The Stew-Mac experience; not what it used to be.

CB91710

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The "fret rocker" is another one I don't get.
Fret rocker can be handy, at least figuring out if it's a high or low fret causing the issue.
Ya... ultimately, you're still going to raise the action or send it to "the guy"

Their new fret rocker with the diamond abrasive embedded?
Ya... You should love that one... it'll probably generate a lot of fretjobs for you after people screw up their frets trying to spot level with it.
 

cmjohnson

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My "fret rocker" is a scrap of steel that I ground flat on one edge using a surface grinder, at a local machine shop.

I have also used the side of a 3" fine steel backed diamond file I got at wal-mart. Those were such handy little diamond files that I bought several of them.
 

CB91710

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A friend of mine made a form for bending the sides of acoustic guitars, it's heated by a 250W lightbulb.
Every tradesman, from Luthier to electrician, probably has at least as many home-made tools cobbled together to meet an immediate need than they do purchased tools.
My truck got broken into and cleaned out in '99.
Boss asked me for a list of tools, I honestly couldn't list more than 1/4 of the contents of that truck.
 

LtDave32

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Fret rocker can be handy, at least figuring out if it's a high or low fret causing the issue.
Ya... ultimately, you're still going to raise the action or send it to "the guy"

Their new fret rocker with the diamond abrasive embedded?
Ya... You should love that one... it'll probably generate a lot of fretjobs for you after people screw up their frets trying to spot level with it.

So is a piece of scrap just-about-anything. = fret rocker.

"Their new fret rocker with the diamond abrasive embedded?
Ya... You should love that one..."

Wait. what?.. Diamond abrasive?

So what, it cuts just the place on the fret the fret rocker touches? Sorta notches it, does it?

Yeah, I do fret jobs. Damn right, folks. I'll even give a SM fucked-up discount. You use that shit, you bugger it up, take it to Desert Star. We're offering a 20% discount on fret jobs that are sent to me because of SM toys.

I'm not even kidding.
 

ehb

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"I see you got a small order in from SM. Whatdja get?"

- Screwed.
 

wildhawk1

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Well, I've got so many things going on, it was an oversight on my part. I had it on a list, but failed to look at the list.

This is what happens to cantankerous old shits like me who are extremely busy with guitar builds. We get CRS syndrome.

Thing is, this used to not be a problem. You could simply call SM and get service.

However, you still can get a person on the phone at LMI. Good folks.

Once I ordered some fret board blanks from LMI. They sent me my boards.. But they also sent me three ebony boards as well.

I called them (my point here is that I could), told them the mix up, and offered to send them back the ebony boards, as its quite a chunk of change for premium ebony, and they could just knock the shipping off my next order to compensate me.

..They told me to keep the boards, and thanked me for the offer.

Saw a recent walkthrough of their location on YouTube. When they walked by the CS desks not a soul in sight.

Host explained they were working from home with the bug thing. :hmm:
 

LtDave32

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Saw a recent walkthrough of their location on YouTube. When they walked by the CS desks not a soul in sight.

Host explained they were working from home with the bug thing. :hmm:

So who puts parts in boxes?
 
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cybermgk

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Saw a recent walkthrough of their location on YouTube. When they walked by the CS desks not a soul in sight.

Host explained they were working from home with the bug thing. :hmm:
CS working from home can ,make calls, but more importantly answer them too.

Who is LMI?
 

Joe Desperado

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A friend of mine made a form for bending the sides of acoustic guitars, it's heated by a 250W lightbulb.
I think we all did prior to 2000 or so. The Fox bender was really the only way to bend sides at home. Until someone smart figured out you cause use the heating blankets for hot water pipes. I still use the fox bender, but haven’t plugged the light bulbs (3 of them in mine) for many years.
 

wildhawk1

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CS working from home can ,make calls, but more importantly answer them too.

IF there's someone making sure they do their job.

In the video I posted above the host gave the impression most of their CSR's are part time college students working from home.
 

Joe Desperado

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....gotta be careful how I say this....a certain kind of luthier/tech whose ego is stroked by having at least one each of every specialized gadget in the catalog. ("I don't have a left-handed No. 0 ultra fine cut fret end file, I must order one and then my life will be complete...until they come up with another new gadget!" ....Many of which are completely unnecessary and are simply convenience items, or, dare I say it, just a reinvented wheel.

