Greetings, This thread is because of the Darren Huff thread in Basses which pissed me off on many levels. It seems many people were ripped off and I feel its somewhat the buyers fault, ya know buyer beware! It is really bad business on the buyers part to give small custom one man builders ANY money months or years in advance of them actually working on your bass. Anything can happen to these folks that would leave you holding the bag. The fact is most basses only take 30-40 hours to make but because builders juggle a bunch at the same time you the buyer have to wait much much longer. If a builder has a year waiting time he should put you on the list and then call you a month or so before production and ask you to send the deposit, If you do not pay he drops you off the list and moves to the next person. It's that simple. Also at that point you should have a delivery date and I'm suggesting it should not be more the 2 months tops which is a reasonable time. This might mean builders have to re-think their build process but that is not the buyers problem that is what customer service is about in any business. IMHO anyone who pays anyone way in advance is asking for trouble. Maybe a big custom shop like Fender would be an exception because of the size of the company your deposit is pretty secure. Just my .2 cents. Good Luck!