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SGD Lutherie - Customer experience poll

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by BrBss, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Good!

    82 vote(s)
  2. Okay.

    20 vote(s)
  3. Bad!

    29 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. BrBss


    Jul 9, 2010
    There's been a few threads going back and forth about some bad experiences with SGD. However, a lot of people seem to have had good experiences with his service. I thought it would be good to make a poll to hopefully get a larger sample size of data for more statistically significant information.

    Please keep all discussion civil.

    For the record, I have not purchased any of SGD's products, but I have been considering them. I have found him to be very helpful here on TB, and I thank him for that, but that's not what this is about. This poll is really only for people who have actually PURCHASED a product from him.
  2. iunno


    Dec 16, 2010
    I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure there has only been threads started by two people who were in the middle of resolving issues, and one of them wouldn't use email. Still, I think this is a good idea for resolving this kind of speculation. I ordered a Sidewinder not too long ago, and while I haven't received it yet, he's been very good to deal with.
  3. WestOfBen


    Jul 30, 2010
    People need to remember that SGD is a small operation providing a custom service with a very high quality product. To my knowledge SGD is a one man (David Schwab) show.

    SGD is one of only a few companies producing odd/rare custom pickup sizes for a great price. SGD was the only company I could find producing custom bass humbucker pickups. There may be more, but the level of specification, customisation and sound samples won me over.

    The pickups took about a month and a bit to be made (from scratch no less!) and shipped to Australia. SGD was prompt with communication all the way through. My patience (or lack of) was rewarded with a set of beautifully made and sounding pickups for an Epiphone Les Paul Standard bass. For example, these things sound lightyears ahead of EMGs and are on the same level as Bartolini - but with their own character.

    Taking all factors into consideration, there is no way I could fault SGD. Just my experience. I wholeheartedly recommend SGD's service and products. Faster production will come with time. How long do we all wait for other custom items? We wait months or years for a custom bass, or a custom case. We should be patient.

    iunno: I hope you're as happy with your Sidewinder as I am with mine.

    Oh, at the last minute David also threw in some push-pull pots (I paid for them) so I could switch parallel/series. David also included an easy to understand, for an electronics numty like myself, diagram.
  4. Ordered a 6 string EMG45 shaped pickup in early Jan, website said two weeks, received it two days ago. Checked in about a month down the line, received an email apologizing for the lateness and saying that I'd get the pickup soon. Got an email from USPS stating the pickup was to be shipped, tracking was never updated, checked in about a week after the pickup should have arrived, emailed Dave, he emailed me back stating that the pickup was lost in the mail, was "crazy insured," and he'd make me a new one right away. Received another USPS email stating it was going out on the 8th, tracking from New Jersey started on the 12th and, as I mentioned, it came a couple of days ago.

    He responded promptly to all of my emails when they were sent. I have yet to install the pickup so I can't comment on the quality, but the pickup looks to be properly constructed and the accompanying documentation is excellent.

    I voted "okay."
  5. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Is this thing on!? Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    64 Audio · DR Strings · Source Audio · Hipshot
    I ordered a set of pickups from David a couple years ago. While the overall experience was positive, I did run into the issue of the lead time quoted not being accurate. I don't think it was a crazy amount of time, but I did have to wait longer than the time frame he originally quoted me. He was always easily reached by email or via TB PM, answering questions and such. In fact, he's answered many questions for me since then in a very selfless and quick manner. I'd buy from him again.
  6. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    David tends to be good at e-mailing you back, and I have bought two things from him. If it's already been made? You are golden. If it's custom work? David will quote you a certain lead time but because life happens etc. the lead time he gave me was approximately half the time it actually took. Still, he never tried to mislead me or rip me off. He actually gave me a really good deal on the work. I think he's a good guy. He just got in contact with me today, ironically, to see how that pickup he made for me is doing.

    So overall? Wonderful guy to work with and makes a quality product. The only negative, and I do mean only, is that you need to be patient about custom work. I can understand where he's coming from in that doing something from the ground-up is sometimes difficult to accurately budget time for. This happens to me in the lab when I take on a new project. Also, if you're nitpicky, you need to be really up-front about what details you want in your work because otherwise he will (as one would expect) do what he thinks is best. In my case that wasn't really part of the deal as what he did for me was a bit of a prototype.
  7. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I recently ordered a preamp from him. I had it in hand just slightly over 2 weeks from when I ordered it. He was super quick with emails and PM's. He responded to everything I sent him within an hour at most, usually within 10 minutes.

