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Plek system review + 51 nocaster pickups

Okieslims
February 13th, 2009, 08:53 AM
I just dropped off my tele to get it set up with the Plek system and to get some 51 nocaster pickups put in.:shock:

I will have a full review including close up photos of the fret work and new nut, as well as, sound bytes of my guitar tone before and after.


I was going to have my guitar set up in the city with some seymore duncan's, but Honest Ron told me it would take 2 weeks to get my guitar back. This is my only guitar, so no thanks... Norman Music is going to plek it in two days.
my budget was 300.
Honest Ron would have:
Installed seymore duncans (alnico 2 neck and quarterpound bridge), changed the bridge and the saddle to an ashtray with 3 brass saddles, and replaced my plastic nut with a bone one, and done a total set up including fret polishing.

Norman music is going to:
Run the plek system which includes a full set up, fret balancing, and fret polishing, installed 2 51 nocaster pickups, and a new bone nut.

I don't get the ashtray, but oh well... maybe down the line. I don't think there's a huge difference anyhow.
I get my guitar back in 2 days instead of 2 weeks. That was the deal maker.. then I went online to listen and read about the 51 nocaster pickups and I was hooked. They sound incredible to me.


So.. review and pics on the way..if you ever wondered about the plek system, I will have some answers for you soon

hwestman
February 13th, 2009, 08:57 AM
I am waiting for a PLEK myself... and in my case this also includes a stainless steel refret and flattening of the fretboard.

I will have to wait a couple of weeks though...

getbent
February 13th, 2009, 11:25 AM
cool thread. I think you'll dig the nocasters and the bone nut!

Geoff738
February 13th, 2009, 12:09 PM
Thinking of getting a Strat of mine plekked.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

cheers,
geoff

Zmatko
February 13th, 2009, 03:28 PM
cool thread. I think you'll dig the nocasters and the bone nut!
Would you choose bleached or unbleached?
I'd take unbleached, looks more vintage.

And ashtray bridge with brass saddles, that's my way!:twisted:

KokoTele
February 13th, 2009, 05:28 PM
fret balancing

What the heck is fret balancing?

getbent
February 13th, 2009, 05:43 PM
fret balancing? (http://www.frets.com/FRETSpages/Luthier/Technique/Setup/BuzzDiagnosis/UnevenFrets/uneven.html)

mrmorrison
February 14th, 2009, 02:12 PM
I'm looking forward to reading about this. I'll be getting my Summerscaster plekked at Norman music when it's done being assembled in March or April.

Okieslims
February 14th, 2009, 05:46 PM
Well I was hoping to get my review started today, but they are a little behind so I have to wait until mon. or tue. to get it back. :roll:
It happens I guess. There are only like 12 of these things in the US, so I guess it's understandable.

Anyways, I should have sound clips, photos, and my review up no later than wed.

Doug 54
February 14th, 2009, 09:40 PM
I would love to have one of my guitars Pleked someday-- after frets wear down and ready for refret.

Okieslims
February 17th, 2009, 07:06 PM
Review


Ok. I Have my guitar back. Let me say that the PLEK system is ridiculous. My action is lower than anything I have ever played. It's almost too low.. if there is such a thing.
Pics
http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g289/OkieSlims/IMG_0846.jpg
http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g289/OkieSlims/IMG_0851.jpg



If I play normally, there isn't a buzz on the neck. If I strum really hard though, I notice a tad bit of buzz. I may go back and have my low E and A string raised slightly to correct that problem.

Otherwise, I am completely impressed with the plek system and highly recommend it.


On to the nocasters. These pickups are very much Tele pick ups. My mexican standard pickups could almost be mistaken for a strat.. not these.. these get in your face and scream tele.. which I dig.

Here are some samples. I am still getting used to the low action so I mess up a bit, but you get the idea.
Demo 1 = nocasters
Demo 2 = Mexican

There's also a couple other songs in there that feature the Mexicans.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=918774


Hope this helps you guys out. If you'd like I can post some overdriven or big muffed tones later. let me know.

Okieslims
February 17th, 2009, 08:27 PM
I had the tone way up on the last demo.. here is a dialed in sloppy version of lenny

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=7347035


These pick ups are responsive to your picking.. I have to learn how to control them before Ill really be able to make them sing.

mrmorrison
February 18th, 2009, 04:31 PM
:D I can't wait to get my git Plekked!

boris bubbanov
February 18th, 2009, 05:09 PM
What the heck is fret balancing?


Man, I had some unbalanced frets on my guitar, and the whole thing shuddered and shook the whole time I was playing it. It was so bad, the knobs began falling off.


