To plek or not to plek?

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

  1. bsthetech

    bsthetech Supporting Member

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    More to do with Gibson simply doing a default run to get the guitar playable. It got heated at NAMM a few years ago when luthiers who shelled out big bucks for their own Plek machine felt Gibson was ruining Plek’s reputation. For Gibson it was a sales gimmick. In the right hands it’s a great tool.
     
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  2. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    I don’t play Jazz :band:hide

    Norio is recommended by Sadowsky. I’m sure there are great guys out there but fret work is about he quickest way to destroy a guitar there is. If someone needs a Suhr re fretted contact me.
     
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  3. richey88

    richey88 Member

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    I got a 2019 LPJ Tribute, it’s Plekked from the factory. Best player I own. May be more to it than that but damn...
     
  4. nickthenail

    nickthenail Member

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    I own one of your T2's. I plays perfectly. Always did. Never one issue in the 6 1/2 years owning it. Was that pleked or done by hand?
     
  5. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    A really, really really great Tech can do a well as a Plek, BUT is not as consistent, nor as fast. The Plek can also do complex fret jobs, that can cost a fortune for a tech to do, and most cant do it.

    Joe glaser is one of the best techs there is. Luthier iss what he is, and can also repair many many other instruments. When all the guitars got flooded in Nashville in 2010, he wwas the first guy they called to quickly assemble a team to help save what instruments they could.

    Joe says the PLEK is Better than he is. The main thing is the machine must be programmed/run by a competent tech. If the guy running it is an incompetent tech, expect a crap job.

    The PLEK, also does not do anything but do what the programmer programs into it. Nothing more, nothing less. Any kind of crappy outcome can be attributed to operator incompetance, or error.

    Have a compound fret radius done on a 7.25 radius. Level the frets from 10.1-11.9-16.. Then add in built in relief on the Bass side to compensate for squeezing harp, and you have a $400 fret job by hand.... That's the quote Dan Erlewine gave me for a compound fret radius, with relief on the Bass side. Glaser does it for a total of $225/PLEK
    As has already been stated. A lot of the Plek outcome comes from a competent operator.

    I myself have all my guitars Plek'd at Glasers in Nashville.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 8:19 PM
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  6. gentlyweeping

    gentlyweeping Member

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    I recently had an AM Pro Strat leveled by my local guy Dave Rusan. Wow. Amazing. No Plek was involved.
     
  7. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    Sorry that is an opinion not a fact. It’s a tool as am I in more ways than one :eek: :D

    I choose to do the Aura by hand all the way with my tension gig because I like the end result and frankly don’t care how long it takes but the time is in the truing of the fingerboard, considering players style and request, crowning, fret end work and final polish not in the actual leveling.

    There are many ways to do great fret work, a Plek can be one of them but not a necessity, nothing is a guarantee more than inspecting some of the work the tech has done and deciding if you like the workmanship and playability. I do firmly believe though some method of leveling under string tension is a must. I’ve been doing that since the early 80’s. Thank you Don Teeter
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 8:17 PM
  8. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    All I can tell you is

    Tommy Emmanuel, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, John Fogerty, Keith Urban, Keb Mo, Ricky Skaggs, Brent Mason, Jimmy Olander are just a few that you may see at Glasers. Good enough for them, good enough for me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 8:22 PM
  9. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    Joe is Great, a friend and he has been to my place more than once (less than 6 months ago to go over one of mine) and I don’t think he would disagree with anything I’ve said. This is not mine is better than yours but I have the distinction of offering both and have done thousands of fret jobs. What I’m saying here is there is more than one way to get the job done, (the tool is chosen for the job) and have excellent results and for me is more about the details and the individual doing the work since I’m assuming the leveling is correct. I have my own artist “list”, two Pleks as well and was one of the very first adopters.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 8:34 PM
  10. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    Yep, and I was quoted $420 by Dan Elrewine to do the same job Joe does with the Plek for $225. Dan also owns, or used to own a Plek, but said his customers just wanted it done by hand. And would pay for it. I only live a short ride from Dan, though his Protégé does a lot of the work. But hes good. He going to Reset the neck, and refret my 1974 Mossman Great Plains. He is married to Stuart Mossmans sister, and knows everything about the Mossman guitars. They are also bolted in.

