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holycow
02-08-2012, 06:25 PM
Hello, first of all, mods, didn't know where to post this, so feel free to move it accordingly.

I know many of you here would argue against my experiences with this said 'luthier', but my aim is not to engage in argument. My purpose is to share my extremely negative experience with Brad.

I would like to say that I have thought long and hard about this, wavering between letting it slide, and posting this to the community. I have decided that it is only fair to share this, lest it happens again to someone else.

I first contacted Brad 9 months ago to custom-make a Uke for me. After reading posts of ukes he has made, and the positive responses, I decided that it was a good idea...he seemed like a good guy!

Now, long story short: many emails were exchanged- as a customer, i felt that it was only fair that all the details were discussed before the actual build, and all the while, Brad assured me that this was in fact a necessary procedure...check out his website!

9 months ago, he told me that he hoped to send me the uke in 2-3 months. I was ok with this of course. I was in no rush.

But somehow, he would come up with tonnes of what I think now to be excuses- had to go to wedding, hospital etc etc... Still, i held on to the idea that shit happens! I hoped the best for his health and agreed to let him build the uke to his own time.

This went on for 9 months. So we agreed that it was high time to get the uke finished off- keep in mind that he was the one making me wait!

We exchanged more emails detailing fret markers- I may not be the easiest customer because i was perhaps asking too much of Brad, but if he was incapable of doing the work, he could have sounded off earlier. I also did mention to him that i would be willing to pay for the extraneous inlay work.

And after 9 months of wait, of assurance that he would get my uke done, that it was good that i was sorting out the details with him, he dropped a bomb on me!

He said that, i quote "there comes a time when a luthier has to make a stand when something doesn't make sense...and walk away from a project..."

how rude! after 9 months, he actually had the cheek to send me ONE final email to tell me that he wasnt going to finish off the uke!

I actually think that this is completely unprofessional (i know why he doesn't do this professionally now) and just plain rude!

A Luthier actually listens to what the customer wants, and proffers solutions, alternatives! Not drop a project via ONE email because he couldnt handle it but said that he could! as far as i am concerned, he had no right whatsover, as a human being, to actually tell me if what i want made sense or not. And if it was not feasible, he could have just told me so, or offered options.

My grievance is in how he handled the entire process. Obviously he was never completely honest in the first place. I also made it known to him, that if i had not been clear in my thoughts in discussions between us, he should tell me. All he did was convince me that all was pretty much cool.

A lot of this could be misunderstandings- of course i dont rule it out. and granted, there was a month and a half wait because I had to send him some crystals- but my point here is the way he handled it- unprofessional! he even made it seem like it was my fault?

I wish i never wasted my 9 months on him, and i hope this doesn't happen to someone else!

mm stan
02-08-2012, 06:42 PM
Aloha Holycow,
Sorry you had a bad experience...Personally I prefer not to air out my grievences on a public forum...You are also
new here..and makes me wonder too..you see there is always two sides to a coin..It may have been the uke
was not up to his expectations and didn't want to disappoint you with it or you said he had medical issues too
not here to judge him nor you....ho hard feeling..just saying..I hope you will find another builder to build your uke..

bynapkinart
02-08-2012, 06:46 PM
Well I don't know you, and I don't know Brad. I work in outdoor retail, which can sometimes be more fretful and complicated than luthiery...because there's the added risk of loss of life. There's a line that you really just can't cross when it comes to custom goods. If I get a call from a customer every few months asking if we can change one or two things, I get warning signs because I really don't know if I can even begin my project without another request being made. If I don't complete the project up to your standards, with Brad's freakin' amazing return policy, I might lose a lot of money to this customer.

Most custom instruments take a year or more to make with a team of luthiers working on a template that has been in place for that whole time. Brad is one guy, so any wedding, funeral, hospital visit....anything that would impact any one of us, really...would affect his ability to work on your project. Add into that your inability to make a decision and you've got all sorts of delays.

I really don't see any blame on Brad's part besides giving you a rather optimistic estimate of time of completion. In kayak manufacture we give people a minimum of a year to completion, which loses certain customers but gains longterm trust. Most people are understanding of how custom work has certain limitations in terms of time constraints. Some people are not as understanding.

Again, I don't know you or Brad or his side to this story, but from what you've said I really side with Brad on this dispute. Many people on this board have had positive experiences with this guy, and frankly with this being your only post here I'm going to go ahead and take your story with a grain of salt. I'm sorry if that offends you for whatever reason, but Brad seems to be an honest luthier and I know what it's like to deal with a problematic customer. It's really best to cut your losses ASAP, especially with custom work.

Of course, I could be wrong and Brad could actually be a jerk, but I seriously doubt it. I've been on the receiving end of a bad customer before and I know that you're far more likely to be slimed anonymously on the internet than you are to be praised. This guy has been praised plenty on this board.

YMMV :)

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
02-08-2012, 06:51 PM
No comment from me.

Mods--why not lock this thread immediately? It's going to go downhill very quickly.

Hippie Dribble
02-08-2012, 06:55 PM
Impossible to give a balanced response without hearing the other point of view. The one final email thing where he cut you off doesn't make sense to me, I would like to know a little more about what went on in your dialogues leading up to that point. If what you say is true and there were doubts on his side as to the 'sensibilility' or otherwise of your specs, then agreed, he should have made such things clear to you very early on. Somehow methinks we need to hear the other side though.

I concur with Stan that a public airing of this issue is fraught with many risks and inevitable controversy and I would avoid doing so wherever possible as a person's reputation is now being called into question. But it's not for me to make judgments about that; if you feel you must, you must.

foxfair
02-08-2012, 06:57 PM
Did you ever ask Bradford why the root reason he wanted to call it off? Is it about his time beng constrainted, or your requests too hard to follow, or even any other reason?

ps: ^^^^ I don't agree with above(@bynapkinart); new member should be able to say/post what he wants. No matter it is a hello post, or something more serious.

mm stan
02-08-2012, 07:02 PM
Impossible to give a balanced response without hearing the other point of view. The one final email thing where he cut you off doesn't make sense to me, I would like to know a little more about what went on in your dialogues leading up to that point. If what you say is true and there were doubts on his side as to the 'sensibilility' or otherwise of your specs, then agreed, he should have made such things clear to you very early on. Somehow methinks we need to hear the other side though.

