PLOT TWIST: Olson Guitarworks Is A Fraud, Did Not Build The 17-String Guitar, Jared Dines Responds

Well, Olson Guitarworks had quite the week. After sharing a potato-quality photo gallery featuring a 17-string guitar that he allegedly built for Jared Dines, he received thousands of shares, coverage in Guitar World, Ultimate Guitar, and even your friendly neighborhood Gear Gods. He had the internet all abuzz with “you should just play the harp”/”that’s not a guitar, it’s a piano”/”you were so preoccupied with whether or not you could, you didn’t stop to think if you should” (every single comment thread) and sheer disbelief that someone would build such a monstrosity – for a couple days.


That awe and disgust has quickly turned to mockery and rage as it was revealed today by Jared Dines, who commissioned the guitar for an upcoming “Djent 2017” video, that Nicholas Olson had not, in fact, built the guitar at all, but had instead commissioned it be built by a Chinese luthier for the princely sum of $400, and passed it off as his own work.

Also, unbelievably, in spite of his already terrible reputation as a builder and a scammer prior to this, when the internet inevitably sniffed out the truth (how did this guy think he could possibly get away with this in the age of the internet?) he still had people defending him. Even after this revelation came to light:

And now – now. The smoking gun – someone emailed Musoo Guitars in China and asked for photo examples of a 17-string bass and they received pictures of the “Olson” guitar.

With a full gallery here.

As of this writing, the Olson Guitarworks and Nicholas Olson Facebook pages have been deleted or made private and we cannot reach him for comment. His Instagram account is still active, but now private.

Be careful when you get custom guitars built, y’all. Buy from reputable builders and never pay the full amount up front.

Written by

As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.

Latest comments
  • I’ve met this man personally. I had a weird vibe about the dude, I normally pick up on peoples bullshit; and I’m glad I did with him. This article solidifies that feeling!

  • I don’t even care that the bass came from China, Chinese quality gets better every week it seems, but you should come clean and tell the customer you’re wholesaling these and not building them yourself. I knew I smelled something fishy when the pictures were all you in your bedroom instead of in a shop.

  • SSU? That’s some popular or prestigious institution of higher learning that everyone actually knows the initials? You’re being unnecessarily cryptic. Sonoma State University?

  • Dines looks like he is in a bad comedy disguised as a kid and he’s just about to say “Pokeymons are rad!”

  • I would add that the hardware alone for 17 strings, unless it’s total crap, would cost over $1000. So it was only going to be a doorstop at best.

  • This is what the West is all about. Companies taking credit for stuff made in China. You don’t mind Apple and 99% of other tech companies doing it, but it’s suddenly a problem with a 17-string guitar.

    • I believe there is a difference between labeling the product “Made in China” with Apple product and IIRC Olson Guitarworks falsely claimed that they were making the guitar when it was actually made by other company in China.

    • Michal, are you soft in the head? It’s an honesty thing. In “the west” you generally know where your products are being built. When you commission a local luthier to build you a one of a kind guitar, you expect a certain level of quality and local pride in that instrument. Also….you expect it to be made BY THEM. Think harder next time.

      • I get your point and OF COURSE it is just a matter of honesty. But how come someone like Dines could have believed that a 17-string custom-built guitar can be made for 1000 USD by a US-based luthier?

        • That’s a much more legit argument and I’m with you on that one. But why wasn’t that your original point? I thought those messages were really fishy. But they did make a deal that in exchange for the cheap price he would get some pretty good notoriety and thus more business. But even then, 1000 is too cheap I think.

        • I’m totally with ya on this. As a private contractor, you can sub-contract out any part of your job and you don’t have to tell your client dick. It was certainly misleading the way he sold it, but he didn’t scam anybody. Getting a custom built 4 string bass for 1000 would be a steal. You would really have to be dumb to think you could get some crazy custom instrument for that much.

          If he gets a working 17 string bass out of the deal, he didn’t get scammed at all.

          • Yeah but what if he quoted Dines $3000?

        • You didn’t watch the video did you?
          He said he would only build it for 1000USD if dines would also recommend him in his videos.
          Which makes total sense. YouTuber with 1.5 Million subscribers recommends your instruments, you got some business incoming.

        • because it mightve been a 2000 $ instrument at a 50% discount for his name to get out as it did. That Olson guy had better have bought the donuts from the fancy stand while it was being made. Not just Dunkin Donuts.

      • He has a point tho, while we know they are “Made in China”, is that what people think when they think Apple? Bose? Peavey? When the people “making” the stuff are all in China.

