Ian Elson Guitars - AVOID!!

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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 7045
    p90fool said:
    It's all very well for a talking shop full of nerds like this one to describe someone buying an 800 quid guitar as naive and/or greedy, but for anyone who started on a £120 Squier it sounds like at lot of money for hopefully a classy guitar, and it should at least work properly. 

    I do my homework to a ridiculous degree because it interests me greatly, but I wouldn't dream of victim blaming those who have handed over the best part of a grand and been sent a load of crap. 

    Get a grip guys, we're not all founts of technical knowledge. 
    A lot of the musicians I have played with over the years know next to nothing about gear and £800 is huge amount of money for some, so buying a handmade guitar for that cost wouldn't seem unreasonable.

    However, I doubt any of those guys would be in the market for a handmade guitar and I doubt any of them would buy a guitar from an unknown builder on a whim - purely because it would still be a major purchase.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 17249
    p90fool said:
    It's all very well for a talking shop full of nerds like this one to describe someone buying an 800 quid guitar as naive and/or greedy, but for anyone who started on a £120 Squier it sounds like at lot of money for hopefully a classy guitar, and it should at least work properly. 

    I do my homework to a ridiculous degree because it interests me greatly, but I wouldn't dream of victim blaming those who have handed over the best part of a grand and been sent a load of crap. 

    Get a grip guys, we're not all founts of technical knowledge. 
    100% this. 

    Any guitar that costs 4x a good entry-level instrument should be fundamentally functional. That means the neck should be straight, the frets should be in the right places, the hardware should be correctly-installed and work properly, as should the electric bits. The guitar in the OP clearly doesn't tick those boxes and it isn't a buyer's fault for not knowing the price was unreasonable. 

    It's not like handmade guitars are something you can buy in Tescos so it's not reasonable for a noob to understand what goes into one. 
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  • vizviz Frets: 7963
    p90fool said:
    It's all very well for a talking shop full of nerds like this one to describe someone buying an 800 quid guitar as naive and/or greedy, but for anyone who started on a £120 Squier it sounds like at lot of money for hopefully a classy guitar, and it should at least work properly. 

    I do my homework to a ridiculous degree because it interests me greatly, but I wouldn't dream of victim blaming those who have handed over the best part of a grand and been sent a load of crap. 

    Get a grip guys, we're not all founts of technical knowledge. 
    100% this. 

    Any guitar that costs 4x a good entry-level instrument should be fundamentally functional. That means the neck should be straight, the frets should be in the right places, the hardware should be correctly-installed and work properly, as should the electric bits. The guitar in the OP clearly doesn't tick those boxes and it isn't a buyer's fault for not knowing the price was unreasonable. 

    It's not like handmade guitars are something you can buy in Tescos so it's not reasonable for a noob to understand what goes into one. 


    Yep. Likewise agree with danishbacon and brownovich. 

    And also, I think if someone’s starting out, it’s not unreasonable to expect him/her to make a few business judgements that they might regret later, pricing being one of them. 

    I can easily imagine someone thinking, “ok, parts will cost this, I’m happy to charge my labour at that, overheads are free, so this is how much I’ll sell my guitar at”, and if that’s too expensive, nobody will buy it, and if it’s too cheap he/she will make a loss and try to recover that through subsequent price increases / cheaper parts. Ultimately it’s their issue, not ours. 

    I’m NOT talking about the quality of workmanship here - obviously that’s covered by sale of goods legislation. But pricing is totally a business judgement (in either direction, thank you Russ Andrews). 
    Anything that isn’t pentatonic is pretentious wank -  LastMantra
    more on the strength of my ability to own a PA than to play a guitar” - ICBM
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 7257
    p90fool said:
    It's all very well for a talking shop full of nerds like this one to describe someone buying an 800 quid guitar as naive and/or greedy, but for anyone who started on a £120 Squier it sounds like at lot of money for hopefully a classy guitar, and it should at least work properly. 