    I just installed it an hour ago and ran into a small problem. I emailed him and within 10 minutes we went back and fourth until it was resolved. How is that for service?

    No complaints and I would definitely buy again if I needed something. The Wal pickup?!?!?!
  8. CopperheadLXXIX


    Aug 9, 2003
    Jax, FL
    I bought a SGD pickup for my 12 string some time back, and my experience was very positive. The lead time was indeed a fair bit, but David was always quick to respond to emails and the pickup was well worth the wait.
  9. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    I ordered a set in mid december while on leave in the states. David sent them out mid january. Military mail/USPS took the creative route getting them to me, but after I checked tracking that he provided I received my pups late january. He said his queue was 3-4 weeks, and he got them in the mail in that time. Every question I asked was answered in a timely fashion. I got no complaints!
  10. bassman28

    bassman28 Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    North Carolina
    It takes time to make great handmade custom bass electronics so give Dave a break.There's not many in buisness like him because of the economy. I have never heard of him not giving quality parts or ripping anyone off.I have had great experiences with his stuff so come on guys lets support small buisness or there won't be any left.Remember he's a one man operation so who better to build your pickup or pre than the owner of the company.
  11. Haven't ordered anything yet but he has been very helpful and seems like a good guy. been planning on ordering some pups for my Epi bird, so i will vote when i get around to it.
  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    My Brubaker Brute with SGD Neo's

  13. SwagAttack


    Sep 14, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Never bought anything from him, but his knowledge of wiring/pickups and willingness to help others makes him a TB treasure if you ask me.
  14. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Im not trying to defend him because I havent ordered anything from him...yet...but as a small business owner myself (which includes me and uh...yeah, thats it) sometimes it IS difficult to estimate lead times. I have to wear so many hats, dealing with clients is time consuming enough and it can become overwhelming at times to just have enough time to actually PRODUCE the product. Maybe this is a lesson learned and he needs to make people explicitly aware that lead times are a fluid thing and it could alleviate some of this.
  15. WestOfBen


    Jul 30, 2010
    These SGD Sidewinders retain the standard chrome look.


    TBGFRED Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2009
    Panama City Beach, FL
    I just got a set from David... really nice components - not avail anywhere else. And I agree that his contributions on this board have been selfless and - and invaluable to me. He's clearly a passionate and experienced player, is completely fluent in electronics vis a vis tone, and routinely bridges today's design schemes against 'ancient' history from which many of us benefit.

    Another thread reported that David stumbled and fell badly on an order - and David showed up, stood up and owned up.

    It's Sunday, fellas - now that this poll is showing a positive slant, can we show a little grace to a small businessman and maybe move on?
  17. WaskoDS


    Nov 22, 2009
    Allentown, PA
    From what I've glanced, the complaints with him seem to largely stem from:
    * Longer than quoted lead time
    * Long time getting even a partial refund back (with said refund being requested due to the former issue)
    For the most part, it seems like the first issue is very common, but only a few people have really made a big deal about it, though the big complaints are presumably due to lead times abnormally longer than quoted. It's probably awkward scheduling time to work on certain orders when so many of them are coming from here and there are people who are more vocal about their discontent than others (who may not even have any discontent).

    I'm not a customer of his, but I plan to be eventually. I'm just posting my inferences.
  18. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    About 18 months ago, I ordered two (2) sets of David's wide-aperture Neo soapbar humbuckers (ND3-BC5) as replacement pickups for a couple of Carvin Icon 5s that I had recently acquired. The ultimate wait time turned out to be significantly longer than I had initially been quoted, by something like 2-3 months, as I recall. But David was communicative and responsive throughout, and ultimately delivered a truly boutique-quality product at a fine price. How could I be anything other than delighted?

