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

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

  1. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Have you ever had, and or liked a vintage fender neck?

    If you get used to bigger frets and a flatter radius, like I have, it demands some compromises.

    Fingerboard Radius: 7.25" (184.1 mm)
    Number of Frets: 21
    Fret Size: Vintage

    What is the problem with your action anyway, what do you hate about it?
     
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  2. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Super low action is finicky and will buzz when bending on a vintage radius neck. If you have a sound setup initially then all you should ever have to do is adjust the truss rod a little to compensate for weather until it’s time to dress the frets due to fret wear.
     
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  3. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    All my Fenders, while not ‘vintage’, are vintage spec necks and frets with 7.25” radius. I have other guitars with bigger frets and radius, but I like playing them less.

    The issue I have with the Dragon is that the nut is cut way too high, meaning I am going sharp when pressing, even chords (yes I do have a heavy touch).

    The action is high enough that my fingers are going under the strings when bending. It’s double the height of my main guitar.

    The neck has a ton of relief in it, way more than I feel comfortable with, with the action past the 15 fret bring sky high.

    It needs a really good setup.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  4. bondoman

    bondoman Tele-Meister

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    Out of the Northbay CA. myself. Lots of great luthier owned shops and plenty of private luthiers as well. Got a cousin that builds a few towns over, just aint got $6k and up for one of his guitars. That and for me its always been just a hobby and don't play classical/flamenco anyway. Slab electric that plays well, big honking amp and I'm a happy camper.
    As to a PLEK I'd guess they're on the same page as a CNC machine. They don't make mistakes, the people operating them do.
     
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  5. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've seen both sides of it. With all of the stories I tell it's hard to believe they're all true. The old man used to build classical guitars down the basement, Honduras mahogany, Brazilian rosewood and Sitka spruce.

    It was frustrating trying to make a high end classical guitar do what I wanted it to do when I was a little kid...


    My buddy Tom is The Patron Saint of CNC Machining. I don't care how good your tool path is, Tom can trim your cycle.

    Tom is spending his last couple years before retirement teaching what we used to call "shop". It's a blended machine setup with seven Bridgeports in a row, a couple lazers, a 5 axis and then the usual beat up woodworking machinery you'll find in a high school wood shop.

    Tom has it set up so he can walk diagonally across the room starting machinery. He has enough parts to build a ukulele on his return trip.
     
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  6. oceanblue

    oceanblue Tele-Meister

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    This is the web page I used as a starting point to learn to do my own setups, worth learning and knowing how to do, I think, in the long run. And the tools necessary, really aren't expensive, and some you may already have. Worse case is you encounter an issue (that you discover through these steps) you don't feel comfortable about solving, and take it to a more knowledgeable luthier/tech. So called techs can be hit or miss, though it is great to find a really good and honest one to help you.

    https://diystrat.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-to-set-up-fender-telecaster-style.html
     
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  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    It’s a bit shocking that given the price of a Custom Shop JP Tele that it didn’t come with an amazing setup... but maybe they were trying to replicate the original?

    I’d be tempted to call the Custom Shop, mail it to them, and have them fix it for free.
     
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  8. JDB2

    JDB2 Tele-Meister

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    Hmm . . . I'm no expert but if that were mine first thing I'd try is to tighten the truss rod to take most of the relief out, then raise saddles a little if there is more buzz than you want. If the frets are reasonably level that takes care of it most of the time IME. If it doesn't, then I see a luthier for a fret level.
     
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  9. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    I've had this on a couple of my 'new' guitars and all it took was a few strokes with a nut file (or you could use weld tip cleaners if you don't want to buy a set of files). I worked on them all to make sure they didn't go sharp on the first fret and also made sure I didn't go too far and cut them so deep that the open strings buzzed on the frets.

    It's not difficult and really transforms the feel and playing of a guitar (and yes some of mine at 7.25" radius/vintage frets too).

    Once the nut is cut properly, you have far fewer tuning problems (I never use 'nut sauce' now) and even my Gibson SG stays in tune during a 3 hour rehearsal. You can then set the action and intonation easier too I find, so you can go low but without buzzing.

    The only thing I don't do is fret work, so I may yet try Plec when I have one of my oldest guitars re-fretted soon. I have already had my 37 year old JV Squier Strat re-fretted (and not plec'd) and it plays better than it has even done now.
     
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  10. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Meister

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    Many thanks for the info and advice everyone! Finally a very happy camper here. :D

    This evening I got my setup tool kit out (for the first time in a while!) and set to work myself.

    - I set up the relief to be 0.012” at the 8th fret - the truss rod had clearly never been adjusted, despite being 'set up'' before purchase and again after I bought it (the nitro overspray on the screw has never been disturbed).
    - Went through and checked string heights and made sure they were roughly right for the 7.25"radius
    - Oiled the finger board as it was dry as anything
    - Put on .9 gauge string just to see how it felt (I've played .10's since forever), but it was too buzzy and had too little relief
    - Took them off again and put on my usual stainless steel .10s
    - Rechecked relief (perfect at 0.012"")
    - Checked that no strings choked out and there were no ghost notes, and ended up raising the strings more than a little at the saddle!

    The results are a much, much improved guitar - it's now a pleasure to play. While not a great setup (I'll never make a tech!), there is a real night and day difference. Doing a little CSI, I think the tech thought it was a bit too much effort to adjust the trussrod, so just lowered the string heights from the saddle. (With the relief correct, strings were too low) - very disappointing.

    Really glad I did things myself as I've bonded with the guitar a lot more already - I used to to my own tech and setups on my main guitar, and wonder if part of my comfort with the guitar comes from the fact I know it so well setup/parts wise.

    I did find a few issues:

    - A buzz on the low A string, I highly suspect a high fret. Nothing so bad that it can't wait for a few months, but I think it'll need a level at some point.
    - My renewed hatred for chrome threaded saddles. I switched them out on my other tele (60's Classic) for brass compensated ones, I'll do the same with this guitar.

    Thanks again everyone, looks like the PLEK can wait a bit for now - but I'l definitely try it out some day! :)
     
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  11. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thing about setting up your own guitar... you know what it feels like and you know what you want it to feel like.

    A tech needs to spend enough time with your guitar so they can identify what needs improvement. They need to spend time with your identifying what you consider to be improvement.

    If you can get it 75% of the way there or 90% of the way there you can get to the rest at your leisure.


    I play a guitar that's halfway there most of the time. Saves wear 'n' tear on my good guitar.

    :D
     
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  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    That sounds like a great idea; new shop doing a basic setup more as you like it.

    I think you are more likely to benefit from a Plek than I do. I like a fairly high action; I like strings to really sound out. Having said that, 10 years ago Plek was all the rage and now you so seldom hear about them.

    But what I like to do is set the guitar up slinky low, inspect for any issues (and deal with those if any), then raise the action to actually play it. I can't understand why the first shop handed you the guitar with a half baked nut. We can buy guitars off the rack like that - we don't need a tech to make that happen.

    Man, I think you're too dependent on these techs. You ought to try to do this yourself - get free from their clutches.
     
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