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Warmoth has terrible customer service

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by zfunkman, Jan 9, 2014.

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  1. zfunkman


    Dec 18, 2012
    I just built my second Warmoth J-Bass. My first one was fretless with ebony fingerboard; my new one is fretted with maple fingerboard. I had an issue with the inlays; I ordered white pearloid and I got yellow pearloid. The inlays are not just slightly faded yellow; they're so yellow you can't even see them. . FYI . . . the basses play awesome and look and sound (other than the fact that the inlays are pretty much invisible) awesome. Ken Warmoth has come across as having no understanding of the customer without an attempt to try; he was condescending and insulting. I wish they didn't make such a good product. Has anyone else ever had an issue with Warmoth?
  2. tkonbass

    tkonbass I'm just one of the out-of-focus guys. Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Mobile, Alabama, USA
  3. rubato


    Feb 16, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    If you are talking block inlays, Warmoth offers two options - black and pearloid, and show pics of the pearled... Doesn't look very white in the pic, does it? Kinda sounds like you ordered what they offered and got it.[​IMG]
  4. Did you order a vintage tint finish? It turns inlays yellow.
  5. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Never once had a problem with Warmoth. Great products, and great guys to deal with when ordering parts from them.
  6. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Kinda makes me want to relate my experience with Warmoth customer service.

    I ordered a fully custom body, took four weeks to arrive, when it got here it had a chip out of one of the p/u routs. My plan for the bass was to have no pickguard so, although it was a small blemish, it was unacceptable to me. I emailed Warmoth and one of their reps was extremely helpful in resolving my situation. I sent the body back and got a completely new one made, totally free of charge. For the inconvenience I was also allowed to upgrade to "choose your top," where you actually get to see the wood that goes on top beforehand, which I did not do on the first order, also free of charge. The second body arrived in just under three weeks and was perfect. The representative I worked with was very friendly and helpful. Although it was a bit disappointing that the flawed body ever made it past QC and out of the workshop, they worked hard to make it right and overall I was extremely pleased. The bass is my main player now, it goes out twice a week.
  7. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I've heard several stories like this in the past, and a brief internet search will reveal what I mean. You have to order exactly what you want and take into account that colors and hues online are not always exact representations. I've resignedly ordered from Warmoth a few times as their parts are arguably the best available to non-commercial consumers. I was OK with what I received and have never attempted communications with them since I left music retail.

    Perhaps things are different now but I am going on information and experiences from 10-15 years ago.
  8. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    In my experience they have excellent customer service. I'm not surprised they won't exchange it due to your error though...
  9. zfunkman


    Dec 18, 2012
    to Everyone. I never asked Warmoth for an exchange; I just brought to their attention that they should be a little more clear that YOU CAN'T GET WHITE PEARLOID INLAYS WITH VINTAGE TINT. You have to kind of read between the lines to figure this out; its not black and white unless you're an expert finisher yourself. The inlays are so yellow that you can't even see them. All they did was get defensive and started accusing me of unreasonable expectations. They completely refused to even attempt to understand the customer. Fortunately the neck plays and feels great; it really would of looked awesome with a vintage tint and white pearloid inlays. Old maple does fade to yellow, however, pearloid does not fade to the same exact same yellow and in reality doesn't fade much at all. If you get vintage tint don't order any type of white inlays as they will turn completely yellow. Basically, instead of showing any type of understanding, Ken pretty much called me an idiot.
  10. zfunkman


    Dec 18, 2012
    Those pearloid inlays are not yellow, they're pearoid. Mine are so yellow you can't see them.
  11. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    Got a picture?
  12. I'm dealing with Warmoth right now on a SS p bass build and this Spike guy is pretty patient, if brief. My first dream spec-sheet was about four hundy more than I can spend and he's been pretty helpful dialing me back into budget, though he's not chatty in the least. HA!
  13. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings
    If I'm understanding you correctly you wanted a vintage tint neck with bright white inlay ? Not gonna happen... the neck (inlays and all) is completely built BEFORE the tinted finish is sprayed, so of course the tint is also sprayed on the inlay. The only realistic way you could get white inlay on a tint finished neck is if the inlays were carefully masked, tint was sprayed, then the inlays were unmasked, and clear was sprayed ...a LOT of extra time and work, and no guarantees that there wouldn't be bleed (Or inlays are not installed till after finish is sprayed...even more work than the previous method). Seems like you pretty much just didn't realize the tinted finish would be sprayed over the entire neck.
    BTW - It's normal for lacquer to yellow on vintage instruments as well, also yellowing the inlay with it.