    I do my homework to a ridiculous degree because it interests me greatly, but I wouldn't dream of victim blaming those who have handed over the best part of a grand and been sent a load of crap. 

    Get a grip guys, we're not all founts of technical knowledge. 
    100% this. 

    Any guitar that costs 4x a good entry-level instrument should be fundamentally functional. That means the neck should be straight, the frets should be in the right places, the hardware should be correctly-installed and work properly, as should the electric bits. The guitar in the OP clearly doesn't tick those boxes and it isn't a buyer's fault for not knowing the price was unreasonable. 

    It's not like handmade guitars are something you can buy in Tescos so it's not reasonable for a noob to understand what goes into one. 
    Totally 100% agree that a guitar costing as much as this should be playable and should not have the problems these piles of plop have...

    also agree that £700 is a chunk of anyone’s money to put down on a guitar, noob player or otherwise...

    Even more reason to do your homework!!!!!

    now before anyone starts getting pissy and shouting “victim blaming” again... re read and understand what myself and others have said...

    whilst £700 is a big step up from an entry level guitar and is a large sum of money to invest in an instrument... it is so wildly lower than the
    price of even a cheap custom made bolt together... it will NEVER be a playable quality instrument at that price point made by a one man band in a shed!!!!!

    and yes, totally agree that the guy should not be making/selling guitars... and yes, really do feel for the folk that have been suckered in by this shyster, and yes £700 should get you a playable instrument... but it won’t get you a playable hand built custom guitar and that is what folk need to understand before they hand over their hard earned on a whim!!!!




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  • FelineGuitarsFelineGuitars Frets: 8613
    tFB Trader
    M1ck said:
    ** why the heck should a skilled guitar maker be making the same or less money as a shelf stacker in Aldi/Tesco/Lidl  or some other menial job is beyond me.
    Woa WTF? That comes over all wrong (to me) 
    I think these jobs are ESSENTIAL and hugely value the people who do these jobs and if the lockdown has taught us anything it is how vital these frontline jobs are.
    And I have done my fair share of these jobs too when younger and know that they can be demanding jobs physically: shop work, kitchen porter, warehouse person.

    But everybody knows what is meant by that term : a relatively unskilled job that requires little training

    Even the description in the dictionary is:

    menial
    adjective
    1. (of work) not requiring much skill and lacking prestige.

      Whilst a skilled guitarmaker may have done several years at college as well as an apprenticeship/internship and have years of skills development under their belt too, and still sadly be making only £15k-£20k a year after working their trade for several decades.

    Many guitars have a re-sale value. Some you'll never want to sell.
    Stockist of: Earvana & Graphtech nuts, Faber Tonepros & Gotoh hardware, Fatcat bridges. Highwood Saddles.

    Pickups from BKP, Oil City & Monty's pickups.

      Expert guitar repairs and upgrades - fretwork our speciality! www.felineguitars.com.  Facebook too!

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  • Nick13Nick13 Frets: 631
    It's funny that there is such a high % of guitar builders are a bit mental.  :)

    That said, trying to make a living in a market that is near impossible to make money in without an established brand...

    Maybe it's not that much of a surprise...
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  • mendymendy Frets: 171
    edited July 25
     B)
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  • Nick13Nick13 Frets: 631
    mendy said:
    Nick13 said:
    It's funny that there is such a high % of guitar builders are a bit mental.  :)

    That said, trying to make a living in a market that is near impossible to make money in without an established brand...

    Maybe it's not that much of a surprise...
    Quite offensive. I’m not mental at all. That’s what my therapist says anyway. Regards, NoRefunds4You

    This is exactly how the individus in question usually handle online discussion haha
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  • Nick13Nick13 Frets: 631
    Devries
    Rico Jr
    Kiesel
    Strictly 7
    One other American guy that made some amazing stuff but ran away with the cash

    To name a few...

    All mental

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  • jimcroisdalejimcroisdale Frets: 38
    He's booted me off his Facebook page now, and written a nice little character assassination of me.

