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My Not-So-Great Customer Service Experience From Ernie Ball/Musicman

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Apr 27, 2006.


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  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    So I purchased a Bongo towards the middle/end of last year- I purchased it in Ohio and then came back home to Connecticut. I noticed some time later that there was buzzing at the 22nd fret- on the A string, the fret was so bad that the 22nd fret actually produced the same note as the 23rd fret. The 24th fret played fine without any buzzing at all, as did all the frets before, so it was obvious that there was a low or high fret on the 22nd or 23rd position.

    I finally got the bass sent off to Ernie Ball around a month or so ago. The bass got there in about a week or so, and I received a message from a tech there. I returned the call and told him who I was and what was wrong with my bass. The tech told me that as soon as he opened the case, he knew why the fret was buzzing- it was because I didn't have enough relief in my neck and because of the "wood block between my pickups" :meh: I told him no, that's not the issue. I explained what a ramp was to him and how I keep just a small amount of relief on my basses as that's all I need because of it and my light touch. He made it sound like I had come up with a crackpot idea or something- I mentioned Matthew light freestroke technique of his that I also employ, but he didn't know who he was (can't blame him for that). Garrison He insisted it was because of the ramp and the relief, saying I needed more relief than that on a bass. He used the term "just so obvious" as to why there was a problem at least three or four times. He said that the strings were hitting the wooden block, so that was obviously the problem. I told him that the relief may have changed on the trip from Connecticut to California, and the strings may not be at full tension, but in general I actually keep the relief and action on my Bongo at a perfectly playable level, as I keep all of my basses. I told him that I use a very light touch because of the ramp so I don't need much relief at all and I use very low action (many other TalkBass members have played my basses and can attest to the fact that they're perfectly playable without any buzzing issues). Zons are built with less relief than I had on that bass.

    He still insisted that it was because of the ramp and the relief. I told him that if it was a relief problem, then the lower frets would buzz, not the upper ones. I also said that not just the 22nd and 23rd frets would buzz- if there was some sort of a setup issue, the 24th fret would also buzz. I asked if he had played the 24th fret to prove that it doesn't buzz, and he said no, they hadn't because that's not the fret I said I had an issue with :meh: In the back of my head I began wondering if he had even checked the string tension to make sure it was in tune- the strings were probably hitting the ramp because they didn't bother to tune it. I said that it wouldn't buzz and repeat the note on its own without having the 24th fret buzz as well. He said "of course it can." I asked "how?" but he didn't answer. He said all they can do it bring it back to factory setup specs.

    We were both getting pretty heated at each other, and in the end I told him he can take off the ramp and raise the relief so they can see that the problem will still exist. He said he would do that and said goodbye and that they'd let me know what would happen, and I could tell he gave no credibility to what I was saying. It takes a WHOLE lot to honestly get me mad, and I was livid after I got off of the phone with him.

    That was three weeks ago. Dave (TB member WillPlay4Food) advised me to post in the Ernie Ball forums about it because it had been so long and I had not heard anything. I decided to email Ernie Ball first before I posted at their forums (I still haven't posted anything there), so I sent an email today to the person I believe is the one I spoke with on the phone (same first name, works in Customer Service, and he had emailed me previous to me sending my bass in telling me what to do). This is the response I received:
    Bryan,

    I don't know if we told you this or not, but the fretboard was extrememly dry which contributed to the fret actually popping out of the fretboard. Jon removed the neck and did a nice fret job on it. The problem was, when he did that, the finish chipped on the body. So now the body will have to be replaced. It will probably be another 3-4 weeks until the new body is ready. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    Best Regards,


    I will now use a third "hmm" smilie. :meh:

    While I'm glad to know what's going on with the bass, I am not exactly happy that after being spoken to like I didn't know my head from my *ss, it turned out that I was right and no one apologized to me for it. No one even contacted me to let me know what was happening with my bass. I could probably have let another month go by with no response. To be honest, when the bass gets back I'll probably sell it because I'll have associated all this crap with it. Music Man is renknowned for exemplary customer service, which is why I was so surprised mine was so bad.


