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. 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. 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. The dot side of the fretboard between frets 17-24 looks atrocious and the other side has some weird filler ish stuff going on. THE WTF's: No controls but a giant control panel on the back (which has been routed like shit). 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). 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. 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) 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) 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. 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. 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.