my bass and ship it to them free of charge, and that if the neck needed to be replaced that it would be taken care of.

    It went back to Music Man in California, who determined that it was a defective neck needing replaced. The process took a couple months and they provided me regular updates, including photos of the finish on the new neck. Once completed, I got my bass back having only paid a return shipping and duty charges.

    I’m so impressed by the top-notch, excellent customer service by Ernie Ball, particularly AJ who heard me out and Joel who handled the setting up the repair and shipping. When there was a holdup at the border, Joel even replied to me on his day off to provide the information that I needed to get things moving again. Sorry it took me so long to write a thank you, but I’ve had no further issues with the bass so far!

    I’ll attach some photos below to show the stunning new neck. I loved the birds-eye figuring of the original neck, but the flame on this one is amazing, plus it seems to be a nearly perfect quarter-sawn piece of maple. I wanted to share this story of exceptional customer care after the fact. I had all but given up on new high-end instruments, but they’ve shown there are still companies out there that will stand behind their product and do whatever they can to make things right with a customer.

    -Woodsbass 90E2BD89-88DC-4886-A1F8-7A6C560CAFAE.jpeg E3BB0F9C-3B2D-4B4E-A731-53177E3FE966.jpeg D72F9E2A-89EB-4287-9338-ED08E0CB93E8.jpeg AC44339F-BFC3-45E5-B0F9-D04E0200D9CE.jpeg
     
    cemunk, DirtDog, Ricky Rioli and 10 others like this.
  2. ComeHomeShane

    ComeHomeShane Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2016
    Southern California
    Hmm, find it kind of odd that in 2016 they tell you that the fix is your expense, but then in 2019 say, jk we got this. I’m stoked for you, glad the bass is all fixed up.
     
  3. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    AJ and Joel are both great people. Glad they got it sorted for you.
     
  4. LowEndLobster

    LowEndLobster Bass reviewer and youtube dude guy. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    Northern MA
    Agreed. Joel has been a huge help with questions and parts orders.
     
  5. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 4, 2021

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