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Re: LazyDerek

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Re: LazyDerek

Almost one year ago, I decided to build my own guitar. (As proven by my Join date: Oct 8 03.)

At the time I was completely new to wood working and guitar building, but not to guitars. By November '03, I

had decided what guitar I wanted to build and the specs I wanted in my final product. I began pricing wood, tools,

and parts for the guitar. I had asked on Project Guitar for locations to get certain wood types, it was at this time

Derek Neil (KrazyDerek) offered me some of his extra wood. I wanted an ebony fretboard, and he happened to have extra

ebony and offered it to me. I was interested, but voiced my concerns of building my own neck and the cost of the tools

to do one properly.

This is when Derek offered to build the guitar and neck for me. I stated I wanted to build the guitar myself

but was interested in getting a neck done, because of my concerns. I told him what I wanted, in terms of specs and parts.

I sent him an AutoCAD file of the design and asked how much he would charge for something like what I planned. He stated

that since he was a novice guitar builder and had not completed a neck, he would only charge me for parts because it would

be a learning experience for him. I thought, "great" and asked how much it would be. He priced the wood at one of his local

wood shops. He came at me with a price of about $70 plus an additional $10-15 for shipping. So I agreed to the price, and

began gathering up my funds, which included selling a guitar I never used.

At this point my car needed brakes, and my funds got diverted. I told Derek of this, and told him I could have the

money by mid-end of decemeber. I also asked if he could start building it and I would buy it from him when I had the money.

He said he could not do that, and needed the money up front. I understood. So, I told him that I'd get back to him at the end

of December, and I did. We went over the specs and price again, and it came out to $80.

On January 2nd, I sent a USPS International Money Order for $85. I sent this via USPS Priority mail, which takes 3-5 days.

A week or so later, Derek had received the money and began purchasing the wood for my neck. This was sometime in mid-late January.

I told him to take his time, as long as it gone done by Spring Break, and that I would most likely order another one

for summer, Which would be the next breaks of time I would have to work on a guitar. As time went on, I would ask for updates and pictures,

which he put on his website.

In late Feb, he came to me saying he forgot some items on the bill, and would also need measurements of the nut I wanted

to use. So, I sent him the new remainder of the bill, $15, and the nut. So March came around and I was getting ancy because I really

wanted it done by then so I could work on t. In turns out he forgot to order a router bit he needed and was waiting for that.

Of course, I got upset and he apologized saying he should've ordered it before. I agreed.

Spring break came and left, and I had no neck.

April came and Derek told me the neck would be done and shipped on April 25th. Of course I was overly excited, and mentioned

what I wanted on the second neck, so he could at least get a bill ready and possibly start on it. He had told me he had already

started roughing it out. So, April 25th came and left, and no neck was shipped. Turns out he was waiting for a ruler or something

to get precision grounded. Of course I was upset. I also stated I would not pay for the second neck in full, until it was completed.

Derek replied that that was fair.

May came and went, no neck. AT the beginning of June, i told him I wanted it by the end of the month no more bullshit.

June came and left, no neck. July, no neck.

In late August, I talked to Derek about the status of my necks. Now Derek tells me there was a hole for the tuners

that was misaligned and that he had to fill it and redrill it. I asked how long its been like that and he replied "a couple of weeks."

That he had "been putting it off." I of course was pissed off, his reply was filled with sarcasm, "well the $2 commission I'm making

is really the driving factor." At this point, I reminded him that he was the person that set the price. Not me. So to bitch about

not making a commission was to bitch at himself. I told him that I was sick of his bullshit and wanted my money and parts back.

He said it wouldn't take long to finish and send it off, but that if thats what I wanted he would do it. I stated that I wanted

the neck that I had paid for in full, as well as the 2nd neck I had ordered, but did not pay for, but would once I had proof they shipped.

I asked how the 2nd was coming along, and said that I doubt it had even been started. He replied stating something about "how

can I assume that it hasn't been started without even looking in his garage." I replied that I knew my first one, that I had ordered 9months ago

was not finished, and I didn't have to look in his garage. I told him I wanted them done by that friday and shipped the following monday.

He said that was not possible for the second neck. So, I said I wanted them both and would give him an extra week to finish them.

So the date for completion was September 3rd, and shipped on the 6th. I would not pay for the 2nd neck until I had proof they

had shipped, a tracking number. I said I would PayPal as soon as I had that number. He refused, but made a counter offer of

me paying after I receive a picture of them being packed for shipping. I refused. He told me to "look at it like this. If I ship

and you don't pay, noone will hear from you again. But if you pay and I don't ship, you could cause a scene at PG(Project Guitar)."

I replied with "or I could make a scene regardless, about you not completing a neck that was paid for in full 9 months previous."

I said I would paypal 1/4 of the price of the neck with a picture, and the rest with a tracking number. He replied "BRB". And he never

said anything to me about it. So September 6th comes and goes, and I ask if I could have a tracking number for the neck that shipped, assuming of course

it had shipped. Of course, typical Derek, it had not. He was "too busy with school" to ship a neck. He also stated to "not ask" when it would ship.

And here we are. Mid-September. I have no neck and a Jackson that was parted out a year ago for this project that does not seem

to be coming into fruition. I have since lost hope of actually getting the neck, and most likely my parts and money back from this Canadian.