I concur with Stan that a public airing of this issue is fraught with many risks and inevitable controversy and I would avoid doing so wherever possible as a person's reputation is now being called into question. But it's not for me to make judgments about that; if you feel you must, you must.
Yes keep this thread open...it would only fair to hear from the man himself to hear his side..you said your side now let us hear from Brad..it is his reputation and business you are questioning...

SuzukHammer
02-08-2012, 07:08 PM
people are people - human beings.

I was trying to work a custom with another custom luthier and the emails went nowhere. It seemed frustrating; but, I know when people are busy and talking custom wishes with reality and limitations, it sometimes just doesn't work out.

people are people

Ronnie Aloha
02-08-2012, 07:12 PM
Heck, even Chucky M. must get complaints from people other than his wife sometimes, right?

GX9901
02-08-2012, 07:12 PM
Hmm...I've never dealt with Bradford Donaldson, but after reading your grievance, I have a few thoughts:

1. Delays comes standard with pretty much any custom order. The only question is how long. (Mya-Moe tend to meet or exceed their promise date, but I don't consider them a custom builder, more of a made-to-order builder)
2. It just kind of seemed like the OP omitted some details leading to him getting out of the project.
3. It's well publicized that Brad is not a "professional". He's made it well known that he doesn't want this to turn uke building into "work".

mr moonlight
02-08-2012, 07:14 PM
Just lock this thread and bury it. There's absolutely no reason for an argument like this to be aired publicly. There's nothing wrong with stating your grievances here, but for next time, leave out the names.

weerpool
02-08-2012, 07:18 PM
Hello, first of all, mods, didn't know where to post this, so feel free to move it accordingly.

I know many of you here would argue against my experiences with this said 'luthier', but my aim is not to engage in argument. My purpose is to share my extremely negative experience with Brad.

I would like to say that I have thought long and hard about this, wavering between letting it slide, and posting this to the community. I have decided that it is only fair to share this, lest it happens again to someone else.

I first contacted Brad 9 months ago to custom-make a Uke for me. After reading posts of ukes he has made, and the positive responses, I decided that it was a good idea...he seemed like a good guy!

Now, long story short: many emails were exchanged- as a customer, i felt that it was only fair that all the details were discussed before the actual build, and all the while, Brad assured me that this was in fact a necessary procedure...check out his website!

9 months ago, he told me that he hoped to send me the uke in 2-3 months. I was ok with this of course. I was in no rush.

But somehow, he would come up with tonnes of what I think now to be excuses- had to go to wedding, hospital etc etc... Still, i held on to the idea that shit happens! I hoped the best for his health and agreed to let him build the uke to his own time.

This went on for 9 months. So we agreed that it was high time to get the uke finished off- keep in mind that he was the one making me wait!

We exchanged more emails detailing fret markers- I may not be the easiest customer because i was perhaps asking too much of Brad, but if he was incapable of doing the work, he could have sounded off earlier. I also did mention to him that i would be willing to pay for the extraneous inlay work.

And after 9 months of wait, of assurance that he would get my uke done, that it was good that i was sorting out the details with him, he dropped a bomb on me!

He said that, i quote "there comes a time when a luthier has to make a stand when something doesn't make sense...and walk away from a project..."

how rude! after 9 months, he actually had the cheek to send me ONE final email to tell me that he wasnt going to finish off the uke!

I actually think that this is completely unprofessional (i know why he doesn't do this professionally now) and just plain rude!

A Luthier actually listens to what the customer wants, and proffers solutions, alternatives! Not drop a project via ONE email because he couldnt handle it but said that he could! as far as i am concerned, he had no right whatsover, as a human being, to actually tell me if what i want made sense or not. And if it was not feasible, he could have just told me so, or offered options.

My grievance is in how he handled the entire process. Obviously he was never completely honest in the first place. I also made it known to him, that if i had not been clear in my thoughts in discussions between us, he should tell me. All he did was convince me that all was pretty much cool.

A lot of this could be misunderstandings- of course i dont rule it out. and granted, there was a month and a half wait because I had to send him some crystals- but my point here is the way he handled it- unprofessional! he even made it seem like it was my fault?

I wish i never wasted my 9 months on him, and i hope this doesn't happen to someone else!



you could've added in your rant as to what exactly you were asking him to build for you, specification etc.. so we can see the bigger picture and maybe.. give our 1 cents in as to wether it was way too much or reasonable regardless of the amount of money you were willing to pay for. the whole post came as not a warning for future Brad's customer but to warn us about you a customer



btw. i have dont know him personally but he has been instrumental in my luthiery journey.i ve read and watched his posts and videos, an all around nice guy hands down. very prompt with emails and entertains any questions . that said, i doubt he's half of what youve made him to be as

bynapkinart
02-08-2012, 07:21 PM
Yeah I'm sorry for even jumping up and responding immediately. Lots of bad vibes on this one. Customer should air grievances with seller, not with a forum...it gets construed as an effort to hurt someone's business on purpose (as I interpreted it) instead of a legitimate way to solve a problem. Not good.

Sorry to the OP, but I do hope Brad gets to comment on this either on his website or this forum. Either way, this thread is going to get ugly and should probably be closed.

Drew Bear
02-08-2012, 07:25 PM
Well, that's one side of the story...from a first time poster, long time lurker. There's little except this first post for me to base any sort of character judgment. But let's be clear, this member is asking us to make a judgment. He's making harsh and serious accusations against a long-time member who has contributed much to this community.

I don't know Brad, but I have read many of the comments he's posted over the past 3 yrs. My impression is he's a stand up guy who's often gone out of his way to help folks with uke building advice. I'm sure many will chime in with their personal stories. I wouldn't be surprised if Brad chose not to get into a "he said, he said" fracas in a public forum.

For those who are not familiar with Brad's policies, he does not ask for any upfront deposit before starting the process of a designing and building a custom uke. So 9 months of email communications with a client who admits he/she "may not be the easiest customer" and says "i was perhaps asking too much of Brad"...I'm going to guess that is many hours and large amounts of life energy wasted.

I've dealt with difficult customers. My spidey-sense tells me the main mistake Brad made was to let the process drag out past the first few months. To put it a different way, I would not hesitate to contact Brad for a custom build.

