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View Full Version : How much should it cost to refret a strat? Or...can a used neck be "Plek'd"?


SinglecutGuy
05-17-2011, 04:37 PM
I have a Mexi Strat that needs some fretwork. The local repair guy said it's more than what he wants to get into and he doesn't like heavy fretwork. So that kinda sucks for me.

So I guess...what should I do? I DO NOT want to get rid of the guitar...it has a lot of sentimental value to me (even tho it's a mexi), and I LOVE the way it played when it was all cool. I really want to get it back up and running again.

So how much should a refret cost me on that IF it really does need one? It's a rosewood neck if that makes a difference.

Second question...I only know a little bit about the PLEK machine and that companies like Martin and Gibson use them on their guitars after the guitars are built to level the frets and all. Is it possible to have my Strat neck PLEK'd? Again I don't know what I'm asking but if I'm in the ballpark help me out.

Thanks in advance.

wizard333
05-17-2011, 04:44 PM
When you refret you can do a lot of things, change the radius, etc, because you are planing the board.

Plekking after refretting is ideal, send it to Joe Glaser in Nashville if you want it done right and for a good price. Nickel refret and Plek on a rosewood bolt on runs $350 ish IIRC, but call them and see. 615-298-1139

wildbill1962
05-17-2011, 06:45 PM
When you refret you can do a lot of things, change the radius, etc, because you are planing the board.

Plekking after refretting is ideal, send it to Joe Glaser in Nashville if you want it done right and for a good price. Nickel refret and Plek on a rosewood bolt on runs $350 ish IIRC, but call them and see. 615-298-1139

:agree

johnh
05-18-2011, 07:29 AM
If you love the guitar and it means a lot to you, I don't see why you would not re-fret it. Every guitar will need refretted if it is played enough. You sure won't get your money back when you sell it, but it gather that's not a primary concern for you.

GuitarTone
05-18-2011, 09:31 AM
A Mexican Strat comes with medium jumbos, if the frets are not badly worn any good tech will be able to do a fret dress...no need for a re fret and plek that will cost almost as much as the guitar.

Rhomco
05-18-2011, 09:37 AM
Check out Big John at www.bigjohnsguitars.com (http://www.bigjohnsguitars.com) when you are done put the neck in a free USPS Priority Mail box and ship it to him. You will have discovered the best bang for the buck refret on the planet. I send all my serious fretwork to John...... It is something I never worry about anymore.
Rob

wizard333
05-18-2011, 09:42 AM
if the frets are not badly worn any good tech will be able to do a fret dress...no need for a re fret and plek that will cost almost as much as the guitar.

.......wrong.

First of all, if the frets weren't bad, he wouldn't be asking about a refret.

Second of all, I'm a good tech, and I, unlike many others, wont lie to you and tell you that hand work, which I can do very well, can do what a Plek machine can when run by a competant operator. Joe charges $139 for a Plek job. Its worth every penny.

Further, a Plek removes the least amount of fret possible to get them level (which is really a misnomer anyway). By hand, that will not happen, I don't care who's doing it.

orogeny
05-18-2011, 09:42 AM
you can buy a new neck for less than 350.

and, for the record. . . if your 'tech' doesn't do fretwork. . . he's the wrong guy working on your guitars. give me a luthier every time. and i mean a LUTHIER, not a maker of guitars.

dspellman
05-18-2011, 09:44 AM
Second question...I only know a little bit about the PLEK machine and that companies like Martin and Gibson use them on their guitars after the guitars are built to level the frets and all. Is it possible to have my Strat neck PLEK'd? Again I don't know what I'm asking but if I'm in the ballpark help me out.


It's going to be up to the refret tech to let you know how much it costs. I'd personally add Gary Brawer in San Francisco to the list of techs (with PLEK machines) who'd do a great refret if that's necessary. The PLEK needs the entire guitar; it's not done on a neck only, far as I know. If your frets are too far worn to be successfully leveled and recrowned, then the PLEK will be done after the refret, but it's also possible that you don't need a full refret (IOW, all frets replaced). Worth asking that question if the frets in question are largely only the first half dozen or so. And finally, it's definitely worth considering stainless frets; generally they'll wear far more slowly than standard frets, but they'll also cost a bit more as well.

GuitarTone
05-18-2011, 09:46 AM
.......wrong.

First of all, if the frets weren't bad, he wouldn't be asking about a refret.

