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WARNING: Darrin Huff Basses / Zeller Guitars

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fuzzbass, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. scarswebare


    Jun 2, 2016
    Wow... just wow! You guys are something else. It's actually hilarious all the assumptions people have made about me. But I expect nothing less from people on the internet these days. So here it is... I have perused talkbass.com since 2016 and mainly because of this topic (courtesy of Google). I wanted a scroll bass because Les Claypool is one of my influences and I love unique looking instruments (go figure as I'm sure I'm not the only one). I came across one of Darrin's basses on other websites and then found one for sale on Ebay. I bought it. I was blown away by the craftsmanship and I own other custom built instruments to compare it to as well as do wood work myself. But... I was upset in reading the stuff people have gone through. So I tracked Darrin down back then to get the story from him and talk to him about the bass I got. He was very humble and told me his side. The thing that struck me was that he still wanted to make right with customers despite his life events that apparently put everyone in the situation that still looms today. The only thing I can personally relate to is having gone through similar situations with other people and them disappearing. I gave him credit for at least trying.

    Now, what I mean by him attempting to make good for customers is that he has posted pictures on his personal page about building basses (when he is able to between working to pay bills) for past customers and made note that he's no longer making scroll basses other than what he owes people. Not too terribly long ago I believe he shipped one overseas. I can only take that at face value. Obviously, there are many of you who've had first hand experience with giving him your hard earned money and nothing to show for it. No... I'm not one of those people in this instance but I'm sympathetic. However, I'm also nobodies puppet. I'm merely weighing in on a topic that truthfully I'd all but forgotten about. It's really only been recently that talkbass has sent me emails about updated posts in this topic. Also, why I'm now responding... I got an update email yesterday only to find the many lovely comments and assumptions about me.

    So if that clears things up than great! If not.... believe what you want. You can keep bashing me and making all the assumptions you'd like. Personally, I could care less. I make custom guitar parts and know great quality when I see it. I really want Darrin to make good for people so they can either try play his basses for themselves or at least have something to recover some funds. I hope people can at least appreciate when someone is trying whether that's at the speed they want or not. I guess reach out to him if you can and get an update?
  2. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    No, but it seems like part of "Dispatches from Elsewhere"
  3. redstrand

    redstrand Supporting Member

    May 18, 2007
    Saint Louis, MO
    Fool For Four Strings
    Whether that’s the speed they want? People aren’t bashing you, they’re bashing him, but almost 20 years is inexcusable. A scam is a scam.
    ChoGall, Ikkir, BadJazz and 5 others like this.
  4. cataract


    Feb 14, 2007
    Columbia SC
    I’m just super glad @scarswebare finally came here and cleared everything up for everyone. That was a real wild 20 years y’all!
    JeroB666, Snaxster, Goatrope and 9 others like this.
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Only a couple/few commenters questioned your intent: a small percentage of those who follow this thread. OTOH, at least one person defended you, and when I replied to you I did so respectfully: without "bashing" or "assumptions".

    Darrin builds amazing basses, that's unquestionable fact. This is why so many of us took a chance on him all those years ago. Thanks for speaking for him, but we customers are already aware that Darrin keeps saying that he intends to make things right.

    Intent is all well and good, but here are the problems: First, he's been claiming hardship for close to two decades. Those of us on the waiting list have heard countless excuses over that time. There have been countless broken promises and missed deadlines. Just one example: early last year he claimed that all overdue orders would be complete by his birthday, May 15th. No one was surprised that he completed zero overdue basses by that date, and over a year later it's still zero.

    Which is the bigger problem: his production rate. In the past five years or more he's completed just one overdue order.

    Here's a factor that you overlooked or were unaware of: Zeller Guitars. That's Darrin's other instrument business, which he inexplicably started within the past 3 years despite the huge backlog of basses. Darrin managed to complete at least 10 guitars... significantly more I think, but I didn't keep score. It's perfectly reasonable to wonder why he could get all those guitars done, but zero overdue basses (the scroll basses are more complex than the guitars, but not 10x more).

