In addition to bringing you unique content each month, we enjoying pointing you in the general direction of
some meaty gear conversations that take place at The Gear Page. That’s where you can look for tips on mod
projects, lurk within discussions about vintage amps or hurl yourself into a conversation about the pros and cons
of a particular boutique gear maker. Whatever it is you’re looking for, if it involves gear, we suspect you’ll find it.
Below is our latest fly-on-the-wall sampling of threads from the Gear Page.
Plek before and after?
Dog Boy: So what exactly did pleking do
for your guitar? I’m trying to find out if it
does anything besides allowing you to have
super low action.
Kingbeegtrs: I’ve never really understood
the need for Plek. IMO, if you take the neck
off of the guitar and adjust the truss rod
to make the neck like it is going to be with
strings on it you can level the frets and dress
them just fine that way. It always works for
me. The strange thing is that I see threads
where people talk about necks with problems
even after the plek. Seems like a lot of hype
to me. Guitars have been around for centuries and did just fine without the plek.
AnthonyL: Yes, you can level and dress the
frets, but a human cannot get to the level of
accuracy as the PLEK machine. If you ever
see one in action, (I’ve seen the plek pro)
you would change your mind... My local tech,
George, at the Music Gallery, has been a tech
since the late 60’s. The guy has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things guitar repair and
is highly recommended in the Chicagoland
area. They recently purchased a PLEK and he
will sing it’s praises all day long, and he’s a
no nonsense type of guy. If it was just hype,
they simply would not have purchased it. He
plek’d a C/S strat that I had and yes, it made
a significant difference... to me.
There is a reason that guys like John Suhr,
Phil Jacoby (Philtone), Gary Brawer, Joe
Glaser, Mike Lull, McPherson, Martin now has
one, etc... recommend it or use it as part of
their build process...
levelfrets: I personally say its hype. I am
not trying to start a war but I’ve been doing
fretwork for over 15 years and establishing a
consistency is key to great fretwork. I think a
plek machine is great for replacing low skilled
workers on a factory line where frets need to
be right everytime. The plek also saves time
which is a huge money maker. That’s why
these repair shops who use them try to create hype. They can make twice as much off of
fretwork using a plek rather than doing it by
hand. It also makes sense if you had a super
busy shop and could take in twice as much
fretwork if you had machine. Doing it by hand
limits the output you can produce and when
you try to go faster you lose consistency. You
can’t convince me it does a better job than
hands when I grew up during the 80’s and
90’s playing Jacksons, Ibanez, PRS, etc, which
all had nearly perfect fretwork and guess
what? The leveling and dressing was all done
by hand!!!!!! Go figure!
Bryan T: I was trained by Joe Glaser on
the Plek Pro, so I’m definitely biased. Things
I like about the Plek: 1. Measurements are
done with the strings at tension so you can
truly see how the neck acts. 2. You can easily incorporate a flattening of the radius as
you move up the neck. 3. You can adjust the
falloff above the 12th fret in a repeatable
fashion. 4. It shows how much fret you’ll
take off with different fret jobs. This is very
useful on vintage guitars. It isn’t a mindless
process, as the person operating it has to
make decisions about the fretwork, hopefully considering the player’s style (which is
one reason I don’t think it is that useful in a
factory environment). It still leaves quite a
bit of work by hand to clean things up and
really nail the setup.
MrMunky: I tend to think the Plek machine
must be a useful tool in the right hands. I’m not
sure that it can either surpass the work of the
most skilled luthiers or replace the need for skill.
I have experienced excellent fretwork completed
with the assistance of a plek machine, and equally excellent fretwork completed before the plek
machine came into existence.
As a few people have mentioned, the earliest
adopters of Plek technology have been the people who had already developed a reputation for
outstanding setup and fretwork, John Suhr, Joe
Glaser, Phil Jacoby, Gary Brawer, etc. I suspect
that for these folks, the Plek machine makes producing the highest-quality work easier.
I am not so certain that the Plek machine
replaces the need for skill. I’ve played and
owned a few Gibsons that Gibson set up with
a Plek machine, and I’d take the setup work
of any number of people who don’t use Plek
machines over that work any day.
The Plek machine strikes me as similar to a
lot of other new tools. My day job doesn’t
ordinarily involve guitars; instead it requires
me to produce a lot of written work. I sure
like having a computer, printer and copy
machine for my work. Maybe the value
of that technology is “hype,” but I have
to admit I think I’d feel lost without those
things. But I’ve noticed that the work of
people who can’t write well doesn’t improve
when they get new computers.
Lets See Those
ecbluesman54: Here’s a picture of my
current board, and the smaller board I had. I
couldn’t be happier with service from Trailer
Trash. I had some great conversations with
James. He was able to get me pointed in the
right direction, and offered some great tips.
I’d like to see some of his other boards, as
well as those of you that wired your own.