    BTW, I responded to the email sent today by saying thanks and then giving a description of all the pros that use ramps and left a link to my Matthew Garrison technique/Playing ramps thread in the Technique forum.
     
  2. bovinehost

    bovinehost Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    I can understand being frustrated at not being understood on the phone, but looks to me like (a) the problem was found and resolved and the subsequent chip to the body is being remedied by a NEW body, not a repair.

    I'm of course a biased observer, but seems to me - even though I really do understand your frustration over the phone call - that you're being taken care of.

    Jack
     
  3. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Beta Tester: Source Audio
    Bryan,
    What you went through was unacceptable. I am really amazed that they didn't contact you to let you know what was going on sooner. However, in my case, I would have escalated your problems immediately, especially with the lead tech being a participant on the forum it would have been quite easy to do so. I wish you luck and understand your frustration.
     
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    To be honest I'd expect a new body, seeing as how they chipped it to cause that problem- the body had no chips or scratches whatsoever when it was shipped. That's not as big a frustration as them not telling me about it, nor apologizing for how my claim was thought of as completely false only to be proven true.

    I'm actually patient to a fault sometimes. I had assumed that they had started shipping the bass back already because I didn't think that they'd go so far as to keep it three weeks and another planned month without telling me about it.
     
  5. Absolutely remarkable. Really sorry to hear about that nightmare, Bryan.
     
  6. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Eh, while your sitatuation is certainly unfortuant, they are doing what they can to make it better.

    Sorry that you experienced problems.
     
  7. Beav

    Beav Graphics Whore

    Jul 17, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Designer: Beav's Graphics
    How exactly do you chip the body when removing the neck and putting it back on? :meh:
     
  8. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Beta Tester: Source Audio
    Sometimes the neck pocket is a real tight fit. When you remove it you can chip paint. I am guessing this is what probably happened.
     
  9. Are they putting the ramp on the new body, or are they going to not have it put back on?
     
  10. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I believe he attaches his ramps via double sided tape of some sort, so that shouldnt be too much of a problem.
     
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    They are, and I'm grateful for that (the bass is still under warranty). It's not like I'm furious or anything, or have a chip on my shoulder against EB/MM- I was just unhappy at how things were done. I don't think it's a sign of bad customer service in general either- EB has some of the best customer service from all the things I've read. Just wanted to relay my story.
     
  12. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Whilst i agree that they're doing what they can to make the bass better, I don't think that they're doing everything they can to make Bryan feel better.

    I mean, anyone can chip a bass when removing the neck - that's totally understandable. But - what does it take to pick up the phone and tell someone thats what you're doing?
     
  13. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Bummer about how the first guy treated you. Bummer that they didnt call you to tell you about the additional delay. Bummer that you are ditching an instrument you like for some trouble with the guys too.
     
  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    that's it. i'm done with those guys.


    :)

    just kidding, just kidding...

    sorry for you bad experience. jon was probably hung over or something. just to play devil's advocate - how come you didn't call them back any sooner? granted, I also agree they should have notified you as to what was going on - but I personally wouldn't have let a day go by without asking what they were doing.
     
  15. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    He could join the EBMM forum and know exactly whats going on with his bass on a regular basis.


    But, to each his own.
     
  16. ras1983

    ras1983

    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    that was my first thought, had he joined and posted on the EBMM forum he would have gotten a much faster response.

    that being said, i would feel angry too if i was in Brian's situation.
     
  17. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I am a member of the EBMM forum- not very active there, but I am one. I see no reason why I (or anyone else) shouldn't be updated just as regularly as those who aren't forum members.
     
  18. ras1983

    ras1983

    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    which is why i would be just as angry as you if i was in your situation.:)

    but, you can't be serious about selling the bongo, can you? CAN YOU?!?!?!:bawl:

    come on brian, you and i both know that as soon as the bongo gets back to you, you will fall in love with it all over again.;)

    just to get a little off topic, how do you find your bongo compared to your elricks and zon?
     
  19. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Sorry Bryan! I'd be pissed too. The tech was supposed to get back to you.

    Marshall
     
  20. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Beta Tester: Source Audio
    Well that shouldn't be necessary in reality, I really don't think you can fault him for that.
     

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