My Pango Experience

Top of Pango ES335 kit showing incorrect knobs

My experience with Pango has been, let’s just say, much less than stellar. Are Pango guitar kits any good? You can read my Pango guitar kit review here. Today I want to tell you a little about their customer service (or lack thereof).

In my previous post, I described unboxing, inspecting, finishing, and assembling a Pango ES-335 style DIY kit. That’s one of many you can find at Pango. They truly have one of the largest selections I have seen, and that is to be expected. Pango claims to own (though I’m not sure the exact business relationship) the largest guitar kit manufacturing facility in China. At least, that’s what they told me.

And by “they,” I mean “Ann,” the Marketing Manager. She is the only person I have ever been able to communicate with there. I could speculate on the reason, but that’s really all it would be. My communication with Ann began before I ever placed my order, and continued long after.

Problems Encountered

Other than overall poor quality of the materials and pre-drilled hole misalignment, the problems I encountered that required action from Pango were simply the replacement of a few incorrect parts and defective parts. They were discovered at final assembly, after the body was finished, the neck glued, and all components installed.

When I installed the strings to do the final setup, immediately one of the tuners started to slip. I knew these were cheap tuners to begin with. They were marked as “Grover,” but these aren’t even close. Grover Trophy Musical Products, the manufacturer, had already confirmed that. I was able to get this tuner to hold enough to do some intonation work. A short time later, another one started to fail.

I started to put the four knobs on the pots when I realized they were incorrect. They were supposed to be knurled metallic gold dome knobs. Instead, these were black plastic speed knobs. I put them on, then decided to email Pango.

Now, these problems weren’t something I couldn’t resolve myself – in fact, I did. I wanted quality tuners, unlike what was sent to me. So I ordered a set of Graphtech Ratio tuners and installed them. And as for the knobs, I decided to just wait and see.

A Word About the Graphtech Ratio Tuners

These things are fantastic, but they aren’t cheap. Graphtech Ratio tuners are individually marked for each string, and each string has its own calibrated gear ratio. The feel is quite different, tuning is much easier, and the quality shines. According to the manufacturer, “one 360 turn of the knob is about one tone for every string.”

Because this is a hollow-body electric, and because I don’t do heavy metal leads or a lot of bends, I chose to set up this guitar using a would third (G) string. I used D’Addario EXL110w strings, which are the same as the EXL110 strings I normally use except that the .017 plain third string is replaced with a .018 wound string. These are fantastic if you ever struggle with intonation of that pesky G. It is said they don’t bend as easily. I don’t play bends a lot, though. A wound third isn’t that uncommon on electric guitars, and it is the same as the configuration used on acoustic guitars.

So where a set of tuners is usually all the same gear ratio, commonly 12:1, 15:1 or 18:1, Graphtech Ration tuners are all different. The first string (E) is 12:1, and the second string (B) is 20:1. My wound third (G) has a 14:1 ratio. If it had been a plain third, the set would have used a 35:1 ratio for this tuner – great for fine-tuning the troublesome plain steel third string. The remaining tuners are 20:1, 24:1, and 39:1 – which makes tuning that low E a lot easier. They even make a 7-string set with a 48:1 tuner for the low B string.

Contacting Pango

I reported the incorrect and defective parts to Pango and received a response the same day stating four gold knobs and one tuner would be sent out to me right away. When the second tuner failed, I contacted them again. This time I was told I would receive four gold knobs and two tuners.

A month after I first reported the problem, Pango had not yet shipped anything!

A week later (almost 5 weeks after being told parts would be sent right away), still nothing had shipped. I was told they would go out in three days. Sure enough, three days later I was sent a tracking number. I followed it, and nothing happened for nearly another week. Then it showed they had shipped. Two and a half weeks later, the parts arrived.

Original fake Grover tuners, and the replacement tuners I received

But they were wrong. Pango had sent the correct gold knobs, but the two tuning machines were not the same as the “Grover” knockoff tuners that came with the kit. They did not even install the same way – the fake Grovers had 90-degree mounting flanges. These were 45-degrees. So I again contacted Pango, and Ann apologized and said the correct tuners will be sent and I will receive a tracking number “soon.”

