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Thread: Am i being unreasonable?

  1. #1

    Default Am i being unreasonable?

    I took in my Eastman mandola to a local luthier to get set up along with a Cumberland Acoustic bridge a tailpiece and some tuners. When I got it back the tuners and tailpiece were installed but it was tuned like a mandolin and when I looked at the bridge there was gaps everywhere and the ends were hanging off the sides. I called the luthier and told him he said he was an expert and knew what he was doing but if I wanted to bring it back in he said he could take a dremel to the bridge and try to flatten it some more. I asked for a refund stating I did not feel comfortable with him working on itand he refused and said it was a small oversight and he would like to fix it. I provided pictures, am I overreacting?

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  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I don't think you are.
    1. He does not know the difference between a mandolin and a mandola.
    2. That is the worst "fit" of a bridge to a top I have ever seen.

    This guy has no training whatsoever let alone a clue.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  4. #3
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    If he installed the tailpiece and tuners and they are acceptable, I would suggest you pay him for that. However I would not pay for the bridge installation nor would I have him fix it. You can't fit a bridge with a Dremel.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  6. #4
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I agree with Charles. If the tailpiece and tuners were correctly installed, pay for that only. If they supplied the bridge and gave you the old one back, ask for a refund for the parts and labor for the bridge only and agree to return the mis-fitted bridge.

    The bridge fit is definitely no good. I would not let him do any further work on the instrument.

    If he won't agree and is associated with a store, speak to the store owner.
    If they still won't agree, you'll have to take the loss, but let every musician you know that his work is no good.

    He is not a luthier, and if it's tuned to mandolin pitch with mandola strings or even with mandolin strings, it will destroy the instrument quickly. And he should know that.
    Last edited by rcc56; Dec-04-2021 at 8:31pm.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Thank you very much for your insight Charles.

  9. #6
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I think it is time to move on to another luthier.
    A partial refund for not fitting the bridge would be nice, but as long as you were not overcharged I'd say cut your losses and move on.

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  11. #7

    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Agreed. First time using this luthier. He refused to a partial refund but keeps calling and texting to bring the mandola back in to try and make it right, Even after I told him I was not comfortable with any further work done by him. I tried to be as polite and diplomatic as possible but I was getting some attitude back. I feel a little ripped off but the tuners and tailpiece seem to be installed ok.

  12. #8
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Yeah, it's probably best to walk away.

  13. #9

    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Thank you rcc56

  14. #10
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    It’s hard for me believe there is a “luthier” out there who values his reputation so little!

  15. #11
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Walk away, it’s easier.
    Where are you located?
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  16. #12

    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Walk away, not worth the battle or what he might do to it on the second try.

  17. #13
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    THAT is outrageous and totally inexcusable. He blatantly lied to you about knowing what he was doing.....let alone being a "luthier".

  18. #14

    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Thank you all very much for your input. I am located in Mason county Washington.

  19. #15
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Before this goes any farther we'll just assume that the OP got the information they needed. I don't want this to become a Posting Guideline issue.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Dec-04-2021 at 10:18pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  21. #16
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I'm surprised he didn't break strings while tuning it to mandolin pitch! I too think I'd cut my losses and move on. Find someone competent to refit the bridge.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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  23. #17
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I can't believe that bridge! Looks like he's made no effort whatsoever to "fit" it properly. He's not a luthier, maybe a guitar tech who has no experience with archtops. Stay well away.

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  25. #18
    Likes quaint instruments poul hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    "Oversight" "Dremel"
    I'm not collecting, not collecting, not........OUMM.....
    Kentucky KM-805......................Hora M1086 Portuguese II
    Hora M1088 Mandola.................Hora M1087 Octave
    Richmond RMA-110-VS .............Noname (German?) mandolin
    Pochette Franz Janisch...............2 Unknown Pocket Mandolins
    Mandolinetto Neapolitane 1910...Mandriola unknown
    Danish: Johs Møller 1945...........Fangel 1915
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  26. #19
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I honestly do not think it is unreasonable to question a tech before getting a job done on what and how they will do it. A little knowledge going in and some questions go a long way. I'm the guy who also questions his doctor.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  27. #20

    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Is Mason County anywhere near Poulsbo? If you are anywhere close, get in touch with Gail Hester. She is great with mandolin family instruments.

  28. #21
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I see you've been given good answers and I would have advised the same. Here in Nashville I had several bad experiences at one of the most famous instrument shops known to us all. I won't mention the name because I love the shop. But they did a crappy job on my Northfield Big Mon. I will never take another instrument into their repair shop again, but I will gladly buy an instrument from them. I just walked away and cut my losses after my last bad experience. Fortunately for me I have other luthier choices here. And I will have to pay again to get the same work done right this time.

  29. #22
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I would guess you'll find original machining on the underside of the bridge and no trace of any fitting at all. It seems to have one smooth curvature all across the bridge like supplied. I'm not sure from the pics, but did he get the saddle direction right?
    Replacing tailpiece and tuners is in most cases no work at all, just unscreww the old one and screw in the new. In some case you don't need to drill new holes for the mounting screws.
    I wold check if he predrilled any new holes and filled the old holes (especially those positioned close to the new holes). screwing them in without predrilled holes may cause cracks in the headstock or uneven pressure on tuner posts and gears (especially leaning/ offcenter screws).

    At any case find someone else to do it correctly.
    Adrian

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  31. #23
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I am with HoGo, I would check that the other work really was done right.

  32. #24
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    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    Sorry, OP. Agree with the advice from above to move on. Gail Hester has an awesome reputation and Sonny Morris also has a good rep. Dusty Strings in Seattle may be able to help you as well. This is coming from a NC resident who’s pretty ignorant of Pacific Northwest Geography, so sorry if you’re no where near any of them.

    Around 2008 or 2009 I bought a Taylor 714 guitar from a shop about an hour and a half from me that had a good local rep. I knew they’d sanded the bridge too low but really liked the woods and tone of that one and could hear its potential. The price was reasonable, so I bought it and took it elsewhere for the bridge change/set up. The luthier who did the work also found some signs of under humidification (including a finish crack near the neck block). In hindsight I probably should have just returned it, but, again, liked the guitar. I think my intuition to walk away and have the work done elsewhere was spot on, and I played that one as my primary 6 string over the next 12 years or so, completely sound structurally, until I moved it along in a downsize move. Good luck getting it fixed up.

    Also, if you haven’t done so already I’d detune the Dola for now…

  33. #25

    Default Re: Am i being unreasonable?

    I am curious about some of the details. It came back tuned GDAE I take it—but, literally in mandolin pitch, or an octave lower as an OM? Did he restring it with regular mando strings? (I used to use plain old J74 mediums on my mandola, for CGDA, worked fine but hey you might want to know what’s on there.)

    And…I know Cumberland Acoustics has a great reputation, if you ordered the bridge from them and told them it was for an Eastman dola, a well-known model, wouldn’t they at least approximately shape it for an Eastman top on request? You don’t often see a new bridge so far off proper seating that the gap is pretty much visible from outer space.
    2009 Eastman 505
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    Mandoline or Mandolin: Similar to the lute, but much less artistically valuable....for people who wish to play simple music without much trouble —The Oxford Companion to Music

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