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Variax Shuriken - new or used?


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Hi Everyone;


After some research (and a little getting hyped and excited from online vids) on getting a new Shuriken, the local Rockshop in Wellington (NZ) got the Ash coloured one I wanted in from one of their other stores for me to try out.  I went in, prepared and cashed up ready to leave the store with it.  But then I saw it - (see images).


I have 3 other guitars which i've had > 6 years use of, that don't have fretboards looking this bad (I don't have fingernails!).  The edges have cuts along em midway down the board like someone had bent the strings a bit too far, and weirdly, right in the places one would have expected them to be, ie, not at the top.  Black marks are all exactly between frets, and don't go across any frets for example.  Checking another Shuriken (black one) from on the shelf, it was mint compared to this, although this one had a damaged knob, so I didn't take that either.  I asked about the fretboard and was told it was normal for a brand spanking fretboard - which is what I'm here to ask you all.  It didn't feel right - so I left empty handed, feeling disappointed like someone is trying to pull a fast one.


The session went otherwise well - I came with my laptop pre-installed with Workbench staying despite, and finally worked out how this machine worked.  (I wanted to work out if the issues with droning harmonics was as bad as some posters say.)  After playing, there was no offer to cut a deal on the RRP.  I'm ultimately sold on the product, and trying to find another way to purchase one.  I may have to wait till my next trip away.


tl-dr; ignoring all else, should a new guitar look like this?  would you accept a new guitar at full price that looked this way? 


Thanks everyone, in advance, for your 2 peneth worth!

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I see what you mean, but it will be difficult to diagnose exactly what those marks are just from pictures. I see three possibilities:


1) Wear marks from playing... if the guitar has been used as a demo for a while, it's a possibility. I have fretboards that are beat up worse than that, but normally it takes years of abuse to get there. Were the frets shot to hell, too... particularly the ones surrounding the marks in the wood? If so, then that would be an argument for calling those spots battle scars.


2) It might be wood filler. I've seen...I'll be diplomatic..."less than perfect" pieces of wood with cracks, knot holes, or gouge marks from someone's f*ck up, used for fretboards many times over the years, from numerous manufacturers... including a certain "authentic" brand that shall remain nameless ;). They just cram the defect with wood filler so they don't have to throw it away and take a loss. Often it's hard to get the colors to match the surrounding wood. Actually, if that is in fact what happened in this case, I've seen far worse matching jobs than this... sometimes it's so obvious, you could see it from orbit, lol. ;)


3) It's just an odd piece of wood, and that's the natural grain.


But even blowing up those pics, it's hard to tell. The resolution isn't that great.


Regardless of what the truth is, my number one rule for buying a guitar is this: If you're not thrilled right down to your socks, and there are any lingering doubts...be it an aesthetic issue or some functional problem that will need fixing, don't buy it...because you won't be happy, even if it's the "deal of a lifetime". A new guitar should have you giggling to yourself on the way out of the store. If not...look elsewhere.


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Ooooh, Swap Ash, very popular.

Down under in NZ. Stevic McKay (Twelve Foot Nija) is across the water in South East Australia.

There's a Shuriken FB page he's part of, and the Shuriken is his design. Might want to get on FB

and pick his brain about it.


What's the four numbers after "W" in the serial number?


Wood filler???

It's used, so there will be some wear. Looks like wear from a player who's done some gigging around.

I see this all the time when I service these guitars. I'd like to see that after the fret-board has been gone over

and properly oil treated. Then compare before and after photos.


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This is very interesting. I have been coveting a certain pearl white Shuriken from the Rockshop in Auckland for some time and was thinking about getting it shipped over to Oz but eventually got a metallic silver one here in Melbourne. The one I picked up had been in the shop for a long time and it had just a very minor layer of dust. No evidence of much playing at all.


I doubt it is filler, that would be poor QC, and I've never seen that on a new guitar. However, looking at the rosewood it seems very dry. It it were to be cleaned and then oiled (lemon oil), perhaps the blemishes would disappear? When I do this to my ebony and rosewood fretboards on my other guitars, any blemishes seem to disappear and the whole thing looks much darker. 


If the issue is just the grain of the wood having 'character', it might be passable as the body is the Ash version so you want to see the natural grain. A few blemishes might be nice. On the silver version I have, blemishes aren't so good, thankfully there aren't any...


Good luck with your decision! 


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