    "I tried building a guitar for a customer who was on a very low budget. This year hasn't been easy so couldn't turn it down as I'd make nothing but keep working. Didn't work out unsurprisingly so I refunded him in full in 3 days of getting the guitar back (which I thought was really good going). Not for one of his friends though. Absolutely awful bloke. Bile has been incredible...I'm very upfront as anyone who has a guitar from me knows. This has been a bit of an eye opener. My initial mistake to think I could do it for that money I suppose but I thought I think I did the right thing. Live and learn. The guy himself has been cool about it"

    So I'm an "absolutely awful bloke" now! Makes me glad to have shared this sorry tale in the first place. 

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  • WarblingtonWarblington Frets: 67
    He's booted me off his Facebook page now, and written a nice little character assassination of me.

    "I tried building a guitar for a customer who was on a very low budget. This year hasn't been easy so couldn't turn it down as I'd make nothing but keep working. Didn't work out unsurprisingly so I refunded him in full in 3 days of getting the guitar back (which I thought was really good going). Not for one of his friends though. Absolutely awful bloke. Bile has been incredible...I'm very upfront as anyone who has a guitar from me knows. This has been a bit of an eye opener. My initial mistake to think I could do it for that money I suppose but I thought I think I did the right thing. Live and learn. The guy himself has been cool about it"

    So I'm an "absolutely awful bloke" now! Makes me glad to have shared this sorry tale in the first place. 

    Give the Gambling Commission a call about the lottery he is running for personal gain.
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 7257
    He's booted me off his Facebook page now, and written a nice little character assassination of me.

    "I tried building a guitar for a customer who was on a very low budget. This year hasn't been easy so couldn't turn it down as I'd make nothing but keep working. Didn't work out unsurprisingly so I refunded him in full in 3 days of getting the guitar back (which I thought was really good going). Not for one of his friends though. Absolutely awful bloke. Bile has been incredible...I'm very upfront as anyone who has a guitar from me knows. This has been a bit of an eye opener. My initial mistake to think I could do it for that money I suppose but I thought I think I did the right thing. Live and learn. The guy himself has been cool about it"

    So I'm an "absolutely awful bloke" now! Makes me glad to have shared this sorry tale in the first place. 

    https://m.facebook.com/IanElsonGuitars/

    would be a shame if folk posted a link to this thread on his fb page :)
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  • viclennardviclennard Frets: 24
    poopot said:
    p90fool said:
    It's all very well for a talking shop full of nerds like this one to describe someone buying an 800 quid guitar as naive and/or greedy, but for anyone who started on a £120 Squier it sounds like at lot of money for hopefully a classy guitar, and it should at least work properly. 

    I do my homework to a ridiculous degree because it interests me greatly, but I wouldn't dream of victim blaming those who have handed over the best part of a grand and been sent a load of crap. 

    Get a grip guys, we're not all founts of technical knowledge. 
    100% this. 

    Any guitar that costs 4x a good entry-level instrument should be fundamentally functional. That means the neck should be straight, the frets should be in the right places, the hardware should be correctly-installed and work properly, as should the electric bits. The guitar in the OP clearly doesn't tick those boxes and it isn't a buyer's fault for not knowing the price was unreasonable. 

    It's not like handmade guitars are something you can buy in Tescos so it's not reasonable for a noob to understand what goes into one. 
    Totally 100% agree that a guitar costing as much as this should be playable and should not have the problems these piles of plop have...

    also agree that £700 is a chunk of anyone’s money to put down on a guitar, noob player or otherwise...

    Even more reason to do your homework!!!!!

    now before anyone starts getting pissy and shouting “victim blaming” again... re read and understand what myself and others have said...

    whilst £700 is a big step up from an entry level guitar and is a large sum of money to invest in an instrument... it is so wildly lower than the
    price of even a cheap custom made bolt together... it will NEVER be a playable quality instrument at that price point made by a one man band in a shed!!!!!

    and yes, totally agree that the guy should not be making/selling guitars... and yes, really do feel for the folk that have been suckered in by this shyster, and yes £700 should get you a playable instrument... but it won’t get you a playable hand built custom guitar and that is what folk need to understand before they hand over their hard earned on a whim!!!!




