Gibson giving PLEK a bad name?

Discussion in 'The Custom Shop' started by dspelman, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. rp1138

    rp1138 Senior Member

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    As someone who lives in Sacramento and who was planning on getting several guitars PLEKED in the near future, this is highly disturbing to me. I imagine you probably aren't at liberty to say just which store this is, but could you state whether it's in Sacramento proper, or is it in a smaller community on the outskirts of Sac, say, Roseville for example?
     
  2. Louparte

    Louparte Junior Member

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    I would not have purchased a Les Paul had Gibson not PLEK'd it. I was shopping for a different make and model entirely. I wasn't even considering an LP until I learned (1) They're made in the USA and (2) They're run through the PLEK process.

    The results of PLEK on my new LP are worth the price. The guitar was set up beautifully out-of-the-box. I can't speak to the merits of the OP's report except as far as my guitar is concerned. The results of Gibson's PLEK process on it were impressive. Maybe I was lucky.

    (Several years ago, a son brought a new SG. The frets were like railroad ties. I paid for a fret job on that new guitar.)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  3. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    Both my CS are set to .004" relief and 3/64 at 12th fret. Buzz totally not existent. USA models I have, and that they have been Plek'd, are not that much different. Still have to find a crappy Plek from Gibson.
     
  4. C.J.

    C.J. Senior Member

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    The problem with PLEK'd guitars is not the frets, its invariably the nuts. I have had to put new nuts on 3 plek'd guitars from Gibson and it would have been 5 had the last two not been 2015's with the brass nut (also junk that had to be replaced under warranty immediately).

    Gibson paid for a top class luthier to do the work each time, but I still have to haul the guitars 100 miles or so myself.

    Have you also heard about the infamous 2013 plek'd guitars where the nuts were epoxied in? Yea. Not an urban myth.

     
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  5. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    Sorry but no.

    This scenario is happening on "one man one guitar" services, with the stock machine (Plek), where you have the time to deal with single case guitars, or for smaller productions.

    In a mass production environment the Plek Pro is automated and pre-tuned to a "know" guitar, and it's using a String Tension Simulator to apply the wanted/given tension (that is known data, not unicorn science. There is nothing wrong with that, at the opposite, the Simulator gives you much more consistency (and less flaws) than strings.

    http://www.plek.com/en_US/produkte/plek-pro/sts---string-tension-simulation/
     
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  6. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Senior Member

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    Thank you for bringing a little knowledge into this. People get really worked up over something a tech said and they swallowed without question. Of course a tech is going to say "Gibson doesn't do it right, you need me to do it!" Frankly, the more I learn myself, the more I realize the luthiers around me are not as good or trustworthy as I assumed. That's not to slander the profession, not at all, but it's not easy to find a truly great, or even good, luthier.

    Frankly, with every Gibson I've ever played, the excellent fretwork is the main feature. Sure, cheaper ones have rough ends, but that's not a difficult fix and those models are really quite good values for American made guitars (don't get me started on those guys saying Americans are too lazy to make good guitars and want too much money:facepalm:). Epiphones and Fenders in the same price range (sub 1K) will often have rough fret ends, too. It's kind of a crapshoot anyway in that price range. I've played a Squier that had better filed fret ends than an American Strat. These are mass produced guitars, people, and the use of machines will make cheapos MORE consistent than an American Gibby or Fender. So make up your mind; do you want perfect consistency or more handwork in the process? You can't have it both ways.

    Frankly, this whole thread is a bit cringeworthy...
     
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  7. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    The thread that refuses to die... Rather than having Gibson PLEK my just-made guitar to generic specs (which is not a bad thing) I would rather have it just set up reasonably and have Gibson issue a certificate for one free PLEKing at an authorized shop of my choice. Then, I could let the guitar pay in and stabilize, and get my own preferences for the instrument worked out, and then, and only then, have a competent PLEK technician execute the PLEK job. Anything else, and you're living with someone else's preferences and specs, which is likely to be OK but could be better. It's not optimum to be doing the PLEK job when the instrument is brand new.
     
  8. guidothepimmp

    guidothepimmp Senior Member

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    how certain are we that Gibson is still Plekked?

    my understanding is that this stopped 1 to 2 years ago
     
  9. dspelman

    dspelman Senior Member

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    "Sorry, but no" back at you. I realize what's happening in a mass production environment, and you're absolutely correct that it's consistent. You get the same fret mill every time.

    But when you put strings on the guitar, some of them come up inconsistently because wood's not necessarily consistent, not everyone uses the same strings on their guitars and because most manufacturers don't glue their frets. As a result, the absolutely consistent fret mill done with the same simulated string tension every time produces inconsistent results. The proof of the pudding (to hash metaphors) is in the eating; Gibson guitars do not have consistently excellent fretwork after having been run on a mass production Plek setup.

    On the other hand, when my inconsistent guitars with glued frets, and with my string preferences on the guitar, produce different-looking fretboard profiles after having been measured with the PLEK Pro. But because the measurements were taken with all of those things considered by the firmware and with my preferences taken into account by the guy running the machine, I can end up with two very different guitars from two very different manufacturers using very different woods that *are* consistent in their playability after PLEK runs.

    I would *much* rather Gibson (or any manufacturer) NOT give me a "consistent" lowest-common-denominator Production PLEK'd guitar with a nut cut too high for low action. Just give me a reasonably well constructed guitar and I'll take it to a good PLEK tech and have it done right.
     
  10. dspelman

    dspelman Senior Member

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    I've heard that, too, but there are still PLEK stickers showing up on guitars. It may be just the nuts that are cut with the PLEK machines these days. Or maybe they're limited to specific runs of guitars.
     
  11. CCK

    CCK Senior Member

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    Maybe Gibson is giving PLEK a bad name, but I can tell you who is giving PLEK a good name, and that's Glaser Instruments in Nashville. I took my '72 Stratocaster to them while on vacation in Nashville and had it set up with the PLEK machine. I've had this guitar since 1974, and it has NEVER played and sounded so well. Super nice folks too. The tech took me back and let me watch a guitar being set up using the PLEK while explaining what the machine was doing. Next Nashville vacation, I'm taking another one to him!
     
  12. freebyrd 69

    freebyrd 69 Premium Member

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    Having been to the Custom Shop, I can confirm all accusations.
     

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