PLEKd my 78 P Bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Lokosh, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. Lokosh


    Aug 21, 2014
    Larry at Norman Music in Norman, OK did the work. Plays like a dream. Really low action. Issues: the fret ends weren't dressed. Rough is an understatement. The machine also damaged the fretboard finish at the fifth and seventh frets. I'm debating whether to discuss it with him or not. What's done is done.
  2. tobias3469

    tobias3469 Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    West Los Angeles
    I thought these machines were incredibly accurate with CNC like precision....

    How could it damage the fingerboard? Lets see some photos if possible..
  3. Lokosh


    Aug 21, 2014
    See detail shots for damage.

    Attached Files:

  4. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    "Debating" whether to discuss damage with the responsible party?

    Are you referring to what appear to be notches in the fret ends?
  5. tobias3469

    tobias3469 Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    West Los Angeles
    I think he's talking about what looks like small burnishing marks around the ends of those 2 frets.

    I'd imagine a fair amount heat is generated while the machine levels the frets... It's possible that it discolored the clear coat of the finger board.

    Personally I'd rather have a neck that was set up properly than one that is visually perfect. On the flip side I'd consider a '78 to be vintage and can understand why it might bother you.

    I would politely bring it to the tech's attention and see if there's anything he can do for you.
    ErikavonT likes this.
  6. Lokosh


    Aug 21, 2014
    I'm mulling it over. The lack of fret end dressing isn't cool. The marring of the finish just hits my OCD all wrong.
  7. I would bet that is metal dust from the frets. Have you tried polishing it out?
  8. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science!

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I've "fixed" a handful of plek jobs. The plek is super accurate and does a great job levelling frets when operated correctly. Unfortunately, there is still fret end dressing and final clean-up that really needs to be done by an experienced human. Sometimes, this falls through the cracks (even by some big names!).

    I would bring it back & ask the repairman to finish the job. They will benefit from the feedback & you'll get your bass feeling better.

    As far as the finish damage goes, minor scuffs and scrapes can & do happen. It sucks for both parties, but poly can chip off even when you're super careful. I've had small pieces come off with the protective tape after doing fretwork. Of course, I do my best to cosmetically repair it....
  9. tobias3469

    tobias3469 Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    West Los Angeles
    Another possibility is that the finish was already slightly worn from those areas, and like petrus mentioned above, it could be dust that settled in or it could be polish-residue left over from the machining process.

    My point is that if the wood was already porous in those spots it will be very difficult to remove as it has "soaked in" to the grain.
  10. Lokosh


    Aug 21, 2014
    It looks exactly like the ring wear on the treble side, where the finish is gone and it gets that burnished wood look.
  11. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I spend hours and hours playing my bass so that it will get little worn areas in the finish.
  12. Lokosh


    Aug 21, 2014
    I guess it's like getting a ding in your new car. I'll get over it. And the crap fret end dressing isn't affecting playability, just the principle of the thing after shelling out $$$ for a service and having it done sloppily. I'll take it back and have him finish up. The playability is superb. I'll stop whining now and enjoy those smooth newly PLEKd frets.
  13. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Joe Glaser in Nashville PLEKd two basses for me and they came out absolutely perfect.
    The PLEK machine is just a tool, operator skill still matters a lot.
    eukatheude, diglo, Brianvw and 6 others like this.
  14. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I'm not entirely sold. I had to have my G&L LB-100 leveled today. It had a few high frets and it was PLEK'd initially. It might make mass production quicker as far as fret leveling goes but I'm not 100% convinced that it results in a perfect fret job.
    Chef and hdracer like this.
  15. 70'sRockChild

    70'sRockChild Guest

    May 4, 2014
    San Diego, Ca
    You deserve to whine for the cost of PLEK. Glad you are letting them know or it could happen to the next guy.
  16. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Talk to the guys at Norman music. I'd be surprised if they didn't make it right.

    PLEK is a tool. It is an effective one. It makes the job easier but of course you need to know what you are doing. I know quite a few people who've had their instruments PLEK'd at Norman music. If and when I ever have an instrument that needs fretwork, I'll most likely take it there.
  17. How do you prove it? Do you have photos before hand?
  18. Topspin

    Topspin What's my name again?

    Dec 15, 2010
    I played Tom Sawyer with a pick once. Shame on me.
    Good guys. I'd bet they'll make it up to you.
  19. Bassitudes

    Bassitudes Guest

    Dec 16, 2014
    Toronto, Ontario
    did you get brand new frets installed first? do you know if this process can be done with stainless steel frets?
  20. What is the approximate cost for the procedure, just out of curiosity?
    Bassitudes likes this.