Second of all, I'm a good tech, and I, unlike many others, wont lie to you and tell you that hand work, which I can do very well, can do what a Plek machine can when run by a competant operator. Joe charges $139 for a Plek job. Its worth every penny.

Further, a Plek removes the least amount of fret possible to get them level (which is really a misnomer anyway). By hand, that will not happen, I don't care who's doing it.

Whatever you say, wizard, you're always correct.

He asked about a re fret because his tech said he wasn't prepared to do the fretwork needed, no mention of WORN frets anywhere on his post.

wizard333
05-18-2011, 09:48 AM
you can buy a new neck for less than 350.



Possibly, but it will still need the frets leveled.

A Plek can level frets that my seem like a lost cause because it removes the least amount of material possible, whereas doing it by hand might require a refret. Seen it plenty of times. Most of the time, the issue you get is tongue rise, by the time you level them you can end up with some really low frets on the upper end of the board. A Plek can be set to avoid that if at all possible.

wizard333
05-18-2011, 09:50 AM
Whatever you say, wizard, you're always correct.



And your personal experience with a Plek machine is? And you've personally done hand fretwork on how many guitars?

Sorry for having lots of experience with both and knowing what I'm talking about.

travisvwright
05-18-2011, 09:56 AM
And your personal experience with a Plek machine is? And you've personally done hand fretwork on how many guitars?

Sorry for having lots of experience with both and knowing what I'm talking about.But that experience is completly worthless if you haven't seen the guitar in question.

wizard333
05-18-2011, 10:00 AM
But that experience is completly worthless if you haven't seen the guitar in question.

How do you figure? It either needs 1) frets leveled, in which case a Plek will do the best job assuming a competant operator, 2) a refret and level, in which case you need someone who knows how to do a good board planing and refret, and then leveling with a Plek will still do the best job.

OP asked "how much does it cost to refret a strat" and "Can a used neck be plekked".

Q1) generally $250 - $350 depending on where you go. All fret jobs are not the same, I've seen more piss poor fretwork than good.

Q2) Yes.

Please tell me how not seeing the guitar negates that. I'm curious.

travisvwright
05-18-2011, 10:12 AM
How do you figure? It either needs 1) frets leveled, in which case a Plek will do the best job assuming a competant operator, 2) a refret and level, in which case you need someone who knows how to do a good board planing and refret, and then leveling with a Plek will still do the best job.

OP asked "how much does it cost to refret a strat" and "Can a used neck be plekked".

Q1) generally $250 - $350 depending on where you go. All fret jobs are not the same, I've seen more piss poor fretwork than good.

Q2) Yes.

Please tell me how not seeing the guitar negates that. I'm curious.I think you might have missed GT's point. He said, "Hey if your tech doesn't do fretwork then his assesment of what's needed might be off. It's possible a good tech could just dress some frets and have you back playing without shipping your guitar across the country and paying more than the guitar is worth." You responded with the unecessarily inflamatory "Wrong" but without seeing the guitar you can't actually make that assessment even if you inveted fretwire.

I'm curious why you quote people in such a unique way.

wizard333
05-18-2011, 10:21 AM
Actually his tech said


he doesn't like heavy fretwork.


Which implies he does in fact do some fretwork, but feels the fretwork this guitar needs is beyond what he can comfortably do. Unless he just has no idea what he's doing (possible), that means

1) he does do fretwork
2) he doesn't like to get into 'big' fret jobs
3) given that he's turning down a job that would make him money, if he could do it, he either has no clue, or he has a clue and has properly identified the guitar as needing exensive fretwork.

There are LOTS of techs out there that don't do "heavy fretwork". There are lots more that SHOULDNT do heavy fretwork, because they don't do it very well, even though they'll take the jobs and the money. Nothing about his statement surprises me, but its a lot easier to identify a guitar that needs serious fretwork than it is to actually perform said work in a satisfactory fashion.

So yeah I guess I'm going on the assumption that the guy, who is afterall some sort of guitar tech who charges money for what he does, can accurately identify when a guitar needs extensive fretwork, which isn't all that demanding a skill just to ID that situation. You on the other hand seem to be assuming the guy has no idea what he's talking about. Granted, there are 'techs' out there that really do have no clue at all, but most people who are doing and have been doing tech work for a while can at least ID a problem.

GuitarTone
05-18-2011, 10:30 AM
And your personal experience with a Plek machine is? And you've personally done hand fretwork on how many guitars?