    After 16, 17, 18 years of non-delivery and broken promises, its completely illogical to expect that customers will remain happy and calm and hopeful that their long-overdue basses will be complete any week now. The most patient of us are skeptical. Others are angry, or question his intentions -- these are also completely logical reactions, given the unprecedented circumstances.

    We all know the cliché about good intentions. Here's a modified cliché that's more appropriate: results speak louder than words. Actions is no longer meaningful, because over the years Darrin's posted dozens of work-in-progress photos of bodies, necks, hardware, etc. If Darrin wants to earn more patience and trust from his customers and make real progress toward repairing his reputation, he'll find a way to complete some of the long-overdue scroll basses. That means finishing them, and getting them into his customers' hands.
    Snaxster, Ikkir, Stevorebob and 13 others like this.
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Let me clear up a couple of points for you @scarswebare

    His actions have told a completely different story.

    He is not trying. At all.

    A bass that was in a nearly complete state for many years which he seems to have only finished in an effort to be able to say "see, I'm making progress on the scroll basses backlog" as a sort of lip service.

    People are bashing Darrin, not you. Your apparent defense of him and his actions (to a degree) is odd, but given the context you should recognize who is being bashed.

    When someone doesn't deliver something after 20'ish years it is no longer a question of "at the speed they want or not." That line was crossed after a couple years. It became a scam as opposed to a delay in delivery many years ago. Make no mistake, Darrin is a scam artist.

    This has been done many time by those on the order list, but thanks for reminding them to make more futile attempts :bored:
  7. Mark 63

    Mark 63 Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    I apologize.
    Stevorebob, Plake and Sid Fang like this.
  8. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    I salute you, sir. Not so much because an apology was urgently necessary, but because they are so damned rare on the internet.
  9. scarswebare


    Jun 2, 2016
    Well fair enough. I’m fully aware of how long it’s been for those waiting as I’ve read the forum messages. Again, I really have no skin in the game other than I own two of his basses I did not purchase from him. And that I spoke with him directly out of curiosity of the issue. I was merely giving credit to the fact that I was able to reach him whereas others who are truly scam artists are never heard from again.
    He discussed the situation When he could of just said “screw those guys, they are lying!” Or something to that degree. I again based my response on what I saw him post. Mind you, I’m not always looking at his posts. If it comes across my feed than I’ll look. @Fuzzbass I’m also aware of Zeller Guitars which seemed like his attempt to get something new going to generate capital but has floundered. I agree that it’s odd but from what I gathered, he wasn’t the only one involved in that. I imagine he wanted it to take off so he’d have capital to finish people’s basses but that’s simply robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    I don’t like assuming what is going on in someone’s life but I’m also not trying to make excuses or justify his actions. This is now 20 years of people with valid complaints but it’s seems to of become more of a support group. I guess I’ve just been more hopeful that Darrin has been making right with customers but it sounds like that is not the case. And honestly, that just sucks!
  10. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Not here to bash you, but did you know about the failed yoyo business too? Just curious. The guy ripped people off on custom made wood yoyos as well. How hard is it to make a yoyo? Nowhere near as hard as a bass for sure, and he couldn't even do those customers right either.
    Novarocker and J_Bass like this.
  11. I rarely comment/post on here and the reason for that was that I really didn’t want to get in a similar box with Darrin that he seems to have put Fuzzbass in.....(he may not admit it but he reads the thread)
    @scarswebare I do think it is good in all aspects that you gave Darrin benefit of the doubt, I believe that positivity should always be your highway (although sometime you need to get on the road less traveled). And I also am glad to hear that you didn’t take the backlash you got too badly and that you do understand that these circumstances aren’t in any way, shape or form conventional (not for a luthier nor for a scam artist).
    I’m one of the lucky ones, I got my bass. Granted it took the man ~15,5 years to complete the thing(finished it in 2018) and because of Darrinn missing one of many,many,many,many,many,many, promised deadlines the bass was shipped to a friend of mine in Canada instead of directly to Iceland (Darrin did ship it overseas although it went over the water via a bridge to PEI in Canada, my friend took it with him on a visit in 2019).

