How long should a cracked headstock repair take?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by ICM, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. EDIT: Its back!!! Scroll down to last post for update.

    I think this is the correct forum, if not, mods, please move!

    So basically what happened was my friend fell on my bass and cracked off the headstock. Needless to say, I was very upset, especially considering this was my holy grail Hofner V62, the bass I've wanted ever since I started playing. So she broke my favorite thing in the world. It was heartbreaking seeing the bass like that. She is paying for the repair, which I appreciate, so all is not lost. And atleast is was a clean break with zero-to-minimal splintering.

    The question I have is, how long does something like this normally take to be repaired?

    When I brought it into the music store, I said I wanted the repair fixed and then some clear nitro put over it to prevent any humidity from seeping in; nothing fancy, just all function.

    I was told it would be 2-3 weeks. I was happy because that meant I'd most likely have it back before a gig. Almost three months later, I still don't have the bass. I gave it to them on the 15th of March. That's three days shy of three months. I understand a good repair takes time, but I was told 3 weeks. The last couple times I stopped in and asked about it, I was told that is was "behind 30 guitars in line." Recently the luthier called me to ask a question, I returned his call, left a voicemail, and he hasn't even called me back. I'm starting to get a feeling they don't really care how long it takes...

    My problem is that I really like this business that I took the guitar to (I make a point of buying from them and not SamAsh), but this whole experience has left quite a sour taste in my mouth. I've given them my business for three years now, and it feels like they're blowing me and my bass off. I also love the employees there, there cool guys, but I'm faced with an impasse. Do I ask for my bass back and take it somewhere else? Do I keep waiting?

    I just wanted TB's opinion on this as to how long it takes, what I should do regarding my situation, and also how I should handle dealing with this business in the future knowing this. Truthfully, I hope I'm wrong because I have a lot of respect for this place and I would hate to have my opinion of them changed. Maybe this is par for the course.

    (tl;dr - headstock crack, repair is taking way longer than they said it would, 3 weeks vs. 3 months)

    Any insight would be appreciated, thanks!
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  2. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Keep on them. Call twice a week and ask where they are with the repair. Remind them that you were told it would take 2 to 3 weeks and that it's been much longer than that. They might just be REALLY behind with smaller stuff like setups, or they could be behind on big jobs as well. Have you stopped in there in person? I've found that it's helpful to meet and get to know the person working on your instrument if you can.
    ICM likes this.
  3. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    technically the actual work shouldn't take too long but then there's the finish work that unfortunately of which there are no pictures and we don't know how far the luthier is going ie: a simple brush and blend job or a full blown respray of the neck. If there is nitro involved it takes a fair amount of time to cure correctly. The original three weeks seems fair given the scope of the work but three months seems like a back-logged luthier.
    ICM likes this.
  4. I forgot to mention that they contract out (if that's the correct term) to a luthier, there is not one "in-shop" so to speak, but the store always works with this guy.

    Hello, thanks for the response! I've been both calling and stopping in for the past two months reminding them of the repair and how long they said it would take. I've just been getting the standard "this will put him off for a week or so" answers. I've been told "oh, it will probably just be another week or two" so many times I've lost count. I guess I'll just keep hounding them and maybe give the luthier himself another call. I just don't to cross the line and come off as annoying and impatient. However, I am annoyed at the time it's taking and my patience is wearing thin.

    That's why I'm trying to be understanding since nitro can be tricky, but based on what they've told me, I have the feeling that the first two months, he hadn't even started yet. Thanks for your input!

    If he's backlogged then, I guess there's nothing I can do? It's a shame because, although I love this business, I may have to find another place to deal with now, these practices don't reflect the kind of business I like to support. I'm really trying to be understanding of any possible situation, but with each day that goes by, it gets more difficult. So far I've not had this bass for two gigs, both of which I expected to have it back by based on their estimate of 2-3 weeks.
  5. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    Tell them you want to take the bass elsewhere. If they fuss about it, then tell them that you think they really don't want to do the work so you are looking elsewhere. Probably they won't fuss at all and let you take it away - which is a really good indication that they really didn't want to do it. But if they insist that they really want to do the job, give them a deadline, and say it's one last chance. They miss it and you are gone as a client and that you will be sharing your experience with others (as you already are). You don't need to get abrasive about it, just matter-of-fact. Nothing personal - it's business.
    fhm555, Lownote38, RSBBass and 2 others like this.
  6. Great advice! You're totally right, I am trying to be matter-of-fact. They've been ambiguous by saying things like "It's on the bench" or "it's next in line"...which could be interpreted a number of ways. The trust I've put in them has been slowly eroding.
    I notice you're a technician, so it's great to hear what you have to say from the perspective of someone in the business. Thank you. If a tech is back-logged but still wants to put his/her 100% into a project, I respect that. And if it takes a bit longer, so be it, but I feel like transparency is key here. If they just would have called and been honest with me, it would have gone a long way.
  7. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    As Turnaround states, nothing personal -just business. In fact what you are posting here is exactly what you should be telling them in person.
    ICM likes this.
  8. Thanks everyone! I appreciate the words of wisdom and assurance that I wasn't being unreasonable.
  9. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I would have taken my business elsewhere after about a month. If they take it personally, well, ask them if they think you should take their perfromance vs promise personally. You may like the business for other things, but repairs just got crossed off the list.
    ICM likes this.
  10. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I'd collect the bass and go somewhere else, introducing yourself with the story you just told us, so that he/she's warned, avoids at least some b/s.
    ICM likes this.
  11. UPDATE: The bass is back and it's perfect!

    I couldn't have asked for a better, cleaner repair, its smooth to the touch and you can't even feel the crack. Honestly he did a stand up job. I eventually got a hold of him on the phone and you could just tell he was a really nice guy, he was super attentive and also thanked me for my patience which really went a long way in my book.

    I'll take the whole experience as a learning lesson. Should have been a bit more forward with my concerns? Sure. Am I glad that I was generally understanding of the situation? Absolutely.

    I plan to enjoy this realm of life for the rest of my own, so this kind of experience, although I was frustrated, is experience nonetheless. And bottom line, my bass is back and the guy did a TRULY PHENOMENAL JOB! Thanks for the advice everyone!

    One more thing I forgot to mention: the blend of satin to shiny from headstock to neck is perfect (I steel scotch brite the nitro neck, especially in summer). He also adjusted the rod and cleaned the fretboard and frets which was a very pleasant surprise.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  12. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician - Retired
    I'm glad it turned out well. Sounds like the work was well done. Communication - not so much. And I bet you would not have been feeling so worried had they taken the time to communicate with you before you had to go prodding them. When they tell you 2-3 weeks, at the mid point of the 3rd week they should be calling you to tell you where they were at. And if there was a delay, they should be apologizing and give you a new date that you could agree to or not.
    ICM likes this.