One of the great things about buying my custom Benford guitar was seeing the care and attention that Steve Benford put into it. Aside from the guitar itself and the 80+ emails that Steve and I exchanged, this is really shown with the extras Steve included.
First off was the superb SKB hard shell case, which I paid for but, at $50 is an absolute bargain. The cheapest I can get one of these in the UK is £105 (the equivalent of $157, at today’s exchange rate).
Then after taking out the guitar itself I found some small bits an pieces in the storage section of the case…
First was the standard set of allen keys for adjusting the double truss rod but… hang on a second, these have been modified. Steve explained that this is because he uses a neater/smaller design for the truss rod cover and shortening the allen keys makes adjustment easier. If there is one thing that sums up the extent Steve has gone to, to make sure he’s happy with every detail of the end product before it ships, this is it.
Next were a couple of custom Benford guitar picks. A little thicker than the gauge I usually use, but great none-the-less, and looking at the colour, they’re going to be difficult to lose!
Then came a CD-ROM of the build pictures complete with a rather unflattering self portrait! Also included on the disc were loads of Steve’s own recordings which are definitely worth checking out. Some stunning stuff on there and you can listen over at MySpace.
The last thing out was the metaphorical icing on the cake. Steve had taken an off-cut from the body wood and carved a pick box for me. I’m not quite sure why, but I shall be eternally grateful. It is strange but this small gesture is almost as important to me as the quality of the guitar itself and tells you all you need to know about Steve’s idea of customer care.
If you’re thinking of spending more than $900 (or £800) on a decent guitar, then, before buying from one of the big box manufacturers, you really owe it to yourself to have a quick conversation with Steve first.