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Does Dan now have a pleck machine in the shop?

davebc

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May 7, 2002
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Not that he needs one. The work he did for me was astoundingly precise.
But, I thought I read somewhere on the forum that he now has one.
 

Soapbarstrat

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Nov 8, 2002
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From the Plek website :

Der Amerikaner Dan Erlewine bietet die hochwertige PLEK-Bearbeitung ab jetzt in seinem „Guitar Shop" an.

Pretty sure that means he does have a Plek.

Did Plek get any "air time" in the latest repair book ?
 

davebc

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May 7, 2002
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Haven't picked up Dan's newest book.
Those pleck machines aren't cheap are they?
I have another Les Paul that's misbehavin that I was thinking about shipping over. Dan's got the magic.
 

Indiana Erick

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Jun 11, 2002
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There indeed is a Plek in Dan's shop. It's undergoing a thorough evaluation at this time.
They gave him a decent deal on the thing just to get his input and opinion on it.
If it really turns out to be the bee's knee's Dan will start using it on a regular basis.
 
Last edited:

DirtyRobber

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Nov 20, 2006
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It's funny, a good deal of the notoriety this machine has received is from being used on the Historic Les Pauls (now, all Gibsons?). Yet, a lot of people still complain about the factory set-up. I know you can't please all the people all the time, but could there be something else to it?
 

Desertdawg

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Nov 25, 2001
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Sure...it depends upon the skill of the operator. In the case of factory built new guitars you'll just get an average result but it should still be better than the average of work done by employees unless they are hioghly skilled and experienced.
 

Soapbarstrat

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Of course, it has always been that Plek owners have too much money invested in the tool to reveal all downsides about the machine, *if* there are any downsides. I always assume even something computer controlled still has some weird quirks that a user wishes wouldn't exist.

It would be nice to know exactly what the real deal is. It would be nice if the average guitarist had a good idea of what the real deal is. More and more guitarist think of Plek fret-work as superior, from the moment they hear what the plek "is all about", along with hearing how other methods are so much more primative. Even the Plek website (at least when I was reading it a couple years ago) suggested that non Plek fret-work is significantly inferior.

Well, Joe Glazer's actual words :

".....Goodbye to the witch doctor. A difference of .003 of an inch is a night and day difference in playability, but that’s a typical tolerance. Now we hold a tenth of that or even less and do it in an ideal relief. That’s important, too. The master-level guesswork is gone. The neck jig was a great idea, but you can’t hold a neck in place with the kind of tolerance that can make or break a great fret job...."

Guitarist are eating up this stuff.

*I* say you can only be so accurate and then any more accuracy is futile. And I think the "old primative" Neck-Jig reaches the needed amount of accuracy just fine.
It's all good to have a computer help put your personal idea of optimal neck relief into reality with the strings tuned to pitch as the guitar is *while not being played*, but then connect a fretting hand onto that neck, start fingering chords here and there, have the humidity change after 2 weeks, etc etc*. I think when those things happen, neck relief gets changed a thou or 2, and string tensions change a little (while fretting chords). So, again, NASA level .0001 accuracy thrown out the window. But it's hard to get the average guitarist to realize this.
 

Scott Lentz

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Jul 26, 2001
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The Plek is a fantastic machine, but it only address's the fret. The fret board still has to be level and this is where the problems come in. The difference between Mahogany and Rosewood, which glue is used, how the glue is applied, how much pressure is used with the clamping process and the size of fret slot to the fret wire.
All these different things can make a straight fret board look like a dirt road.
In this case the Plek is only capable of damage control ! This and the $175,000.00- plus, may be the reason the Plek has not caught on.
 

Indiana Erick

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Scott brings up a good point. Plus the machine only takes the job so far. Final dressing and polishing is up to the shop so results could vary depending on who does the work.

I see it as a good production tool, especially for the big factories. Small shop benefits I see are it helps eliminate repetitive stress injuries from stroking frets all day and it also frees up your shop staff to do other work.

Does it do a better job that the seasoned fretsmith? I'm not yet sold but am in a good position to find out.
 

J.D.

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May 24, 2006
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I've seen the Plek run first hand and spoke to the tech, who was very knowledgable and trained by Joe himself.

My feelings on the Plek...a guy who is not a *master* at doing frets by hand can do it, but you need to know how to use your tools and set a neck to run it, and also need a certain amount of computer competency. Polishing the frets afterwards isn't terrribly difficult and the cut the Plek makes is quite clean. I've played guitars both Plek'd and leveled by hand by good techs and I personally can't feel the difference. The tech told me he loves it because he can be doing other, more profitable, jobs while the Plek runs, and hand fret levelings are tedious and not terribly profitable. He also said that the backlog of guitars to be Plek'd is huge, it basically runs all day every day.

Of course necks can be somewhat not true. The Plek or any leveling will correct that to a certain extent. If not, the frets are pulled, the board leveled, refretted, then Plek'd - an even more profitable job.

Let's do the math: at ~$200 per guitar it really isn't a huge payback period. Let's say it can do 4 guitars per day very conservatively, 5 days per week. 4 guitars per day x 5 days per week x 50 weeks per year x $200 per guitar = $200,000 per year.

Is this machine profitable for a busy shop???
 

Soapbarstrat

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Final dressing and polishing is up to the shop so results could vary depending on who does the work.

This is something that has always been unclear to me. For instance, I know the machine is using a grinding wheel, but does it have an assortment of different wheels, with different "grits" ? What is the finest grit it hits the fret tops with ? I can see where if it requires a human to continue with finer grits by hand (sandpaper, steel wool, polishing papers), it would then be open to lose some of that space-age accuracy they like to preach the tool is capable of.

Yes, you're in a perfect position to find out. You're also in a perfect position to pop a video game into the computer and see how Plek likes that !

'Fretsmith Hero', coming soon, for your sony playstation.
 

J.D.

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May 24, 2006
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One wheel. It has a diamond coated surface that is rather smooth and spins extremely fast. It also has a raduis so it automatically re-creowns the fret as it levels it. It makes several passes, only .001" - .002" cut per pass to the exact radius per the fretboard read/scan. When the Plek cut is done, it is virtually polished.
 

bund

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Oct 27, 2004
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Funny a couple of weeks ago I said Dan had a PLEK machine and I got a couple of snide remarks...again go figure . It is the best thing that has happened for guitars since the advent of the trussrod. The sharp guys new that from the start.
" Forty years of playing and I don't know about you, but I've really only learned to play on the neck"
 

Soapbarstrat

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It is the best thing that has happened for guitars since the advent of the trussrod. The sharp guys new that from the start.

Your an odd fella, I guess. In the thread about Stew-Macs new relief gauge you agreed with someone who scoffed at the tool. Yet, here you are totally in favor of another tool used to put a specific measurement of relief into a neck. LOL !
 

bund

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Oct 27, 2004
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ya I am kinda odd but then again I've owned a PLEK machine for some time and run well over a thousand guitars on it and know that 90% of all the guitars I see have excessive relief...I just know someone with a feeler gauge /dial gauge had someting to do with it.
 

Soapbarstrat

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Most guitarists don't even have any special gauge for checking their relief. Not even that many have feeler gauges. Most do it by eye. They think .020" relief still *looks* like a straight neck. It would be better if they did have the dial gauge so they could actually see what's going on and not leave their neck that way for so long, that the neck wants to stay that way. Too many necks won't even adjust straight with the T-rod, but it's the guy who has been asked to do fret-work on the neck who finds that out. Maybe some of that could be avoided if the players were more familiar with what .002" actually looks like. I think the dial gauge can only be a positive thing for that.
 
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