NGD - A not so merry christmas - Acacia Romulus Multiscale 8 content

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by codyblast, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. codyblast

    codyblast 1

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    Weellll, technically I picked it up a week ago. But I've been soooo flat out I haven't had a chance to pull out the good camera and take some real photos of this guitar. So it has been played a bit, and my house is quite dusty for some reason and a bit of that came through on the photos, but anyway: heres the story. (tl;dr, this guitar sucks)

    Last October or so, after seeing pic's of the two Hades that Acacia Custom Guitars had built for Tom and Andy of Thy Art Is Murder, and after seeing endorsements from a bunch of artists (hard to remember exactly who at this point, so many have come and gone since I placed my order), I thought Acacia were the perfect company to build the custom guitars I'd been dreaming of.

    So, I emailed them, and Joe replied very quickly with a detailed quote (just under $3k USD per guitar, 4.5 month build time), and loads of information on options and payment plans etc. So after confirming 90% of the specs, I saved for a number of weeks and put down the first deposit of 33% of the total quoted price of the build. I was going to pay for a second identical build to be done at the same time but with a different finish and slightly different specs, but my finances wouldn't allow it. In hindsight I am very very glad I couldn't.

    The specs I originally put down were (vs what I recieved):
    -Hades body shape (changed to Romulus at my request before body shape cutting had begun)
    -5 pc laminate neck of Maple / Rosewood (received)
    -Ebony fretboard (received)
    -Neck through construction (not sure if received)
    -Alder body wings (received)
    -Quilt maple top (received, after they had glued a flame maple top on the first incarnation of this guitar and had to start again from scratch)
    -Reverse headstock with 3/5 machine head layout (received after an additional payment to facilitate this incredibly difficult procedure)
    -Trans black matte burst finish (received)
    -White binding on body, neck, and headstock (later changed to sanded 'natural' binding at my request, I wanted maple neck binding to match but the guitar had already been fretted and I said not to worry about it)
    -Luminlay side dots (recieved plain white)
    -Luminlay 'A' inlay (recieved plain white)
    -Angled Lundgren M8 bridge pickup (after some difficulty with Acacia saying wether or not this was possible, I requested and received an angled BKP Painkiller)
    -Angled single coil neck pickup (never happened, I think I at one stage may have just told them not to worry about it)
    -27.5" - 25.5" multiscale (received)
    -Angled nut (received, but only because I saw they were cutting a straight nut in a progress picture and brought it up)
    -ABS bridges (received)
    -Planet waves Trim-Lok machine heads (received)
    -Originally the only controls were going to be a toggle switch on the side of the guitar somewhere, but due to no neck pickup ever happening it just ended up with no controls, which is fine. I didn't want a volume knob or a tone knob.

    There was a HUGE amount of back an forth during the 11 month build time (quoted 4.5, lol)
    The majority of this was me sending emails every few weeks to ask for updates, I am quite sure that for the first 2-3 months after my deposit that the build had not even started at all. At about 7 or 8 months or so into the build, I asked for a refund as the amount of direction that I felt had to be given on my end to ensure the guitar was sticking to its original specs, vs the amount I was paying in total, coupled with a LOT of negative reviews from other customers, I thought I was just heading into a nightmare. By this time Joe had left the company, and I was emailing Scott (the 'luthier') directly. I was denied a refund because they 'didnt have the money', and instead I was told to not worry about the last payment on the guitar (I had paid 66% by this point). All I had to pay for was shipping and the guitar would be completed, my response was that I didn't mind how long the build took now as all I was interested in was quality workmanship and not a rushed job.

    And boy, even after a year, what I got definately seems like a rushed job.
    Aside from the specs not being what I ordered (bearing in mind some things had changed after emails back and forth, often not due to me wanting different specs but Acacia having issues and me just going don't worry about it if its really that hard, but also some things just flat out aren't what I ordered.)

    FRETWORK / SETUP:
    Out of the box, the guitar was COMPLETELY UNPLAYABLE. The neck is too close to the body, which on its own is not an issue but this means that with the ABM bridges completely lowered all the way, the strings are still a good 4-5mm off the fretboard. I like low action, and in order to get this I've had to start filing metal off the bottom of the saddles in order to get the action to a somewhat playable level. The fretwork is an absolute piss-take, there are frets that aren't all the way in, the ends are sharp and in some areas actually painful to play on. Partially dead frets everywhere, even with bottomed out but still high action, with the saddles filed/lowered to a somewhat decent ballpark (3-4 mm from fretboard), the partially dead frets turn into mute frets, and other frets just sound the note of the next fret up. I'd like to stress that this is not due to my filing of the saddles, you can actually slide paper and in some areas a guitar pick in between the fret and the fretboard. There is fret glue all over the fretboard, and this alone renders the guitar useless and worthless. The neck doesn't look too bad, it has a nice amount of relief, but its got a strange curve to the relief that doesn't exactly give me confidence. It's hard to see in these pictures exactly how bad it is, but it is still apparent. The twelfth fret is completely bung.
    [​IMG]
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    FINISH:
    The paint looks beautiful from afar.
    Here's how it looks from a distance, very very pretty. You can't even tell that the guitar is a total mess.
    [​IMG]
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    But when you get up close, theres crap spots everywhere and the entire top of the guitar has this weird spot blemish in the paint.
    [​IMG]

