Luthier for refret in DC / NoVA area?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by es446, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. es446

    es446 Member

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    Hi Brian. Will keep you in mind for the next one!
     
  2. es446

    es446 Member

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    That's the weird thing. The first half of the fret job looks good (old frets were pulled without damaging the fretboard, new frets are seated properly).

    It's the second half of the fret job that is bad - the crowning, edges, and polishing. That and the surprise 25% unauthorize upcharge at the end where he basically stole money from me. And the whole time his abrasiveness and unwillingness to truly listen just made the whole experience suck.
     
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  3. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

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    So sorry to hear about your bad experience and I totally understand your frustration.

    I know Philtone uses a PLEK machine, and I assume you paid for that precision technology of a PLEK'd fret job. In addition to leveling, I thought the PLEK also crowns the frets as well?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  4. es446

    es446 Member

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    Yes. I paid for the Plek service but I don’t think he used the Plek to crown the frets. I was excited about the Plek but he downplayed it’s role in the process when I dropped the guitar off and didn’t seem to like that I was excited about the Plek and he said something like “The Plek is only a tool”, so I don’t know if he used it for crowning. If it was used for crowning, then maybe he didn’t program the machine correctly because the crowning is lopsided and has a very sharp hard angle on the bridge facing side of the frets.

    Maybe he can use the money he took me from the surprise upcharge on Plek lessons.
     
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  5. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    That’s a fact, though.

    Mindlessly Plekking without more is of no use, nor is it a magic wand. You don’t just toss the guitar on the Plek machine. :idea
     
  6. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    If you had done a search on that guy on these boards, or in general, you could have saved yourself the hassle. Cornucopia of horrible experiences well documented.
     
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  7. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    The Plek wheel crowns as it cuts; you then have to polish.

    A Plek is just a tool, and it's best use is running lots of guitars in a short amount of time and, if you know what you're doing, get decent results. Better than a lot of people do by hand, because there are a ton of hacks out there. It's best use is not to get the best fretwork, because it can't.
     
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  8. es446

    es446 Member

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    I agree with Phil's statement about the Plek machine only being a tool.

    In my experience, the best fret work I've seen are from guys without Plek machines (the Chicago shops and Saul Koll come to mind).
     
  9. es446

    es446 Member

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    Lesson learned. Guy stole an extra 25% from me and delivered an unfinished fret job.

    And the whole thing about the string-break angle has me laughing now. I didn't have a problem with my string break angle before he insisted on "correcting it", and now that he "fixed it", my low E keeps popping out of the saddle. What a train wreck.
     
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  10. twinrider1

    twinrider1 Member

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    Give John Ingram a call. Just see how you get along over the phone. I haven't used him personally but a friend that is a career musician and that I've known since 7th grade is a happy customer of his. He's in Annapolis, a little further down the road.

    Anyone here that has used John Ingram, feel free to add your experiences, positive or negative.
     
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  11. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

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    So if the Plek machine crowns the frets as it cuts, and the Plek is supposedly a precision tool, what would be the explanation for the poor lopsided crowning of the frets the OP described?

    I know you've posted here that you've had a lot of experience running a Plek machine, so I'd be curious to get your thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  12. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    Without seeing it, I can't tell you. What I can tell you is, the plek grinder wheel cuts and crowns at the same time; the crown shape is build into the cutter. It is also highly unlikely for the cutting wheel to be that lopsided with relation to the fretboard to create a visibly lopsided crown without doing other damage.

    Now, what Jacoby did to it after? God only knows.
     
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  13. eoengineer

    eoengineer Supporting Member

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    Not really a helpful comment, but I guess if it makes you feel helpful...
     
  14. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    On the contrary. Hopefully it helps the next person who would otherwise do the same thing, i.e., take some recommendation off a board without researching the recommendation. If the OP had researched Jacoby, he would have seen quite a few posts here and around the net about bad experiences that mirrored exactly the experience he ended up having. That was avoidable.
     
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  15. eoengineer

    eoengineer Supporting Member

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    I’ve seen more praise about Philtone, and the only negative statements I’ve seen have mentioned wait times, not quality of work.

    This does remind me that I need to amend my statement about the fretshop. I took the guitar back And we talked about it. He very graciously took it in with no additional cost.

    I got it back recently and it’s actually playing pretty solidly with lower action.

    Whatever experiences people have had in the past, his shop has been here for a few years now and seems to have integrated into the community. He made it right, we’re good.
     
  16. es446

    es446 Member

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    OP here. I did see both the good and bad comments before making the drive to Baltimore. What I noticed about the bad comments was that a lot of them (also on other forums) were mostly about how long it took (in many cases it was months). But the same folks leaving bad comments, then said it was worth the wait because they were happy with the fret work. Phil's turn time for this particular job was really good (exactly 3 weeks). The other negative comments I saw were about his abrasive attitude. I experienced a little bit of this in the beginning when I noticed he wasn't actually listening to me about why I was there and what I wanted done to my guitar.

    What's the "fretshop"?
     
  17. es446

    es446 Member

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    Yeah, I should have searched more. Most of the complaints I found were about the turn time and his attitude. I did find others about the fretwork afterward.
     
  18. es446

    es446 Member

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    I gave him a call before and he was very nice. He was my first choice from the recommendations but he said he was so backed up that he wouldn't be able to get to my guitar for "many months". :(
     
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  19. Bossanova

    Bossanova Silver Supporting Member

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    Has anyone in the region used John Thurston, out of Dundalk? My friend recommends him but I have no experience.
     
  20. Losov

    Losov Member

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    Was wondering why you didn’t just go to Marguerite Pastella in Newport News, but I just learned that she closed the shop, presumably when her husband became ill.

    Good info about Phil, though. I’ll certainly be crossing him off my list.
     
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