PRECISION SETUP AND FRET DRESSING SERVICE
Most fret buzz, choked notes, or other payability issues can be addressed by adjusting the truss rod or tweaking the height of the nut and saddle. When such “basic setup” adjustments don’t solve the problem, you’re probably dealing with a discrepancy in the height of the individual frets. Traditionally, frets have been leveled (or “dressed”) by a human using sandpaper. This works well, save for the fact that the neck and fingerboard are GREATLY affected by string tension. Frets can’t be dressed while there are strings on the instrument, so after the work is done and the instrument is strung-up and back to full tension, certain areas of the new fretwork can change drastically. Enter Plek.
Plek is a German engineered CNC machine technology developed specifically for precision guitar setups. Our techs control automated scanning, measuring, and fret cutting functions- to a MICROSCOPIC degree unachievable by even the most experienced human eye.
Plek scans the instrument and generates graphs detailing it’s current setup specs to 1/1000th of a millimeter! We analyze these graphs, and together with Plek software, design a virtual fret dress specifically for your instrument/tuning/string gauge/playing style. Here’s the best part: Before leveling any frets, the Plek RE-SCANS the instrument WITHOUT strings, mathematically compensating for the changes in fret height without string tension. What has traditionally been an approximation for a human technician is performed by the machine with microscopic accuracy.
We made this video to give a quick overview of a Plek Setup+Fret Dress at Guitar Guys. Whether you need to solve a buzz problem or just want to achieve the best possible playability and string action, there’s simply not a more accurate and precise way to make your instrument perform at it’s best.
Plek machines are used in factories by such renowned builders as Martin, Gibson, Santa Cruz, and more. There are less than 30 available for personal service in the US, and only 1 in Ohio!
What instruments can be Plek'd?
Electric and acoustic guitars + basses. (12 string guitars and 5/6 string basses too!)
If you have questions about a unique format or folk instrument, give us a shout!
Does it really make that much of a difference?
That depends on how the instrument is playing to begin with. If you’ve got a high-end instrument or perhaps even one Plek’d from the factory, then the differences may be subtle.
However, if you have an intermediate instrument or one with a lot of fret wear, the difference can be astonishing. In virtually every case, those instruments play better after a Plek fret dress than they did even brand new from the factory.
Almost all of our customers that had an instrument Plek’d then brought us several others. Be warned.
Some of the best before/after results we’ve heard from customers are on guitars imported from China, Mexico, etc. This can be true for certain high-end instruments as well of course- if they weren’t Plek’d at the factory, the Plek can improve their playability.
What else is included?
Along with the process outlined here, every Plek Setup + Fret Dress from Guitar Guys also includes all of the elements of our standard setups:
- Polish frets
- Oil fingerboard
- Inspect/adjust truss rod
- Inspect/adjust radius
- Inspect/adjust action at nut+saddle
- Set intonation
How much does it cost?
It costs the same or a littttttle more than what you would pay for a traditional basic setup + fret dressing, on average.
What's the turn time on a Plek fret dress?
We can *usually* have the instrument completed within 7 business days. Our shop turn times vary greatly throughout the year, so please contact us for current status if you have special needs in this regard. (Shipping time not included)
I live far away. Can you do this while I wait?
We greatly appreciate those that travel a distance to Guitar Guys, but unfortunately, our current staffing and day-to-day workload don’t allow for us to do same-day turnarounds to a standard that is consistent and fair to our entire customer base.
Alternatively, we service many items that are shipped to us. Please contact us to discuss that process!
Can I ship my guitar to you for Plek service?
ABSOLUTELY! This happens a lot. The same employees that handle daily orders in our shipping department will expertly pack your instrument for return shipping. They’re very good at it. The cost is $40 per instrument. (This includes $1000 insurance. Additional insurance can be purchased if you like.)
But my guitar was already Plek'd at the factory!?!?
While you’ve already felt some of the benefits of this technology, the factory didn’t know your personal preferences for string gauge, string action, or playing style. We’ve done many Plek fret dressing services for owners of factory Plek’d instruments to tweak them for those personal preferences.
This sounds cool, but I think my guitar needs a refret....?
While we can’t say anything definitive until we are analyzing your instrument in person- the Plek technology is so precise and capable of removing the bare minimum of material, we can salvage something like 80% of fret jobs that would traditionally be ready for a refret. It’s worth a scan, anyway!
I just had my guitar refretted professionally elsewhere, but it's still buzzing.... what gives?
Unfortunately, we get this question pretty often. It usually comes back to inconsistencies in the neck and fretboard geometry between when the new frets were leveled (without string tension) and when you’re playing the guitar (with string tension). A Plek fret dress can correct a lot of these issues, but in rare cases, enough material was removed in the failed fret leveling that we have to redo the fresh refret. 🙁