    A few answers to your questions (as I'm one of those caught out by Elson).

    A friend made me aware of the deal he was offering: six guitars with the same body/neck shape and material (mahogany) with a choice of fingerboard wood, tuners, pickups (Bare Knuckle) and bridge. On speaking with Elson, I became aware that he custom shaped the bodies and neck, starting with a block of mahogany. He bought the hardware at a dealer discount. By building six guitars in parallel there was a bulk saving plus he had stocks of various items. My figures told me he would probably be making around £150-200 profit per guitar. That's around a grand for a side project. I didn't see that as a red flag especially as there were no negative comments anywhere in December 2019. Given the handmaking in parallel, two-and-a-half months didn't seem unreasonable.

    What did I expect? A guitar that would bridge the gap between the other guitars I own. I liked the idea of having a P90-based guitar, especially one with the Bare Knuckle version. Tim Mills had replicated a pair of Tom Holmes pickups for me previously and their pickups are really good. I liked the idea of solid mahogany and chose a decent trem unit (for an additional £85). My luthier maintains guitars for the likes of Mark Knopfler and Brian May and I know what he would have charged for a custom guitar. I didn't expect that level of quality - but I did expect a guitar that would have offered my a recording tonality I didn't have. I've owned many guitars in the past. This was an opportunity to have some input into the build.

    Given the lockdowns last year, I wasn't surprised when the end-of-March deadline wasn't made. That said, I didn't expect it to be a further three months but any reasonable person would have allowed for this given the circumstances. 

    I saw photos of the build as it progressed. I had various choices including the stain colour, fret wire and electrics. I spoke with Olly who wires up the guitars regarding possible wiring configurations. The six of us involved in the purchase were in communication. No-one raised any issues. This was no whim of a purchase and I'm not naive.

    Given all the above, where are the red flags for a non-luthier?
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  • Nick13Nick13 Frets: 631
    edited June 2
    poopot said:
    p90fool said:
    It's all very well for a talking shop full of nerds like this one to describe someone buying an 800 quid guitar as naive and/or greedy, but for anyone who started on a £120 Squier it sounds like at lot of money for hopefully a classy guitar, and it should at least work properly. 

    I do my homework to a ridiculous degree because it interests me greatly, but I wouldn't dream of victim blaming those who have handed over the best part of a grand and been sent a load of crap. 

    Get a grip guys, we're not all founts of technical knowledge. 
    100% this. 

    Any guitar that costs 4x a good entry-level instrument should be fundamentally functional. That means the neck should be straight, the frets should be in the right places, the hardware should be correctly-installed and work properly, as should the electric bits. The guitar in the OP clearly doesn't tick those boxes and it isn't a buyer's fault for not knowing the price was unreasonable. 

    It's not like handmade guitars are something you can buy in Tescos so it's not reasonable for a noob to understand what goes into one. 
    Totally 100% agree that a guitar costing as much as this should be playable and should not have the problems these piles of plop have...

    also agree that £700 is a chunk of anyone’s money to put down on a guitar, noob player or otherwise...

    Even more reason to do your homework!!!!!

    now before anyone starts getting pissy and shouting “victim blaming” again... re read and understand what myself and others have said...

    whilst £700 is a big step up from an entry level guitar and is a large sum of money to invest in an instrument... it is so wildly lower than the
    price of even a cheap custom made bolt together... it will NEVER be a playable quality instrument at that price point made by a one man band in a shed!!!!!

    and yes, totally agree that the guy should not be making/selling guitars... and yes, really do feel for the folk that have been suckered in by this shyster, and yes £700 should get you a playable instrument... but it won’t get you a playable hand built custom guitar and that is what folk need to understand before they hand over their hard earned on a whim!!!!





