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WARNING: Oscar Prat Basses

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

  1. AlexThorpe


    Mar 28, 2009
    It’s really unfortunate. I do think he has some of the best looking ERB designs and I would have absolutely loved to own on of his instruments. Shame he is going about business in this way.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  2. eottjake


    Jan 30, 2009
    Fairborn, Ohio
    Sorry to hear that, Alex. Keep trying to contact him. It sucks, but he eventually answers (at least he did in my case). I think I've seen some pics of your build in progress on his fb/webpage (when it was still up).
    Any idea if he's farmed it off to some partners? I agree with you about the design--I love mine, and it's comfortable. It's just tainted now.

    Keep us informed!
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  3. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    I always thought naming your brand Prat was funny; turns out its very apt.
    Dan B, Pbassmanca and S-Bigbottom like this.
  4. Williethedummy


    Aug 2, 2018
    Just so you know....similiar situation with a bass I ordered from Bee Basses. Website, Youtube videos and they been around a while. I checked those Basses out for a couple years. Guy is for real. I put a $1,000 deposit on it with an 8 month build....in February 2017. In fact there is a thread from other Bee Bass hopefuls. It seems these smaller cats are unreliable. Not saying they are crooks because Bee Basses has been to the NAM trade show...but the risk is wasted time. If it will take 5 years instead of 8 months...tell us! LOL! I feel your pain man. Fact is in my case...I really REALLY want that bass! Hahaha? Good luck with yours. I don’t think I’ll ever see mine. Ignores calls and emails and texts!
    Pbassmanca and Garret Graves like this.
  5. Tough to figure out why so many want to do business with poorly financed private builders of mostly one of a kind basses. Is it a vanity thing owning one and if so is it worth the risk. These stories abound.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  6. Williethedummy


    Aug 2, 2018
    I came across a couple videos of his on his Basses and one in particular...5 string fretless in 2014. It’s on YouTube. That sound....HAD to have it. About 3 years later I went ahead and contacted him. He never returned calls then either! Very hard to get a hold of. I should have figured this will be a long time then but you know man gotta have it! I have a few recording projects on hold waiting for that ...but now it is 2 years later so likely buy a fretless 6 string elsewhere. Not a vanity thing with Bee Bass........the tone!
    soulman969 likes this.
  7. Clark Word

    Clark Word

    Aug 26, 2018
    Just googled them, their website is gone and no Facebook posts since Nov 2016. Unfortunately just cause someone goes to NAMM doesn't make them legit. It just means they had enough money to pay vending fees for a spot in the show. See Oscar Pratt.....

    I just don't get it.
    Darrin Huff, been almost 20 years for some of his customers.
    Oscar Pratt
    Dr Bass/Marc Serio
    and now Bee Basses.

    I've seen this very thing happen in another part of my life, skydiving. There was a guy in Australia who was selling skydiving rigs cheaper than anyone else, then one day he just up and disappeared. That was over 10 years ago, with at least 10 orders for custom rigs that cost between 5 and 10 grand.

    I check in on the threads about Huff, Pratt, and Serio from time to time, hoping to see orders being resolved, but as everyone knows, it ain't happening. And most likely will never happen.

    What I don't understand the most though, is why people let it go so long that legally they can't do anything about it? In the skydiving situation, people didn't let it go, they got together and got with law enforcement and the courts, filed reports, etc... Now the guy has never turned up in over a decade, but if he ever does, he has a lot to answer for, somewhere north of 70 grand that I know about, there may be more. Those people will never see their money or their gear. But at least they might see some justice meted out, maybe, but I doubt that at times too.

    All I know is I probably will never order a custom anything, be it skydiving gear, bass cabs, or a bass guitar, from a one man operation, which is sad. There are some people out there that are really good at making unique, quality gear, you just have to find them. But then you have to worry, am I going to get burned? It has to hurt those in business who are legit.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  8. alanolynn


    Aug 19, 2012
    I've never taken part in the ERB circuit and the extensive build process that ensues, but I just want to extend my condolences to you. This kind of thing can really wear on a person on the inside. I hope you eventually achieve peace after this ugliness. Best of luck.
  9. It's one thing to take deposits then disappear into the darkness.

    But Huff has some balls. To actually continue making guitars and taking new orders for guitars is beyond ridiculous.

    And these people ARE criminals.
    Pbassmanca and ajkula66 like this.
  10. Clark Word

    Clark Word

    Aug 26, 2018
    Yep, and Huff is "taking orders" on his current "batches" of guitars, with "no money down", until "construction" starts, then a "deposit" is required, on his Zeller Guitars FB page now. From this past November...
    View attachment 3291310

    Going to be interesting to see how long before those "orders" start piling up, undelivered, after "construction" has started. He's been getting away with it for almost two decades. Why change his modus operandi now?