I have started putting my Jackson back together, as well as selling off a chunk of mahagony that I had purchased in hopes to use with the second

neck Derek was to build for me. I'm keeping one in the off chance I do actually receive this neck. And of course, after this

I REALLY doubt to get my neck, money or parts. Of course, if I don't get something back, everyone here will know about it.

I do have Trillian logs of conversatiosn with Derek from Feb 15 to Jul 6. I lost the conversations in August because my HD crashed last week

before I had a chance to backup. I may have one or two on my laptop, but I wont have access to that until Friday. I will gladly cut and paste, or email entire file

to anyone interested. I also have the stub from the USPS money order for $85 that I can scan in. Including a couple of PMs from Derek in January, concerning the wood choices.

To give some perspective of what has happened since January. Just ask yourself, whats happened in 9 months?

I know, myself, I started and ended a relationship. My local community college has built 3 new buildings. Friends have graduated,

and moved on to college. Megadeth has gone from disbanded to rebanded with a new album. Derek has started and possibly finished

2 custom 7 strings, and whatever else he was working on.So in 9 months, this has all happened, but one neck that was paid for in full

has yet to be completed and shipped. Another neck that was ordered 7 months ago, is completely in the air.

Here is a link to the neck I ordered:


John Navarro


Sorry if this is messy. I typed it in Notepad, and Cut and Pasted here.

(edit: fixed my join date. I thought it was 3rd. I see its 8.)

Edited by YDoesGodMockMeSo
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I'm going to put up some numbers here, and a link to Derek's finished neck tutorial/progress page.

It's up to forum members to make up their own minds about this.


C&P from the actual invoice:

**********Final Invoice***********

Neck Order - Custom neck

- Custom neck as per dimensions in CAD file provided.

- Maple & bubinga 3 Piece neck blank

- Ebony fingerboard, 24 frets, 25.5"s, 17"r

- 13 degree custom headstock shape (straight string line for tuners)

- Truss rod thin dual action

- Offset dot MOP inlays + side dot inlays

- Frets, install, level

- Glueing, shaping, radius, back contour. Sanded to 220 (FB 2000)

- 3x3 Black screwless tuners

- Fau ebony binding


-85.00 Payment(s) received, Jan 9th 2004

-10.00 Payment(s) received, for tuners


22.00 Xpress 6 buisness days

Total$ 95.10 USD

Due $ 22.10 USD

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  • 1 month later...

After receiving the neck, my opinion is that its worth what I paid and that Derek has potential.

The neck itself is good, but there are few minor problems that aren't big deals. The minor issues are what I figured would be present in this neck from this builder, since he did it by hand and had little experience. Had it been from another builder that charges $400, I would've been pissed had these been present, but doubt that would've been the case.

1) a couple of the dots aren't aligned properly so it looks like a smiley face. Its not noticeable from afar, but once u get right up in there you see.

2) the veneer on the headstock has some cracking.

3) this is the biggest one. The sides of the neck heel have a bit of a fall. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it, its as if the router went a bit deeper than it should have.

It seem as it'll be an easy fix with some putty and sand that down to the rest of the side.

4) the truss rod channel is a bit 'messy', but it'll be covered w/ a truss rod cover so thats not even an issue.

Other than needing to be finished/sanded its a good neck.

I can't give a review of how it plays/sounds until I can finish up the body w/ some humbuckers.

And to be honest. That "due" was BS. It was paid in full, until it was to ship, then the price magically jumped. And shipping was paid for as well ($15 was the quoted price.) But I paid it regardless.

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First....I'd have built the neck myself for the learning experience. Nothing better than learning a new skill.....Remember knowledge is power

Second....After you break down the price vs materials vs hours of labor.....I'd bet that this neck was built at far less the minimum wage.....Work smarter not harder.

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I picked up the link to this neck some time ago. I thought it was a wonderful example of how to built a neck. I think it explains the process very well. (even the screw ups with the tuner holes.) :D

Appearantly it's also a wonderful example of how not to commission work when you're still a newbee in building necks......or buyer wanting to have neck from relative newbee.

Both of you (and rest of us) learned great lesson. And for that kinda money, I guess you have your fair share of headaches and your money worth of neck.

Next time........with tutorial in hand....built your own. If you like building guitars....you'd start building one yourself sooner or later......

And it better be sooner.

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Seems to me Derek really took on a charity case. When you're not being paid (basically at all) for your labor, it's hard to meet a deadline, and when you haven't done it before, you usually underestimate the amount of time necessary. If I were commissioning a newbie custom "free" neck to be built, I would have little or no expectations on time or quality.

This post actually made me think about doing just that. Even though I'm an experienced luthier, I thought it might be fun to commision an newbie to do a neck for me. It would be sort of special. Then I could be there for phone calls and questions when they needed help, like a coach. I'd get a neck for the cost of materials, and then if it had problems, I could totally deal with it with my own skills. But then I'd have a neck with a nice story behind it. :D

Anyway I'm glad its over. If any of you decide to have a free labor neck or body built in the future, be sure to keep expectations low on all fronts, and realize you are really getting something for nothing, regardless of the time it takes or the fit and finish.

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i think derek made every effort to make the neck as perfect as he could,even if it took longer than expected.the fretting looks a heck of alot better than my first.

BUT i think the neck is too thin.i think you are getting into dangerous territory and i would NEVER,EVER make a neck that thin,unless it was sold bocote,bubinga,ebony,etc....and then it would have to be a neck through for the weight to balance properly because of the heavy woods

but maybe the bubinga strip behind the truss rod will help

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