the plek machine

zepled112

Member
Messages
255
I talked to the repair guy at the music gallery in highland park Illinois, and they have a plek. the guy was nice enough to run me through the whole operation. he puts in all these measurements which he said takes a couple of hours and then he put the guitar in and that takes about 15 minutes. what is amazing is some people say all this crap about it that is all wrong. this thing does a job that not even the best of the best luthier can achieve. after playing a pleked and a non pleked guitar and I was amazed this thing does a better job than any luthier fret job that I have played. what do you think?
 

1radicalron

Member
Messages
2,055
Excellent Luthiers can do amazing Fret jobs. But there are mass produced Guitars that unfortunately need help. For those - The Plek Machine is awesome!
 

shane8

Member
Messages
31,328
do machines have mojo? i'm glad they exist but for me the jury is out on op's coments
 

Dillow4092

Member
Messages
2,501
For the absolute best results you have to have a compitent luthier that actually knows how to work the machine. I'm fortunate enough to have a friend that uses a Plek, and does outstanding fret work to boot.

But I have to agree, a Plek job is fantastic.
 

rcl

Member
Messages
1,768
I talked to the repair guy at the music gallery in highland park Illinois, and they have a plek. the guy was nice enough to run me through the whole operation. he puts in all these measurements which he said takes a couple of hours and then he put the guitar in and that takes about 15 minutes. what is amazing is some people say all this crap about it that is all wrong. this thing does a job that not even the best of the best luthier can achieve. after playing a pleked and a non pleked guitar and I was amazed this thing does a better job than any luthier fret job that I have played. what do you think?

What George or Chip will tell you-they still have a tremendous amount of input. To the plek-tek, it really is just another tool, much more accurate than the human eye and a straight edge. How much fret gets cut(the less the better), and a bunch of other decisions come into play. The tool is only as good as the tech-in this case-those two guys have done hundreds are are very good at it. That said, they have set up guitars of mine and made them play stellar as well. They are just plain great at what they do. The plek machine is just another tool for them to do their job.
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,066
Since you are in the Chicago-land area, do yourself a favor and go talk to Tim Schroeder next to Make 'n Music at 1455 Hubbard Street in the city.

All fret work done by hand-best I have seen or played.

Check out his article re: plek

http://www.schroederaudioinc.com/articles/truthbehindplek/

He has done a lot of work for me on a number of different guitars and amps. I highly recommend him for anything guitar or amp related.
 

zepled112

Member
Messages
255
Since you are in the Chicago-land area, do yourself a favor and go talk to Tim Schroeder next to Make 'n Music at 1455 Hubbard Street in the city.

All fret work done by hand-best I have seen or played.

Check out his article re: plek

http://www.schroederaudioinc.com/articles/truthbehindplek/

He has done a lot of work for me on a number of different guitars and amps. I highly recommend him for anything guitar or amp related.
he fixed my amp twice i have been there many times and i read the article but the guy was right "if they are bitching about it, than they are jealous that they dont have one". But tim is a very nice guy but i can go get a plek job done for $220.00 and if i remember correctly Tim charged over $300.00, but im not 100% sure on tims price. I go to tims for all my amp repair, guitar stuff i keep alot closer.
 

MKB

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,373
+1 to the OP. Ive done about 50 fret jobs myself, and have paid big money for high end luthiers to do fret jobs. My plekd 2010 LP Trad Plus has the best fret dressing, lowest buzz free action, and nut than any of the others, essentially perfect. I did not think such a level of refinement was possible. Now Im sure there are luthiers out there that can do such work, but Ive never seen it.
 

Eminor7

Member
Messages
297
For the absolute best results you have to have a compitent luthier that actually knows how to work the machine. I'm fortunate enough to have a friend that uses a Plek, and does outstanding fret work to boot.

But I have to agree, a Plek job is fantastic.
The Plek machine is merely a tool to Phil. He and John "Orkie" Ingram are two of the top luthiers in the country.
 

yell03

Member
Messages
1,609
I have owned quite a few plek'd Gibsons.

Being a machine, it does what it does very well, but on two of those Gibsons they got through with a High E string so close to the edge of the fretboard binding that when playing an open "D" chord or a note above the 5th fret it was almost impossible to keep the string on the fretboard.
This was magnified when switching from 10-46s to 9-42s.
The Plek did its job, but it did not catch that.
A human being doing the whole job would have, but I think the human being working the Plek got lazy and figured all must be well since it was plek'd.

Luckily Gibson replaced the USA version and I sold the Custom Shop (it was not nearly as bad as the Traditional Plus).

Currently I have 3 Gibsons, 2 Plek'd USAs and 1 non-plek'd USA, all feel nice.
 

OldSchool

Senior Member
Messages
13,100
I bought guitar that a guy said was Pleked. I was not impressed. The frets were level but very flat. Played weird.

I recently had a CS Tele that came with the Plek COA. THAT guitar played amazing. I tend to believe the first one was never pleked and the owner lied. I wish their was a plek machine local. None in the state of florida as far as I can see. Right now I just can't see adding shipping costs to an already expensive process.


But I would love to get ALL of my guitars Plecked. I have a local Luthier that is amazing. Players like Paul McCartney and Clapton have had guitars done by him when in town. Very Low Key guy that just has a shop out back and always seems to be full of amazing instruments for people , people I know do not live around here!