    The key to my satisfaction, other than the high quality of the pickups themselves, was patience. I simply cannot stress this concept strongly enough: Patience. :eyebrow:

    I knew going into this ordering process that the experience of dealing with a sole proprietor who designs and constructs his own pickups from scratch - and even does completely custom work - would be very different indeed from ordering a pair of off-the-shelf Bartolinis from a big box (or big warehouse online) retailer - and that I should adjust my expectations accordingly. So I actually did that. I succeeded in adjusting my expectations - so that I didn't become angry, didn't lose sleep at night, didn't throw the cat against the wall...and didn't drive myself and everybody around me crazy over the delay. :smug:

    (Unlike many other TalkBassers, I've actually had the personal experience of working as a sole proprietor. I know the challenges of having to accomplish many things by myself, and to try to keep everybody happy at the same time.)

    At any rate, my SGD humbuckers are simply superb! Not only are they really clean, crisp & clear, but surprisingly deep, warm, powerful, and PHAT! Combined with my Audere Classic 4-band onboard preamps, I've got some of the best active, hi-fi, modern bass tone available anywhere! Even the guitar tech who installed everything for me was knocked out by how much better the instruments sounded after the SGDs went in. :smug:

    I don't mind telling everybody here that I have an SGD agenda: I want to see David remain in business for a long, long time to come. I'm not ruling out the idea of buying from him again at some point in future.

  19. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Those of you who've seen my comments on the original SGD Lutherie thread (the long-running one about the pickups, not the recent ones regarding delayed orders) will know that I have been a happy user of David's pickups for several years now. And I've been happy because the pickups have been truly excellent. They have become the standard by which I have measured pretty much every other pickup that I've tried. When I try other pickups, I invariably end up comparing them to my trusty ND3 humbuckers and the SW4 sidewinders.

    My experience has been similar to MysticMichael's experience. I ordered my first set of three matched ND3 humbuckers in BC5 (aka Bart P2) shape in March (?) of 2009, and received them two months later. This wasn't a problem, because they were (and still are) amazing pickups, made just for my needs, in a special three-pickup bass.

    My second order for a pair of SW4 sidewinders in EMG40 shape took several months longer to fulfill, and the first iteration had some issues - the details of which I don't need to mention here, but at least it wasn't anything related to epoxy - but David took it upon himself to make a new set, which addressed these issues and sounded even better than the first set. In fairness, the SW4 line was newer at this time, and David was making subtle improvements on the design.

    My current outstanding order is for a highly custom pickup system, whose details I'm not ready to share at this point; but I have been waiting for a long period of time. Like MysticMichael I have reset my expectations and allowed myself to find patience, due to the quality of his pickups as well as the prompt e-mail replies I've received from him over the months. Of course this is not difficult for me because I'm a patient man, and I'm not under any outside pressure to deliver a finished bass with a set of SGD pickups. :)

    Throughout the years in which he and I have had a customer-vendor relationship, David has been nothing short of helpful, whether it comes to bouncing ideas around, getting his advice on some of my own (admittedly wacky) ideas, and generally discussing other pickups on the market. I've loaned him some of my own pickups to test out and get his thoughts, and hopefully give him something to consider when it comes to new product development. I've even solicited his advice for non-pickup questions, such as fretless tonewoods.

    And this is just a small sampling of the nature of our private correspondence over the years. You all can read his public contributions to these forums to see that he pays attention and tries to help out, even if it doesn't result in a direct sale of his own pickups. He offers his advice and helps people to find solutions that work for them.

    David is an invaluable member of the Talkbass community. Like others who have contributed to this thread (as well as the recent thread about delays) I am dismayed that other customers have been unhappy with their delays, and there are always ways to look back on a situation with the benefit of hindsight and say "it should have been handled better". But I would submit that the sum total of all his interactions has been positive, and he has tried to make things right while managing the real-life situations that have seemed to get between him and what he loves best: making pickups. Unlike another pickup maker (whose name I don't care to mention) he hasn't been ignoring my repeated e-mails for the past year. :)

    In summary: I am happy to announce publicly that I wholeheartedly endorse SGD Lutherie's pickups.
  20. ClassicAmps


    Mar 13, 2012
    Brad @ ClassicAmplification.com
    Great guy, makes great pickups ...nuff said.