    And even if he delivers on his current orders, the people buying them are unknowingly supporting a thief. But I'd be willing to put up money that says before it's over with, there are going to be some who will wind up never seeing their guitars just like those who are still waiting on basses from over a decade ago.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
    Pbassmanca and Rob Martinez like this.
  11. I can fully understand that part but if you never get the bass you never get the tone either and even after paying a hefty deposit you end up having to spend even more money for something to take it's place.

    These deals sound an awful lot like Ponzi scheme to me. The builder is using your money to complete a previously ordered bass while waiting on yet another hefty deposit to arrive to supply the funds to finish yours.

    This would seem to be a more rational explanation for the lengthy build times, missed completion dates and lack of communication than delayed parts, shop moves, illnesses, etc. If that last buyer never comes along I would not want to be that last order received. You'll never get your instrument.
  12. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Please, let’s keep this thread more on Prat and less on Zeller and others. Thanks
    Pbassmanca, benjobass and WakaW like this.
  13. Williethedummy


    Aug 2, 2018
    I just checked the website and yep....gone like you said. That’s the second or third time I’ve seen that. When I placed the order I told the guy....” Ill pay full price upfront!”. He said....” Oh no no no no. I won’t have any incentive that way. I have a tendency to stop for very long periods.” Haha! I could not believe he told me that! I’m taking this as a loss. I only put down $1,000. Whatever. If he needs that more than I do...it’s all good. I ordered a custom case for this thing too from Rock Hard Cases at his suggestion. I’ve been in communication with them too. They said once in a while this guy falls off the planet. So he is floating around in space I guess. If you go to YouTube and put in Bee Bass...Acces fretless...there is a video ( I just checked now and it’s up) and a couple others but they are like 6 or 7 years old. I watched those many many times and that is what made me order one. There is a very old thread on here about Bee Bass owners club. This is like the Twilight Zone! I’m only in it for $1000. I’m likely going with Carl Thompson, but that’s even a longer wait! LOL! Thanks for the replies by the way friend.
    soulman969 and Rob Martinez like this.
  14. Clark Word

    Clark Word

    Aug 26, 2018
    Only a grand, you're a lot more of a forgiving soul than me.
    Pbassmanca likes this.
  15. Nevada Pete

    Nevada Pete Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2016
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I almost got stiffed the same way when I purchased a Rife Machine from a guy in Florida. The trap with these guys is, of course, the deposit. My guy finally came through when I told him I was going to fly down there and talk to him about the matter personally.

    As far as I'm concerned, if someone can't come up with their product when I'm ready to purchase it, it's no deal. It's not my job to finance a wanna be hopeful or a ponzi scheme, as someone already mentioned.

    Some states have what they call handshake agreements that allow you to take legal action against someone like this even though you are not a resident of the state where the vendor burned you. If you are going to send a deposit, at least make sure you have some recourse available. But better yet, just don't do business with anyone who doesn't actually have their products available for sale. Obvious? Yes. But I learned my lesson the hard way too.
    soulman969 and Williethedummy like this.
  16. Williethedummy


    Aug 2, 2018
    I know now! Carl Thompson however....they build after the fact for what you want though they have Basses available but likely what you don’t exactly want. I’m done with these guys. It does indeed appear to be a Ponzi scheme.
    soulman969 likes this.
  17. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Same for Brady Muckelroy, Keith Roscoe, Fodera (I'm listing the ones I have bought from) , .... There are many of them out there I'm sure.
    soulman969 and Williethedummy like this.
  18. eottjake


    Jan 30, 2009
    Fairborn, Ohio
    This is all very true, but part of the allure with Prat was that the price was too good to pass up. I was suspicious, but I got in before things started getting hairy. He had a good client base who all sang his praises (at the time), he was consistently going to NAMM, trade magazines were interviewing him...I felt comfortable enough to give it a shot.
    Sure, I'd love to be able to buy an MTD, Fodera, Roscoe, or others of my own design, but the money just isn't realistic.
    With a lot of these smaller builders wanting to make a name for themselves, the thought of a deal for a custom instrument that actually looks and sounds good (if/when delivered) is very enticing.
  19. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    This is the beginning of pretty much every scam since the dawn of history.
    soulman969, Nevada Pete and ajkula66 like this.
  20. Chace90

    Chace90 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Denver, CO
    I don't personally think Oscar Prat set out to intentionally steal money from anyone. And I don't think that's his intent now. But it seems pretty clear that he doesn't have a handle on his finances or his work load, whatever the reasons may be. From what I've observed here on this thread, I don't expect that to change any time soon.
    eottjake, cdef and soulman969 like this.

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