    While waiting for my bass I was what I guess could be called a polite nuisance, being very frequently in contact trying to show support and being polite.
    I got my bass, but I like everyone else in the wait group paid a lot more than the coin I put out reflects. The time I put into communication, the worry and frustration of probably never getting my bass take a toll believe me (a few times I was quite close to spending a similar amount to what I paid on a plane ride to WA).

    But as I said before, I got my bass and it is amazing, Darrin is an artist and My bass plays and sounds amazing and I am really happy with it...really happy with it and I’ve played it on a bunch recording already. Would I do it again? No I would not.

    I believe Darrin is not a conman I believe he has some major issues that he has no way to deal with, but that does not absolve him in anyway or make what he has done to all the people on the wait list alright.
  12. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    This is not a support group. The victims have come to grips with reality long ago.

    This thread is kept alive in the hopes that anyone who is considering giving the man money will first come across this thread and become armed with the information necessary to avoid becoming another victim.
    JeroB666, Slater, Ukko and 7 others like this.
  13. scarswebare


    Jun 2, 2016
    @Kristjankisi I'm glad you finally got your bass. @Clark W Nope never heard about it. @charlie monroe Sure and that is understandable.

    At this point, I really have nothing else to add. I actually know someone who is doing this very thing to customers right now in a different industry. However, this guy just keeps going and doesn't stop. I told people to reach out to his state's (which happens to be the same state I live in) SEC or even call the FBI. I know legal action in this case is beyond the statute of limitations. Now I'm actually curious if anyone that ordered any of his Zeller guitars have even got them.
    Novarocker likes this.
  14. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Well the yo yos are talked about in this thread, buried way on back there somewhere. Tiki God YoYos is what he had named his business. There was actually a yoyo forum that was online that you could read about his misadventures on, but it seems to be shutdown now. Same deal, always excuse after excuse for not finishing prepaid orders. There is still some stuff on Reddit about it though. Talkbass even gets mentioned in the comments there.

    If you can't complete a yoyo build, you have no business taking people's money for a bass.

    And there's some pics still online of his yoyo work as well.
    - SY Blog -: Yo Tiki God yoyo.

    Sad actually, cause yeah when he does finish something, his woodwork from what I have seen, is out of this world. I don't think anyone will deny that. And I don't even like scroll basses, not my cup of tea. And I don't play with yoyos, but his finished work looks outstanding. I'd give my left nut to be able to build an instrument as good as he can.

    Truly a waste of talent. And trust me I know what a waste a talent looks like. I lost my very talented, and genius of a brother on May 14th this year to suicide.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
  15. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Damn @Clark W. What an awful thing, I am sorry you are going through this.
  16. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Thank you. It's been the biggest punch in the gut I have ever experienced in my life. Not a clue that it was going to happen. And to add to the sorrow of it all, not a note to even give a hint as to why, just a post it note pad with his logins to everything that mattered that I would need access to.
  17. RudyTardy

    RudyTardy Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Oh my god that is horrendously sad. I am so sorry for your loss @Clark W. That makes the past 18 years of waiting for a bass seem like a drop in the bucket. My condolences.
    Novarocker and Fuzzbass like this.
  18. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Thank you. It makes a lot of things seem like a drop in the bucket, including stuff that I have had go on in my own life. He suffered from Aspergers Syndrome and depression all of his life. I can't imagine what that was like or what I would have done if I were in his shoes. Add to that some physical ailments that were very painful and I just have to believe that he was very tired of it all and for whatever reason he just couldn't carry on.
  19. Plake

    Plake Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    Damn, sorry for your loss.
  20. Clark W

    Clark W Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Thanks Plake.

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