Having some setup issues, thinking of PLEK. Any opinions?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by marc2211, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    I recently bought a JP Dragon Tele, which I've wanted for a long time. (I have about 5 other guitars)

    The shop I bought it from, while excellent in terms of stock, the guitars and general customer service, doesn't convince me repair and setup wise. While being a really nice guy, their tech is inconsistent, so you don't know what you'll get each time.

    For any new guitar you buy there, you HAVE to have a setup done immediately and then have a 50/50 of it playing nicely. I've had a fair bit of work done there (pickups, new nut, electronics) but it's always hit and miss with setups, with me having to return multiple times on some occasions.

    I like a low action, with the neck very flat, and use 10s. I spread my playing across 4 guitars to share the wear, so like a consistent feel across them if I can get it.

    I had a setup on the new Tele last week, but it's just not right, nut action is too high, string action to high. I can't be bothered to go in again.

    A different store now offers a PLEK service, and I am really tempted to get a PLEK set up on this guitar and my backup, and also have a refret done with PLEK on my favorite guitar (which I can't play any more due to fret issues).

    Just wondering how people think about PLEK, and if it may offer the consistency I am looking for?

    Any help appreciated!
     
  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nut action too high, string action too high, I doubt a plek will solve that right? PLEK will level the frets. Are they level?
    OTOH, it should give you great frets on every guitar. I dont find any two guitars to feel alike though.
     
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  3. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

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    In my experience, PLEK is a good way to eek out the last 10-20% of a great setup so that you can take full advantage of a very low action. Nut, bridge, relief still all have to get adjusted well.
     
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  4. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    Ah ok, thanks everyone. I thought it was a one stop shop for everything. Looks like I'll try and get the new place to do a setup first, and let them advise me of the fret heights etc in case I need a PLEK. I'll get the refret done via PLEK though I think, get everything correct right from the start.
     
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  5. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    As I recall a Plek machine will sort out the nut/action as well.

    If the op can afford it, why not? Especially if there's not a decent tech he trusts available to him. I'd ask to examine anything put through the Plek to get an idea of how they feel. If that gives you some comfort, start with 1 of your own guitars & assess it.

    It's a shame that the place that sold you the tele can't satisfy your wants. I think that comes with the purchase.
     
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  6. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    You can get a new nut cut using the plek machine as well. Maybe you can negotiate a deal if you're doing more than one guitar.
     
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  7. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

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    Plek setups can be great from my experience, but the techs need to know what they are doing. My repair shop has a one return/touch up policy, so I can go back if things aren’t right. Haven’t had to do that though.
     
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  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Tele-Meister

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    A PLEK is only as good as the tech setting up the guitar in the machine. If the tech knows what they're doing, the results will be great. If they don't know what they are doing, the results will be less than stellar.

    I am not anti-PLEK. I think it's a fantastic tool and a huge time saver for a busy shop. However, a good tech can do as good a job as a PLEK.

    If you're getting 50/50 results at your current shop, I recommend a different shop. Consistency counts.
     
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  9. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    The place I go to is very well known and has a great rep for the product they carry, but the techs just don't seem to like doing setups. I have taken all my guitars in to them over the last few years, so they know how I like my guitars (even have the measurements etc), but I have no idea why, sometimes they let guitars go that just haven't been worked on properly.

    For this last one, I knew the action was higher than I liked when I bought it, but wanted to find out if I could adapt to it as it sounded great. I took it home and with the change in temp/humidity, the neck moved a lot. I took it in a few days later to have it set up like I like... I got a call 1 hour later saying it was done.

    They had tweaked the truss rod only, something I could have done myself. I was very displeased. I have no idea why sometimes they do half assed jobs, I've given up trying to work it out.

    For a full setup they charge ~120CHF (1:1 USD), which I think is extortionate. A PLEK runs at ~200-250CHF here.

    I really don't trust the store to do a refret on my number 1 guitar, so have been looking around for other options. I was quoted 600CHF too, and they said they wouldn't put on vintage size frets, only medium jumbo (which I don't want).
     
  10. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

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    I don’t do much of it, but fret work of all kinds can be tedious and physically hard on hands, wrists, and fingers. For that reason alone I put a high value on a competent tech with a Plek machine.
     
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  11. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Can't speak for Switzerland but if you fly into Bradley, rent a car and drive 45 minutes up the road you'll be at Mill River Music. They're owned by luthiers, run by luthiers and populated by luthiers. They're an absolute Santa's Workshop of guitar setups.