Dan Uke
02-08-2012, 07:28 PM
There's three sides of every story, your side, his side, and the truth. With that being said, I think the statement by Brad says a lot "there comes a time when a luthier has to make a stand when something doesn't make sense...and walk away from a project..."

I am defending Brad as I am on the waitlist. I've sent a number of emails and asked lots of question but he has been very accomodating and told me what works and what doesn't work. I'm only going by MY experience so I'm going to side with Brad.

I think we all have to remember that most establishments have signs "We reserve the right to refuse service". I'm Asian and the culture tends to think that if one pays, they deserve to get whatever service they want but it doesn't work that way. I don't want to make this a cultural issue but I am curious where you're from?

BTW, Here's a thread on what luthiers think: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?55545-Awkward-client-luthiers-please-read-and-respond

didgeridoo2
02-08-2012, 07:50 PM
This smells like a smear campaign. From the thread title down to the post and disappear routine. I doubt Brad deserves this. Too bad....

Kekani
02-08-2012, 08:02 PM
First off, I hope Brad doesn't respond. He shouldn't have to.

I can read the comments from the OP, & while I don't know either side (especially the third side), I can say that I've been on the Brad side of that conversation a few times, one as recent as a current build.

I do have faith in the builders (& other members) here, that all this thread has accomplished is to generate private messages to Brad in support of him. He's been around a LOT longer than the OP, & has earned a few stripes that will not be easily wiped away by a one post dissenter.

As Stan stated, we hope you find the right builder for you. Obviously, Brad wasn't the one.

For Brad, I apologize for commenting without realizing that all I may have accomplished is bumping this thread to the top, instead of doing the best thing possible which is NOT respond, and let this bury itself.

There's a thought.

Aaron

holycow
02-08-2012, 08:13 PM
Hello all! thanks for all the replies. Like I said, I'm not here to add to the argument. I also think that there is the other side of the coin- that is perhaps I have been too demanding on what I want out of Brad. But like I have also said, there are options which could have been aired out before making decisions without the customer's knowledge.

Yes, this is my first post- I enjoy reading more than anything else. I suppose I dont need to defend myself here? it doesn't really bother me if this affects anything- people are welcome to form their own opinions :)

and to didgeridoo2, please do not Assume. i did not disappear. i don't actually live in the USA?

and in regards to nongdam, to blame this on cultural background is very limiting. I am asian too, and i did not ask the world of Brad. I have been both respectful and understanding of his circumstances- I am sure he can attest to that. I have always asked him for his opinions and suggestions- he was always agreeable and seemed accommodating. So of course when he dropped the bomb, i was surprised.

I am not saying that Brad has not contributed positively to the community. In fact, i am sure he has- the number if people defending him is testament to this.

What I am saying is- like someone has mentioned before, people are people. Perhaps he had a bad day. But hey, he didn't need to take it out on me. He did me a disservice which I thought long and hard before posting. My purpose is not to smear his reputation, but to show people the other side of things.

It's not always pretty, but that doesn't mean that it's not true.

And with all due respect to Drew Bear, I am not asking anyone to make a judgment. I made my judgment based on a direct experience, and decided to put it up on a forum because I believe that information should be shared. By acknowledging my shortcomings as a human being doesn't mean that Brad himself hasnt made any mistakes.

If however, this thread gets locked, i suppose this only goes to show what kind of a democratic environment this is.

and lastly, i feel like i am defending myself. i think this is ridiculous. Ive said what i wanted to say. people can decide for themselves.

Dan Uke
02-08-2012, 08:24 PM
and in regards to nongdam, to blame this on cultural background is very limiting. I am asian too, and i did not ask the world of Brad. I have been both respectful and understanding of his circumstances- I am sure he can attest to that.

That's what you think!!! HAHA J/K nongdam mean joking in Korean so I joke :p

UncleElvis
02-08-2012, 08:35 PM
Heck, even Chucky M. must get complaints from people other than his wife sometimes, right?

My only complaint with him is that I don't have one of his ukuleles yet! *grin*

But one day... ohhhh yess.. one day!

mm stan
02-08-2012, 08:41 PM
My only complaint with him is that I don't have one of his ukuleles yet! *grin*

But one day... ohhhh yess.. one day!

Will Chuckie build me a ukulele too....wonder if he has a good sounding one lying around he wants to sell to me..
sorry shameless me asking..hee hee and Brad you can build me a uke anytime....

didgeridoo2
02-08-2012, 09:20 PM
and to didgeridoo2, please do not Assume. i did not disappear. i don't actually live in the USA?
After flaming and naming a well known poster, you didn't respond for two hours while folks were trying to make sense of who you are, what happened and why you decided to publicly air out your issue. Sorry to assume anything, but all I know about you is your need to complain about a seemingly generous man. I'm sorry you feel ripped off, but I don't understand the disservice he did to you. It sounds like he tried to accommodate your needs and felt like it would be a disservice to provide you with an instrument that would fall short of your expectations.

Drew Bear
02-08-2012, 09:28 PM
...I am not asking anyone to make a judgment. I made my judgment based on a direct experience...
You did not explicitly ask anyone to pass judgment here, but that is exactly what you did by airing out your grievances in this manner. You accuse someone of wrong doing: "made my judgment". Are we to believe your side of the story or not? One way or the other, you did "ask" us to make a judgment.


and lastly, i feel like i am defending myself. i think this is ridiculous. Ive said what i wanted to say. people can decide for themselves.
So it's ridiculous for people to judge you the way you judged someone else?! Well, you had your say. As you said, we can decide for ourselves. What I've decided is that you seem to be the type of person who thinks they are being perfectly reasonable while expecting and asking for things entirely unreasonable.

Further discussion is futile. It already feels like banging my head against a brick wall. I pity Brad for having to endure 9 months dealing with such a person. I just hope this nightmare doesn't diminish his passion for uke making.

The End.

Teek
02-08-2012, 10:41 PM
I see no need for "bashing" or judgment on either side. I would suppose that Brad doesn't need to post his side because he has better things to do, and I don't see him as being invested in ego. The OP has admitted he is rather demanding and apparently has very high expectations. That's fine too, but in that case it is important for the OP to understand that catering to those needs is very time consuming and expensive for the luthier. I have a feeling that if Brad was billing for all of his invested time the price would have run closer to a DeVine uke, and at some point it was just too much of a losing proposition.

