B.C. Rich Custom Shop experience (bad one unfortunately)

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by sonofs, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. sonofs

    sonofs Member

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    Hi

    I've never posted here before, was just a reader.
    But my recent, unfortunately bad, experience with the B.C. Rich Custom Shop run by Ron Estrada had me thinking I probably should share that.

    I ordered a Stealth with the basically the same specs as Chuck Schuldiner used.
    -Maple, neck/alder body
    -24 frets, 24 5/8 scale length
    -Ebony board, small diamond inlays, no inlays at 1st and 24th fret.
    -Luminlay sidedots (I know, Chuck's didn't have those)
    -One humbucker (DiMarzio X2N)
    -One volume knob, located very close between bridge and pickup. (Same spot as on Chuck's gutar)
    -Leo Quan Badass bridge (Same bridge Chuck used)
    The bridge is no longer in production. I've found a NOS in perfect condition.
    So I send that one to the Custom Shop.

    I've illustrated everything with pictures and notes.
    Especially the volume knob location...
    [​IMG]

    The order was placed in february 2017 and was supposed to take 9 months.
    I was suprised that it would only take 9 months, I'm used to the Jackson custom shop wait times...

    Anyway, may 2018 arrives and Ron tells me the guitar is done.
    He sends me some pictures and the first thing I notice is that the volume knob is at the wrong location. Also he placed a made in usa decal at the tip of the headstock. I didn't specify that sticker and not at that location.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Numerous mail exchanges and excuses from Ron where I have to explain myself why I want the volume knob at that location begins. He said there was no room in the controll cavity, so he had to relocate the volume knob. He did this without talking back to me first.

    I can prove to him that there is indeed enough space to have the knob at that location.
    Anyway he agrees that he can rebuild the lower half of the guitar so the volume knob will be at my specified location.
    I told him I'm worried that a repair will be visible, sunken paint, partial refinishing and so on.
    He sends me some pictures of guitars he has restored where he did similar stuff and promises that no repair will be visible.
    I tell him ok, go ahead.

    He then asks me that I did specify luminlay inlays. I guess he never really read my order?
    I tell him yes, but they are not that important to me.

    July 2018 and the guitar is finished. He sends me pictures and everything looks good.

    It arrived at my place and the first thing I check is if the rebuild is visible.
    And unfortunately it is. There is a second joint right below the standard neck/body joint you normaly see on neck-thru guitars. This one is deeper, has frayed edges and looks really nasty if the light hits it.
    [​IMG]
    The photo doesn't show it as bad as it is in real life. Even if it wasn't as bad I think there shouldn't be a second joint right under the one where the the neck/body meets.

    I'm really tired of this. The guitar did cost me $3500.
    For a USA made guitar I expect better quality.

    What do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
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  2. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Regardless of the guy's promises, there's a certain amount of stuff that is just absolutely 100% impossible to pull off completely invisible to the extent you were looking for, and your initial skepticsm on the matter was correct. By the standards I've seen AS a luthier, repair guy and refinish guy, it looks like he did a 10/10 job on all of that based on just what you see out in the market but it was never ever ever going to be totally invisible.

    It's tough because, personally, I think MOST people, even those buying a Chuck replica, would've accepted that knob placement. And I don't mean that as a slight on you, you have a right to your expectiations but if their interpretation of the knob placement being "good enough" didn't match your own, their interpretation of a seamless repair wasn't going to either.

    That said, you've got every right to be disappointed but rebuilding and refinishing the entire lower half was a very reasonable offer and even well executed on a very reasonable time frame. So I have a hard time faulting them on most of this (besides the missing luminlay), just seemed like a mismatch between their standards and your expectations.

    The only thing I'd have done different if I were them was just offer a partial refund on the knob placement and if you didn't want it, I'd have reposted it as in stock for sale and offered you a full rebuild or a full refund. They'd have been out less time and money than they were in the labor for the rebuild that still didn't satisfy the customer
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
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  3. dr_game0ver

    dr_game0ver SS.org Regular

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    Do you have a pic of the back of the guitar? I'd like to see that cavity.
     
  4. sonofs

    sonofs Member

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    Thanks for you reply.
    I'm just disappointed that I showed them everything I wanted before placing the order. They accepted it but didn't deliver.
    Even the Korean Chuck replica did the knob placement correctly.
    Don't know why the Custom Shop can't.
    I mean what is the point of ordering from the Custom Shop?
     
  5. sonofs

    sonofs Member

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    Here you go.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Dawn of the Shred

    Dawn of the Shred Scoop the Mids and Chug

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    Man I would be disappointed as well. Sorry man!!
     
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  7. AC.Lin

    AC.Lin Poopy-di scoop & Scoop-diddy-whoop

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    I'm a bit disappointed by what 3500 dollars can get you in a custom shop like that.

    I would never pay that much for that kind of quality.
     
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  8. sonofs

    sonofs Member

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    I don't get why they made changes to my specifications without asking me. It's not the most complicated build ever.
     