Ten days later, I was told they had not yet shipped but would ship “soon” and I would receive a tracking number. This time, I suggested that instead of shipping them they could just refund $22 to my PayPal account and I would buy a set of 6 matching inexpensive tuners. I even sent them the link where the tuners would be purchased. That would end the problem. I thought shipping their parts from China would be more expensive than the $22 replacements. I guess not; I guess these fake Grovers must be really cheap.

Now, as far as Pango knows, I cannot complete the kit. I have not mentioned that I already forked out a lot of money for high-quality tuners. Really, I just want these so that I have six matching tuners that I can use on something else that isn’t as important to me as this ES-335 in which I have invested a lot of time and effort.

Instead, I was told a tracking number for my replacement two tuners would be sent “soon.” Another ten days passed, still not shipped, still no tracking number. That is when, largely out of frustration on my part, I decided to get PayPal involved. PayPal had been my original payment method, and the only one that Pango would accept.

The PayPal Case

I opened a case – not a claim – with PayPal and included a full timeline of what had happened. It had been four months since I first received the kit, and Pango had not yet been able to provide me with six tuners that match. I stated that the $22 refund would resolve the issue.

Then came Ann’s reaction.

I received a couple of angry emails, not through PayPal but directly from Ann, saying they would ship the tuners “soon,” and “if you don’t close it [the PayPal case], we will have to ask you to return the kit to us, and you need to find another supplier in the future” (emphasis mine). No problem – I will close the case as soon as I receive the parts. I only opened it because Pango was dragging their feet about resolving the problem. Return the completed kit? No way. What a ridiculous thing to say.

Almost two weeks later, the tuners arrived – no doubt hurried along by the quickly approaching PayPal deadline. They were the correct fake Grover tuners. So, I closed the case and also closed the book on any further dealings with Pango. Turns out that was a good thing, because I received another email from Ann that said, “you are on our blacklist now, bye” – no capitals, no ending punctuation, poor English just like the rest of the emails.

So, I have a set of goldtone 3X3 tuners that I may or may not use on another project. I kept the black knobs on the ES-335 style kit and I think they look better. The gold knobs went on my Bad Cat Explorer project. Life goes on, and it is good.

One More Funny Thing

This post contains affiliate links. If you are not familiar with that concept, the links in this article will send you to a product I have mentioned, most likely at Amazon. If you place an order, Amazon credits with a small referral fee. It doesn’t affect the price you pay – that is the same whether you click on my link or go directly to Amazon and search for the product yourself. But it does provide some revenue here to help pay for hosting this site.

You will notice that I DO NOT have pop-ups or other annoying advertising on The only revenue is from these small referral fees. Technically, that’s called “Affiliate Marketing,” and Amazon and other companies have “Affiliate Programs” to facilitate the process. If you want to learn more about Affiliate Marketing, check out my host here (yes, that is an affiliate link).

Pango claims to have an Affiliate Program, so I asked about it. Here (unedited) is what they told me:

about the Affiliate Program, if you can post 20 Facebook links and write PANGO music guitar kits good feedback comments every day, we can offer you a free kit in 30 days, this is the beginning. many Affiliate Program partners can not do it everyday, then we can not cooperate with him

20 facebook share every day, not 20 links in 30 days 

The email came to me with the red highlights, and the grammar/punctuation was exactly like you see. For an “Affiliate Program,” they wanted me to spam Facebook with 20 posts a day for 30 days saying good things about them. Clearly they do not comprehend Affiliate Marketing – or just marketing, for that matter.

Needless to say, I am not part of their “Affiliate Program” and there are no affiliate links for Pango in this post.

That’s It For Me

I’m done with Pango. And because I stood my ground, I guess they are done with me. No loss. However, I realize that not everyone has the same experience. How have your dealings with Pango been? Would you buy another kit?

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