NGD - Custom shop guitar...



5 years ago I ordered a custom guitar from a Swedish luthier. (I'm NOT outing his name! I really do wish this guy all luck with his guitar building, and hope he gets other satisfied customers, but I'm out of this now)

When he first sent me pictures I could see on the pictures at least one fret was installed incorrectly (as well as other things not lining up 100%...)

Fast forward 5 years and he has now replaced the fretboard, and he sent me the guitar to try out.



First impression after opening the box:

But then I quickly saw the strings didn't have an even space between them on the nut. It was a little off on one or two strings.
Nothing that would REALLY affect the playing, but it's still lack of attention to detail form the builders part.

Then I noticed the finish wasn't glossed up very well. There's surface scratches all over the place, and I think there's some buffing compound left, because it felt like my hand was getting that "dry sand" thing going on like when I have polished guitars myself (even tho I suck at it). STILL NOT A BIG DEAL! I wouldn't mind the finish being like this. I mean, give me a perfect guitar and it will be a dented wreck in a few weeks.

The finish was yellowed, but the builder told me that before sending me the guitar telling me he had trouble getting it 100% white, but I said "thats okay" because well... It's not a big deal.

I plugged it in, and noticed that the pickups were fantastic. Really good pickups!
I compared a bit back and fourth between my guitars with Irongear Steam Hammers and I definitely liked these ones better.
So even if I wont buy similar pickups from the guy I might re-think my Irongear fanboyism, there must be other pickups out there to fall in guitar gay love with.


Fretwork was subpar. Buzz all over the place, and the guitar even has higher action then my others, so I didn't bother with lowering the strings. DESPITE the slightly higher action, it was really nice to play on. I almost prefered this one to my old favorite, thats saying something!


Then I also noticed the fretboard was uneven, and had a visible bump on the bass side at 12" fret.
That caused some serious buzzing and string choking on lower notes and riffs, and seemed almost like the intonation went high off above the 12th fret... Not sure if that was the bump doing that, but I compared to a couple of my other guitars and I didn't have the same issue with those.

Checking frets with a fret rocker, I noticed that some frets were popping up a lot causing choked notes here and there.

Another minor complaint was that the guitar was fitted with 2 string trees (D/G/B/E strings) and after removing them, I noticed tuning stability was better. So they were completely unecssary, because there was no "sitar sound" on open strings when removing them. Those things should ONLY be installed if the guitar makes "sitar sound", otherwise they are only screwing up the intonation. Yup, this was easy fix, but then the headstock has 2 unecessary holes instead. Just a visual thing tho, nothing about function.

It was very heavy too. Nothing to be done about, but yeah, I count that into my "personal preferences" about things that makes me want to return it. If the fretboard was great, I wouldn't care about it (just like the finish and string trees etc etc)

I am very aware that the guitar might get better with a proper fretjob, but right now I'm just underwhelmed and will return the guitar.

I told the luthier I can pay for shipping here and maybe even add a few bucks to compensate but he insisted that I just return it.

I'm sure this is dissapointing for him, but I hope he learns to take more care of his builds in the future.

And as said, I do NOT want to out the guys name because he seems like a really nice guy who simply needs more experience to do things right in the future.
That must be a little disappointing after waiting five years for it. Hopefully, the builder improves.
I'm curious what took 5 years. I could understand 6 months, or even a year. Things happen, and small shops sometimes have a rough time working around various life difficulties. But, 5 years? That's enough time to get a degree in Engineering, with time left over. Did he have to grow the tree it's made of?
Haha not really

But he did take a pause... I mean I cancelled the order after noticing the crooked fret, so I guess he thought he didn't have to work on it for a while.

After a couple of years I asked him how he's doing and if he's still making guitars (his website wasn't updated for a long time) but he was thinking about redoing it, so I got a new hope for it.

Oh well. This is a lesson for all parts involved, I think. It's nothing to get mad about, I got my refund, so I have nothing important to complaint about. I just wanted to share the story