Well, I am one of those guys who have just about every tool in the SM catalog. At least up until they were sold a few years back. For 30+ years I made my own tools whenever possible and still have some I use. But I repair and restore guitar for a living. Many of the specialized tools from luthier sharper image (StewMac) just work better, faster and easier. Most tools pay for themselves in one job. Oh and if I buy something and it doesn’t work as described, I can return it (or sell it for almost full price on eBay).

I know you were not specifically talking about me or my type/level, and I don’t want to defend StewMac‘s policies or pricing but I wanted to make clear for aspiring lutheirs and those of intermediate level that having the proper tools can and does make all the difference.

BTW: I placed my first order from StewMac in 1974 or 1975. The new owners and computer system don’t know me from Adam. I might as well be a new client.
 

davidos

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The StewMac experience totally sucks now… no phone support, no return paperwork in the box and I’ve had wrong items shipped a few times recently. I returned an item 3+ weeks ago and it basically disappeared… oops, I’m out $100. Didn’t renew my stew max membership. And btw, I have been going into work every day since March 2020 and my office is no where near as nice as casa StewMac..come on guys, let’s right the ship!
 

CB91710

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So is a piece of scrap just-about-anything. = fret rocker.

"Their new fret rocker with the diamond abrasive embedded?
Ya... You should love that one..."

Wait. what?.. Diamond abrasive?

So what, it cuts just the place on the fret the fret rocker touches? Sorta notches it, does it?

Yeah, I do fret jobs. Damn right, folks. I'll even give a SM fucked-up discount. You use that shit, you bugger it up, take it to Desert Star. We're offering a 20% discount on fret jobs that are sent to me because of SM toys.

I'm not even kidding.
They call it the "Fret Kisser" and it's $125
Or $138 with an "understring file"... because you're going to have to recrown after using the FretMuncher and need a file that won't file your strings....

 

CB91710

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LtDave32

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IF there's someone making sure they do their job.

In the video I posted above the host gave the impression most of their CSR's are part time college students working from home.

So where are the guys who used to actually know stuff? Where did they go?
 
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LtDave32

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They call it the "Fret Kisser" and it's $125
Or $138 with an "understring file"... because you're going to have to recrown after using the FretMuncher and need a file that won't file your strings....


For $138.00, I'll pucker up myself and start kissing frets.
 

LtDave32

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Well, I am one of those guys who have just about every tool in the SM catalog. At least up until they were sold a few years back. For 30+ years I made my own tools whenever possible and still have some I use. But I repair and restore guitar for a living. Many of the specialized tools from luthier sharper image (StewMac) just work better, faster and easier. Most tools pay for themselves in one job. Oh and if I buy something and it doesn’t work as described, I can return it (or sell it for almost full price on eBay).

I know you were not specifically talking about me or my type/level, and I don’t want to defend StewMac‘s policies or pricing but I wanted to make clear for aspiring lutheirs and those of intermediate level that having the proper tools can and does make all the difference.

BTW: I placed my first order from StewMac in 1974 or 1975. The new owners and computer system don’t know me from Adam. I might as well be a new client.


I'm a pro myself, Joe. Full time. But I find some of their stuff just ridiculous and over-the-top. "you just can't do it without this" narrative.

Not only that, but there was some really bad advice given for new guys. Using the radius blocks as "fret levelers" was said right in their catalog. While a radius sanding block *can* be used as a fret leveler in the hands of someone who really knows what they are doing, I wouldn't recommend it at all. I was taught to use straight, flat beams. And I've used them with success ever since. And I have seen right on these pages, people who used a radius block as a fret leveler (based on what SM had written) and buggered the job up terribly.


Some of their stuff is right on the money though. I'll admit to the good quality and thoughtful design of the tools.

But the lowering of the bar where customer service is concerned. That's a load of BS. Hiding behind the pandemic.

While other outfits are at work, showing up, ready to do business and take care of who pays them.
 

cmjohnson

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I actually do use a radius block to level sand a new fretjob. I never had a problem with that, and I can get action height as low as any other tech who has a lot of experience doing fretjobs and setups. I use some pretty fine paper on the block, so I sneak up on the ideal profile rather than hog the frets down to nothing with aggressive paper. I'd always prefer to sneak up slowly and hit my mark than be impatient, be aggressive, and overshoot.

It does take skill to use a radius block to level a fretjob. But it takes skill to use a levelling beam. With practice, anyone can develop those skills either way.

If I decide I want a levelling beam I'll just take a piece of heavy wall 1x2 steel tubing to my friendly local machine shop, and use their surface grinder to level its surfaces in a few minutes. Benefit of having friends who own machine shops.
 

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