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What to do when your builder can't keep a deadline?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Talbor Flanagan, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Talbor Flanagan

    Talbor Flanagan

    Feb 27, 2008
    I commissioned a custom bass last summer, and was told it would be done in about 3-4 months, 6 months at the very latest. We're now over 2 months past the 6 month deadline (I've been waiting over 8 months total). I don't want to say the guy's name, as he is a newish builder and I don't want to bad mouth him, though if the situation drags on forever, I will change my mind about that.

    I just don't know what to do. He keeps giving me new deadlines, like "it will be done at the end of next week", and then the deadline passes. Then he'll have a new one. According to him, it's been "basically done" since Christmas. But he won't discuss what still needs to be done. I've told him that I just want the bass, and might be willing to live with some minor flaws if I could just get it in my hands.

    Because of the new deadline every week, it seems like this could go on indefinitely. I am not worried that he's ripping me off, as I have seen some pictures of the bass (which has very distinctive features that make it clear that the bass in the pictures is mine). But it's so frustrating, not only waiting, but with no idea when the wait will be over. If he had told me the wait would be this long originally, it would be fine. But since he gave me the impression it would be done within about 4 months, and it's now double that, it's getting really excruciating.

    Apparently he has had some health problems that are causing the delays. While I sympathize, and in the scheme of things, a person's health is more important than a bass, he is not offering any other solutions, such as sending the bass to someone else to finish it up, or sending it to me and discounting the final price so I can complete it or take it to someone who can.

    What would you guys do? Anyone been in this situation before? I don't want to take legal action at this point, because this guy has been great to me other than the delays. Any ideas?
  2. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Sometimes things happen. However, there was at least one story on TB about a builder than basically went bankrupt due to a dependency issue (I believe - it was a while ago) whilst building a custom order that never got delivered. If you are confident that the bass is getting done and there are just delays, perhaps have a proper discussion with the guy about reaslistic expectations for delivery. If you have concerns about the bass, perhaps you should pay a visit and see what stage its up to and whether any action needs to be taken. Chances are its just normal delays. My MTD took 1 year and the usual time is 6-8 months, but that was just delays because of my wood choices etc. Sometimes delays happen.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    First thing to know when you order a custom instrument : it won't come in time.
    To me it is a part of the process and the less I annoy the builder about it, the best it is.
    As long as I get progress updates I'm fine.


    Dec 27, 2007
    Happens all the time...if the guy has health issues, it would be fair to give him at least 4 months more to complete a year of overall wait, remember....putting pressure on the guy, is going to make things worse, like my father says "Don´t fight the waiter, your food has to travel from the kitchen to the table, anything can happen to it between those two points", O.K., cheapo filosophy aside, i´m not implying that the guy is going to build you a faulty bass on purpose, but let him do things his way, he´s in control right now, don´t call him anymore. If four or five more months pass without news from your bass ask for a refund (IMHO)
  5. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Keep asking for updates (email and phone). I know waiting is a drag, but if I were in your position, I wouldn't want the bass until the builder is happy with it.

  6. minus.eleven


    Nov 21, 2007
    Build your own.
  7. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    If it's health issues give the guy a break.

    Your bass will (probably) get finished. Just wait, be patient.
  8. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    Well TF, You just have to be patient and find something to distract you will he finishes your bass. If it's really a problem maybe one of "his" basses is all you need.
  9. YCBass

    YCBass Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    First off I did not read too many of the previous replies so I apologize if this is a repeat advise...

    For me, you've gone on this long so I suggest you just wait it out a little longer and let the bass be as good as it can be... You may not be able to live with the minor flaws in the long run and wish that you'd just let the builder take their time to get you a perfect instrument made to the best of his abilities.

    I got a Custom Shop Team Built Fender that took 10 months instead of the originally quoted 3-4. Not that I had a chance to talk to Fender directly to follow up or anything but my buddy at the music store always volunteered to call for me since they placed the order... After a few calls/delays I decided to just wait it out and not rush the process... And I am very glad I did that, not to say the bass would've been any less if I rushed but I didn't wanna find out the hard way.

    Patience Brother... We're bass players, it should come natural... :bassist:
  10. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    just be patient, if this make you feel better, I ordered a set of TI flats two weeks ago, seller has not shipped yet :(
  11. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
  12. flakeh

    flakeh Banned

    Apr 21, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    10 years. that is madness.

  13. Not much you can do if it's something the luthier couldn't control. Usually it's a 1 man operation and you/they run the risk of getting behind with stuff like this. My first Rob Allen and Conklin were both delayed due to outside parts taking longer to arrive. It wasn't their fault in either case.
  14. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Well lets not throw a curve ball at the builders who DO deliver on time. I ordered a Status MK sig 6 string, now mind you, this was the first they ever built, I was told it would be 12 weeks to complete...it was done in 11!!! Both my LeComptes delivered on time as did my Elrick. There are acouple whom I wont name that AFAIK never get anything out in the time they quote, not even remotely close.:meh:
  15. Mr. BooBoo

    Mr. BooBoo

    Dec 12, 2007
    THAT!!!! IS!!!!!! SPARTA!!!!!!!!!

  16. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    haha, you beat me to it:p
  17. Talbor Flanagan

    Talbor Flanagan

    Feb 27, 2008
    Yes, I know about the Bebensee, and you're right, that does put it into perspective.

    I didn't mention this before, but adding to the frustration is that I sold my other bass a month ago because I was told it would be done that week (and I needed the money to pay for the upcoming custom). So I am now without any instrument at all until the new one arrrives. I suppose there's nothing to do but wait, but it is difficult without an instrument to play.
  18. Chill---as long as the guy has a good reputation (business as well as building), then chill. I waited 2 years for Phil Kubicki to finish mine. There were quite a few slow-downs, but I'd check in every 6 months or so ands he'd tell me what's up. Then I got notification that it was ready to go---a pleasant surprise. When you order a bass, don't have a deadline to use it---it's like fine wine---rushing it, ruins it.
  19. sedan_dad

    sedan_dad Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2006
    I'm haveing a old bass reconstructed and I was told up front it would take a while and it has.
    I would rather have it done right than rushed to shut me up.

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