    Again, I'm hoping I understood your situation correctly, and am just offering a reason as to why the neck looks like it does. Warmoth should have explained this to you. :)

    Best of luck.
  14. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings
    That neck is also not a vintage tint neck...it's clear coated with no tint. :)
  15. dannster


    Aug 20, 2000
    Warmoth is not to blame here.

    "Warmoth will not do anything for me." "I never asked Warmoth for an exchange; I just brought to their attention that they should be a little more clear that YOU CAN'T GET WHITE PEARLOID INLAYS WITH VINTAGE TINT. You have to kind of read between the lines to figure this out; its not black and white unless you're an expert finisher yourself."

    That is exactly what you got. White pearloid inlays with vintage tint. If you didn't want them tinted, why did you have them spray it with vintage tint?

    No one to blame but yourself. :rollno:
  16. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Unless I'm misunderstanding things here, and without seeing a picture of your neck, I suspect it's the finish that is yellow, not the blocks themselves. The blocks are white with a transparent yellow tinted finish over the top of them, which makes the blocks look yellowed. Imagine you have a piece of white copy paper and a piece of yellow stained glass. If you put the piece of paper behind the stained glass, does it now look white or yellow?
  17. SlingBass4


    Feb 28, 2009
    Kansas City
    Warmoth is a manufacturer of parts for builders. They're often asked to shoot custom finishes and make custom shaped parts with woods that react differently to their finishing procedure. They are NOT for the beginner. If one is not experienced - they should get a tech involved. Undertaking a build project is not for the faint of heart, and it should be understood by the customer. A WARNING: sign isn't going to be stamped on their products. This is clearly (no pun) a case where the OP's skills weren't up to his ambitions. That's not a derogatory remark toward the OP - he was just naïve of the process. Warmoth has an excellent BBS that covers almost any aspect one could encounter in building a bass or guitar with a host of woods and finishes. One has to ask questions and perform their due diligence to make an informed and intelligent decision. On the bright side: The OP should have a high quality looking, playing, and sounding instrument.
  18. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    For a company that sells ready-to-bolt-together parts to average consumers, how could you or they reasonably ASSUME that the buyer understands that the tint is sprayed after the inlay is put in?

    I've been reading up here in this forum on how to do inlays and even with thinking I understand how it's done now, I would not have expected the tint to be sprayed directly onto the inlays.

    If I ordered a neck with vintage tint and pearloid inlays, and no further information provided, I would expect the neck to be vintage tinted and the inlays to be pearloid color - not yellow pearloid.

    Hey Dark Horse, as I said, I've read a few threads here yesterday, actually, about how to do inlays. And I thought I understood the process. But now I'm thinking I must not be getting something. Why would it be more work to spray the neck and board tint, THEN route and install inlays, and then spray clear (or, route, tint, install, then clear), versus installing the inlays before spraying the tint?

    I am SERIOUSLY not trying to debate you. I'm trying to understand how this works because I have assembled one parts bass for myself now, and now I'm thinking about actually trying to make one from scratch. And my ambitions include inlays. :D
  19. miner


    Oct 26, 2008
    Because if you want the fingerboard and inlays to be perfectly level, you have to radius the fingerboard with the inlays installed. Otherwise they will be sticking out on the edges, or sunk in in the middle.
  20. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    That makes sense. And being totally ignorant here, I have to ask, for something like blocks, could you put them in, either without glue or with a dot of temporary glue, do the radius work, and then pop the inlays out, tint, then glue the blocks in permanently?

    I'm making the assumption that if you radius the board first, then tint, and then install the inlays, the work to radius the inlays will strip the tint completely off and require re-tinting.

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