I would recommend the OP look into special builds by commercial uke shops, where one can be found that is different from the more mass market pieces and is already built and ready to go. That could satisfy the desire for a more custom piece, and maybe someone would be willing to add in the crystals etc to that instrument later.

I have one of Brad's customs and it is my best uke. As he knows way more than I ever could about how to build one, I felt it certainly wasn't my part to tell him how to do it. We discussed woods and ideas and we both contributed to the exchange, and he told me what would work best. When we had it fairly worked out he started building. He showed me progress pics. It came out great!

I would venture a guess that the only reason it took nine months for Brad to end the job, minus the 1 1/2 months for the client to deliver an item he wanted added to the project, is that Brad is kind hearted and generous, and has amazing patience.

Nuprin
02-09-2012, 01:09 AM
It's unfortunate that the OP had a bad experience with Brad. I've heard nothing but good things about the man and the amount of people defending him in this thread only strengthens that. I've been planning on commissioning a uke from Brad for awhile now...just haven't figured out what I want yet. Knowing Brad's reputation and the praise for his ukes, this thread hasn't changed my decision.

The OP shouldn't feel as if he was ripped off as Brad asks for no money down. It seems the big complaint is the amount of time spent on this project which, in the end, came to be a waste. 9 months of waiting, with a seemingly willing luthier, to all of a sudden have the luthier drop out unexpectedly would be frustrating. As others said, maybe the OP was asking too much, but that doesn't diminish the frustration.

I would ask the OP to look at it from Brad's point of view...he probably put a ton of work and design into it and finally realized after it was all laid out that he wasn't able to do what you were asking. It's nice that he knows his limitations rather than give you a custom that doesn't meet his or your standards.

I still plan on having Brad build me a uke in the near future and I hope the OP will find a luthier who will be able to build the uke he wants.

PhilUSAFRet
02-09-2012, 02:08 AM
"If however, this thread gets locked, i suppose this only goes to show what kind of a democratic environment this is."

Hope you aren't confused about the negative response to your post. Sarcasm and innuendo aren't worth much here.

dkcrown
02-09-2012, 02:31 AM
Maybe now you can get on Chuck Moore's build list. He is very accomodating when working with difficult or problem customers. Wink wink:)

Stevelele
02-09-2012, 02:51 AM
Some people have alluded to it, but I just want to clarify something that I think changes this entire situation. Brad does not work the way that most luthiers do. He doesn't ask for any money in advance. In fact, he explicitly says that any time throughout the process, you can drop out and change your mind. Even after he builds the uke, if you decide you don't want it for any reason whatsoever, he's ok with your dropping out--no questions asked... Providing that type of leeway to the buyer (which I have never heard of for a custom build anything), I believe that he reserves the right to exercise the same discretion in determining whether he wants to drop out. It might not feel good, but I think that it's fair.

WhenDogsSing
02-09-2012, 02:54 AM
I have no understanding as to what the OP hoped to gain by this...Talk about negative energy...!!!

gyosh
02-09-2012, 03:19 AM
The OP sounds very much like the customer Mr. Howlett described in his thread a while back. Perhaps this is the "Yasuma" of customers?! :confused: :D

itsscottwilder
02-09-2012, 03:25 AM
Some people have alluded to it, but I just want to clarify something that I think changes this entire situation. Brad does not work the way that most luthiers do. He doesn't ask for any money in advance. In fact, he explicitly says that any time throughout the process, you can drop out and change your mind. Even after he builds the uke, if you decide you don't want it for any reason whatsoever, he's ok with your dropping out--no questions asked... Providing that type of leeway to the buyer (which I have never heard of for a custom build anything), I believe that he reserves the right to exercise the same discretion in determining whether he wants to drop out. It might not feel good, but I think that it's fair.

+1

Brad's website is very clear that the buyer can back out at any time. Even AFTER the uke has been delivered.

And Brad reserves the right to back out at anytime. Forget about making the OP happy. If the final product wasn't going to make Brad happy then that's reason enough to scrap the project.

I think what the OP is going to find is that the custom options he's looking for really push his dream Uke into a much higher price category.

Best of luck to the OP.

Mandarb
02-09-2012, 03:30 AM
Sorry it do not work out. Sounds like Brad made the right decision.

coolkayaker1
02-09-2012, 04:10 AM
I own a Brad Donaldson, and have another on order. My comment is directed not at all at Brad or the original poster of this thread, but at UU and the other posters here.

It is perfectly fine, absolutely perfectly fine, to write about a wonderful dealing with a luthier, company etc. Happens nauseatingly frequently on here. If the thread was titled, "Kudos for (insert name here)", you'd be championing the thread.

But, this new poster gets lambasted from peers for writing about a poor experience? Some posters asking him to defend himself. Some judging the original poster as a zealot or having an agenda. Several asking that the thread be closed? Some writing “well, that’s one side of the story”…no duh it's one side of the story, Sherlock Holmes!

Enough blowing faery dust up one another’s butts, people. The world is full of ups and downs, and an open forum should have downs as well as ups. Anyone who suggests this type of information shouldn’t be posted online is a Luddite. It may well prove useful for aomeone else ordering, for time lines, the policy of returns posted in the replies, etc. It's informational.

Thank you, original poster, for posting your honest experience. Thank you, UU Forums, for not following those posters on “happy pills’ that have made themselves a priori CEOs of UU and want this thread closed. Thanks for not censoring by closing threads.

GX9901
02-09-2012, 04:31 AM
I own a Brad Donaldson, and have another on order. My comment is directed not at all at Brad or the original poster of this thread, but at UU and the other posters here.

It is perfectly fine, absolutely perfectly fine, to write about a wonderful dealing with a luthier, company etc. Happens nauseatingly frequently on here. If the thread was titled, "Kudos for (insert name here)", you'd be championing the thread.

But, this new poster gets lambasted from peers for writing about a poor experience? Some posters asking him to defend himself. Some judging the original poster as a zealot or having an agenda. Several asking that the thread be closed? Some writing “well, that’s one side of the story”…no duh it's one side of the story, Sherlock Holmes!

Enough blowing faery dust up one another’s butts, people. The world is full of ups and downs, and an open forum should have downs as well as ups. Anyone who suggests this type of information shouldn’t be posted online is a Luddite. It may well prove useful for aomeone else ordering, for time lines, the policy of returns posted in the replies, etc. It's informational.