Sorry for having lots of experience with both and knowing what I'm talking about.

Do you own a plek machine yourself, or does Joe Glaser own the plek machine?
I'm not a guitar tech, just friends with a few of the great ones in my country.

The OP guitar might have a guitar with a few uneven frets, and you're telling him to ship his Mexican Strat halfway around the USA for a $350 (excluding shipping) re-fret and plek job...and that's your experienced solution?

What happened, you saw Tokai guitars in my signature and decided you didn't like me?...get over it. :)

travisvwright
05-18-2011, 10:33 AM
So yeah I guess I'm going on the assumption that the guy, who is afterall some sort of guitar tech who charges money for what he does, can accurately identify when a guitar needs extensive fretwork, which isn't all that demanding a skill just to ID that situation. You on the other hand seem to be assuming the guy has no idea what he's talking about. Granted, there are 'techs' out there that really do have no clue at all, but most people who are doing and have been doing tech work for a while can at least ID a problem.I (or more accurately GT) was not making any assumption in fact I think his whole point could be boiled down to, "Don't just assume this tech is right as it's admittedly not his forte". GT's advise also has the extra benefit of possibly saving a lot of money, with almost zero downside.

Your use of "wrong" when "I dissagree" would be more accurate, appears emotional. With perhaps a righteous indignation towards unscrupulous techs who would take the money and do a poor job. But then it also might be possible that you use a Plek and are upset with someone claiming they can do as good a job. Bad mouthing competition is considered tacky. Either way calling someone "wrong" especially in a situation where you are admittedly going off assumptions lacks tact.

wizard333
05-18-2011, 10:43 AM
The OP guitar might have a guitar with a few uneven frets


See above. You're assuming his tech cannot ID that issue, and you have nothing on which to base that statement. Since his tech doesn't do "heavy" fretwork, we can assume he does "light" fretwork, which includes dealing with "a few uneven frets".

So knowing what I know about doing this stuff and what it takes to ID an issue like that, I'm assuming his tech can at least tell shit from shinola. You, having no experience working with this stuff, but you "are friends with someone" who does, assume his tech has absolutely no idea what the guitar needs or doesn't need, from half way across the world.

I've dealt with at least 30 Plek jobs, been involved in the process from start to finish including setting the specs. Seen it done poorly, seen it done very well. Seen lots of hand work, most of it mediocre, a fair amount downright awful, some pretty good. I learned to do it from a guy who does excellent handwork; I can do pretty damned good handwork. I stopped doing full levels on my instruments when I saw what a properly operated Plek machine is capable of. It can't be done by hand. Sometimes you get lucky and get just amazing results by hand, but not in the consistent nuts to bones way a Plek can. Its a tool like any other tool, and you have to know what to tell it to do just like working with a file, but its accurate and consistent in a way no hand work can be. I still do handwork for others if they don't want to send something to be Plekked, but I recommend the Plek. People seem to be very satisfied with what I do by hand, but I know full well I can't match a Plek. Some will tell you they can. They cant.

Bad mouthing competition is considered tacky. Either way calling someone "wrong" especially in a situation where you are admittedly going off assumptions lacks tact.

Actually a Plek is my competition. Getting personal with me is tacky to. But you seem all about that. My assumptions are at least based on having done this kind of work and dealing with a lot of other people who have. Yours are based on........? Right.

SinglecutGuy
05-18-2011, 11:18 AM
Guys guys guys!!! Calm down...

My local tech is very well respected, and I wouldn't hesitate to call him a luthier (he has built a handful of instruments and they are of very high craftsmanship.)

He IS experienced, and doesn't like HEAVY fretwork, as was mentioned. I was a cable-guy for about 4 years, and I knew how to do underground cable runs VERY well, but I didn't LIKE doing it, and wouldn't unless I absolutely had to. It's the same situation.

He's a very busy guy (he has at least 3 jobs that I know of, and a family with kids), and doesn't really have the time to do heavy fretwork. That being said...

He has done some fretwork on it, and he said that every time he'd dress one fret and hammer it down (or whatever the term is) another one would pop up. He said "your strat is like a bad game of whack a mole".

So, that's where I'm at.

If the re-fret costs me $250-350 I don't know that I want to send it to be Plek'd as well.

Also, the frets that are currently on it are Dunlop 6105 Narrow Jumbo frets. I have to say, it's one of the things that stood out to me on the guitar when I bought it. I really like the way the frets felt and played when it was "good".