Buzz is my Gibson F5G mandolin. I’ve saved quite a few years for Buzz and he’s been worth every penny since I’ve had him. One of the reasons I went with a brand new Gibson besides the name Gibson was the fact that the store where I purchased it from posted a killer video of him and raved about him on said video (The Mandolin Store in Arizona, absolutely great to deal with) was also the lifetime warranty Gibson provides with the purchase of a new instrument.
Buzz was just built in February and I received him right around early March. We’ve hit it off. The finish is stellar, the sound is exactly how I have always envisioned a quality mandolin to sound but the action was a bit on the high side.
BTW: If you are not familiar with mandolin playing and/or players they can be a very judging group of people. Issues such as pick type, players and string height are hotly debated and the Mandolin Cafe(which I visit multiple times per day and find it and most people who post on it an unending source of information and inspiration) and can lead to some colorful posts to say the least.
Anyway, I like my action low, and since its my mandolin, I’d like it lower. The problem was when I lowered the bridge (a very easy process) it was about as low as it could go so, since I am not a repair person, I decided to take to a professional shop while I was on the road in Knoxville, TN who happened to sell Blue Chip picks (type that into the forum search at the Cafe and enjoy the threads) and asked the gentleman who worked there (great guy) how much a set up would be and how long it would take? He looked down the neck and said “You know there is a hump in the neck, right?” My answer was “No, I didn’t” He went on to tell me how occasionally the neck gets installed at a wrong angle and that any more lowering really wouldn’t be possible as it would cause string buzz (not why I named him Buzz) due to the hump. He said he would send it back Gibson as it was something they would be able to handle. He then had me play a Gibson nearly identical to mine and the neck was perfect. Nice low string action and PLENTY of room left for bridge adjustment. He said “that’s what a neck should play like.” I agreed!
This is a bit of a bummer as it’s brand new and I’ve only had it for 3 and 1/2 months, it’s only 4 months old and now it’s back to the factory; hence this blog.
So now I’m about to find out if paying extra for a brand new instrument for the warranty was truly worth it. How long will it take? What’s the process like? Gibson is slightly notorious for horrible customer service in the past although I’ve heard stories that it’s gotten better. Now I guess I’ll find out first hand.
The mandolin has never been left out of it’s hardshell case if it wasn’t being played. It’s never been left in a vehicle in extreme conditions. The truss rod has not been touched since I’ve owned it and since I bought it new I’m guessing it hasn’t been touched at all and I bought it from a reputable dealer. (again The Mandolin Store)
I called Gibson the minute I left the shop and spoke with Daryl Mosley who was very helpful and sent me an email with all of the information I would need and assured me if anything was unclear, I could just call him and he’d help me out.
The email was very clear and detailed and I’ve followed the instructions to the letter. (include RMA number, original receipt, description of the problem, packed in case, and then in a corrugated box with packing materials) I packed it back up exactly how it was sent to me and even paid additional at UPS to have them pack my box in another box to guarantee it with their “pack and ship”guarantee which means if it is damaged, they will replace it.
According to the Gibson warranty the owner pays shipping to Gibson. No problem, although with insurance it was about $126 all together.
The package is set to arrive tomorrow. Thus far, thanks to Daryl, my experience has been great. Now the true test begins when Buzz arrives in Nashville tomorrow.