Thank you, original poster, for posting your honest experience. Thank you, UU Forums, for not following those posters on “happy pills’ that have made themselves a priori CEOs of UU and want this thread closed. Thanks for not censoring by closing threads.

I agree with this a lot. I think it is helpful for others in the future researching custom builders when there are sentiments from both sides regarding a particular builder. Whoever reads it can then decide how it will affect their decision to order.

I had a custom build that was delayed a lot and I was given a lot of hollow promises. It was ridiculous how long it ended up taking to build. However, I did some additional research on the builder AFTER THE FACT and found a few people posting similar experiences as I had. Before then it seems all I see are positive comments. So I think some posts on negative experiences with builders are healthy for the uke community. If nothing else it helps align our expectations more realistically.

roxhum
02-09-2012, 04:31 AM
I for one support the closing of this thread. There are ways to express an unfavorable experience but this one went over the top particularly in the titling of the thread and naming Brad. But of course bashing holy cow for his opinion is uncalled for too. I appreciate the folks that have defended Brad. My personal communications with Brad have shown him to be a generous and gracious person and I look forward to him building me a ukulele. I think everything that can be said has been said and I hope the thread gets closed.
P.S. Oh and the happy pills statement.... I think it is about playing nice with each other which means this isn't the forum for bashing people but for sharing knowledge and a love for the ukulele. Take your negative talk off line/forum.

WhenDogsSing
02-09-2012, 04:31 AM
There is a difference between posting positive comments regarding positive experiences with luthiers and posting negative comments about a luthier based on personal frustration.

Paul December
02-09-2012, 04:35 AM
I own a Brad Donaldson, and have another on order. My comment is directed not at all at Brad or the original poster of this thread, but at UU and the other posters here.

It is perfectly fine, absolutely perfectly fine, to write about a wonderful dealing with a luthier, company etc. Happens nauseatingly frequently on here. If the thread was titled, "Kudos for (insert name here)", you'd be championing the thread.

But, this new poster gets lambasted from peers for writing about a poor experience? Some posters asking him to defend himself. Some judging the original poster as a zealot or having an agenda. Several asking that the thread be closed? Some writing “well, that’s one side of the story”…no duh it's one side of the story, Sherlock Holmes!

Enough blowing faery dust up one another’s butts, people. The world is full of ups and downs, and an open forum should have downs as well as ups. Anyone who suggests this type of information shouldn’t be posted online is a Luddite. It may well prove useful for aomeone else ordering, for time lines, the policy of returns posted in the replies, etc. It's informational.

Thank you, original poster, for posting your honest experience. Thank you, UU Forums, for not following those posters on “happy pills’ that have made themselves a priori CEOs of UU and want this thread closed. Thanks for not censoring by closing threads.

:agree: BRAVO!
I understand being fair, but many times (most of the time?) when anyone posts a complaint or problem here it is followed by defenders making accusations and calls to lock the thread. This has a chilling effect where people who have legitimate complaints don't post because they fear being attacked.
Brad can post if he chooses to, and those who have actually dealt with him can post their experiences. The vast majority of the posts in the thread are neither.
When builders and sellers are always protected, IMO it will only lead to poorer service & is bad for the hobby.

Pukulele Pete
02-09-2012, 04:49 AM
If you cant air complaints , maybe there shouldnt be any reviews of ukes . Someone may have a less than positive review.

mm stan
02-09-2012, 04:57 AM
Yes I always believed in fairness...we know the circumstances but not the whole story, ...I am glad to see unity here, but also I want to see Harmony too....

AetherBlue
02-09-2012, 05:06 AM
:agree: BRAVO!
I understand being fair, but many times (most of the time?) when anyone posts a complaint or problem here it is followed by defenders making accusations and calls to lock the thread. This has a chilling effect where people who have legitimate complaints don't post because they fear being attacked.
Brad can post if he chooses to, and those who have actually dealt with him can post their experiences. The vast majority of the posts in the thread are neither.
When builders and sellers are always protected, IMO it will only lead to poorer service & is bad for the hobby.


I agree, I don't get where you guys are getting the hostility from? OP flaming Brad? Asking to close the thread? Most the negativity is from the responses. The OP was clearly frustrated and said he was not looking for arguments. He shared his experience, that is all. We don't know the whole story. I understand the OPs frustration over losing however many months for nothing. Also understand that Brad has a life and the right to cancel for any reason, including just plain not liking the guy. This was most likely a misunderstanding. It happens, this is life.

I didn't even know about Brad before this exposure. They look like wonderful ukes, I may look into getting a soprano.

gyosh
02-09-2012, 05:08 AM
It would be interesting to hear from some pro's as to where they'd draw the line and cancel a build. I've talked to two local, very well-respected luthiers about this topic and they basically said the same thing pertaining to canceling a build on a customer and the tone and comments of the OP seem to fit with what I've been told.

itsscottwilder
02-09-2012, 05:20 AM
I own a Brad Donaldson, and have another on order. My comment is directed not at all at Brad or the original poster of this thread, but at UU and the other posters here.

It is perfectly fine, absolutely perfectly fine, to write about a wonderful dealing with a luthier, company etc. Happens nauseatingly frequently on here. If the thread was titled, "Kudos for (insert name here)", you'd be championing the thread.

But, this new poster gets lambasted from peers for writing about a poor experience? Some posters asking him to defend himself. Some judging the original poster as a zealot or having an agenda. Several asking that the thread be closed? Some writing “well, that’s one side of the story”…no duh it's one side of the story, Sherlock Holmes!

Enough blowing faery dust up one another’s butts, people. The world is full of ups and downs, and an open forum should have downs as well as ups. Anyone who suggests this type of information shouldn’t be posted online is a Luddite. It may well prove useful for aomeone else ordering, for time lines, the policy of returns posted in the replies, etc. It's informational.

Thank you, original poster, for posting your honest experience. Thank you, UU Forums, for not following those posters on “happy pills’ that have made themselves a priori CEOs of UU and want this thread closed. Thanks for not censoring by closing threads.

While I agree that the veteran members of UU are can be heavy handed in how they preserve the culture of this forum; I don't think that automatically invalidates the responses the OP has gotten.