    The dot side of the fretboard between frets 17-24 looks atrocious
    [​IMG]

    and the other side has some weird filler ish stuff going on.
    [​IMG]

    THE WTF's:
    No controls but a giant control panel on the back (which has been routed like shit).
    [​IMG]

    The nut is too shallow, not enough to keep the strings in it, hence the non-ordered string tree appearing behind the nut (which also hides the straight end of the fretboard to headstock cap).
    [​IMG]
    The string tree has been filed (not by me) to have grooves that under extreme tension, hold the strings into the nut. Too bad the nut's string spacing is effed anyway. And the high B string is rubbing against the string tree mounting screw.

    [​IMG]
    The truss rod cover combined with the string tree actually clamps the strings, creating all kinds of tuning dramas. I intend to remove it because of this and also because it has the Acacia logo on it, which now makes me see red.

    This is what happens when the string tree is backed off a bit (it has to be down so far the strings are clamped either on the truss rod cover or the wood itself)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The bridges aren't straight. Its hard to see in this photo, but they aren't perpendicular, some of them touch and others are spaced apart, all are wonky. Also, the low F# strings brass saddle couldn't actually fit the string, so I've had to file it out. The filing on the high E is to attempt to lower action, and the rounding of the edges is because these saddles are sharp as hell and I'm in the process of rounding them all off the make palm muting not hurt like a bitch. (I apologise for all the dust on this)
    [​IMG]

    Im not sure WHEN they did the sanding for the binding (I thought it would be more logical to just tape it off when staining? As to avoid a rough feel), but it feels very rough and as such makes me thing it was done after the clear coat and sealer. There is quite a bit of discolouration happening, I think because the wood is exposed.
    [​IMG]

    how many neck-throughs have humpy neck 'joints' in them like this? And why make the hump solid black? I suspect it may actually be a set neck, but unless I sand it down I'm not gonna know.
    [​IMG]

    THE GOOD:
    The bareknuckle painkiller sounds reaaaaaaaaaaallly nice. Exactly what I wanted. And the Planet Waves machine heads are nice and smooth and the trimming feature is so cool. That's it.

    DO NOT GIVE ACACIA YOUR MONEY, AS THEY TAKE FOREVER JUST TO BUILD CRAP GUITARS AND WILL RUIN YOUR CHRISTMAS.

    I strongly suggest everyone that has a build in progress to just bail, and try to get your money back, and flat out refuse to give them another CENT. They've had a bunch of endorsee's bail, and everyone I've talked to in Aus who has played their guitars has said they are firewood. And I agree. Even if this company DOES put out half decent guitar occasionally, we've all seen a bunch of crap come out from the shop and honestly its not about what they get right, its about how MUCH they get utterly WRONG.

    I'm planning on taking this guitar to Perry Ormsby, definately for a new nut, a full refret, a setup, and then after paying Ormsby I'm gonna bill Acacia for the repair costs as it is a brand new guitar. Also considering getting Perry to shave the 'A' section off the headstock, to remove any identifiable branding so if anyone sees me playing the repaired version of this guitar live, I don't want anyone to consider buying an Acacia for even one second. I mean the basics are okay, as in he glued the wood together alright, but every other aspect of this guitar is just a parody of an instrument. And I'll only be playing it until I save and pay for and receive a finished Ormsby custom, since every guitar I've seen him make has been an absolute perfected work of art. Honestly, after giving $2k to Acacia (discounted from $3k), $500 on shipping, and $400 import tax / fedex charges, and receiving a piece of absolute crap.... $4k+ for a perfect Ormsby built in my home town honestly doesn't seem that expensive anymore.

    I'm not angry. I'm just very, very disappointed.
     
  2. Veritech Zero

    Veritech Zero Jeffy Turbo

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    Dang, that makes me sad, no idea who Acacia even is... But now I know what not to ever get. The guitar looks like it might have potential, hopefully the guy you take it to can work his magic. Not a whole lot of guitars can't be salvaged and it looks like that one might clean up alright. Best of luck to you!
     