:mrgreen:

PixelMover
February 18th, 2009, 05:49 PM
Hmm, I think my idea of plekked is wrong. I thought it was just fret leveling of sorts... It's a 'system'?

celeste
February 18th, 2009, 08:09 PM
Man, I had some unbalanced frets on my guitar, and the whole thing shuddered and shook the whole time I was playing it. It was so bad, the knobs began falling off.


:mrgreen:

It is much worse if you are a shredder. Man, those 64th notes can shake the strap right off the buttons

Okieslims
February 18th, 2009, 11:51 PM
Hmm, I think my idea of plekked is wrong. I thought it was just fret leveling of sorts... It's a 'system'?

Yes. They grind your frets and set your action as low as possible. The set up your guitar completely and scan it to assure it plays great.

After a full night of noodling, I have to say, this is the greatest thing I have ever done for a guitar. I used to have a les paul studio. I could set this mexican tele beside it and 10 out of 10 blind testers would prefer the tele..



also.. my samples do not do the pick ups justice. Im going to make another demo soon. My chords are so blended now. It is like going from a low end guild to playing a high end Martin. Thats the best way I can describe the difference that the nocaster pickups have made.

mgwhit
February 19th, 2009, 12:17 AM
Yes. They grind your frets and set your action as low as possible.

They don't have to set the action as low as possible. Their own web page says "the most optimal string action possible for each instrument can be guarantied, matching the individual style of the musician". A Plek technician should really discuss your optimal setup with you and/or even watch you play.

mellecaster
February 19th, 2009, 12:38 AM
They don't have to set the action as low as possible. Their own web page says "the most optimal string action possible for each instrument can be guarantied, matching the individual style of the musician". A Plek technician should really discuss your optimal setup with you and/or even watch you play.

Agree...sometimes I feel like I'm in a 3% minority that doesn't like Low Action, and I do this for a Living...Oh well......:roll:

mrmorrison
February 19th, 2009, 09:28 AM
They don't have to set the action as low as possible. Their own web page says "the most optimal string action possible for each instrument can be guarantied, matching the individual style of the musician". A Plek technician should really discuss your optimal setup with you and/or even watch you play.

Well, unfortunately, the closest Plek system to me is 3 states away, so my Tele will have to be shipped there and I'll talk to them about it over the phone and hope for the best. I can't imagine that they'd mess it up, I'd just tell them medium-low action.

PhatBoy
February 19th, 2009, 09:44 AM
OkieSlim,

I am assuming that you're playing rock/blues?
I am trying to get into country and from what little I know you need to be able to get under the strings to get that 'twang'.

So 'as low as possible' wouldn't be an optimal setting, I would think.

When I talked with Norman Music they acted as if it would be a same day type thing.... Guess it depends on the workload.

PB

Okieslims
February 19th, 2009, 10:09 AM
OkieSlim,

I am assuming that you're playing rock/blues?
I am trying to get into country and from what little I know you need to be able to get under the strings to get that 'twang'.

So 'as low as possible' wouldn't be an optimal setting, I would think.

When I talked with Norman Music they acted as if it would be a same day type thing.... Guess it depends on the workload.

PB

I like everything to be honest. Trying to get into country myself.

I honestly see no down side to low action. I tune low and play heavy and don't get buzz unless I just really pop the string. You can get under the strings over the bridge easily if you need to. I don't know of anything that would require that on the fret board which is the only place you will notice the action.




The only thing I had to get used to was with bends less is more now.

Norman Music probably wont get to you in the same day. They have a guitar on that machine constantly and then it requires the tech to get involved. I would say that you are looking at a minimum of 3 days before you get your guitar back.


Also, they did not ask me too much about preference for action. They just set it low. On their website, they advertise by telling you that "Your action will be lower". However, I am sure they can set it where ever you like.

chromaken
February 19th, 2009, 10:10 AM
Hmm, I think my idea of plekked is wrong. I thought it was just fret leveling of sorts... It's a 'system'?

I had my Wecheter Jumbo Plek's nad am quite pleased.

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mellecaster
February 19th, 2009, 10:28 AM
I honestly see no down side to low action.



How bout Tone ??

Okieslims
February 19th, 2009, 10:49 AM
Um.. what about it? My tone is completely unaffected by the action. My open chords ring to their full potential. I really haven't noticed any difference there. Even unplugged so that the new pick ups dont come into play, the tone of the guitar is about the same.. if not a little better.

rhh7
February 19th, 2009, 11:18 PM
I am no pro, but I agree with mellecaster. Plek is wonderful, if you like it and can afford it. I prefer my action a little higher. And I would prefer my frets to be done by hand by a master luthier. YMMV.

