Should I Plek my new 2013 R9?

LpCustom2007

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Thank you for posting this. :thumb: :applause: When I have mentioned this in the past people on this Forum, people think I am crazy. :laugh2:

Plek machines suck IMHO.

Get a great Luthier who knows what he is doing & get it done right, by hand.

My 2c FWIW.

:cheers:

It´s not like a great luthier and a plek machine contradicts each other as well.. A great luthier WITH a plek machine could do wonders..

But yeah, whoever performs it, I´m sure a setup will at least make it much better..
 

Sharky

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Thank you for posting this. :thumb: :applause: When I have mentioned this in the past people on this Forum, people think I am crazy. :laugh2:

Plek machines suck IMHO.

Get a great Luthier who knows what he is doing & get it done right, by hand.

My 2c FWIW.

:cheers:

I'm no expert in stuff like this but a guitar is from it's nature subject to changes. Temperature, humidity, storage position and different other things will alter it in certain ways, so whatever you will do to this guitar, it's may be a solution for this very moment, but might as well change a few weeks later. Like someone posted before, a new guitar needs some setups over a short period of time, at least that's something I experience every time I have a new guitar here. It will settle with time, find it's final form and position and thus will need less maintainence. But I'd really second the opinion to give it an expert setup before starting to file down frets. That can be done any time. From my POV the PLEK procedure would need a good setup anyways prior to file on the frets or notching of saddles and all, doesn't it?

BTW, brining it to a luthier/tech, talking about the problems and possible solutions, maybe watching him doing his work, will give the client a better overall understanding of how the things work together on a guitar. Truss rod, bridge, saddles. For me it is absolutely necessary to understand the function of things before I can adjust/work on them on my own. I was taught what is happening with all this by someone really in the know and I can set up my guitars to my likings on my own without the risk of damage ;o). If I'm still not satisfied with the outcome, I'll visit my tech and I really trust this guy, he's a real ol' pal
 

50WPLEXI

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A Plek job is only as good as the tech using the machine. No human eye can see as good as this machine. My friend has one in his shop, and knows how to use it. A competent and honest tech will steer you in the right direction.
 

Snarfalus

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A Plek job is only as good as the tech using the machine. No human eye can see as good as this machine. My friend has one in his shop, and knows how to use it. A competent and honest tech will steer you in the right direction.

I just dropped it off to be Plek'd. The tech said the same thing. This is the same place I bought the axe. You get a deal on the plek when you get a new axe. I have no problem paying extra for it, they made a capital investment in the machine and I love this shop. The bottom line is that Gibson really isn't pleking them, for all intents and purposes. Second the the tech said he has been doing this for 40 plus years and even when things look right, the machine spots things. It is more precise. You get the lowest possible action with the least amount of buzz--the best combination of hardware adjustment and fret dress. That is not to say a luthier couldn't do it better. It is not an entirely automated process however, the tech has to know what to do, but the plek can analyze and perform with a degree precision and consistency that a human cannot. And it can address Gibson's inadequacies so I am told. I had it done on an old strat years ago and it was awesome!

Also the tech said with the plek you end up taking less metal off the frets.

Anyway it isn't man v. Plek that it is the issue here. That debate is for another thread. It is more a question of Gibson's factory setup v. Plek. And to clarify, Gibson may utilize the machine, and the tech gave them credit for trying to get it right, but at the end of the day this R9 needs fretwork. Do I care? No. It is not a custom luthier built guitar. Quality control is probably not great. But the end product's look and feel and sound is absolutely iconic and it is gorgeous. If I have to spend another $100 something bucks to work out the kinks so be it. At least I like the pickups! Thought those would go for sure! It's an awesome axe in any event. Gibson gets a pass for having one of the coolest products on earth!

I might have the guitar back in two days. I'll do a full write up.
 

RAG7890

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Also Gibson's way of fretting Boards prior to installing them on Guitars.

Not something a high end Luthier usually does.

FWIW, we have been through the pro Plek Job by a competent Tech vs. a dare I say it............hand job. :laugh2:

Machines don't play Guitars. I'll take the hand job any time. :thumb: Call me a wanker. :laugh2:

Good luck with it. :)

:cheers:
 

fretnot

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Also Gibson's way of fretting Boards prior to installing them on Guitars.

Not something a high end Luthier usually does.