  3. jeleopard

    jeleopard SS.org Regular

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    Aw dude, I just cringed so hard.

    Hope you can get her fixed or something!
     
  4. DavidLopezJr

    DavidLopezJr SS.org Regular

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    The whole Black Friday ordeal scared me about this. Sorry this happened to you man :( Stuff like this kills me to read.

    DO NOT GIVE ACACIA ANY MONEY AND DEMAND YOUR MONEY IF YOU CURRENTLY HAVE A SPOT OR BUILD WITH THEM.
     
  5. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Holy crap, man, that sucks! I'm sure Perry will be able to make it better, but unfortunately some of that stuff is so screwed up he's probably going to have to almost tear it down and rebuild it. That's just embarrassing for Acacia. Did their luthier really build that? I would certainly hope he's got some high school kid in there helping out, and had him do a lot of that, because I just can't imagine someone could make such huge mistakes. Like that nut, all that glue on the side of the FB, etc. And I am also super suspicious of that heel. Something is going on there.
     
  6. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Jesus, that's pretty brutal.
     
  7. oneblackened

    oneblackened Tube Amp Dork

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    Holy shit, man.

    They have to at LEAST foot the bill for repairs if not give you a refund. Some of that shit literally is not fixable.
     
  8. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    What happened with the Black Friday run? Did people not get them? I don't remember seeing anything about that.
     
  9. DavidLopezJr

    DavidLopezJr SS.org Regular

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  10. capoeiraesp

    capoeiraesp Ormsby nutter

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    Jeez.... I'm lost for words.
    I definitely don't feel bad at all now for pulling apart some people's NGDs for Acacia.

    I've sent this link to Perry on your behalf.

    Edit: that smashed fret takes the cake.
    Edit 2: it's pretty sad that the only good things were the pickup and tuners.
     
  11. ormsby guitars

    ormsby guitars SS.org Regular

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    I no longer do repair work. But I'll make an exception and will help you sort this out.

    Issues like this give every luthier a bad name.

    0410 540 327
     
  12. oneblackened

    oneblackened Tube Amp Dork

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    ^Perry, doing things right.
     
  13. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Holy beans, I missed that! That's some piss poor woodworking right there. I'm beginning to think I should start building guitars. I'm seeing some "professional" stuff I think I could pull off on my own.
     
  14. MikeyLawless

    MikeyLawless SS.org Regular

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    That is utterly pathetic and inexcuseable. Wow. Life lesson: dont skimp on customs because of price.
     
  15. combustion

    combustion SS.org Regular

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    well, there's one company I'll never order from
     
  16. JoshuaVonFlash

    JoshuaVonFlash SSBRO.org regular

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    Seems like these Black Friday custom shop guitars, almost always end up in a train wreck. Lutheirs need to know how much they can work they can cover instead of accepting money and allowing their reputation to dip as result of being congested with too many orders. In that kind of business reputation is everything and I hope you just got a lemon because, if more turn out like this, their's won't be in good graces.
     
  17. neurosis

    neurosis SS.org Regular

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    At first, going through the thread I could´t really appreciate the damage but then the pictures with the string holder and nut came and then the spacing on the bridge saddles and then the binding and then the paint job overall…

    I think you should´t be tolerant with this at all man. Not at the price you have paid. We could speculate about all sorts of scenarios of what is going on with that company but the fact is that you paid a business money on reliance of what you were going to get and you didn´t get anything like it.

    I ignore what measures you can take to get this solved but the ideal would be to get the money back and pay for the new thing you want. If you have to return this guitar then so be it. What type of guarantee did they give you?

    So sorry, man.
     
  18. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    Sorry to see that it ended in disaster :(

    I figured something was up with Acacia when I saw Within the Ruins earlier this year and not two months afterwards, they discontinued Joe's sig model and he joined up with Legator. I hadn't looked much into Acacia or any issues they'd had, so I figured shoddy neck joints/neck pockets were about the worst I would see here or in other NGD's

    Hope you can get it fixed to at least a playable level or refunded!
     
  19. jeremyb

    jeremyb SS.org Regular

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    Ohhh man, thats super disappointing :(
     
  20. downburst82

    downburst82 SS.org Regular

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    yikes :/ that pretty bad! Seriously how do you let something like that go out to a customer and expect to survive as a company??

    Ive been doing some work on a guitar my cousin built years ago as a highschool woodshop project and it is Miles ahead of this....which is really sad. When a 16 year old kid 20 years ago in highschool (who never build a guitar before) can build a better guitar that a company trying to charge people thousands...something is verrrry wrong.

    Really sorry you got stuck with this mess :(
     

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