My Experience With The Fret Wire

Fretwire Paulownia Tele

UPDATE: At this time, it appears The Fret Wire store has been disabled.

Thinking about a Fret Wire kit? Before you order from The Fret Wire, read about my experience.


When I started this hobby after retiring, and while this website was still in the conception phase, I started buying kits from different manufacturers in order to begin making evaluations. The Fret Wire was highly recommended by YouTube influencers, though recent social media posts indicated they may have “gone downhill.” Throughout this experience I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt.

First Attempt

In May, 2022, their website listed as a “New Arrival” a Tele style DIY kit made of paulownia wood. This would be a great way to check out The Fret Wire – Tele style guitars are easy to build, and I really wanted to see this paulownia wood. According to The Fret Wire website, “We guarantee that we will ship your items within 1 business day” (emphasis mine) by UPS, which was estimated at 3 days to reach me. Fantastic! I was excited.

So on Monday, May 16, I placed an order and planned to start this kit the following week. The order acknowledgment was immediate, no doubt automated. By Wednesday, May 18, I hadn’t been notified of shipment so I contacted them. I was told on May 19 that the product is currently out of stock. Remember, this was listed on the website as a “New Arrival.”

On Monday, May 23, I was told that the shipment of product would arrive in 2 to 3 weeks and they would have 100 of them to ship immediately. I decided not to wait and cancelled the order, thinking I would get a different kit somewhere else for now and try The Fret Wire again later. All of this seemed legitimate, except for the guarantee of shipping within one day.

Second Attempt

In June I noticed the website listed the paulownia Tele kit on a special page marked “Back In Stock.” So on Sunday, June 12, I placed another order for this guitar kit, thinking I could again start it the following week. This time I used a different email address. And once again, I got an immediate acknowledgment and waited for the shipping confirmation. Remember, 1 business day order processing and shipping is guaranteed.

Then the website went down. Unavailable for over a week.

After not hearing anything for more than a week, I inquired about the status on Monday, June 20. Then on June 21, I was informed that the stock had just arrived (this was “Back In Stock” at least a week prior). It would ship in 2-3 days, and they were working on the website. A week later, on Monday, June 27, I was told it would ship by the end of the week. On Saturday, July 2, I was told the stock was still in transit and it would be two weeks.

Again I cancelled the order.

Third Attempt

On Monday, July 18, using the same email address with the previous correspondence still attached, I asked about the availability of the MusicMan Bass kit. On Tuesday, July 19, I was told “Yes, we have this one in stock and can ship it immediately.” To me, “immediately” means when you receive the order, you will ship it. Kind of like the “1 business day” guarantee would suggest. I placed the order on Wednesday, July 20. Instant acknowledgment, then nothing.

Monday, July 25, I was told this was in stock and would ship “within the week.” I guess “immediately” got extended. I asked for this to be escalated. The next day, Tuesday, July 26, I was told it had been escalated and would ship “by the end of the week.”

Still nothing by Tuesday, August 2, so I requested to cancel the order. The response on August 3 – “Can you give us until next week?” My answer was “No” and the order was cancelled on Thursday, August 4.

I know that there are worldwide supply chain issues. And I do not know who the person was that was responding to my emails – it could have been the owner, or it could have been an office worker who doesn’t have the whole story. Had I been given straight answers from the start, I might have waited. But that didn’t happen.

Ordering The Fret Wire Products

Is a Fret Wire DIY guitar kit a quality product? I really wish I knew. I was psyched about doing one of these kits. How is the customer service? I don’t really know that either, except for all of these shipping inquiries. Should you consider one? There may be some very good kits here (they do look nice!), and you might not be able to get the exact same thing from another manufacturer.

The website states they are a “very small shop” and that the phone number is not monitored. It is listed on the site as a “message-only line.” The phone number is a Salt lake City area code and the website indicates they ship from that location. But another page says they ship from California. In my experience, they don’t ship at all. No message I left was ever returned.

Another thing I noticed is that no matter when I sent an email, the response always came within a few minutes of 4:00am Eastern time. I don’t know the physical location of the person I was communicating with. It could have been Utah or California, or perhaps it wasn’t in the United States.

If this is a domestic U.S. small business, I hope that they get things together. Yes, I know that the kits themselves come from China. Everyone else’s kits come from the Far East as well. I support small business, but the interaction I had with them was completely unacceptable. Again, just be honest and up front about things.

If you really want a Fret Wire kit, my recommendation is that you purchase it through The Fret Wire store at Amazon. Amazon will give you the delivery date, and if you do encounter any problem you have Amazon’s customer service team to back you up. Not all of The Fret Wire kits are available at Amazon, though. But then, they don’t seem to be available direct from The Fret Wire, either.

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