Which is why many new Gibson's come with frets that have a lot of the material gone already. A Plek on a true board can be a thing of beauty, though.
 

bigsnaketex

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I can't wait for the follow up report!

I do my own set ups and do them for my friends and I normally take 3 days to do it right spending an hour or so each evening working with it, letting it settle in, working with it some more, etc.

A good set up is so very important. . . but it's equally important to have your "stuff" straight before you set it up. Bad fret jobs, bad boards, bad truss rods all happen in guitars old and new. So it's best to have things sorted out as good as you can before you expect the FINAL set up to cure all your ills.
 

50WPLEXI

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I've seen a Plek in action many times. Even had the pleasure of moving one (heavy as shit) It's neat once you see how it maps the board, and goes back to address each individual fret.

Hope you're pleased with the results.
 

Sharky

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I can't wait for the follow up report!

I do my own set ups and do them for my friends and I normally take 3 days to do it right spending an hour or so each evening working with it, letting it settle in, working with it some more, etc.

A good set up is so very important. . . but it's equally important to have your "stuff" straight before you set it up. Bad fret jobs, bad boards, bad truss rods all happen in guitars old and new. So it's best to have things sorted out as good as you can before you expect the FINAL set up to cure all your ills.

absolutely. I have to admit that I really like this part and see it as part of the honeymoon. It might even take a bit longer, but it's worth it though
 

Snarfalus

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So I got the guitar back today. The plek tech said the whole process took about three hours. Since the guitar was new I got the job done for $125. I did not specify any custom parameters whatsoever. I was told the machine addressed every fret on the board.

Before the plek, the frets on this 2013 R9 felt like barbed wire after playing for a few hours. There was noticable discomfort when sliding from fret to fret as they seemed to high and had a raw, unfinished feeling to them. There was also fretting out around the 12th fret and elsewhere on the neck.

After the plek, first, the fretting out is gone. At the same time, the action feels lower. The frets themselves are smooth as silk and the whole neck feels absolutely perfect. Huge bends are no longer a problem.

The frets just sort of disappear under your fingers. The result is very consistent with my strat, which I had pleked in 2009. The frets feel similar in that they are extraordinarily comfortable. This guitar all of the sudden feels very familiar.

What Gibson does in the factory is not what the aftermarket Plek does. Some manufacturers use the machine properly, but Gibson is probably not among them.

This guitar now feels like a blade that has been finely honed. The factory setup was like barbed wire in comparison. There is no aspect of the instrument's performance that was better under the factory setup.

I am totally satisfied that this guitar needed this treatment. :thumb:
 

Sct13

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I wannapleck mine Iwannapleckmine! :run:
 

Sharky

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I wannapleck mine Iwannapleckmine! :run:


same here, same here. No, joke aside, wonderful that the PLEK job turned out just great and to your total satisfaction and I think that 125 bucks is not much if you compare it to the joy it will deliver over years. On the other hand it's a shame that an expensive top shelf guitar needed it
 

dleuen

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same here, same here. No, joke aside, wonderful that the PLEK job turned out just great and to your total satisfaction and I think that 125 bucks is not much if you compare it to the joy it will deliver over years. On the other hand it's a shame that an expensive top shelf guitar needed it

+1. I'd PLEK a bunch of my guitars if there was a place to do it and it cost $125. Last I looked the nearest PLEK machine was in San Francisco.
 

Studio10

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I was thinking about this last night.. It seems the finished fret work is not as consistant as it was a few years ago. In 2011-12 it seems almost all the Historics I played neededno fret work, now almost all I see would benefit from a little leveling.
 

dspelman

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I guess my real question is whether this particular guitar 59 Les Paul needs as a general matter a really good professional set up or do I have an issue with this guitar?

I'm a PLEK convert and, now, an evangelist.

The first question that will be answered when your guitar goes on the PLEK is the one you posed, above. The PLEK's first job is to analyze the neck. If there's an issue, it'll be obvious. On my Axcess, for example, the neck had a "Gibson Hump" -- the little ski jump that some Gibson fretboards develop near where the neck meets the body around the 15th/16th fret.

A good PLEK tech will be able to make choices regarding whether he wants to follow the PLEK machine's recommendation for milling (sometimes there's also a recommendation for a truss rod adjustment, if necessary, and then another analysis takes place after that's done), or whether he thinks a slight modification might be in order. The PLEK can also re-cut your nut. For that matter, it can carve your name in the nut <G>.