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  9. dr_game0ver

    dr_game0ver SS.org Regular

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    All of that because they couldn't use a small pot...
     
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  10. possumkiller

    possumkiller SS.org Regular

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    Just par for the course these days I plumb reckon. I had the same shit happen on a Gibson custom order. Seemingly easy build. Same guitar they did a limited run of before only change being a different set of tuners. I get completed pics of it and genuinely wonder who's spec sheet they were looking at. Wrong color. Wrong neck and body construction. Jacked up the pickguard and added unwanted fretboard binding. I was offered a discount but took a refund instead. At the end of the day the store took the hit and sold it for an even deeper discount. It came right back to them and sat in the used section for a while.
     
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  11. sonofs

    sonofs Member

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    Seems like those companies simply don't care anymore and/or hire the wrong people. And they wonder why their sales are down.
     
  12. sell2792

    sell2792 SS.org Regular

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    Why not just buy a used US BC Rich Chuck Stealth from the late 2000's? You ordered the exact same thing for more money, and the knob appears to be within millimeters of the originals placement.
     
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  13. Rosal76

    Rosal76 SS.org Regular

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    I feel your pain. I own a 2002 U.S. custom shop Warlock deluxe and a U.S. custom shop Beast standard and they screwed up bad on those guitars. The mistake they made on my 2002 Warlock is so bad that it's unplayable. All my friends who see it (2002 Warlock) are like, "dude, that guitar is badass. How come it doesn't have any strings on it?". I'm like, "it's all show and no go". LOL. Fortunately, the Beast is playable but it makes you wonder if the builder was paying attention to what they were doing.

    One of the most disappointing things for a guitar player is spending a lot of money on a custom shop guitar and seeing that they screwed it up.
     
  14. Cynicanal

    Cynicanal SS.org Regular

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    When it comes to B.C. Rich USA, get one from the years Bernie Sr. was at the helm (prior to 1989, or 1993-1999) or bust IMO. This thread just reinforces that.
     
  15. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    I agree with Randy, that looks like a 10/10 rebuild on that lower half. Your expectations are super high; it looks like he did not meet those expectations though and could have communicated better.

    Either way, it does look like a killer guitar, even if the volume knob would have been a few mm from the original location.
     
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  16. sonofs

    sonofs Member

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    I think for $3500 I can and should have high expectations. If the rebuild was a 10/10 why was it cut so that the edges are torn? There was some wood tear out that they didn't level out.
     
  17. Viginez

    Viginez SS.org Regular

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    the best would've beein if they refinished the whole body
    those partial rebuilds/repaints are always risky
     
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  18. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    You’re not wrong. They did a good job as far as actual skill goes, but it was never going to be as good as they were promising IE “invisible”. Your concern was absolutely warranted.

    Idk, I’d have been pretty mad about it from the get-go with even “just” the missing luminlays.

    Had you spent that $3.5k elsewhere with another reputable builder you would have gotten whatever was on your spec sheet and I think that’s the part that really sucks.
     
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  19. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Just gotta think about what they're working with there.

    To do what he did, it sounds like he cut of the lower body wing, then attached a new one and routed to suit.

    If this were a bolt on guitar, you could cut the offending piece off, strip the paint or at least sand it back, attach the new wing, then run it through the thickness planer/sander to get everything even, then finish. I'd be weary of mismatched moisture contents and stuff like that causing the same to show itself over time but that's about as close to a ''sure thing" as you'll get.

    A neck thru is a whole other can of worms though. The big issue is the fretboard is already attached, so stripping paint is more difficult (which is done to level the surface) and leveling the body after the new wing is attached is out of the question. So he had to bandsaw off the old wing, then plane the new wing as close to possible to match the neck thru thicknesswise, either with or without finish. The kind of seam you posted can come from literally .001" difference, which is a level of precision pretty much impossible. Too many factors going on for something like this to be invisible.

    Like I said, no shade on the OP. I can't quantify a $3500 solid finish, fixed scale, 6 string guitar with a wraparound fixed bridge. There's a lot of things that factor into cost/value on a guitar, like features, country of origin, brand, exclusivity and quality.

    We already went over the very basic features, you can certainly get something MIA for under that price, you can certainly get a BC Rich for under that price, and they've released that same guitar several times as both import and US versions (so not especially exclusive). Youve got a steep hill to climb to milk the bulk of that $3500 value out of build quality alone AKA impossible.
     
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  20. possumkiller

    possumkiller SS.org Regular

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    I also spent $3500 on a BRJ back before the BFR drama and was not impressed. All the usa high end guitars I've played (PRS, Fender CS, Gibson CS, Jackson CS, BRJ) had little flaws. They played great and I wouldn't call the build quality sloppy but there are things that they let slide and called good that would have been finished perfectly on a Japanese custom (ESP, J custom Ibanez). People say that a Suhr and master built Fender/Jackson has that same super attention to detail but I haven't had a chance to play those.
     

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