To plek or not to plek?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by nickthenail, Aug 11, 2019 at 5:02 PM.

  1. bluesoul

    bluesoul Gold Supporting Member

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    I prefer hand leveling. I do my own. Ron Kern has provided some good links to learn the process. The basic tools are not expensive ....one time expense that saves time and money in the end.
    Plek'd is nice, don't get me wrong but could get pricey for those who own a lot of guitars!
     
  2. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    On the other hand, look at some of the very reputable folks using Plek who are hardly hacks:
    • Gary Brawer
    • Joe Glaser
    • Mike Lull
    • Phil Jacoby
    Given a choice, I'd go with a reputable shop who does use Plek. Unfortunately, my current stable of fanned fret guitars isn't supported by the tool, in which case I'd select a very reputable shop to do the work. Cheap fretwork can be surprisingly expensive.
     
  3. PBGas

    PBGas Supporting Member

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    I have my 2 Charvel custom shops. I want to get stainless fret put on these beauties! My usual gent that I go to is absolutely fabulous and had done an amazing job on my 4 Fender Cs axes. However, the price for a 12-16 compound radius is almost double and I get why...it's a lot of work to do that manually. On the plek machine though, the other place that I was recommended to try is the regular price as they said it is just something they can do easily via the computer setup. I may take them there instead. I did buy one of these guitars from them back in Dec. It's a bit closer to home and the wait time won't be 4-6 weeks.
     
  4. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    Says who?
     
  5. dotlikeimpact

    dotlikeimpact Supporting Member

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    Ignore the nonsense. Plek will outperform a human in all but cases of total operator incompetence.
     
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  6. galibier_un

    galibier_un Supporting Member

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    After watching the video I posted above, you can call call me impressed.

    I can see it being being helpful for analyzing twisted necks and other problems, likely preventing excess fret removal as well.

    I can also see it being a benefit for manufacturers of top level guitars (Suhr, PRS, etc.) - for both QA as well as to have a manufacturing record.

    Having said that, since I'm not chasing ultra low action, and the most I'll spend on a neck is a couple hundred on a Warmoth (or half that on an Allparts), I'll level my own.

    It's nice to know that if I get in a bind with a special sounding piece of wood, that a resource like Plek is available.

    ...Thom
     
  7. Ferg Deluxe

    Ferg Deluxe Gold Supporting Member

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    This. I have had many guitars refretted and Plek’d by Phil Jacoby. Phil is one of the best in the business, well respected across the country. My guitars come back from Phil playing superbly. The man is a wizard.

    Of course a Plek is a tool like any other tool. Anyone insisting or implying that it is somehow just a crutch has no idea what they’re talking about. Zero.

    You can play this silly game with any tool. Watch:

    “Leveling jigs are just a crutch for guitar techs who can’t level by feel. Only losers who don’t know what they’re doing use a jig.”

    “Computers are just a crutch for people who can’t use a slide rule.”

    “Slide rules are used by morons who can’t do math in their heads. Losers.”

    Yeah, give me the accuracy and consistency of a Plek and a great luthier, and I’ll give you a guitar that plays like a dream.
     
    Calebz and maplebaby like this.
  8. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    When I put my fret work I have done on my tension jig, analyze on the Plek, the Plek says it’s perfect, every time. If the fretmeister knows what he is doing, the real goal is to get the Plek to copy him. It’s a tool, everything else here is hyperbole.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 11:20 AM
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  9. maplebaby

    maplebaby Member

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    I'm 'assuming' maybe Glaser did your work? I just took a guitar to them two weeks ago and i haven't put it down sense. No doubt a lot depends on the experience of the people using the machine...Joe has had a PLEK machine longer than anyone in Nashville much less surrounding cities.
     
  10. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    The person that does my guitars is good. He recently got a plek. I am sure he will be good with that too. He is that kind of person. As we discussed his new tool I asked. He said they had taken samples of the work they did by hand on their bench and run it through the plek. In his words, it was "surprisingly close".

    Given the situation with environment and wood, I believe a skilled person can provide quality fretwork that will be indiscernible from plek work in use. I tend to think of plek as a labor timesaver first and foremost. Having seen a demonstration I am sure a skilled operator can produce consistent high quality results using one. Just maybe not enough difference for me to really notice.

    It will be interesting to see how much a fret job costs me now. I assume, due to the high capital outlay for the machine, my costs will go up. Do shops with pleks typically offer non-plek as an option? I haven't broached this question with the shop yet. If they do offer non-plek, is the cost lower or higher? Since the cost of plek is sunk and non-plek is more labor intensive, I assume it would cost even more. But maybe not.

    hunter
     
  11. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    IME, shops that use Plek will only do non-Plek work if the system can't support the instrument (e.g., fanned frets). When I ran into that, the two shops I talked to offered to do the handwork at the same price as with a Plek.
     
  12. mediabuyout

    mediabuyout Member

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  13. Misterbulbous

    Misterbulbous Member

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    Yeah. Couldn’t remember his name when I wrote my comment. They did a great job and was well worth it.
     
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  14. patshep

    patshep Supporting Member

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    bump, i'd like to know, seems like peekamoose is the only one that does it, and there are some bad reviews online... i think matt at 30th street does great work, but i don't think he has the plek machine
     
    juxtapolice likes this.
  15. Bogner

    Bogner Member

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    Not a fan of the Plek. I would put John Suhr @Husky up against a plek machine any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
     
  16. CaliCaveMan

    CaliCaveMan Supporting Member

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    Yep, he's a pro.
     
  17. CaliCaveMan

    CaliCaveMan Supporting Member

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    Before I started using Suhr instruments, I had Gary do all my setups and he plek'd a few guitars for me. The machine in his shop is actually run by another guy there I believe.

    Gary is good people and does good work. The wait times can be challenging especially when he's tech'ng for big acts in town. Happens frequently it seems.
     
  18. juxtapolice

    juxtapolice Member

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    He doesn't. I have all my setups go through him though including a couple of refrets. Idk if it's just idle curiosity but I'd just like to see what a plek from a good tech would do for one of my teles
     
  19. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    You will just be comparing final crowning polishing and setup, guys have a signature. I can tell if a guitar has been plek’d if there are “tells” but not in regards to playability.
    I’d bring my guitar to Norio from what I have heard from trusted friends regardless of his methods. I’m sure there are other great guys but Imai Guitars is highly recommended.
     
    stratzrus likes this.
  20. patshep

    patshep Supporting Member

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    All the jazz guys are using Pablo Valles, like everybody from Kurt Rosenwinkle to Pete Bernstien
     

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