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Compound radius via Plek on a 7.25" board?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by gmm52, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. gmm52

    gmm52 Tele-Meister

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    I'm getting my #1 Strat Pleked. The fretboard is 7.25". I understand the Plek can put in a compound radius, but I'm wondering if the board also has to be compound, or, whether a 7.25" radius fretboard could accept a subtle compound, say 7.25 - 10. Anyone have any experience Pleking compound radius in a uniform board?
     
  2. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

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    I have no information for you. But I'm having a hard time picturing fretwire having a different radius than the board. Especially if you're starting at 7.25" you'd have to add material back to get some of it to 10, right?
     
  3. gmm52

    gmm52 Tele-Meister

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    It is theoretically possible, if the frets have enough height to start with. You're thinking about adding, which is actually equivalent to subtracting in the first position. Nevertheless, maybe someone has been down this road before.
     
  4. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    So, you want the upper frets to get shorter, but under the middle strings only, I guess.

    Think about it. Come on.
     
  5. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    I think that you would have to take more material off of the frets towards the nut.

    I suppose it may be possible to do on a Plek, but it probably isn’t a common usage of the machine. So your tech would really have to be on top of things to program the machine correctly if it can be done. The machine basically measures the current condition and provides corrections as a comparison to the current condition. In your case it wouldn’t be measuring a condition that it can calibrate from as a comparison. That would have to be programmed into it from what I can tell. I would just suggest being careful of what you wish for. If it can be done at all it will be dependent on how large (tall) your frets are to begin with.

    BTW, I have had two compound radius necks in the past. Wasn’t crazy about them.
     
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  6. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

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    I second that. I had a neck that was 10"-16" and I don't ever want another one. 9.5" or 7.25" all the way for me!
     
  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Tele-Meister

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    You might want to have that conversation with your luthier, your guitar in hand. They could probably give you a reasonable answer. I've had instruments PLEKed (just how do you spell a German proper name turned into a verb, past tense?). Actually I just looked it up on their website. They say "PLEKD".

    Anyhow, ask. They'll be straight with you.
     
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  8. Guitardvark

    Guitardvark Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    sure they can do it but not wit the frets on it. they got to come off and be replaced.

     
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  9. ieatlions

    ieatlions Tele-Holic

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    My Tele has a compound radius of 7.25” - 10”. I love it. It’s the best of both worlds, comfortable chords then a really modern fast feel on the upper frets.

    CA9F65B3-DE09-4ED3-8392-CD628DBF515B.jpeg
     
  10. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    I think @gmm52 is right: it may be theoretically possible but you would have to start with huge frets to be able to substract enough material on each sides to get to 7,25 towards the nut.
    And then you would end up with a huge fret height down towards the bridge.
    Moreover, even on the first few frets where you would have filed down a lot on each sides, you would still have a huge height at the center.
    All in all it would end up being a very inconsistent feel: almost a « fretless wonder » under certain strings, and almost a scalloped neck under others.
    Not counting that I’m not even sure you would be able to find a fret wire tall enough to do it.

    My advice: forget about that, or change the radius on your neck first by planning the fingerboard.
     
  11. lathoto

    lathoto Tele-Meister

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    A compound radius is a personal preference and can work well as long as the transition is not too extreme (e.g. 7.5 -16). Make sure you play one for a period of time before you modify your favorite guitar.
     
  12. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    Won't you end up with the upper frets having a limited life due to reducing the height of the outer edges? Also with frets of varying height might you introduce slight pitch problems due to the differing levels of pressure used to fret notes across the fretboard.
     
  13. gmm52

    gmm52 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for all the replies. Few points of clarification. When I said I understand the Plek can put in a compound radius, it was the tech who mentioned this in our first brief conversation, and he didn't qualify the statement by saying it can only be done if the board already happens to be compound radiused to the exact specs I might want, which implied it's feasible to do uniform radius boards in some cases (in fact I'm pretty confident I told him it was a 7.25" radius), hence my question in advance of getting more details from him. Nothing wrong with asking players as well.

    Having said that, and with no disrespect intended as I generally find TDPRI members to be very informed, and courteous (compared to folks at some other forums) but when I said Anyone have any experience Pleking compound radius in a uniform board? I was kind of imagining responses from those who have been down this particular road with their own guitars. Personally, I wouldn't volunteer my guess to a question about something which I had no experience with. Then again, it's a forum, and forum members do what forum members do best ;- )

    Now with respect to my specific case, the frets have a lot of meat on them, meaning I can come down quite a bit, and perhaps enough to execute a 7.25 - 9.5. In fact, regardless of whether the compound radius is feasible, I'll be asking the tech to take the frets much lower than he would otherwise, because I like low frets. My favorite fretboard is a maple '74 Telecaster, and the frets on that puppy average .022". Also, the wire is EVO, so it's not going to wear nearly as fast as regular wire. I really don't care if this was the last dress before a refret. If I get a few good years out of the Plek, I'll be happy.

    I dropped off the guitar today, but didn't talk to the tech. With Covid the shop has crazy intake rules, and it's done by staff other than the techs. They also sit on the repair for a week. Will have a more detailed conversation with the tech before he Pleks it, and will report back.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
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  14. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    It's definitely possible. You don't need that much height to do it, either. A fret that's .047" high might go down to about .042" in the center of the last fret, but that's it. If your frets are under about .32", it probably isn't feasible.
    I don't know what made one of the commenters above think that you wanted the compound radius to go the other way. No one would want to do that.
     
  15. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    To me, a really good fret dressing incorporates a compound radius, at least from the 14th fret up. That's if the guitar's for me; I wouldn't do it to someone else's guitar unless they asked for it.
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You CAN dress a compound radius onto the frets but not from 7.25 to 10".
    For the purpose of bending it takes less than that.

    You really don't want to make the upper frets that uneven.
     
  17. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    I've never measured; I just slap a piece of tape on the 13th fret so that my files will create a slight fall-away and file on a diagonal, maybe 17 degrees. It works well.
     
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