WARNING: Oscar Prat Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by benjobass, Aug 19, 2018.

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  1. benjobass

    benjobass Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2001
    WARNING: Oscar Prat Basses

    What started out great has now gone completely and horribly wrong. I want to post a warning about working with Oscar Prat on anything. I really, really, wanted my experience with him to go differently than lowendmafia’s, but it unfortunately it has not. I am quite sure there are more of us in the lurch and I encourage you to post publicly here so we can have a collective voice. Here’s a summary of my situation (heads up: lots of dates and details…I want an accurate representation of my experience and how it has felt being strung along):

    I reached out to Oscar in Feb 2017 to inquire about a build. Oscar’s communication was stellar at the time. We talked back and forth about woods, measurements, electronics…after agreeing on a price and build time (complete and delivered by December 2017) I paid the down payment (half up front) to get the ball rolling.

    After a month he had the master drawing complete and by the very end of April 2017 he secured the top wood for my bass. Then, I didn’t hear from him for 3 months (July 2017) despite emailing him regularly asking for an update. Crickets. I then tried reaching him through Facebook Messenger and had some success. He said he was remodeling his workshops and hadn’t been able to do any work. He was also waiting for new CNC machine parts. We are now into August of 2017 with no work being done at all. Then September 2017 rolls around, with no work done, and he’s still waiting for parts. At the end of September 2017 he said the parts arrived and he’d begin work.

    He ignores my emails/messages for October 2017 into November 2017 when he finally resurfaces to tell me he had pneumonia. Okay, that sucks, but again…some form of communication would be professional. It feels super weird working with someone who has a big chunk of my money and doesn’t have regular and timely communication. End of November rolls around and he says he actually hadn’t done any more work because he had to order new parts for the CNC and that he had gone through some personal stuff. He offers to send me a temporary bass he has “housed in USA” whatever that means. I explained I didn’t need a bass, I wanted my custom bass which was now never going to be delivered to me on time.

    Another month passes and he ignores my emails/messages. When he resurfaces at the end of December 2017 he says he moved to Madrid and began renting a workshop. He promises to get to work on my bass: “I'm giving you my honor word. If your bass is not finish in march, I will refund you everything.” As you might imagine, he did not and he has not.

    February 2018 rolls around, now a full year since the process began, and after more ignoring he sends me a picture of, again, the top of my bass. Then a month of ignoring and finally he sends a pic of the neck. Then another month of ignoring he sends a pic of the neck attached to the bass. Then a month of ignoring and in May 2017 he sends a pic of the pickup cavity routed and we have some back and forth good communication about pickups and electronics again. Then more ignoring for June 2018 other than he needed to order the pickups and would finish the bass so when they arrived he could “send it ASAP”. Still no frets, no hardware, no electronics, no oil finish...

    He’s been ignoring me for July 2018 and now into August 2018. I’ve asked several times for an update. I’ve been more than patient with his personal situations. And he continues to have terrible and unprofessional communication and still no estimated completion or delivery date.

    At this point I just don’t even want the bass but since it’s past the 180 days PayPal allows for disputes I am completely out of luck getting my money back. The best I can hope is that someday he’ll actually fulfill his promise, send me a completed bass, and I can try to sell it and recoup my sunk cost.

    This really bums me out. I wanted so badly to support an independent luthier but this behavior is just disrespectful and honestly...shameful.

    Some links of interest…

    Lowendmafia’s post from July 2017 with similar situation:
    At what point should I just give up on a build? (Prat Basses)

    Recent Thread from Jan 2018 with similar situations:
    Prat Basses

    SPECS (in case it comes up for sale elsewhere eventually):
    • Custom Prat M-BSV 6 bolt on
    • 33" scale
    • Ebony Gabon fingerboard, 28 frets (side dots), flat
    • Curly maple neck
    • Mahogany body
    • Curly redwood top
    • Curly redwood ramp
    • Custom Nordstrand DC pickups (2) - for 16mm string spacing, under ramp - Mike Pope Flexcore preamp
    • Curly redwood knobs, matching body
    • Hipshot A type (3D) bridge (16mm string spacing, black)
    • Hipshot Ultralite tuners (black)
    • Ebony nut
    • Oil finish
    • Case

    /// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///

    UPDATE - Aug 22
    Just tried speaking with my bank as well, hoping they might be able to get my money back. Just like PayPal, they said too many days have passed for them to issue me a refund and compel Oscar to pay. They suspect he knew what he was doing, riding out the clock, keeping just enough communication going to string me along in order to ensure I'd not be able to get my money.

    UPDATE - Aug 28
    Received an email from Oscar letting me know he can refund my money, in small monthly installments, beginning in 4 or 5 months from now...really?...not convinced I'll see any of this money but we'll see if he can keep his word this time.

