The Carvin / Kiesel thread

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by soliloquy, May 22, 2011.

  1. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    "A lot" is a big overstatement compared to the numbers of guitars they pump out.

    They used to not deviate at all and offer way less options and flexibility- in order to avoid any issue and keep the "10-day trial" for everyone. But then people were complaining that they would not be flexible, or not have enough options. Now they allow a lot of extra options, a lot more possibilities, but with the much more frequent condition that "you waive your right to return if you pick that". And now naturally many people (not all people, and not the ones with legitimate issues, mind you) are unhappy because they want to pick all the options plus custom stuff, and yet take 0 risk and be able to return the same way regardless. You just can't win it all.
    But at the end of the day their business is way more successful now than it was then, so I suspect it will stay that way.

    To your point though, it's still 100% possible for the buyer to stay within the list of returnable options and not deviate from that; and that's still what I would recommend most of the times. Still way more possibilities than what most others offer anyway.
     
  2. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    So you think the majority of the problems are on the non-option 50 guitars? I would have assumed what Jeff said was true, as well.
     
  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I think he just saw "lot" and "problems" in the same sentence and immediately flew off the handle. :lol:
     
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  4. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Pizza place: "Welcome to my new restaurant. We offer 12 different pizzas."

    Customers: "That's OK, but it's not enough. Why don't you have mu shu pork pizzas or orange chicken pizzas?

    Pizza place: "well...I guess I could make them if you really want them...but no refunds on those special pizzas."

    Customers: "You didn't have 'no refunds' on these other 12 pizzas you offered yesterday. What's with all of the restrictions on everything all of a sudden!?"
     
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  5. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    How often do folks take advantage of the return policy on flawless instruments?

    I keep asking, and I've done a bunch of searching, and I can't really find anything on this.

    How bad is the return rate? Are they getting back so many guitars that they need to be more stringent about what can be returned?

    The way you guys talk about it there should be a UPS truck full of returns every day. :lol:
     
  6. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I think that’s why the original option 50 was invented. And my sense is that no one has a problem with the option 50 policy. I think the points of contention is that the option 50 list is expanding to include a lot of normal things now. Including what appear to be standard builds. I might be wrong, but that seems to be what I hear as criticism from people.
    And I’m kind of like Max oh this. I just don’t see many returns happening. That “in stock” page gets precious few additions to it. If returns were a problem, then you’d think there would be more of a selection. So I’m not sure why the addition of more things under the option 50 header. But maybe I just don’t see the whole picture.
     
  7. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    Interestingly, every time I say anything there's a couple of people jumping on it and it's me who's supposedly immediately flying off the handle...

    If you need it spelled out, I'm not a native speaker, but I believe that "a lot" and "a majority of" don't mean the same thing.
    Does the majority of issues come from option 50 / custom / non returnable stuff? Sure.
    Does that mean it's a lot? No it doesn't when you look at actual number of issues vs number of instruments produced, even those option-50 ones.
    Does that mean they should stop with those options? Well that part is up for debate I guess.

    If I take the original "I don’t think they should deviate at all from the options list. The option 50 shit is where there seems to be a lot of problems" I can turn that into other examples, like "I don't think Porsche should deviate at all from gas cars. The electric shit is where there seems to be a lot of problems with 800V batteries", it's the same argument.
    Well first of all, or course the majority of problems would come from where there is potential for problem at all. Traditional Porsches aren't going to have too many issues with their 800V batteries for sure :lol: . But even those Taycans that have issues are few and far between and certainly not a lot. And certainly not a lot to decide they shouldn't try to offer that stuff at all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
  8. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    If you count things like poplar tops and raw tone finishes as "standard" then yeah, you could get the impression.
    But I'd say those are still not a majority, no matter how they push them on social media.
    If you go through their builder for a normal/standard guitar, it's not going to suddenly become non-returnable.

    When you go through that, the only option-50 stuff I know of at the moment are that raw tone option, some limited-supply woods, and some "less predictable" finishes like crackle. Might sound like a lot, but that's maybe 10 out of hundreds of other possibilities, so they're pretty easy to "avoid". They have had more stuff non returnable in the past too, but then when it becomes more popular, sometimes they relax the rule. Roasted maple comes to mind, purpleheart or others too, as well as some of their burst finishes.

    At the end of the day, there are many more possibilities that are non-returnable than 10 years ago and they're easier to get to. That I agree with.
    But there are even more options of returnable stuff that did not even exist 10 years ago. And that you can still combine with the options that already existed then. So at least in that area of the business (I wouldn't say the same for others such as service...) it does sounds like a net positive IMHO.