I think it's the combination of the negative tone of the OP COMBINED with their lack of involvement in the community that has led to the responses you have seen.

After all, wouldn't you rush to the aid of a family member if a complete stranger attacked them?

I have no doubt of the OP's negative experience. And I take no issue with him posting in a forum. BUT when you post in a forum, you invite response. As long as the response stays on topic, it's just as legitimate as the OP's complaint.

What you're seeing in this thread is just another example of why the saying is true "You never get a second chance to make a first impression".

hoosierhiver
02-09-2012, 05:31 AM
I am oppossed to the "lock it at the first sign of trouble" mentality. From what I've seen on this thread and also in similar situations in the past is, the luthier or business in question always gets alot of positive responses if they deserve it and if they don't then there may be some merit in the initial complaint. I'm glad Bradford hasn't felt the need to defend himself, it's sometimes best if others testify in your behalf. Personally, I don't have any experiences with BD's ukes, but after reading this thread my impression of him is positive.

Drew Bear
02-09-2012, 05:57 AM
Critique and criticism are fair; slander and innuendo are not.

Go back and read the first post. The OP implied or flatly stated that Brad was unqualified, unprofessional and untruthful.

State the facts. Leave out the judgmental comments smearing someone's character.

KimosTherapy
02-09-2012, 06:21 AM
I own a Brad Donaldson, and have another on order. My comment is directed not at all at Brad or the original poster of this thread, but at UU and the other posters here.

It is perfectly fine, absolutely perfectly fine, to write about a wonderful dealing with a luthier, company etc. Happens nauseatingly frequently on here. If the thread was titled, "Kudos for (insert name here)", you'd be championing the thread.

But, this new poster gets lambasted from peers for writing about a poor experience? Some posters asking him to defend himself. Some judging the original poster as a zealot or having an agenda. Several asking that the thread be closed? Some writing “well, that’s one side of the story”…no duh it's one side of the story, Sherlock Holmes!

Enough blowing faery dust up one another’s butts, people. The world is full of ups and downs, and an open forum should have downs as well as ups. Anyone who suggests this type of information shouldn’t be posted online is a Luddite. It may well prove useful for aomeone else ordering, for time lines, the policy of returns posted in the replies, etc. It's informational.

Thank you, original poster, for posting your honest experience. Thank you, UU Forums, for not following those posters on “happy pills’ that have made themselves a priori CEOs of UU and want this thread closed. Thanks for not censoring by closing threads.



Amen, Brah!!! Mahalo UU Forums for keeping this Thread open.

Shazzbot
02-09-2012, 06:29 AM
I'm guessing this conversation is helping Brad more than hurting him.

csibona
02-09-2012, 06:29 AM
I do not believe that the original poster said that Brad did not have the right to cancel the order - he said, and I am paraphrasing here, that he was disappointed that it took 9 months to do so. Personally, I think the thread should remain open...

Nickie
02-09-2012, 06:55 AM
Well, we're all human,, and we all make mistakes. I always say "If you ain't making mistakes, you ain't doing anything." It looks and sounds as though Mr Donaldson's ukuleles are fine instruments. You know, it takes 9 months to make a baby, and sometimes, it just doesn't work out. If Nature can make errors, well, there you go...
I'm glad that we are all diplomatic enough to allow the 1st Amendment to work here...

ukecantdothat
02-09-2012, 07:00 AM
Welcome to UU! :nana:

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
02-09-2012, 07:06 AM
Maybe now you can get on Chuck Moore's build list. He is very accomodating when working with difficult or problem customers. Wink wink:)

The OP got fired. It happens for a variety of reasons, mostly when a builder knows that he can never satisfy the customer. I've done it myself. Some people are too unrealistic with their demands. Sometimes times a builder will make commitments that he later regrets. Both parties need to know what the limits are. I get up to 100 requests a month from people to build ukeleles for them. I can only build four in that period of time. Most of the time I am able to screen out the difficult ones in the early stages before things get too far. Just as a customer (hopefully) will thoroughly research me before contacting me, I also screen the customer to see if we will be a good fit. I don't run a public service and I'm sure Brad doesn't either. Honesty, openness and consideration needs to be shown on both sides.
"Misunderstandings" like this are the prime reasons so many luthiers stay away from custom work. The smart ones build what they want and lead happy and harmonious lives!

Dan Uke
02-09-2012, 07:20 AM
Chuck

It must be nice to build a few non-custom ukes that sell within 24 hours. I'm sure you have anxt during that time. LOL

OldePhart
02-09-2012, 07:20 AM
I don't have an axe to grind in this - don't know Brad or his work.

I will, however, note that I tend not to take the word of someone who won't "own" their words. You must be a member here because you talked about deciding to go with Brad based on his reputation here. Yet, your post as "holycow" was your first? So, you want to trash a man's reputation but won't use your regular account to do so? (And, the mods can correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that using more than one forum account is a violation of the terms of service so you don't have any respect for that, either???)

Also, from your original post I'm assuming that you either didn't put up any money in advance or that Brad returned any money you did - otherwise I'm sure you'd be screaming about being ripped off. So, all you are out is time? Somehow, I kind of suspect that Brad has lost more time trying to hit your moving target - just sayin...

It sounds to me like Brad probably got the short end of this "transaction."

John

Drew Bear
02-09-2012, 07:31 AM
Months & years from now people will do a search for Brad's name and stumble on this thread. I hope those folks will not be discouraged by some of the mudslinging here. Dig deeper, future people. Go to Brad's profile page (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/member.php?8943-Bradford) and take time to read his posts. I think you'll get a better feel for this man's character from reading his comments. Search this forum for even more feedback about Brad. Most of those will be positive.

I hope everyone remembers that we are talking about a real person using his real name. Most of us, including the OP, are "safe" behind a username. I think those of us under the cover of anonymity bear a greater responsibility in how we write about those using their real names.

I am not suggesting this thread be closed or deleted. I'm saying that besmirching someone's real name in a public online forum is a very serious matter.

GX9901
02-09-2012, 07:36 AM
Chuck

It must be nice to build a few non-custom ukes that sell within 24 hours. I'm sure you have anxt during that time. LOL

I think it's more like 24 seconds! :p

Mandarb
02-09-2012, 07:38 AM
..........

ukecantdothat
02-09-2012, 07:45 AM
Truthfully, when the OP began the thread by putting the word "luthier" in quotes, all credibility got tossed out the window.