    Best Plek Pro on Planet Dirt is Crossroads Guitar Shop in Salt Lake City. They have a sense of humor. Last time I was there they had a red Squier Affinity on the wall that had the full treatment. It played and intonated in the top one percent. I've played some good guitars. Their work is pure alchemy.

    Depends on which way you want to go.
     
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  12. bondoman

    bondoman Tele-Meister

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    I've seen the discussion come up several times and I'm on the side of its really nothing a seasoned luthier cant do as well just a lot faster. Really cool time saving tool so to say. Thing with a lot of tech's working at a music store.. Uh.. they're working at a music store. Basically a service they provide to draw in more business, doesn't mean they're any good at it. Shop that invests in a PLEK and the training to use it is another thing. They're serious about it. I've thought about having one done just to see if it lives up to the hype. Do all my own work so its more out of curiosity, and money isn't an issue.
     
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  13. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    The Plek question was also asked in the DIY forum section. Here is my same reply.

    Have had a 2 people with custom Les Pauls Plekd without being pleased. They came plekd from the factory and they weren't pleased with the setup so they paid someone to do them again. Still no improvement. Where the frets level? Yes. Where they crowned correctly? Yes. What was missing? A decent tech setting with the owners of $5,000 guitars and setting them up to their personal taste of neck relief and bridge height. They both felt they wasted their money. When my builds were played they were like better for that simple reason. I'm nothing special, I just pay attention.

    I am not saying a Plek can't do excellent work. I am saying it will do no better than the human setting it up or the human setting up the guitar afterwards. The difference between a plek and a good tech is a couple hundred bucks more cost for one.

    Eric
     
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  14. oceanblue

    oceanblue Tele-Meister

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  15. oceanblue

    oceanblue Tele-Meister

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    Plek and setup are 2 different things. Here, a PLEK and setup run $200. I’ve had 3 done and very pleased. But as you see in the video the tech has to know what they are doing, the machine is just a tool and can be used right or wrong.
     
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  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    When a great fret level job can transform a $100 beater beginner guitar into a custom shop level of playability for $100 or so ... it's the biggest value in guitar upgrades you can do. Try out the PLEK.

    .
     
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  17. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    I know and understand some people do not have the time and worry about damaging their beloved guitar but if you have more than one guitar and the guitar tech you use is incompetent
    instead of spending money on someone doing a hit or miss setup
    learn to do it yourself there are hundreds of videos on youtube or threads on such subjects on this forum it is not rocket science you know what you like so you know what to aim for
     
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  18. loco gringo

    loco gringo Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I bought a T Type guitar kit from a place in Canada. I can't remember the name of the place.

    Anyway, after it was all together, I had it PLEK'd at a shop in Norman, OK that has had a PLEK machine for a long time. It is the best playing guitar I have, maybe that I have ever had.

    As was stated, the guy with the PLEK has to know what they are doing. These guys do.
     
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  19. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Re: Mill River mentioned above. They're owned by luthiers and run by luthiers. They keep themselves in biscuits and gravy repairing and setting up guitars. Northampton has a thriving music scene so there are plenty of guitars to set up. Even better when unwanted broken guitars show up to be made whole again.

    Just don't mention "Plek" at Mill River.


    A Plek Pro can do things that would be daunting for a trained luthier. A Plek Pro can be programmed to cut slots for bent frets for perfect intonation. A Plek Pro can slot an unslotted fingerboard with each fret slot stopping before it breaks through the other side. That's how to build a Strat or a Tele that feels like it has a bound neck. No fret sprout, ever.

    Properly implemented the first step in a Plek process is to have the machine map the fingerboard. It "knows" where the frets are and it "knows" where the surface of the fingerboard is. It can be programmed to take a few thou selectively off the tops of the frets and then take a corresponding few thou off the surface of the fingerboard. Crossroads even uses theirs to shave a few tenths (ten thousandths) to remove scratches and imperfections from lacquered maple necks..
     
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  20. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you have a Dragon tele and IIRC it's got vintage spec frets then trying to have 'as flat a neck as possible' and low action are counterproductive.

    You can have a low action but then your notes will choke out on bends.

    Fender recommend a bigger relief on vintage frets because of this reason. If you drop the strings too low similarly you will get buzzes and mouse tones.

    I guess that's why he went Les Paul for shred. Low action, flatter neck due to big radius.

    Jimmy didn't have his plekk'd, I guarantee it....
     
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