    I don't think there are tons of returns either. But it does look like new management is still trying to get even less; trying to be strict just for the sake of being strict or trying to increase margins further and further. Same as some of the bad customer service decisions we've been seeing where a simple goodwill gesture costing them 50 bucks might have saved from a lot of drama. Smells of poorly though out and unnecessary nickel and diming sometimes.
    I don't particularly like that direction of the business and at least as far as I'm concerned I only recommend new orders from them if you're going for something standard and returnable. Still recommend them mind you, as the quality and value is there for some of their stuff...but with caveats that didn't exist a few year back and also more competition depending on the case.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
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  9. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    Return doesn't have much to do with flawless or not flawless.
    I've returned a multiscale from them because I didn't like the multiscale (too long for me on lower strings).
    I returned a CT7 because even though the guitar was flawless, the Carved Top + 7-string concept didn't work for me in the end.
    I returned a Contour 66 because I ended up regretting the finish choices, but ended up later ordering two others more to my taste that I did not return.

    Plenty of reasons that have no real link with the objective quality of the instruments.
     
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  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    That wasn't the specific question or framing intended.

    The impression given by some folks is that use of the "10 day no questions asked" return policy is rampant in cases of buyer's remorse* vs. having a guitar with a defect.

    I'm just trying to ascertain just how rampant this is...or isn't, and what that looks like big picture.

    If abuse of the return policy is being used to justify it's limitations, I'm just curious what those numbers look like. I respect that it's Kiesel's prerogative as far as how they run their business. If they want zero returns, that's fine too. It's thier ball in thier game.

    *That includes just not liking the particular guitar or configuration regardless of how objectively well it's made.
     
  11. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    And I don't think it's that many / or very rampant. I used to receive their email notification when new guitars came in stock, and it was something like maybe 20 guitars a month IIRC. In there often you also have artist guitars, show guitars (when NAMM was a thing), internal builds by Mike Jones, special series (numbers, sparkles, new model showcases...) that eats into those 20. Maybe it's more recently, I wouldn't know. Maybe not all returns make it to the in-stock...but I can tell you that all of mine plus a couple of others I know about did make it there, so it certainly doesn't sound too far off. All in all, I doubt we get even close to double digit percentage.

    As a result, I wouldn't really think it's necessarily sheer numbers or abuse that is motivating them to limit returns on some things.
    I don't think it's a matter of losing much $$$ either. Most of the non-returnable stuff - poplar burls or raw tones sell super quick in the in-stock section.

    Maybe it's more of a general desire to streamline operations from a business standpoint (more done deals less back and forth situations with rebuilds and refunds), and they do produce way more guitars more quickly now. And they don't need to be so flexible anymore. What used to be a pretty good "you can't try our guitars in store so just get one and if don't like it, just return it" proposition wouldn't even be needed anymore. I'd wager a good chunk of sales volumes in guitars is driven by social media and hype more so than actually trying the instruments, and they have that part going for them. In fact, a couple of years back I wouldn't have said that, but I wouldn't be surprised if at some point they even remove the "10-day trial" altogether. After all, they even discontinued the DC127 so anything can happen :lol:
     
  12. xeno99

    xeno99 SS.org Regular

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    I'm thinking about a Kiesel Leia L6. Would be my first headless.

    It's very hard to pick a finish if they only have one in stock.

    That Balaguer virtual builder is very nice in comparison.
     
  13. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    The Leia sure is tempting.
    Are you interested in seeing more examples of Leias in various finishes? There are 4 in various finishes in the in stock section right now with different finishes.
    A bunch more with google too like here, here, here, here....

    Sure not as convenient as Balaguer though, that's for sure.
     
  14. xeno99

    xeno99 SS.org Regular

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    There's even a gallery page linked on the Leila product page. (Image on right under the twitter button)

    I overlooked min. three times. Kiesel web design is really something special.
     
  15. ScottThunes1960

    ScottThunes1960 SS.org Regular

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    Every year or so that I wonder what Kiesel/Carvin are up to, I make the mistake of clicking this thread and seeing the latest incarnation of Jeffbro flinging his shit...and it turns me off from the brand for another year.

    At this point, I hope there’s some under the table deal and that we’re not really dealing with a crazy person who think Jeff Kiesel is his dad. But he’s achieving the opposite of what he thinks he’s doing by alienating anyone who clicks the thread wondering what the latest offerings are. And I don’t see how anyone manages to navigate that hideous website - Is Instagram/Facebook where they announce everything, or what? I just want to see/read about their new guitars.
     
  16. Avedas

    Avedas SS.org Regular

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    wut
     
  17. ScottThunes1960

    ScottThunes1960 SS.org Regular

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    LOL well if it’s just me that occasionally clicks the thread and is like “Uh...what is this person even arguing for four pages over the course of days”, then I might just be unlucky about when I click it.
     
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  18. D-EJ915

    D-EJ915 Forum MVP

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    It was funny I watched a Q&A on youtube with Jeff and somebody asked something about adding customer pictures to the website he was like nah our website is trash so that's not going to happen lol. Based on that I don't feel like they feel like updating the website at all.
     
  19. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    The website isn't that bad. It's definitely not great, but folks are acting like it's a 90's GeoCities.
     
  20. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I think the take home message here is that YOU’RE the reason they’re tightening up their return policy. :lol:
     
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