You'll want to tell the PLEK tech how you want your action set (this will affect how the nut is cut more than anything else). Gibson generally cuts its nuts a bit high, so that if you're trying to get the action low, you'll lower the bridge and find your strings fretting out or buzzing above the 12 fret.

You *may* be able to get your guitar run through a good setup with no PLEK involved; that'll usually cost you a bit less than half what the PLEK job will. But I've begun to include the cost of a PLEK and a fret superglue (if the frets weren't glued in the build process) as part of the initial budget for any guitar new to me. I then have a known-good starting point for all future setups, I don't have to worry about "flyer" frets when the temperature/humidity changes, and a subsequent run on the PLEK (compared to the original, if kept on file in the PLEK's computer) can tell you if and how the neck is moving over time.
 

dspelman

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Wow. Really? It's a Gibson so regardless of the £4000+ price tag, you gotta except the flaws because it's a Gibson... I can't get my head round that. That much money and you're okay with the flaws? For that much money, it needs to be absolutely perfect. That is pretty much a top of the line Gibson. If you're coming to expect flaws when dropping that much cash on your favourite brand of guitar, I think you need to find a different favourite.

Think of it as a kit. They're cranking out maybe 650-800 guitars per day, but it may be as much as a year between production of your guitar in the humidity of the river bottom in TN and the time it gets home with you. During that time it's been subjected to drying air conditioning, perhaps time on the wall at a GC, etc. Gibson recommends a medium-high action for best tone. Turns out that also helps cover flaws in fretwork. But that also means that the nut is likely cut too high if you're going for low action. So by the time you get your guitar, it likely needs some work.

If you like medium-high action, you probably just love your Gibson. If you like low, slinky action, you're going to want to toss it on a PLEK and maybe glue down those frets. A single fret popping up just a bit can ruin your whole day <G>.

Pay the money, get it right, and you'll love your new favorite guitar all over again.
 

dspelman

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I'm not so sure that the OP really meant "exactly" what he said. My sentiments about that are: even with modern manufacturing process consistencies, there is always some level of variation from instrument to instrument. That's a big part of the reason why there are adjustment points - bridge, saddles, truss rod, pups, etc.

Sure, every now & then some real defect/flaw slips by the QC team at the factory. This happens in every industry. Arguably, it should never left the factory this way. But, it did.

One of the things I've always loved about a new Carvin is that it arrives at your doorstep with great fretwork capable of extremely low action (if you told them that's how you like it), and it's usually still in tune. One of the advantages of a semi-custom is that it's done to your spec, including where action is concerned, and it also comes direct from the factory to your door without a stop to play Eruption half a million times (and be downtuned to Drop Bb several times along the way).

Gibson simply isn't in that position. So it builds something with a middling action spec, crosses its fingers and hopes for the best.
 

Custom53

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Here's the thing I just bought a new 1959 first and the action is pretty good but some of the frets seem like they could use some work. There is some fretting out on the B and E strings around the 12th and 13th frets when I bend. The retailer where I bought the guitar has a plek machine on site. I don't expect the guitar to play absolutely perfectly because this is a Gibson after all but I do think that it could be improved. I also could have let them do a proper set up but I was so stoked to take it home that I didn't give them much time to adjust. I also probably did not put the guitar through its paces before purchasing since it was the only washed cherry gloss version available in the area time.

I know for sure that they do great work there. My question is whether the fretting out is par for the course for this type of guitar given that Gibson doesn't do a proper plek at the factory and probably spends very little time on set up at the factory. Also on this type of guitar shouldn't I really be able to do some pretty huge bends around the 13th fret without worrying about fretting out. Isn't that something that guitar of this caliber should be able to do after a proper setup?

I guess my real question is whether this particular guitar 59 Les Paul needs as a general matter a really good professional set up or do I have an issue with this guitar?

I am debating the same thing for my R9.. My Axcess and R9 were "supposedly" Plekked at the Factory, but you would never know it.. But, I took my Standard to a guy close to me and had it plekked.. A world of difference.. You have to remember, it isn't just the machine, it is also the Operator.. My guy is great.. I have no idea about the people at Gibson.. And he doesn't do a "generic" plek, he plek's it to what and how you play.. To your personal preference.. If you are within a few hours of him, it is well worth the trip..

http://www.webercustomguitars.com/

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