What is Plek'd?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by cg, Jan 29, 2006.


  1. cg

    cg Silver Supporting Member

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    i've seen this in a number of ads. what does it mean?
     
  2. devbro

    devbro Member

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  3. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    Its a very expensive way of having your guitar set up which offers no practical improvement over a manual setup by a good luthier (he says controversially!)..
    Al
     
  4. gomez1856

    gomez1856 Member

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    wow... interesting take.

    I've got 19 guitars... 2 of which are have been plek'd. All others have been set up by hand by well known local talents. Withought hesitation, the 2 that are plek'd are far superior. Lower action (if you want it), perfectly crowned frets, better intonation at the nut, EXACTLY the same setup from guitar to guitar since they save your specs.

    It's expensive. There's no doubt about it. But it's as close to perfect as you can get.

    Having said that, my other guitars play great and I play them all the time, but to say there's no practical improvement, IMO, is not correct.

    You don't need it, but if you try it, you'll be sold.

    Rick
     
  5. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    Fair comments Rick, I think the one about 'you dont need it' is what I was trying to get at...
    Al
     
  6. artandink

    artandink Member

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    +1

    I too have 19 electric guitars, two of which have been plek'd.

    I couldn't agree more with Rick.

    Art
     
  7. Srini

    Srini Guest

    I had one guitar Plekked and the difference was noticeable. Odd as it may sound, the resulting imperfections in the other guitar actually made it just as much fun to play.

    In any event, I'm wondering what the difference between the Plek and the Plek Pro are. I guess I'll find out when my Suhr gets here, but it would be nice to know..

    Srini
     
  8. tradarama

    tradarama www.PRIMEGUITARS.com Silver Supporting Member

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    I can't get over the difference especially on the higher registers. I thought it was worth the money.

    It's hard to argue how a superior level of technology wouldn't benefit someone doing that type of work....but then again my 69 year old father (who is a professional lifelong landscaper) still argues that hand pruning shears are far superior to electric pruning shears for trimming a hedge.

    PS Phil Jacoby at Philtone (www.philtone.com) is a great guy to send your guitar to for Plekking (or anything else). In this day and age it is hard to find anyone who is so in love with their profession as is Phil. Fair, honest, and extremely communicative.
     
  9. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    From what little I know, mostly through my conversation with Phil Jacoby and Internet research, my understanding is that the plek machine is a tool that, when used by a highly skilled luthier, aids greatly in producing excellent and consistant setups.
    Sorta like those laser surgery tools - they don't perform the operation, you still want the best surgeon you can get.
     
  10. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    I'd like to see a "good luthier" grind frets to change the effective radius. That's no harder for a PLEK than a regular fret dress.
     
  11. Trandy

    Trandy Supporting Member

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    I understand your skepticism...but the fact that Suhr, Heritage, etc., and yes...even Gibson have bought one of these machines speaks for itself.

    I know there's a lot of "voodoo" in the music business...but I think the Plek process is definitely legit.
     
  12. TestierWheat

    TestierWheat Member

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    I'm taking two guitars to Phil on February 4th to have them Plek'd.

    I'm taking an American Series Stratocaster and an Epiphone Elitist Les Paul Standard.

    I will post my impressions once I get the guitars back.
     
  13. Ron Thorn

    Ron Thorn Gold Supporting Member

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    I watched the PLEK demo at the recent NAMM show and was surprised by a couple things.
    The first being that the guitar being worked on is not fixtured in the playing position, it's vertical. What affect does gravity play on a neck once rotated 90°?
    The second being lack of attention to the fret ends. It appeared as though it still requires a skilled hand to properly dress each fret end. This would only apply to a newly fretted guitar I guess.
    Simply observations.

    :)

    Ron
     
  14. Jason_86_951

    Jason_86_951 Supporting Member

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    The million $ question, how much?
    I'm thinking of sending my Suhr off for this.
    Anyone in the NW doing this?
     
  15. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Phil Jacoby always says that his new Plek machine in no way diminishes the importance of the luthier's skill both generally and in applying it to the Pleked neck afterwards for final review/adjustments.

    He also maintains that no luthier should pass on valuable new technology when it's available to him.

    Perhaps sort of like using CNC? :)

    P.S. With around 110 lbs. of pressure on a neck strung with 10's, what additional impact do you figure would gravity have on the neck rotated 90 degrees?
     
  16. Ron Thorn

    Ron Thorn Gold Supporting Member

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    Very similar to a CNC indeed, in fact my first thought was how I could design my own or modify one of my existing CNCs to do similar operations.

    As far as your second question goes, it's been almost 20 years since my last Physics class, but for some reason I have 9.8 m/sec² permanently branded to my brain...of course, that would only apply if you dropped the neck...in a vacuum.
    Without crunching numbers, the simple answer would be "some".:jo

    Ron
     
  17. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    I think the best luthiers, i.e. people such as Tim Schroeder in Chicago, or Scott Lentz, or Ron Thorn, or Don Grosh do a better job with frets than a Plek machine can provide. That has been my experience, anyways. The difference is slight, but it is there imho, it is (unfortunately) hard to describe, other than to say it feels more "natural".

    A Plek machine is superior to the fretwork that folks other than the very best can provide, again jmho
     
  18. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    I agree wholeheartedly with AJ, the point I was trying to make was, if you like a medium or higher action, what real benefits are you going to get from a plek setup? Maybe if I wanted the lowest action in the world... As for fret crowning, polishing and flattening the fret radius, that's all in a days work for a good luthier, they've been doing it for decades. Nothing wrong with the plek, not knocking it, for those who like it and have the money, great. I just question whether, in reality you get value for money. For what its worth, I'm not the only one, the high end shop in my local city (which IIRC was the first plek installation in the UK) sent it back after six months or so. They didnt think it represented good value and didnt think they would get the necessary return as a result - their professional judgement not mine.
    Al
     
  19. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009 Silver Supporting Member

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    I bet the system functions as designed and as advertised. I chuckle though because I played a Plek'd guitar that did nothing for me {it was the guitar's tone that I didn't care for, not the playability} and the dealer countered my objection to the guitar with, "With a good set up this guitar would sound killer. Guaranteed."

    Struck me kind of funny. Kind of funny, yes indeed.
     
  20. trucks

    trucks Member

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    Phil at philtone plek'd my Baker. The result was most amazing setup I ever could have imagined (this also included a bone nut replacement afterwhich I realized the true importance of the nut, but I digress). No doubt that the outcome was due to Phil's skill and experience. The plek was just one of the tools that he employed.

    Initially, Phil observed me playing so he could tailor the resulting setup (including settings for the plek) to me. Then the guitar was placed on the plek for a scan. This provides an analysis of the finished result (or if there would be any benefit from the plek). Here you clearly see any fret and fretboard issues such as twists, bumps, falloff, etc. (in the form of a graph). Phil says this allows him to see the future before any material is lost. In fact, he tweaked my truss rod and re-scanned to achieve the best result for me. The plek machine requires a highly skilled operator (as well as a lot of training) and is used a tool. In Phil's case, freeing him up to do other things. The advantage after having a plek done is that the information is stored so Phil can use it as a reference for future work (including send it to someone else with a plek machine).

    Phil did hand dress the ends of my frets then polished the entire to a mirror finish. I'm not sure if the plek can deal with the ends; however, it can polish.

    I did ask about the guitar's position and was told there where very similar forces on the guitar in the upright position as the playing position. Clearly, it is closer to playing forces than when the guitar is placed on its back on a bench.
     

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