"Plek Job" by Philtone

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by mbrusso39, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. mbrusso39

    mbrusso39 Member

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    Near Baltimore Maryland
    I am in the Baltimore area and am lucky enough to be a 30 minute drive from Phil Jacoby of Philtone custom guitar repair (www.philtone.com). Phil has recently acquired a Plek system and well, I just had it done to my 1973 Les Paul Custom that I have been playing for the last 32 years (really I do not feal all that old!). The guitar was refreted around 1977 with big frets as I was not a fan of the fretless wonder frets the guitar was supplied with. As you can imagine the frets have a lot of wear since this is my #1 guitar.

    Phil has been my luthier for the last 4 years and is the only one I trust with my #1 as I am very picky about my setup. Phil just moved the shop and is now open for business complete with the new Plek. I think I am number 7 to have this done.

    What is a Plek? Think of it as a super microscope measuring device that complety maps out the frets, finger board, neck twist, etc. and provides the luthier with computerized views of how to make corrections such that a balance can be obtained relative to playability, string vibration, etc. This is my interpretation of this as I watched my #1 being worked by the machine. I am sure that Phil can provide the correct defintion of the Plek. I will try to post some pictures so you can see what one of these machines looks like. They are quite substantial, very large heavy, like a robot. It blew me away as to the magnatude of the investment necessary to procure one of these and to learn how to use it.

    I cannot express how picky I am on my setups. I like the lowest action possible, yet I stretch the you-know-what out of my strings (these two priorities are always at odds with each other) I demand maximum sustain and tone and do not like compromise. I just got my Plek job (I will refer to this as a "PJ" lol) yesterday and had a 4-hour gig last night.

    The results? Absolutely amazing. Somehow my PJ in the hands of Phil managed to balance all of the priorities I stated above. The action is sooo "even" both across and up/down the fretboard. It is hard to describe what a difference it made in my ability to both schred, stretch, sustain, etc. at the gig. There are no more dead spots, or "buzz-zones".

    The Plek can also grind the frets and fretboard (when doing a refret). Phil opted to have the Plek grind the frets, then he polished them himself. This required several "scans" of the guitar as he did this and adjusted the neck to perfection. In a nutshell the Plek is a tool for the luthier.

    Was my PJ worth the money? Are you kidding me? This was the best investment I have ever made in an instrument. What did it cost? Well you need to discuss with Phil (or any other luthier that you would be sending your guitar to).

    I have a hard time separating a Plek review without plugging Phil. Why? Because as stated above the Plek is simply a tool for the luthier. The results are obtained because of the luthier, not the tool if that makes any sense.

    Phil Jacoby can be contacted at www.philtone.com
     
  2. mbrusso39

    mbrusso39 Member

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    Let us know how that works out. Hopefully you will be as happy as I am. . .
     
  3. mike@switchback

    mike@switchback Supporting Member

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    Awesome, I was hoping Phil would get a Plek machine. I'm moving from VA to PA in a few weeks, but I would still come down to Baltimore to get my guitars worked on - that's how good Phil is.
     
  4. sabbath90

    sabbath90 Member

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    Apr 18, 2005
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    pennsylvania
    i always go to him whenever i need anything major done to my guitars even though it's 2 hours away. i wish i could find someone good in hagerstown, but phil is worth the extra time.
     
  5. Gary F.

    Gary F. Member

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    Russo-

    Thanks for the blow by blow on your plek experience. Nice to see posting; it'll cut down on our cell minutes, LOL.

    You know the thing i dig most about Phil? He takes into account your playing style before making recommendations or doing any work. It's your assurance that any work he does will work for you . If you take your guitar to Phil (and you should), be prepared to play a bit.

    He's also up-to-the-minute knowlegable, a genuinely nice guy and a monster player to boot. He's also NOT a gear snob; it's whatever works for you and your style. A Baltimore treasure for sure.

    Gary
     
  6. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    I have met Phil and hung out with him more than a few times; he is a VERY cool guy and just down to earth. His talents are very real. It is great to hear he has a Plek; go Phil!!
     
  7. ChrisP

    ChrisP Member

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    Location:
    Fairfax, VA
    Phil is a very cool guy and an excellent luthier who appears to demand a lot from himself.

    When I went to see him he played my PRS for about 5 minutes and then handed it back to me to play...I didn't want to play it after hearing him :(
     

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