Ricky D.
February 21st, 2009, 12:15 PM
I'm sure if I spent the time and money, a PLEK job would be best, but I don't need all that. I like my action high enough that I can play hard without fret buzz. With a Mellecaster setup I'm at 1/16" at the 12th fret, .010" at the first. Good enough for me.

Ranger
February 21st, 2009, 05:47 PM
So how much does a PLEK job cost for a Tele?

Okieslims
February 22nd, 2009, 12:06 AM
about 150 Ranger, but they seem to be flexible on the price if you buy other stuff at the same time.

KokoTele
February 22nd, 2009, 01:25 AM
Hmm, I think my idea of plekked is wrong. I thought it was just fret leveling of sorts... It's a 'system'?

"System" is one way to describe it, I guess. A Plek job involves all of the steps that a luthier would do if they were to tune a guitar's neck, frets, and nut to the utmost of playability. The Plek machine just has the ability to do it with a level of precision that humans can't.

So, essentially, yes, it is just a fret leveling, but it's the most precise one imaginable.

Mojotron
February 22nd, 2009, 01:31 AM
I got my Parker Fly Pleked - it had some fret problems. I was amazed at how perfect the level/crowning was - and on SS frets. I would only take my guitar to get Pleked if it was time for a leveling though. My Warmoth Strat neck and Parker NiteFly necks simply would not have benefited from it since the fret work was very good.

I've taken guitars to get a leveling done before and been disappointed by the workmanship - I think the Plek machine allows good techs to do a great fret job. However, they would have to be good techs in the first place to get all of the adjustments right.

The Plek is a great development in for those that like very clear sounding tone and lower action.

GUITARmole
February 22nd, 2009, 07:16 AM
I got my Parker Fly Pleked - it had some fret problems. I was amazed at how perfect the level/crowning was - and on SS frets.

Mojotron,

I see you're located in Seattle...where'd you take your guitar and how much did it cost? Is it extra for SS frets?

Mojotron
February 23rd, 2009, 02:12 AM
Mojotron,

I see you're located in Seattle...where'd you take your guitar and how much did it cost? Is it extra for SS frets?

Yep - I took it to Mike Lull.
(http://www.mikelull.com/)

I like to do all my own work - I hate taking my gear to someone else and I'm kind of picky, but I was very impressed with his service. I think I paid $250 and like 1/2 an hour of shop time to fix some frets (which may be more than other shops) but I had a tricky problem on a unique guitar and would rather spend a little more and get the work done right the first time.

They have lowered their prices recently to I think $230. They do mention that they charge a little more for some guitars, but I don't think they charge more for SS frets. Most shops will not Plek on SS frets - but they had no problem with mine.

GUITARmole
February 23rd, 2009, 03:35 AM
Thanks for the info!!

I do all my own work too but don't have the time to tinker with everything...or a set of diamond files to work on SS frets. I have a Jazzmaster that's 98% "there" and it'd be perfect if I could just get the action a little bit lower than what it is now.

Shepherd
February 23rd, 2009, 06:41 AM
That machine is just insane. Must be a genius to be able to design something like that. Whats next, a Clapton robot?

viking
February 23rd, 2009, 08:06 AM
The Plek system , as I understand it , is able to scan and memorize the fretboard and frets under string tension. There still have to be an experienzed person setting up the guitar afterwards. Since most necks use wood , a Plek is not a end-all situation. The frets will still move a little in the wood , and that will require attention in the future , as usual

Parma_TeleMon
February 23rd, 2009, 08:31 PM
I read the website and the nearest one to me is about a 3.5 hr. drive. Sounds like it'd be worth the time/money/trouble. Thanks for the review!

Astro1176
February 23rd, 2009, 09:22 PM
re. the Plek set up and action height... as far as I can understand, what the Plek machine will do is level your frets so that when the neck is under tension, you will have the most even frets possible. Whatever action (bridge/nut height) you wish, the fret leveling bit will be identical (I think). If you want to raise the bridge and have a higher action, you will not compromise what the Plek has done, although you will have to reset your intonation.

Of course - nut slot height is another matter

evol04gt
February 23rd, 2009, 10:00 PM
my guy is PHENOMINAL.. my les paul is like butter... the machine can be perfect- but the wood the guitar was built on isnt perfect. i like the hands on way myself.. and he does it for 70 bucks for me.

octatonic
February 23rd, 2009, 10:09 PM
I played a Plekked MIM tele today.
I was very impressed.

The action was super low, but could still bend (well as much as a 7.5" allows).
A+