    UDPATE - Aug 31
    This one is a little strange...I heard from Oscar (finally) and he asked me to send him an invoice for the 1st of 5 refund installments to a different email address than I'd been using for payment/communication. The physical address attached to the payment he sent is also different than the one I'd had on file for him. Moving around...
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  2. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Boise, Idaho
    Maybe the other people who he has screwed over for years will finally have the stones to speak out against him. I know guys that waited 3+ years and then have someone else finish the basses and then they still go on social media or whatever and sing his praises.
  3. gwangi


    Jul 4, 2009
    Forbidden Valley
    Here yet is another dissapointing situation going on, honestly this scares me with wanting to deal with a independent luthier and just going with only reputible folks like Ken Smith, Zon, Fodera, Alembic, Pedulla.
    Really sorry to hear about your situation, I hope something positive happens for you.
  4. benjobass

    benjobass Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2001
    That's crazy. I've heard from others who have received their instruments with terrible fit and finish to the point they've had to either dump them or have another luthier do work to make them playable.

    PhillipHolbrook and Pbassmanca like this.
  5. benjobass

    benjobass Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2001
    Thanks man. If he could just refund my money I'd be happy.

    Pbassmanca and Tom Bomb like this.
  6. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Rosemead, Ca
    Add Pete Skjold to the list of reputable folks, as Lowendmafia will attest! Sucks about Prat, sorry benjobass
    LBCaterson, totalnoob, CJC6 and 9 others like this.
  7. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Boise, Idaho
    Pete Skjold is the greatest. Brady Muckelroy also.

  8. gwangi


    Jul 4, 2009
    Forbidden Valley
    And Pete Skjold!!!!
    CJC6 and Pbassmanca like this.
  9. Lance Bunyon

    Lance Bunyon Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2018
    Always sad. Sadly, seldom surprising. Luthiers are artists and prone to all kinds of quirky crap.
    Not making excuses, just so many stories like this.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Add Martin Keith to the list of great guys to do business with.
  11. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    It is horrible that anyone should have to go with this. I have heard more things regarding Mr.Prat from other sources but I can't take sides, or oass judgement, as I do not know either party personally.

    It does seem that during the time your bass was supposedly being built, his Luthier School was being set up and supposedly was working pretty well.

    I have no idea why his location on Reverb shows Azerbaijan, that would be a definite red flag as he is supposedly here in Spain.

    Anyway, he has a Facebook page for his Luthier school, although not updated since last year, there is a contact number also: The Garden - Luthier School
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  12. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    central coast
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Quirky and criminal are two different things.
  13. BluesWalker

    BluesWalker Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Diego
    You also can’t go wrong with Tom Clement of Clement Basses.
  14. MattB88


    Sep 11, 2016
    Endorsing Artist: LowEnd basses, DR Strings, Warm Audio, Shaw Audio
    Sorry to hear good people that get screwed over by folks who clearly just don’t have any business running a business. I just don’t know how they sleep at night and can live that way morally.
    comatosedragon and Pbassmanca like this.
  15. Adam Wright

    Adam Wright Inactive

    Jun 6, 2002
    Mike Lull Artist
    The bass I received from Oscar had a horrible finish that peeled and cracked. He sent me an in stock instrument to replace it because the repair was taking too long. His communication during that time was great. Don’t know what happened. The build quality of both instruments were ok at best. Not terrible but didn’t feel like something that was built by a luthier with years and years of experience.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  16. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    Keep lining up people. For whatever reason...
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  17. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Boise, Idaho
    I wouldn’t buy a toothpick from Prat
  18. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    It's a good thing you didn't take the "housed in the USA" bass he offered you. Since he has your deposit, he could have possibly sent you that bass, claimed your deposit was a payment in full for THAT bass, and completely disappeared.
  19. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    oh jeez-sounds like Darrin Huff all over again. So sorry for you.
    Hawk600, totalnoob, Aweiss96 and 5 others like this.
  20. BassinCT

    BassinCT …still tuning… Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    Connecticut, USA
    I hope your situation is resolved in a satisfactory manner. Thank you for sharing your situation and providing a “yellow flag” for other bassists seeking custom work.

    TB has been a good place to vet prospective luthiers for custom work, but there are times when these folks stray from the path they are on and end up mismanaging their business. In the case of the OP, the failure to communicate a projected delivery date, and the apparent inability to follow through with prior commitments is more of a red flag.

    No matter how brilliant the designs, or how gifted/skilled the luthier may be, the business of custom building is difficult, and requires financial discipline, and a broad set of skills to sustain a livable wage.
    Nsoderstrom, benjobass and Pbassmanca like this.
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