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What % of the value of your bass would you spend on repair/setup? AKA Plek?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nonohmic, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    I have a vintage white Squier Matt Freeman Sig that will be with me forever. Without getting into the whole Squier Fender thing, this bass fits me like a glove and I love it. EMG Geezers in there and Chromes and it thumps.

    And the neck feels amazing.

    But! I can't quite get the setup exactly how I like it. I've taken it to 2 techs in town, including one highly recommended by some local jazz guys. And both times they have tweaked a little bit, then said it looks good.

    But for mine the action is still too high above the 12th. And if i lower, obvs I get buzzing at the open strings, and a little bit on the first fret.

    Am I crazy to want to try a $200 plek on a $400 instrument? 50 % of the value..more with shipping! Is is even worth it considering the neck has no graphite support and is located in NM with wild temp swings?

    Thoughts are welcome!
  2. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Would a plek fix the problem?
    I'd try a Babicz bridge, first, maybe a new nut.
    Did either tech have any suggestions?
  3. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    If it gets you where you want to be, then it is worth it. Is this goal achievable? This is the real question.
  4. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    Aqualung60, SirMjac28, shodan and 3 others like this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    "Value" to me is not in the price I paid or what the market will support.

    If a bass is my "forever" bass it is valuable to me. If it needed anything done to it I wouldn't hesitate to have it done.

    Heck, you already have a hunnerd in the pickup. Let it eat.
  6. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson! Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    If the techs who set it up simply set it up how they see fit, that could be a problem. If it's not what you're looking for, I would imagine that you could tell them the issue, and see if they can remedy it. I may be wrong, but it sounds like you settled for what THEY thought was a good setup, rather than discussing it further. Unless a bass is really out of whack, you should have no problem getting what you want. I own 2 Squiers myself, and have them playing like butter. Plek may get the bass even more dialed-in, but I would be very surprised if you can't get it where you want it without it.
  7. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    No they didn't which I thought was surprising, they just tweaked and called it good. But it wasn't too far off what I'd managed.Hadn't considered a new bridge, that's not a bad idea as I could sell off again if it didnt work. Thanks,

    And yeah maybe this is what I need to do; go in with a specific problem that needs addressing.
  8. nonohmic

    nonohmic Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
  9. I don't think of percentages when repairing a bass; if you really like it, and know you're going to keep it, spend whatever it costs to get it set up the way you like it.

    I also never think of anything I own as an investment, except a house.

    Whatever you buy, buy it because you want or need it, and if you ever do have to sell it, you'll get what it's worth, although this may not be the price you're looking for.

    I recently spent $165 to get my Jack Casady bass repaired and set up, and $125 to get my Ibanez BTB set up.

    WHAT A DIFFERENCE! For a total of $290, I now have two new basses, so to speak.

    I have a custom Jazz, (photo below) which has a 1.5" jazz neck on it. I would much prefer a wider, 1.62 Precision width neck on it, but after buying the neck, having the tuners swapped and installed and set up, it will probably be about $500.

    Is the bass worth it? Absolutely!

    Am I going to keep it? Definitely!

    I just have to decide how much the thinner neck bothers me.

    Good luck.

    Mike ;)

    Attached Files:

    hs123, Miker27607, Joe Ty and 2 others like this.
  10. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    I’d say start looking for a new bass. The belief that this is “the one” is contradicted by the fact that it is impossible to setup correctly.
  11. WindyCityHawk

    WindyCityHawk Banned

    Jun 17, 2017
    back4more, shodan and andruca like this.
  12. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Quite a beautiful instrument!
    Gaolee likes this.
  13. Just for comparison, how much lower (action) can you get with a PLEK job vs. a good crown and level? I had my 5'er hand-leveled for $45 and the action is now in the stupid-low territory....
  14. For me the % idea makes little sense... unless you're talking of modifications on instruments you plan to sell.

