"swee lee is ripping us off" (update)


New member
i have to rant.

i was in swee lee a few days ago and i saw that they had the fender tweed twin and the 64 custom vibroverb.

so i tested it with a robert cray strat with a few blues licks for abt an hour and both amps ripped.

then i asked for the prices and they quoted me:
tweed twin ($5460)
vibroverb ($4830)

those prices are AFTER discount.

then i asked them why the discounted prices are higher than US retail?

i told them that if i ordered from a US agent, they can get me 30 to 40 percent off, and including shipping will still cost less than what swee lee is charging after discount.

they told me i get warranty here.

then i told them that their amp technician butchered my pro junior.
it did not work properly and the volume dropped in and out.
after sending it to irwin, he said that they had taken out the expensive resistors and put in cheap ones.

of course, he said that the filipino guy was top notch, etc, etc.
of course everyone knows not to trust swee lee amp techs. ( i have heard other horror stories)
i told him outright but politely that swee lee has no right calling itself a qualified amp technician service.

any way he went on to admit that the reason why swee lee stuff is so ex is because swee lee marks up its prices way above retail.

that is why even when they have a sale at swee lee at 40% off, they still make a decent profit.

thank god for the guitar shops at excelsior hotel who bring in jap fenders and online shops. :)
No choice i guess. Sometimes we buy from sweelee not because we want to, but we have too, out of need, as well as saving time compared to overseas shipments.

Still, i will try my best not to buy anything there. Go there to try, like the gear, order online, or head overseas and grab it there. It's much better, plus there's a bigger variety.
Hi glblues,

I'm not siding SL, but the tech there is really experienced. He has being working there for very long time. I don't mind to be standing next in line for the job, except I already have my own business and that position looks like it won't need be filled in a while.

Just checking, who is this irwin guy you brought your amp to fix?? The pro junior amp is not a complex amp, thus I don't see why they need to 'butcher' your amp.

Another point you noted, is that they "taken out the expensive resistors and put in cheap ones". I find that this statement is pretty flawed as I am an active amp repairman. The reason is that 'stock' resistors are normally non-expensive types anyway. Also better (tolerance) resistors don't cost much more either. Thus I suspect it's just a sweeping remark to assure you only.

Also some background pointers, SL has repaired a lot of after warranty products, even on brands they don't carry, so I do not think is fair to put down their service dept so badly.

No offence, as I an in no way related to them, just my own observation.
irwin used to be an amp tech in spore, used to build his own tube amps here until he went into a full-time job, if i remember correctly.

it was he who told me that, perhaps he was misguided, i don't know.

but i definitely remeber the volume dropping in and out and the tone being too weedy.

as for swee lee repairing other brands not their own, i'm not sure abt that. i remember asking them to repair my snarling dogs wah which i had as well as servicing a tone king comet that i had, but they refused it bec it was not the brand that they carry.
hmm...swee lees discounts are freakin fake...

really man...those discounts are after their super "usual price"..

anw theres sure some1 hu works at swee lee here...

i really wanna see wad he/she says...

SOFT shud open a shop! :lol:
I think sweelee interested in selling and make millions onlylah :lol:
Their customer service is well known already.U noe wat i mean..

..FS:Marshall jmp-1$450
Jackson soloist-U qoute yr price

WTB:Digitech whammy pedal
GFX-8 efx(Zoom)/GFX-4
swee lee's way of doing business is so outdated....consumers are no longer dumb, they know their stuff. when will they start being honest?
honestly, if SOFT set up a shop, we would charge just like Swee Lee because it is a business. We will have staff to salary, rent to pay and stock to clear.

i myself is in business and every now and then, some clients would say, "wow, so expensive? can cheaper or not?"

as much as i want to please the client, i must try to do a profitable business or else i will not have money to pay my staff, buy new equipment and run SOFT.
Hmm, i suppose it could still be cheaper than what SL charges. Take for example TomLee in HK, their Epiphone SG, the white one with 3 gold humbuckers, go for like 3-400 SGD and the Epiphone Les Pauls 500 SGD give take. The guitarists there sure have good lives.

If Soft sets up a shop, why not make it an online thing? Just ship out orders, save cost on staff salaries. Just my thoughts anyways :)
soft said:
honestly, if SOFT set up a shop, we would charge just like Swee Lee because it is a business..

i agree with u except that:

1) swee lee gets items from fender, etc at dealer price. there is no reason to list the items as higher than recommended retail price for overseas retailers.

2) swee lee saves money on shipping by filling up a whole container of supplies to the max, i.e. bulk shipping, which is why their items only come to spore only a few times a year and also why we see the same old stuff over and over again.
that is why i only go to swee lee every three months or so, just to window shop.
so they cannot justify the hogher costs due to shipping costs.

i shipped an amp from the US (a 3x10 combo) via fed ex express and it cost me US$350.
i use that as a base to calculate shipping costs from a US dealer for the fender tweed twin and the vibroverb and it STILL works out cheaper.
so swee lee is jacking up the prices because they are the monoploy on gibson and fender.
And we all know that alot of guitarists look at brand and for them, fender and gibson are the ultimate.
for me personally, i gave up on fender and gibson a long time ago. very sub-standard quality for the price.
If only Guitar Centre would open an Asian branch here in SG... Then every guitar stores will be closing shops... Hehe...

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
ummm... have i been had ? I'm getting a pair of Dimarzio Ultra Jazz pickups for S$200.oo incl installation. Has anybody got the same pickups and paid less ?
May be S.O.F.T could now and then organize a bulk puchase of guitar/bass parts (such as strings, pickups etc) ....we have more bargaining power when we've the number.
Should be, everything. Keyboards, Pianos, Drums, Guitars, Bass, Effects(pedals + racks), Amplifiers, Music CDs, Books, etc etc.
Cavett said:
If only Guitar Centre would open an Asian branch here in SG...
ive heard GC ripps ppl off too sometimes...haha

but then...some online stores are runned by 4 ppl.and no commission.good prices.good pay...thats business :lol:
thanks unsane...glad to know i didnt pay too much for those pickups...a quick check on the net shows that they cost abt US$100.00 a pair though.