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I've been PLEKed!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by JPJ, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    A couple of weeks ago, I decided to send my #1 (Alder body, Brazilian RW Lull in CAR w/matching headstock) and my #2 (Nordstrand Nordy jazz ser.#1, alder body, Brazilian rosewood w/blocks and binding, CAR w/matching headstock) to my buddy Mike Lull in the Seattle area. While I've received a few basses from him that had received the fret dressing treatment from his new PLEK maching, I had not had the ability to try a "before and after" scenario with a bass that I was familiar with. If you're not familiar with the PLEK process and the benefits of the technology, there are a number of good resources on the web to check out.

    I just received my two prized babies back yesterday, and in a nutshell, I was absolutely blown away by the results. Keep in mind...Mike Lull and Carey Nordstrand are known and revered by bassists the world over for their expert set-up, but even these two pros are no match for the microscopic precision of the PLEK!

    I could immediately tell the difference just by looking at the frets. The crowns and polishing job were absolutely perfect and absolutely flawless. However, I was absolutely amazed at the fact that the PLEK treatment yielded two basses that had noticeably better playability than before they left...and my Lull was set up perfectly to begin with (more on the Nordy later).

    The combination of having the frets touched up while the bass was strung to pitch resulted in two instruments with low action and absolutely NO string buzz. I don't like my action as low as most of my customers (I like to dig in quite a bit), but I absolutely hate string buzz. Neither bass has even the hint of string buzz, and the action was absolutely perfect. The added bonus of having my Lull put through the treatment was that Mike was able to save my settings on a file created by teh PLEK, which could then be matched exactly to the Nordy. In fact, this set of "master set-up specs" can be applied to any of my basses, which make set-up and consistency from bass to bass a snap.

    If any of my fellow TBers have been interested in the PLEK maching and/or have been thinking about having the process done, I am pleased to give the process and the results my recommendation. I was absolutely blown away by the improvements to both of my basses (which were in pretty good shape to begin with), and already enjoy playing them more than I ever did prior to the PLEK process. :bassist:
  2. sounds great but it's so darn expensive!! :bawl:
  3. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    I'm glad to hear your favorable review. I've talked to a few shop owners who were considering the investment, and I'll be sure to point them in the direction of this thread. The PLEK concept has been really intriguing to me. I'm pretty happy with the set-up on all of my basses, but they're all a bit different. I'd be interested in seeing the results of them all being set to identical specs.
  4. Spencer!


    Jun 25, 2006
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    I've been dying to try the PLEK ever since I saw it in Mike's shop. It's expensive, but all the new basses he makes come PLEK'd from him.
  5. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    How much is it? I'm guessing something like $350 -$500 from Lull?

    I know there are shops out there doing Plek leveling and setup for $150, and refrets for $300 +/-

    I think it's an amazing concept and well worth it. I will surely Plek my basses when the times comes.

    I wonder how many mass producers are using Plek... The fret work in my MTD Z5, for example, is as perfect as it can be. Something tells me a machine did it. . .

    Plek definitely takes the guesswork out of fret jobs, but it's the beginning of the loss of a masterful human craft. . . it's another step toward the domination of machines, and ultimately, the demise of the human race. . .:p
  6. LutherHeggs00


    Apr 11, 2006

  7. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    One of my guitarists has a Sur guitar and said they come Plek'd from the factory. I would love to try it.
  8. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I was so happy with the results, I think I'm going to send a couple of other basses to Mike for the PLEK treatment that don't see quite as much playing time. I retired my old '62 Reissue (first bass I ever bought) due to poor set-up, action, fretwork, poorly cut nut, etc. (at least compared to the other two basses I mentioned above). I've always loved the shape of the neck and the tone of this instrument, so maybe it just needs "the treatment" to get things back in order. :smug: I'll let you know how those projects go once they're done. ;)
  9. jimc


    Sep 17, 2002
    New Carsmell, CA
    I have a new P5 coming from Mike hopefully next week or maybe the week after. I sent him a pack of T.I. Flats as this is what this bass will wear.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing how this bass will play after it's plek'd wearing the T.I.s.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I can't wait to play my SX P copy after it gets Plek'ed.


    I like the idea of it, but I don't know...I'd have to be super-critical of a bass' action to get any benefit from it, and I'm just not.
  11. I hear ya...

    There are benefits to the PLEK thing, though

    the main one is repeatability...great for the travelling pro who goes through a lot of gear .
    another advantage is that "trouble spots" often missed by all but the very good luthiers can be tackled consistantly by the PLEK.

    for the average player, like myself...I have my own specs that I setup to ;)
  12. dannster


    Aug 20, 2000
    I paid 250 to have mine done and I will eventually get all mine plek'd by Mike. It is astonishing how big a difference it makes. You may say to yourself its spendy beforehand. But after, you say, "my god why didn't I do this sooner?". Worth EVERY penny!
  13. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    This is all good feedback to hear. Mike has my Wal to do fret work, and I'm hoping it's as wonderful as everything I'm hearing about it. :cool:
    I think after that I'd sure like to send my vintage Jazz in to be worked over too, it really needs and deserves it.
  14. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    That's pretty much where I'm coming from. I'm not a big "bandwagon jumper" when it comes to stuff like this, but I will be having conversations with all of my builders about the benefits of investing in a PLEK machine.
  15. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I've been wondering about this for quite some time...thanks for the review. Anyone know if there's a Plek machine on the east coast?
  16. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
  17. I agree. I do like the idea, but the only time I've ever had a problem with the frets on an instrument is when I found a high fret causing buzz on my old Univox. Had it leveled for $40. I've never noticed any problem with frets on any of the other inexpensive basses I own.

    I would have to be assured of a great deal of benefit to spend even $100 on such a procedure....and since "it ain't broke" to me, I am not inclined to try and fix it.
  18. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (as of 10/14/09)
    Peekamoose Guitars in New Youk City. I have had three of my basses plekked there. They charge $180 or $190. And, yes, as the OP said, you simply cannot believe the difference!
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    There's one local here in Baltimore. I know Kevin took a problematic bass there to get it checked out. He was very impressed with the process. Turns out the neck was fine and required nothing.
  20. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm having a new bass made by Brian Ristola and we've both been curious about this process....I have a feeling my next bass will be sent down to them to check out the plek system.

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