Custom Set Neck review by Gadow

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  • Sound: 3
  • Overall Impression: 1
  • Reliability & Durability: 1
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 1
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 2.8 Junky
  • Users' score: 4.8 (6 votes)
Gadow: Custom Set Neck

Price paid: $ 1640

Purchased from: Direct From Manufacturer

Sound — 3
Pickups do not sound consistent. He hand winds them btw (claims they are superior to ESP, Duncan and DiMarzio LOL). They were microphonic from the get go and the neck pickup sounded very bassy while the Bridge pickup was very bright, it was too drastic a difference and made the guitar tones very useless with the same amp settings. The control cavity was poorly shielded and hummed all day long. After a new cavity shielding, new pickups the guitar sounded decent. Not what one would expect from a "American hand Made" guitar.

Overall Impression — 1
I chose Gadow out of literally hundreds of makers due to a handful of good reviews I could find online and pictures of the guitars. Email correspondence between me and Ryan Gadow (the owner) further solidified my purchase, as he seemed to listen and understand my needs and seemed to show the will to help me out and satisfy my needs. That changed after I got a guitar with many flaws however (Read Below). I got a discount. He promised me a 3 month build time. Took 10 months. Initially he was very helpful until I had sent him my money, after that he quit answering emails. I figured he'd work with me getting me what I needed and I pointed out various things prior to ordering that I wanted, he said that was no problem and he'd give me a guitar I'd love and not want to put down. Instead he insulted me, claimed I didn't know how to make guitars and he does (by his words Gibson, Schecter, ESP and other do not know how to make guitars either). Since he ignored all my requests I asked for a refund. He did not refund me. Which was very surprising to me, I figured with a small manufacturer like that they would go out of their way to make customers happy instead of insulting them, give the customer what they want to tell them what they should wan. Voila he gets a bad review in turn. I ended up selling the guitar at a huge loss. First off, resale value is horrible. If you can find anybody willing to take it in the first place. Highest offer I got was $700, that's right $700 usd, they are selling these new in some stores for $2,799. Needless to say I offloaded it and feel the need to warn other about my experience before they take the plunge with the company. Bottom line, go with a more established company, at least if you don't like it or end up facing a situation where the manufacturer will not refund you. At least you can get a lot of your money back.

Reliability & Durability — 1
Sold the guitar as soon as I could since he insulted my expertise on guitars claiming he know exactly what he is doing (Ryan Gadow) rather than offering me a refund. I did not own it long enough to make a fair judgement, but compared to the quality out of the box I assume it doesn't hold up to the rigors of touring.

Action, Fit & Finish — 1
The fret slots were cut too deep. The nut was cut wrong, the bass strings were dancing on the edge of the fingerboard while the treble strings had acres of space on the other side, Bridge placement was the same. The nut slots pinched the strings and either buzzed or killed the tone. Control cavity was poorly shielded and the pickups were microphonic. I saw a silhouette of another Gadow logo under the finish. Was this neck taken from another guitar? The guitar body has divots from over sanding that are clearly visible. The tuning keys were not flush installed into the headstock, I took them out and there was finished over sawdust in the peghead holes. Caused tuning issues right off the bat. The case doesn't fit the guitar, it can slide from side to side. Take it on tour and slam. Cracked neck.

Features — 8
Made in Durham North Carolina in 2010. - 22 Frets (regular) 25" scale - Mahogany body with maple top, mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. - Gotoh mini tuners. - Les Paul Double Cut body style. - Two volume one tone, three way toggle. - Gadow handwound pickups. - Gadow logo on TKl case.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sounds like a real POS. If you want an American handmade guitar, go with Hamer. Jol Dantzig is a genius.
    SkyValley wrote: Sounds like a real POS. If you want an American handmade guitar, go with Hamer. Jol Dantzig is a genius.
    Seconded: I used to own a Hamer, and considering it was dirt cheap, it played pretty well. Their assembly line guitars aren't quite as good as their customs, but still alright. Sorry to hear about that, man Thanks for the warning though.
    I own two Gadows, both are extremely well made, play and sound great and ryan has always been super easy to work with and honest. I have toured extensively with one of mine and the other is a treasure i play in the studio. NEVER had an issue. I owned three total but sold one due to a family emergency and regret it to this day!!
    I have seen these guitars made and played, everyone I know who owns them are repeat buyers from Gadow Guitars.He must be doing something right.
    Interesting. I have owned 6 of his guitars and one bass. All were good quality. Only one was a custom order (HB Setneck) and that went thru a dealer. I DO agree that resale is poor, esp here on the west coast where no one knows about them.
    This guy is real trash; not to be trusted on any level. Buy from a reputable dealer; any money spent on a Gadow is money poorly spent. He lies, cheats and schemes. There is zero value in his brand.
    what exactly issues did you have with him or the company? veru curious