    Fully agree with this.  I'd never buy from a solo "custom builder" without them having some serious credibility and worldwide buyer feedback behind them. 

    At its most basic level you are handing over cash to an individual who has made a veeeery risky choice to  try and make a living out of building guitars.  As a buyer that is a big risk especislly if its a new builder with limited positive reviews.

    Yes everyone needs to start somewhere and not all of them are like this but I'm always amazed when people seem surprised that a lot of these guys aren't the full shilling.

    It's like local gig promoters, anyone smart enough to do well it is smart enough to avoid it and anyone who isn't smart enough to do well it isn't smart enough to avoid it....
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 7257

    A few answers to your questions (as I'm one of those caught out by Elson).

    A friend made me aware of the deal he was offering: six guitars with the same body/neck shape and material (mahogany) with a choice of fingerboard wood, tuners, pickups (Bare Knuckle) and bridge. On speaking with Elson, I became aware that he custom shaped the bodies and neck, starting with a block of mahogany. He bought the hardware at a dealer discount. By building six guitars in parallel there was a bulk saving plus he had stocks of various items. My figures told me he would probably be making around £150-200 profit per guitar. That's around a grand for a side project. I didn't see that as a red flag especially as there were no negative comments anywhere in December 2019. Given the handmaking in parallel, two-and-a-half months didn't seem unreasonable.

    What did I expect? A guitar that would bridge the gap between the other guitars I own. I liked the idea of having a P90-based guitar, especially one with the Bare Knuckle version. Tim Mills had replicated a pair of Tom Holmes pickups for me previously and their pickups are really good. I liked the idea of solid mahogany and chose a decent trem unit (for an additional £85). My luthier maintains guitars for the likes of Mark Knopfler and Brian May and I know what he would have charged for a custom guitar. I didn't expect that level of quality - but I did expect a guitar that would have offered my a recording tonality I didn't have. I've owned many guitars in the past. This was an opportunity to have some input into the build.

    Given the lockdowns last year, I wasn't surprised when the end-of-March deadline wasn't made. That said, I didn't expect it to be a further three months but any reasonable person would have allowed for this given the circumstances. 

    I saw photos of the build as it progressed. I had various choices including the stain colour, fret wire and electrics. I spoke with Olly who wires up the guitars regarding possible wiring configurations. The six of us involved in the purchase were in communication. No-one raised any issues. This was no whim of a purchase and I'm not naive.

    Given all the above, where are the red flags for a non-luthier?
    Ok... all fair points... and I am sorry you’ve had to go through all this grief...

    You mentioned your tech and what he charges for a build, did you get quotes for a similar build from anyone else? Not having a pop at you by the way, just genuinely curious.
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  • viz said:
    p90fool said:
    It's all very well for a talking shop full of nerds like this one to describe someone buying an 800 quid guitar as naive and/or greedy, but for anyone who started on a £120 Squier it sounds like at lot of money for hopefully a classy guitar, and it should at least work properly. 

    I do my homework to a ridiculous degree because it interests me greatly, but I wouldn't dream of victim blaming those who have handed over the best part of a grand and been sent a load of crap. 

    Get a grip guys, we're not all founts of technical knowledge. 
    100% this. 

    Any guitar that costs 4x a good entry-level instrument should be fundamentally functional. That means the neck should be straight, the frets should be in the right places, the hardware should be correctly-installed and work properly, as should the electric bits. The guitar in the OP clearly doesn't tick those boxes and it isn't a buyer's fault for not knowing the price was unreasonable. 

    It's not like handmade guitars are something you can buy in Tescos so it's not reasonable for a noob to understand what goes into one. 


