Arlington, TX 76011
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I took my ‘62 Gibson ES 335 to Dave Underwood at DFW Guitars. I had let someone put active EMG’s in it a number of years ago and it was time for them to come out. The originals were lost so I had to pick out something new.
When I called Dave he was helpful in guiding me to the pickups I decided to use, He originally told me about a week once I dropped off the guitar with the pickups.
It wound up taking about 4 weeks. I was told because it was so hard to get the old pots out, and how hard it was to work on. I know it’s tight but if you’re a pro I think you should be able to manage or don’t take the job. I was up front about what had been done to the guitar. The communications during this time was not very good in my opinion. He would say another week and have another excuse. Having owned and operated a service business for many years I felt the customer service was less than adequate.
I finally got the guitar and was glad to get it back. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my vintage Gibson being worked on there by this time. I plugged it in and it worked and that’s as far as I went, and took it home.
When I first started playing it I realized the Volume and Tone knobs were wired backwards, the ones that should control the neck controlled the bridge etc.
I played it for a couple of weeks. I hesitated to take it back because I wasn’t really comfortable with him working on it again. I needed to replace the nut and the toggle switch, and decided if he finally got the pickups right, surely he could switch the wiring over without too much issue. A friend that works on his own told me he would do it for me in about an hour. I decided Dave did it wrong, so I would get him to fix his mistake.
I took it over and arranged a price for the nut and toggle switch. I had to take him 40.00 cash deposit so he could buy the nut. Not exactly pro, but I’m trying to give the guy a chance to do the right thing. I told him about the controls and he was also supposed to fix that. He said he was very slow and could probably do it in a couple of days to a week.
He called in 4 days and said it was ready. He then told me over the phone the pickups and volume and tone controls were correct and he verified it by looking it up on the internet. It’s a standard Gibson wiring. He had to look it up and I knew he was wrong. Again, not exactly confident in the guys ability. I just said okay I’ll come pick it up.
When I picked it up I told him he was wrong about the wiring and why. I also printed out 2 sources from Gibson manuals showing he was wrong. He goes to his computer and has the wiring diagram pulled up on the Seymour Duncan site. I told him they might be SD pickups, but they should be wired like a Gibson.
He admitted he was wrong and offered to fix it. I told him I now needed the guitar back for gigs and how long he needed it. He said 3-4 days because the wiring is really tricky in there. I know how excuses can make 3-4 days even longer and told him I would just take care of the wiring myself. Again also talking about how difficult it is. After making me waste a trip to pick it up, he charged me a full 60.00 to replace the nut and fix the toggle switch, and no offer to expedite fixing what he did wrong.
I will not use DFW Guitars or Dave Underwood again and would suggest finding other alternatives for quality work on quality instruments. Maybe he’s good with necks, frets or something, but wiring and pickups don’t seem to be in his skill set and his business and customer service acumen are well below most acceptable levels.
His website says satisfaction guaranteed. Not true and I’m not the only one who says so.
Egregiously long turnaround time, poor communication.
I dropped off a guitar to get an overhaul. It would need a pre-wired wiring harness, new pickups, new tuners, new bridge and a new nut. All of these parts I provided. Granted, this was a bit of work, but he told me it would be around a one week turnaround.
Three weeks later, after hearing nothing, I inquire as to the guitar's status. He replied that he wanted to take it to Brian Paul Guitars to get the electronics done right. Um, excuse me, I gave you a pre-wired harness....as in, all the soldering is done. All he had to do is wire the harness to the jack, solder on the pickups and its done. Nothing was complex about this at all.
After multiple inquiries over the next THREE MONTHS!!!! with no explanation or apology, I finally told him that I need my guitar back whether it's done or not.
When I got the guitar back, again no explanation as to why it took so long, the nut was poorly cut, making the guitar very uncomfortable to play. I think that he should have rectified this, but at this point I was not about to leave my guitar with this guy another second. I took the guitar to a reputable, local repair shop and had the nut recut at my own expense.
All in all, a not fun experience. He needs to COMMUNICATE with his customers! I am a very patient and reasonable guy, but this situation tried my patience. If he was unable or unwilling to finish this project in a reasonable time frame, he should have called me, told me the situation, and asked if I wished to wait or to take the guitar somewhere else.
I have been playing guitar for 20 years and dealing with this guy is, by far, the worst experience I've ever had with a guitar shop. He took a week longer than he said which would have been fine except he not only scratched my brand new guitar but he also ruined the brand new bridge. He cut the groove for the high E on my tune o matic as deep as the low E and then raised the bridge a good inch higher on the high side to try and compensate. When I asked him about it he blamed it on the bridge. He charged me more than double what he quoted on top of all the damage he did. When I voiced my dissatisfaction he said he always makes things right and promised to mail me a replacement bridge. Even after reminding him twice over a period of three weeks, the bridge never came. I've now had this guitar for almost two months and though it is beat up a bit more now, still haven't been able to play it. I only hope to help others avoid this experience as I am confident this guy won't be in business for long with this level of service.