    When I have an instrument that I really like (feel/playability mostly), if there's something that I think will make it nicer to me, then the cost is irrelevant... or rather, the proportion instrument cost vs mod cost is irrelevant (some mods are just too expensive and that's that ;))
    A £75 used Squier turned out to have the most beautiful neck and felt amazing... I ended up spending something like £120 in a new set of pickups and about as much in a used J-Retro preamp. I've owned a variety of other Jazz basses costing a lot more than that 'lowly' Squier, but they all got sold while the Squier stayed.

    The way I see it is not the %, but the total cost: if I'm happy with the total cost for a given instrument including additional costs... then it's good. If I think it's too much, then it's a matter of leaving it as it is, or finding another instrument that meets my requirements better.

    As a fellow Matt Freeman Squier owner... go for it! They are great basses and deserve the best setup you can get. Not sure if Plek is the solution 'though. I mean, it should work... but a good tech should be able to get a good setup too. In my experience when I was learning these things, many techs never bothered with fret levelling or cutting nuts or adjusting the neck angle, and merely adjusted the truss rod a bit and the saddles... that can only get you so far. Not saying this is the case, but maybe you haven't found a good tech yet. If that's an issue, then PLek could be the simplest way to get things done. Every plek'd neck I've tried has been pretty sweet but not all had the action I wanted... so make sure you can talk to the techs and if possible show them exactly what feel you like, if you have another example to show them.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  15. But that's the thing: it's very unlikely that it can't be setup the way the OP wants to... it's just that those 'techs' did not.
    Brad Johnson, Oddly and NicJimBass like this.
  16. exactly.

    The problem is making sure you are dealing with someone who really knows what they're doing. It seems like almost anybody with a screw driver in a guitar shop calls themselves a 'guitar tech', when they're anything but. So if you can't find a good 'human', maybe the machine is a safest bet, unfortunately... But I'd rather seek a good human, locally, someone you can develop a rapport with. A well setup instrument is a thing of beauty.
    SirMjac28, bdplaid, JRA and 1 other person like this.
  17. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Given the problem statement of action too high above the 12th fret and the proposed resolution of Plek (which might be a nice to have after solving the real problems first), my belief is we are dealing with a neck not built to fine tolerances and with great stability. Given the climate challenge as well, I would not throw good money after bad. This will be a thumb wrestling exercise into the foreseeable future.
    mdogs and Whippet like this.
  18. Whippet


    Aug 30, 2014
    I plek all my instruments. the cheapest was the Bacchus @275 bucks. Frets didn't need to be shaved off so the fee was a mere 40 bucks including setup.

    To me it's not about the price of the bass. It's about the playability. That said, plek isn't going to make an unplayable bass into a super funk machine.

    It can fix quite a lot of things but bad to the bone isn't on the list. If you want the 12th fret string height at less than 2.0mm, then it's time to plek your cheap instrument. You can ask someone to shave off the frets but obviously I have no idea how much that is going to cost you.

    Anyway it's your call. I plan on getting a 150 dollar bass pleked in the future when my 2 year old son picks up the bass.
    bdplaid likes this.
  19. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Is the neck twisted/warped? I've read great things about these people in TX. All kinds of jobs on necks, even de-warping if needed. Probably cheaper than Plek...

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  20. staurosjohn

    staurosjohn Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Nottingham, MD
    The middle bass is a Squier Mike Dirnt body (I repaired & refinished- added MD Roadworn neck, Hipshot tuners, upgraded pickups, etc). Really plays nice but decided to have it Plek’d (and a coupla frets re-set)... was about 40% of my cost... although it may be closer to 40-50% of what I could actually sell it for. All the work I put into it makes me figure I’ll probably keep it anyway- so its worth it.

    Phil Jacoby does my ‘specialty’ work: Philtone Guitar Company - Guitar Repair and Lutherie in Baltimore, Maryland

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
    nonohmic likes this.

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