    Yep. Likewise agree with danishbacon and brownovich. 
    Sounds like a nice sarnie.
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  • Bennyboy-UKBennyboy-UK Frets: 811
    He’s very quick to delete comments and block people on FB... his little gang of sycophants appear  to believe he can do no wrong...
    I'm always looking for interesting USA Hamers for sale. At the moment I'm looking for Virtuoso, Watson, SS2, Vintage S, Vanguard, Centaura HH/2HB, Vector. Drop me a message.
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  • brownovichbrownovich Frets: 395
    poopot said:


    All great experience but not something that many many players will have. You need to see things from the perspective of someone who may not know anything about the industry, or has been taken in by the claims that you can’t get a good guitar from a major manufacturer (which is obviously horseshit, but if you’re not as aware you might be totally sold on his blurb)

    Why would you hand over your money? Because the emphasis is on the seller to make sure their advertising is accurate, not the consumer. 
    So your saying that you need “experience” of guitar building to be able to spot when something is too good to be true?

    As for seeing things from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know about the industry...
    I know fuck all about cement mixers but if I wanted to buy one I would do a bit of research into it... if I came across one advertised at 20% of the cost of the rest I would question as to why it was that cheap!...

    Agreed it’s not up to the consumer to price up how much it costs to make a guitar... however... if something is priced at well below what it should be it should set alarm bells ringing!... a little bit of research on the part of the buyers here would have shown that the guy is shady as fuck.

    not blaming those that have lost money or gone through grief getting their money back in the slightest... this guy should not have been able to put them in that position... however... had they looked into the cost of commissioning a custom build maybe thay would have been saved the grief they’ve had!

     and maybe if more folk did it this prick wouldn’t be still selling piles of shit wood masquerading as guitars!...


    edit... would be good to know why the buyers chose this particular bloke to build them a guitar?

    I hear you and I don’t disagree with any of what you say dude. But at the same time what you’re basically saying is that “everyone that buys high ticket items should be well informed & do their research...” and as much as I’m similar to you in that I research the hell out of most major purchases, it’s not the world we live in, and not everyone will do the same.

    Fact of the matter is people have the right to make purchases of expensive items without ANY research if they so wish, AND still have the expectation that the item is fit for sale & be as advertised.
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  • Nick13Nick13 Frets: 631
    edited June 2
    poopot said:


    All great experience but not something that many many players will have. You need to see things from the perspective of someone who may not know anything about the industry, or has been taken in by the claims that you can’t get a good guitar from a major manufacturer (which is obviously horseshit, but if you’re not as aware you might be totally sold on his blurb)

    Why would you hand over your money? Because the emphasis is on the seller to make sure their advertising is accurate, not the consumer. 
    So your saying that you need “experience” of guitar building to be able to spot when something is too good to be true?

    As for seeing things from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know about the industry...
    I know fuck all about cement mixers but if I wanted to buy one I would do a bit of research into it... if I came across one advertised at 20% of the cost of the rest I would question as to why it was that cheap!...

    Agreed it’s not up to the consumer to price up how much it costs to make a guitar... however... if something is priced at well below what it should be it should set alarm bells ringing!... a little bit of research on the part of the buyers here would have shown that the guy is shady as fuck.

    not blaming those that have lost money or gone through grief getting their money back in the slightest... this guy should not have been able to put them in that position... however... had they looked into the cost of commissioning a custom build maybe thay would have been saved the grief they’ve had!

     and maybe if more folk did it this prick wouldn’t be still selling piles of shit wood masquerading as guitars!...


    edit... would be good to know why the buyers chose this particular bloke to build them a guitar?

    I hear you and I don’t disagree with any of what you say dude. But at the same time what you’re basically saying is that “everyone that buys high ticket items should be well informed & do their research...” and as much as I’m similar to you in that I research the hell out of most major purchases, it’s not the world we live in, and not everyone will do the same.

    Fact of the matter is people have the right to make purchases of expensive items without ANY research if they so wish, AND still have the expectation that the item is fit for sale & be as advertised.

    True but just because you can do something does not mean that you should.  I'm totally on the buyer's side of this argument but being outraged or surprised I don't understand.  Unless you don't get your money back.
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  • M1ckM1ck Frets: 139
    edited July 20
     
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