Mim
02-09-2012, 07:46 AM
I have had customers that I could tell from the tone of their e-mails that they were not going to be happy with the finished product, no matter what. It is amazing really. But you can tell. I have even tried to talk come people out of buying the uke from me because I know what is going to happen. And 90% of the time that I had that feeling I was right and had the uke returned or complained about. I lose money when this happens because I will cover return shipping because I stand behind my work. So I lose 2 ways of shipping and time. I wonder if there was something in your tone, even inadvertantly, that sparked a concern.

Since it was a custom, he would be wasting not only a lot of money, but also a lot of time on such a transaction.

chrimess
02-09-2012, 07:49 AM
Hi Mim,
that is a great point- some of them are in it just to make themselves and others miserable, happens in a lot of life situations, like the one that bought the UBASS, right?



I have had customers that from the tone of their e-mails I could tell they were not going to be happy with the finished product no matter what I do. I even try to talk them out of buying the uke from me because I know what is going to happen. And 90% of the time that I had that feeling I was right and had the uke returned or complained about. I lose money when this happens because I will cover return shipping. So I lose 2 ways of shipping. I wonder if there was something in your tone, even inadvertantly, that sparked a concern. He would be wasting not only a lot of money, but also a lot of time on such a transaction.

chrimess
02-09-2012, 07:51 AM
Hi John,
what do you say, shall we record a song for "HolyCow"(is that not blasphemous in itself?)- being from Texas you really are the expert on cattle!



I don't have an axe to grind in this - don't know Brad or his work.

I will, however, note that I tend not to take the word of someone who won't "own" their words. You must be a member here because you talked about deciding to go with Brad based on his reputation here. Yet, your post as "holycow" was your first? So, you want to trash a man's reputation but won't use your regular account to do so? (And, the mods can correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that using more than one forum account is a violation of the terms of service so you don't have any respect for that, either???)

Also, from your original post I'm assuming that you either didn't put up any money in advance or that Brad returned any money you did - otherwise I'm sure you'd be screaming about being ripped off. So, all you are out is time? Somehow, I kind of suspect that Brad has lost more time trying to hit your moving target - just sayin...

It sounds to me like Brad probably got the short end of this "transaction."

John

Pukulele Pete
02-09-2012, 07:54 AM
You say the Luthier had to wait a month and a half for you to send him some "crystals " ? ?

Mim
02-09-2012, 07:55 AM
Hi Mim,
that is a great point- some of them are in it just to make themselves and others miserable, happens in a lot of life situations, like the one that bought the UBASS, right?

I mean SERIOUSLY... a customer buys a UBASS and the tuner breaks the next day and they COMPLAIN!!! THE NERVE?!?! Then the customer makes you drive all the way to Sam Ash to swap UBASSes in the parking lot! Now that is a TERRIBLE customer!

(Sorry for reverting to banter with Sir Christian here... we have a history that involves a UBASS and a broken tuner, and himself, a rather awesome customer who met me at Sam Ash to do a parking lot swap... which felt devious to do in a music store parking lot, but afforded me the opportunity to do some undercover snooping of their stock)... carry on!

southcoastukes
02-09-2012, 08:03 AM
Hi John,
what do you say, shall we record a song for "HolyCow"..

Not taking a side here, but Chrimess, as soon as I saw your idea I couldn't resist! The song has already been made - New Orleans own most famous auto-body man. The lyrics even fit.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDtZMP30sq8

Plainsong
02-09-2012, 08:08 AM
I'd like to see how it pans out before we lock the thread and never speak of such things again. Losing the right to even get the uke after waiting 9 months sounds like a slap in the face, when you consider they both probably knew how this was going to go months before that. That's more than just turning down a commission. Turning it down would have happened 8 months before they got to that point.

However, what did the OP do to deserve that? The story after two posts still has little detail, so no telling. Can we assume the missing detail is the part where he deserved to be cold clocked? You can't yada yada yada your way out of it. If you're going to do a call-out, you need proof and you need to be specific.

Maybe he was a saint and the big bad luthier jerked him around. It's happened to me and I learned my lesson. Everyone complains about the guy in private but no one wants the pitchforks aimed at them for being the first to speak out.

Th guy who scammed me and many many others was NOT Brad, just to be clear, I just know what it is to be on the wrong end and to be unable to speak out. I have to be careful here not to let my experiences cloud my perception. The odds are that the truth of this story is in middle.

BigSkyUkuleleGirl
02-09-2012, 08:11 AM
There should not be a public response to the OP, seems like they have already resolved the issue.

I just got on Brad's schedule yesterday and we have already exchanged emails and he sent me his phone number saying to call anytime to talk about the build. I am THRILLED to be getting a uke from him based on what I've read and seen on YouTube both about the man and his ukes. I'm looking forward to his guidance and advice during the process. (just wish the wait was a little shorter but in the end I'll have a nice product built just for me).

Pukulele Pete
02-09-2012, 08:16 AM
I think the OP wanted to many "doo dads" on this uke , and the Luthier decided he didnt want to do it. The Luthier had to wait almost two months for "crytals" . Where were they going?
Sounds like the build got too complicated to be worthwhile.

Pukulele Pete
02-09-2012, 08:20 AM
There should not be a public response to the OP, seems like they have already resolved the issue.

Never mind.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
02-09-2012, 08:20 AM
No comment from me.

Mods--why not lock this thread immediately? It's going to go downhill very quickly.

I love being wrong. A couple of long, harsh recent threads---Eddie Vedder, Collings NAMM video---lept to mind, and I imagined this one getting sarcastic and harsh quickly. Thanks, everyone, for keeping this thread (mostly) focused on the issues raised by the OP.

But I will admit, I love it when the mods lock a bad thread. Go, mods, go. Y'all do a great job.

Please continue the thoughtful discussion, y'all. It's good reading.

Dan Uke
02-09-2012, 08:23 AM
I think the OP wanted to many "doo dads" on this uke , and the Luthier decided he didnt want to do it. The Luthier had to wait almost two months for "crytals" . Where were they going?
Sounds like the build got too complicated to be worthwhile.

