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What the Plek!?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by witward, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. witward


    Feb 7, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    I'm kinda of confused about pleking. I've googled it, searched the forums, but still couldn't find anything that would answer my question.
    I just ordered a new Lakland 55-01 that has been pleked. Ive read alot about it and it really does sound great but one thing concerns me. I like really low action so my confusion is, if i get this pleked bass and decide the action isn't low enough for my liking and i go and adjust it, will this completely screw up the setup of my new pleked bass or am i completely misunderstanding what pleking does?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    It will be set to factory action specs. Plek is a highly accurate fret level and polish at factory relief so I think you'll only have problems if you try to flatten the relief. Just setting string height at the saddles should get you dead low. You're pretty much guaranteed there will be no high frets to cause buzz. That's what I perceive ymmv
  3. witward


    Feb 7, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    Awesome! Thanks for the quick reply. I was hoping thats all it was but i just wanted to make sure before i started lowering the action.
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    There's no reason you should have any plek-related problems if you change the relief in the neck. The plek process levels all the frets when the neck is dead straight. You then adjust the relief to shut your own playing style.
  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    All I'm saying is that you eventually have not enough relief just as you would with a bass fretted by a master luthier. Granted you can go pretty flat with either. It is not true that plek Is always dead flat neck. It will be optimized to factory setup specs. If you order you can specify relief and action how you like it. If its stock, that's what you get. It may not be optimized to you. At least that's how PLEK themselves describe it. Ymmv.
  6. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    My Sandberg is plek and I don't think you want the bass action to be lower than mine haha
  7. witward


    Feb 7, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    Got my lakland today and boy was my concerns a non issue! I could not hope or dream for better action. This thing plays like butter. Very impressed with the plek! Incredibly satisfied with my purchase. Now just a couple months of saving for my mk5's i want to install ;)
  8. dStar


    Mar 1, 2012
    I had my Jazz Pleked. Well worth the money.
  9. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Yes. It's not quite true that Plek operates on a "flat" neck. Strictly speaking it operates on a neck with no tension on it. It may or may not be precisely flat. The way it works is that when the neck is under tension the machine measures the neck and then the tension of the strings is released and it's measured again. Anyway, the computer then calculates how the neck has changed from one to the other. It's important because the neck is cut with no tension and played with string tension so it has to know how it changes from one to the other.

    But there is operator intervention here too. The measurements can tell if the truss rod needs adjusting and the operator has control over the final profile and actually can adjust it for lower or higher action. But you found out as I did, that there is enough adjustment in the neck from "standard" Pleking that no matter what you want finally, the neck will pull right into it with a setup. Asking for a particular profile is really just icing on the cake and unnecessary in my opinion.

    A plek job really makes an instrument play like a dream, although I"ve had the local luthier do a manual fret leveling etc. on another of my basses and it came back every bit as good. So it's not like a Pleking is magic or something. It's just cheaper and faster for a manufacturer to buy the machine than hire a bunch of luthiers.
  10. Sharknose79

    Sharknose79 UNPAID greenboy/fEARful endorser

    Sep 15, 2011
    South Cackalacky
    I have nothing to disclose at this time.
    I just had both my Euro Spector and Rickenbacker PLEKed by Phil Jacoby @ Philtone Guitar Co. in Baltimore, over the past 2 weeks.

    The Spector was playing well before, it only got better. So much so, that I decided to bring Phil my Ric.

    Phil ran a scan on it & said I had high fret between 1-4 and higher up, from like 15-20. The machine took care of everything. This fret job has turned this Ric into something VERY special. Very low, clean action....

    The PLEK machine is nothing special, in and of itself.
    What it is, is another tool for someone who really understands what they are doing.
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Plek or no Plek, a skilled tech can identify high frets, low frets, etc. and deal with them. They can do it on a neck that is not under string tension, under simulated tension, or even with the strings on and up to pitch.

    I know the story behind Lakland's choice to Plek instruments. Pleking is done on necks that are not under string tension. Lakland decided to invest in a Pleking machine to allow them to do fret levelling more efficiently - i.e. they can produce more necks in a day with the machine than without at a good point of economy. It also gives them a perceived edge from a marketing standpoint. The result is that everybody wins.

    But the job Lakland does is not a custom job. Their Pleking is not customised to a particular relief setting. It's only done to create really level frets in the first place on a neck that has been machined flat. You can get custom Plek jobs elsewhere to do all kinds of things such as fall-off on the upper frets, etc. but that's not what Lakland is doing. What they are doing is to ensure a consistent high level of playability on all of their instruments as they leave the factory. They used to do this manually - now they do it with a machine.
  12. dStar


    Mar 1, 2012
    Phil did my Jazz, I highly recommend both Phil and Plek. Had a great time talking to Phil, cool dude ;)
  13. Envincibal

    Envincibal Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Philly, PA
    I sent my Pedulla Thunderbolt to Phil right before the holidays and can't wait to get it back! I've heard lots of good things about Phil's work.
  14. dStar


    Mar 1, 2012
    His dog is pretty cool too :)
  15. Mr.Bassie720

    Mr.Bassie720 Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    Washington DC,Silver Spring,MD
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    100% in agreement with you brother. The Plek is a tool. The human behind it can get the best out of it. You happen to have one of the absolute best working on your basses. Phil Jacoby really knows how to get the best out of that machine. In my opinion he is one of the most talented techs on the east coast. He always takes it to the next level of excellence. Philtone Guitars Baltimore, MD. He's relatively close to me, but I would drive for hours if neccesary. He's that good! Plus he really has a tremendous working knowledge of Spectors, Ricks, Fenders... You get the idea. He will also tell you if a full Plek is neccesary or not, and you're right, Layla is full of love.
  16. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Same here.
  17. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Mike Lull did one of my Wals, and it's the best playing action of the bunch.
    Someday I'd like to get more of my basses done.
  18. I've heard about this too,,,,, do you just send the neck if its a bolt on and how much does it cost,, I'm nervousd about sending me whole bass to get worked on.. if they do need my whole bass do any of you know if anyone in the New England area Pleks bass necks?