Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Music Store / Repair Shop Adventures of a 1968 lefty Fender Stratocaster Reissue (Part 1)

A short while ago, I got this beautiful 1968 Strat reissue (made in Japan, 1993).  Very nice lefty guitar.  Thing is, I'm a right-handed player.  No matter though.  I can just restring it, flip it and play upside down.  I'm certainly no Hendrix, but Hendrix did it (well, he played right-handed guitars upside down).  I'm perfectly aware about design issues, pickups, necks, knobs, pickguard etc.  Being mainly a finger-style bass player and acoustic guitar player, it actually quite works (playing a lefty upside down) given the way I play.  I just need a couple of adjustments made to the bridge and the nut.  I don't need any high precision adjustments, just enough to make the guitar more comfortable and playable.  I'm not gigging or anything, and just play casually at home.  Slam dunk, right?

I've been a customer of Music Unlimited in San Leandro in the past and had been very happy with their service.  They were very helpful the times I visited, so it was the first place I considered going to.  I went in and showed it to one of the guys there.  This guy at first feigned ignorance about my guitar and suggested that it might be a fake even after I told him exactly what it was.  He gave the impression at first that they just didn't want to do the work as he was presenting obstacle after obstacle to try and talk me out of it.  He then said to wait for another other guy.  After the other guy said my guitar was "a real Fender" and after I told him what I wanted done, he, instead of working with me, started asking me how much I had paid for it, what kind of investment I had on the guitar, and if it had any sentimental value to me.  Then both of them mercilessly tried to get me to instead trade it in for another guitar (any guitar! even the low-end Squiers and unknown brand guitars!) on the spot while offering me a ridiculously and insultingly low trade-in price. When I finally asked them if they could just do what I originally asked, they were very dismissive and not encouraging at all.  It was clear to me that they didn't want my business.  They just ignored me after I told them I didn't want to trade my guitar in. I didn't even feel like returning to buy strings!

It was a very unfortunate experience because one wants to support small / independent business, but those guys just made me want to stick to the Guitar Center instead (not a knock on Guitar Center mind you).

So now I'm actively looking for a local place where I can take my guitar.  Hopefully "Part 2" is going to be the happy ending of the saga of the bridge and nut!

Have you ever been treated like that before?  Have you been in a similar situation to mine?  Any advice?

Here's a not-so-good picture of a great guitar:


Tom Eckels said...

Well, you asked....

Switching that guitar from it's current left-handed status to right-handed would be complete and utter stupidity. I'm a left-handed player myself who owns a custom made left-handed strat. I started out having to play on restrung right-handed guitars and hated it...

I believe the guys at the shop were trying to steer you away from ruining an instrument for no good reason, but it seems you were too clueless to understand their reluctance to do what you wanted.

why in the hell don't you just sell the axe and use the money you get to buy a right-handed model?? By you own admission you're a dabbler on the instrument so why waste all that money making something it isn't out of something it is????

Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me, but hey, it's your money.

p.s. I play drums left-handed too but that's a different set of problems.

The Rush Fan said...

Thank you for your comment Tom. Believe it or not, I'm not as clueless as you may think! (I hope! :) ) I ended up talking to a few more folks, including music store people, a luthier and someone in the guitar manufacturing business. They basically echoed what you said, but I stand by my comment about the sneakiness of the original guys in the music shop. Their interest was solely to get my guitar at the lowest price. I understand it's their business, but they weren't very respectful at all. Stayed tuned for my next post where I'll go into a little more detail about it.