In an effort to provide the best service possible, we’ve invested in the best tooling, the latest technology and we’ve taken the time to master the most cutting-edge techniques. This constant search for a better way has led us to the Plek.
Last Updated: 2/23/2021
What is a Plek, you ask? A Plek is a computer-controlled fret leveling tool, which in the hands of an experienced tech, can provide an unparalleled fret job. It levels frets with an accuracy of .001″, assists in the process of making nuts, and offers extremely advanced setup functions.
Check out this video from our friends at Plek about how it works.
The greatness of a guitar is directly tied to the quality of its fretwork. If the frets aren’t level within a tolerance of about .0005″, notes can buzz and fret out, no matter how many adjustments are made on the instrument.
Every guitar, no matter how expensive, no matter how prestigious the brand, is susceptible to uneven frets.
Not only are frets rarely perfect from the factory, but they also wear down over time simply by playing the instrument.
If you have ever been unsatisfied with your instrument, and haven’t been able to adjust it to your liking, chances are you could benefit from having your guitar Plek’d and carefully set-up for your playing style.
Over the past 10 years, working with our custom neck jig, we’ve gained a thorough understanding of how the guitar neck works and SF Guitarworks has established a reputation for providing impeccable fretwork. This experience has uniquely prepared us for the advanced capability of the Plek. The knowledge we’ve gained, by hand and eye, about guitar necks under string tension, while meeting the exacting standards of high caliber players, allows us to utilize the Plek to it’s fullest potential.
The Plek has, in essence, become our best second pair of eyes, allowing us to hone in on the most minute details. Make no mistake: the Plek is a tool. To fully realize the guitar’s capabilities, it requires a skilled operator who truly understands how a neck works.
We fully stand behind our previous work on the neck jig. In fact, we’ve checked our fretwork on the Plek and it’s stellar. So why did we switch to the Plek? The Plek allows us to work to an even greater degree of accuracy, expand our fretwork capabilities and complete fret jobs in a more efficient manner, so you get your guitar back faster and better than ever. We can simply and accurately customize your fretwork in ways that would be difficult to achieve, and impossible to measure, with traditional hand tools.
Another advantage of the Plek is that the frets are scanned and leveled with the proper amount of neck relief already present. This eliminates any unpredictability sometimes found when introducing relief into a flat neck. We could talk theory endlessly, but the practical application is pretty straightforward.
Here’s how it works:
We start by discussing your playing style and specific needs so that we can custom tailor the playability of your instrument. We then prep your instrument by measuring its action, gluing its frets if necessary, and stringing it with your chosen strings. After placing it in the Plek, the Plek scans the neck, registering over 6,000 measurement points for each guitar, and creates a high-resolution graph of what the fingerboard and frets look like under actual playing conditions.
Using the information contained in the graph, our knowledge of your playing style, and our understanding of fretwork we then set the parameters to be used by the Plek when leveling the frets. Based on playing style, fret height, radius, and other factors, we can create a straight radius for a traditional feel, or a compound radius to facilitate easier chording and bending. Combined with a proper setup, your Plek’d guitar will play easier and sound better than ever before.
Check out the shop tour we did for the Plek 2021 Winter NAMM livestream here (starting at 30:19):