      • Wlosik dropped that point hard. Give it a few more minutes, Nope. Let it sink in. Still looking for the video but the beef is with this Olson, not the luthier that made it.

        If anything, this guy in China should get some credit once we get to hear it . For 400 bucks, I’d want to know if Dines sponsors finally got the best of him to trash an underseller. It can happen. The way it hit the floor, it didn’t sound very thick. I’d anticipate the truss rod in any serious build to incorporate #2 rebar .. now thats some Chinese equity signature. Still. It had to have taken some amount of time to build it. Whose the real builder?

        I’m still skeptical, for real. The strings in the photos don’t look to represent a serious extended range the way a chapman stick is. It looked like a 12 string situation with equal spacing between the octave and main strings

    • Yeah but I already know if I am buying anything electronic it’s most likely coming from China or somewhere in the Orient. So it’s a matter of expectation and trust I expect my DVD player to come from China but when you make a deal with a local craftsman to build something you expect him to build it. Now in the US you couldn’t build that guitar for a $1000. The wood alone will cost you a couple hundred so your cost argument is very valid but I expect a people to not take credit for what they did not do. That is the slim ball thing that pissed me off. I was a wood worker for a long time and so many times Architects and designers would take all the credit for MY creations. Shameful people shameful.

    • Truth…Moreover due to such spit-fest on China and Asia products real US products (if there are any) are refused by Europeans and other Continents. I get sick from that ” US made, We are the best” etc etc. Like people in China are not capable to make same or even better guitar. It is some sort of made in prejudice and discrimination but as i stated at start one who loose are us producers, also it is negative image for US. I know there are great people there who don’t care about Made in bla bla so i’m glad that voice of those people is heard. Scam ☺ sure…..I guess when you import strings, guitars, hardware that are 100% Korean or China made and sell it as genuine US for min 4 times more- that is honesty and fer sell…..Unbelievable.

  • Ok dishonesty aside, I still wanna hear this thing. Maybe after he makes some tweaks to it?

    • you’re fucking stupid.

      • feeling important about yourself yet, Nick? Theres a new treatment for apathetic commenters : the chimney sweep enema ; it might help with your creosote

    • I totally agree with you , no matter where it came from or what its made of , lets give the actual luthier a due review of that thing. Was it even basswood? Some details about this thing are necessary.

  • I had a custom guitar built by Mike Sankey of Sankey Guitars. There was nothing requested that he didn’t accommodate and I’ve been very happy with the guitar:

    Just promoting someone who isn’t a scammer, since I can vouch.

  • look out for “sure shock” guitars on facebook…google arthur cory atkinson …huge scam artist ..recently moved to henderson nevada…the address for his business is actually a local elementary school…he is a cohort of the olson guy …smh …loser web scam artists…..

    • Haha, same Wayne Harman of Painless Guitars that got caught red-handed, on about a half-dozen Facebook groups, selling “custom guitars” that turned out to be Chinese aliexpress kits loaded with fake Chinese Pickups and hardware? No room to talk sweetheart!

  • I call shenanigans on this whole episode.

    The buyer of this 17-string monstrosity bought it for “a joke video” – but who among us, especially those not even legit famous, can afford to spend $1k on such a venture? Even the direct cost of $400 is pushing it for most independent musicians.

    This all smacks of BS to me. Maybe it’s a next level joke on US, and this whole episode has been an elaborate prank. Methinks the rogue builder is just a friend of his, posing as a “guitar maker” and playing along with this ruse, so that we’ll all feel sorry for (and popularize) the buyer of the bass.

    • I’m pretty sure you are wrong.

    • This is Jared “1.5 million subscribers” Dines we’re talking about. Dude’s making some serious dough from YouTube.

  • If one chooses to pawn off someone else’s work as their own, it’s the epitome of laziness to not at least try to make some cosmetic changes that would make ones “plagaristic” attempts to deceive a little harder to detect. I’m not condoning this in any way of course…
    …my point is the absolute lack of trying on any level…to the point that even Jared got taken in initially…I guess this “luthier” has fleeced so many people that he figured he’d hooked another one…except he picked the wrong Ram to fleece this time.

    This is ultimately an indictment against the consuming public as much as it is the con man. Research is part of ones own due diligence, ones own fiduciary duty to do a little background study of the vendor and the item being sold before laying down a cool one G.

  • Same thing happened a couple years ago with “Painless Guitars” out of Vegas. Guy got caught red-handed, and called out on about a half-dozen Facebook groups, selling “custom guitars” that
    turned out to be Chinese aliexpress kits loaded with fake Chinese
    Pickups and hardware. Still had “loyal” dudebros swearing they were hand-built. Gotta be careful with your cash.

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