I want some glow in the dark crystals...I think I'm going to call Brad right now!!

haolejohn
02-09-2012, 08:44 AM
I have to agree with some of these posts. I personally think that we act like a bunch of wolves at times. The OP had a complaint...that is fine...It is NOT going to change my view of BD. I am getting one of his Amy Models for my wife as a graduation present. I can not wait. I am not letting one story change my opinion. I know we are all humans. None of us are perfect...I also know there are two sides to every story.

We do tend to form a mob and call for the heads of anyone who has anything negative about a builder or sellers. And God Forbid you not respond to a post immediately. THis is a forum...It isn't instant messaging:)

wickedwahine11
02-09-2012, 08:51 AM
I'm not going to lock this thread just yet. I believe that everyone has a right to voice their opinions, and will continue to allow everyone to do so...with one caveat, no personal attacks on either Brad or the OP. We are treading very lightly right now, right up to the line, let's not cross it.

I don't particularly like someone with two posts under their belt coming on to slam a reputable luthier, even to the extent of questioning their professionalism. That being said, I don't like the mob mentality either, where if someone has anything even remotely negative to say about a member of the uke community, they get the tar beat out of them. It is actually possible that these two individuals had a bad interaction. That doesn't make either of them a bad person, just a bad combination.

So let's tread lightly folks. Thank you.

laundromatt
02-09-2012, 08:59 AM
I'm not going to lock this thread just yet. I believe that everyone has a right to voice their opinions, and will continue to allow everyone to do so...with one caveat, no personal attacks on either Brad or the OP. We are treading very lightly right now, right up to the line, let's not cross it.

I don't particularly like someone with two posts under their belt coming on to slam a reputable luthier, even to the extent of questioning their professionalism. That being said, I don't like the mob mentality either, where if someone has anything even remotely negative to say about a member of the uke community, they get the tar beat out of them. It is actually possible that these two individuals had a bad interaction. That doesn't make either of them a bad person, just a bad combination.

So let's tread lightly folks. Thank you.

Awesome. You :rock:

Pukulele Pete
02-09-2012, 09:02 AM
Awesome. You :rock:

I think everyone is done.

didgeridoo2
02-09-2012, 09:14 AM
Well, the mob mentality remarks may have merit, but not here. The OP went a bit too far in how they approached this. The thread title alone pisses me off. Maybe it's a language thing.

And God Forbid you not respond to a post immediately. THis is a forum...It isn't instant messaging
I assume this is for my remark on letting the thread fester before piping in to fill in the holes of the story. The OP lurked on this thread after they posted it and if you are gonna loudly call out another person(by name), have the cojones to give us an idea where you're coming from. It was the first post we ever had from them. Hell, there are rules in the marketplace and having a little bit of history here is an implied way to garner trust. Why is it any different in this case?

wconley
02-09-2012, 09:15 AM
I think one thing Chuck Moore said says a lot. Both parties have to be a good fit. One of my other hobbies is teaching people how to race cars where personality issues can be bad to dangerous. I tell my instructors that if they are ever not getting along with a student, to get an instructor in the car that will be a better fit. The students pay too much not to have an instructor they like, and everyone deserves to stay safe. I'll choose to think that Brad just didn't identify that conflict soon enough. I hope Brad doesn't reply. There's plenty of support for both him and everyone's opinions.

full disclosure - I do own a Donaldson but not one of his custom ukes. It is one of his "off the shelf" ukes and I love the sound an playability of it. I've emailed Brad only once just to let him know I had purchased it so other than that, I've no axe to grind.

ukebuilder
02-09-2012, 09:15 AM
I wish I had not been sick when this came up. Sorry for posting so late but I know exactly why this poster was told he was not getting a uke. I was there when Bradford got one of the many calls about yet another change in the order. I saw the stupid little rocks that was sent to him to inlay into the fret board. I am not sure Brad is a jeweler but these were ridiculous. Then a later call asking to have the little silly rock wrapped with silver then inlayed and he did not want any gap between the silver and the stones. This would require working on the rocks themselves. I would say Bradford went on with all these silly rants of someone that has no idea about what they really wanted or had a clue of how to do what he was asking. Making a uke is one thing and I think Bradford has proved that he does that well. Brad even called me to say he let this customer go and asked me if I felt he was in the wrong. I told him that he lasted lots longer than anyone else might have. There comes a time when you have to pull the plug and say enough is enough. And with his return policy he would be stuck with this uke that no one would ever buy due to all the crazy stones and initials. Just my two cents.

hoosierhiver
02-09-2012, 09:28 AM
Glad this thread has remained open.
I think things are pretty clear now and Bradford Donaldson has gotten some good publicity out of this.

Nickie
02-09-2012, 09:31 AM
One of my best friends is the Sugar Glider Lady. When a potential customer comes in, she lets her dog sniff them. If the dog doesn't like them, they get no sugar gliders. If the dog warms up, they are new sugar gilder owners... and she is such an astute business woman, she's a millionaire...

Mandarb
02-09-2012, 09:34 AM
I think everyone is done.

....nope....

Hippie Dribble
02-09-2012, 09:42 AM
I wish I had not been sick when this came up. Sorry for posting so late but I know exactly why this poster was told he was not getting a uke. I was there when Bradford got one of the many calls about yet another change in the order. I saw the stupid little rocks that was sent to him to inlay into the fret board. I am not sure Brad is a jeweler but these were ridiculous. Then a later call asking to have the little silly rock wrapped with silver then inlayed and he did not want any gap between the silver and the stones. This would require working on the rocks themselves. I would say Bradford went on with all these silly rants of someone that has no idea about what they really wanted or had a clue of how to do what he was asking. Making a uke is one thing and I think Bradford has proved that he does that well. Brad even called me to say he let this customer go and asked me if I felt he was in the wrong. I told him that he lasted lots longer than anyone else might have. There comes a time when you have to pull the plug and say enough is enough. And with his return policy he would be stuck with this uke that no one would ever buy due to all the crazy stones and initials. Just my two cents.

thanks for completing the circle.

Scarecrow
02-09-2012, 09:52 AM
I think we can say to the OP, "NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!"

seeso
02-09-2012, 10:40 AM
Hey, guys. This thread has run its course. I'll leave it open, but if you have nothing worthwhile to add to it, please refrain from posting in it. Cool?

Thanks.