    I also said that a really good tech, Id really say more of a Luthier, can match a Plek, but no way can they do it faster. NOBODY within an hour of my place can do even a decent job, and also cut the nut perfectly.
    Glaser also says it saves him from Carpal Tunnel and other overuse injuries. Also if you have 20 complex fret jobs to do, and it takes 6-8 hours+ hours to do it, that's 120+ hours, when a Plek could have them all done in a day, or less.
     
  11. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    It really wouldn’t matter.
     
  12. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    I took objection to the Plek being more consistent than someone like me. It really depends. Look I’m an odd duck, I’m a frustrated musician taking a break from a fret job to write this. I have done an average of 200 fret jobs a year personally for a good 20 ~ 30 years, probably much more, some with Plek some without. I average 5 a week now and am 63 and doing this since I was 17. There are things I like about both but this is like telling an experienced surgeon which scalpel to use.

    I could not personally get 20 guitars plek’d on one machine in a day let alone fretted. Especially if you do the recommended second scan. But like I said, the time is not in the Plek, it’s the setup on the machine, getting out the Plek cutter marks and doing the fret ends and polishing, Joe would confirm that, especially when dealing with stainless which eats cutters for lunch.

    Joe charges $225 to re level a fingerboard, re fret and Plek a guitar? I thought he was higher than that. Or that is just leveling/crowning Dan was charging for? If so I’d level the fingerboard for the desired radius first.

    Just be happy you found a great guy to do your work who you trust. That is the important part and what I’m saying, it’s the man and his methods not the machine.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 9:28 PM
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  13. CaliCaveMan

    CaliCaveMan Supporting Member

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    Fanboy comments comin:

    John’s fret jobs are absolutely amazing. I never would have known without the privilege to own something done with his skill.

    That vid I did with the Aura is in great tune and it’s Johns fault. So thankful to be able to play a guitar built with such care.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 9:42 PM
  14. jwguitar

    jwguitar Supporting Member

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    I didn’t know about that. Though it makes a lot of sense with all that went on over the last few years with Gibson. A few years ago I got a guitar designed by Greg Bennett called an Ethan Hart. That guitar was made in the Samick factory in Indonesia and the frets were plekked. I suspect that all the big factories have Plek machines now. The fretwork on that guitar is really on point.
     
  15. patshep

    patshep Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure who you are? Pablo worked at Rudys for many years.. and some of the best guys go to see him
    also, i'm going to need a refret on my 52 tele reissue, because they are getting to be nothing... i'm so scared because last time i had a refret, i brought it to someone highly recommended and the guitar was a mess after, i had to get two more setups to get it back
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 10:37 PM
  16. SJF

    SJF Supporting Member Vendor

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    Plek ...... I have it done on most of my guitars after their built. Plek done by Mike Lull's shop in Bellvue, WA. He knows what he is doing. Very important
     
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  17. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    Are you stating that you don’t know who John Suhr is? Or are you stating that you don’t know that ‘Husky’ is John Suhr. It’s right there in his signature line.
     
  18. tochiro

    tochiro Member

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    Are the new Fender guitars pleked before putting them on the market? Which manufacturers use the plek machine before releasing their guitars?
     
  19. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    Jazz guy here. :)

    Norio is fantastic. He worked for Sadowsky for many years.

    Pablo Valle (no "S") also works for Sadowsky.

    They are two of the best in the NYC area.

    I've had work done by Pablo but really want to get some done by Norio as well, his reputation is absolutely stellar.
     
  20. eoengineer

    eoengineer Supporting Member

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    As someone who just dropped a couple hundred $$$ on a bad fret level from a local tech, I can understand the sense of comfort one gets from the promise of dropping off their prized guitar at a place that has a machine that performs consistently every time.

    I’m sitting here looking at my stage guitar in an unplayable state and likely in need of a refret due the amount of fret taken off. Ugh. Not even worth bringing back to the tech because he will likely screw it up further.

    I’m a couple hours from Philtone in Baltimore and will probably try to go that route.
     

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