He's done amazing Jobs on my guitars , but that one Plecked instrument was off the chain!

I'd seriously invest in a 25% share of a Plek machine if I was to get 3 other investors and someone to run it locally.
 

JKjr

Member
Messages
978
For many years the incomperable A.C. Lail (and later Andy Elliot at the same shop) did all my fret work, and I was spoiled by their talents. My R6 was pleked, and while it is a fine player it isn't what my others were. I have heard that Gibson took a while to get their Plek chops down, and this is a few years old so who knows? I WILL get another guitar pleked soon before I draw any conclusions. I suspect that the Plek in the right hands is a great tool.
 

MKB

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,373
For many years the incomperable A.C. Lail (and later Andy Elliot at the same shop) did all my fret work, and I was spoiled by their talents. My R6 was pleked, and while it is a fine player it isn't what my others were. I have heard that Gibson took a while to get their Plek chops down, and this is a few years old so who knows? I WILL get another guitar pleked soon before I draw any conclusions. I suspect that the Plek in the right hands is a great tool.
A.C. lived about 10 miles from my house, and I had a few guitars he worked on and played many. I did own one Strat he had worked on, and it was indeed magical. I've never played another Strat with such fine action. I got the chance to watch him work on my Les Paul in his basement, and spent an hour or so with him. He was proud to show the volume pots he replaced in Hank Garland's Byrdland, and when he found I was into electronics he gave me a broken Orange Squeezer. I bought a tweed Bassman from a guy that left it in A.C.'s basement for many years. Great memories, and he is well missed.

That Strat that A.C. worked on had the best action of any of my guitars until I got the plek'd LP.
 

dspellman

Member
Messages
8,310
I have owned quite a few plek'd Gibsons.
Unfortunately, Gibson's PLEK process simply isn't the same as what you get if you take it to a good tech who has one of the machines. That's been mentioned (including by me) in these forums before. I've had gibsons that were supposed to have been PLEK'd that, upon being run through the analytic phase of the PLEK pre-process, revealed that they definitely needed it again. The fact that you've owned a couple that had the E string sliding off the guitar is also a good indication that, for a lot of guitars, they were simply unclear on the process.

I'd never heard that there was a PLEK COA, but that's something you can wad up and toss in the garbage, especially if it's accompanying a Gibson.

Other than Gibson's use of the machine, I've got nothing but good to say. It was part of the setup process on three of the guitars I own, all three of which have near-perfect action and playability.
 

zepled112

Member
Messages
255
i bought a 2011 gloss r9 and everything about it is amazing fretboard, pickups neck, all just amazing. its pleked
 

John Thigpen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,757
When I worked at Pantheon Guitars, Dana Bourgeois and I went to Joe Glazer's shop for a Plek demo while we were in Nashville for summer NAMM. This was about 2003, and Joe had only one of two Pleks in the US at that time. Joe's opinion at that time was that the Plek was capable of a more accurate fret dress than he could do, but that it took a good luthier to program the Plek properly, before it could do that level of work.

So a great Plek job needs to be done by a luthier who determines your needs and programs the machines accordingly. The Plek machines at Gibson and other factories do a very good generic setup.

John
 

Rob Sharer

Muso-Luthier
Messages
2,822
The Plek is an amazing piece of gear, to be sure. I definitely see great advantages to its use in manufacturing situations, and certain repair situations. However, the question of Plek vs. luthier tends to be phrased in WAY over-simplified terms. Additionally, the verb "to Plek" gets used as a shorthand for a good fretjob itself, rather than the means used to get there.

Good fretjobs existed before the Plek machine, and while you can get one from am Plek it's by no means guaranteed. I've redone more than one Plek'ed guitar that badly needed seeing to even after going through the machine (hell, for all I know the machine has returned the favor on one of my jobs). Also, I end up doing so much work on fingerboards to correct wood-level problems that I'm somewhat skeptical of a machine that tries to solve everything by grinding metal. Obviously that's going to be sufficient where there's no wood-level issues, but there still needs to be a canny hominid making those decisions.

I do try to be aware of my own personal bias, speaking as someone who works in the old-fashioned organic mode. I'm open to the technology, acknowledging the great likelihood that it will never render my services obsolete. There are two great foolishnesses that get perpetrated in the course of discussing Plek: dismissing it out of hand from jealousy or fear, or holding it up as the only way to get good results.


Rob
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,659
I think Michael Tuttle of Best Frets rescued four guitars for me that were all PLEKed up. It's not the machine, it's the guy running it. The PLEK is just another tool - some guys know how to use it and get stellar results, others don't. Some guys know how to use the basic tools, other don't. My guess is the people who get stellar results with the PLEK could also get stellar results by hand.

The problem I have with "The PLEK is great" is that is doesn't address the prep work BEFORE the frets are installed and the fret installation process itself. I think if you ask any COMPETENT luthier they will tell you this is where most of the work is done. Properly leveling and radiusing the fingerboard, properly seating the frets, there's allot of work done here that minimizes the need for leveling later. My concern is that some use the PLEK as a band aid and do poor prep wok and installation in the false hope that the PLEK will clean it up later.

IMHO you will not improve a Tom Anderson guitar or a Don Grosh Guitar or a Michaell Tuttle guitar or a Terry McInturff guitar (to name a few) by PLEKing it - they don't need it.
 




Trending Topics

Top