The Plek Treatment
The Plek machine & process are the result of decades of research and innovation in stringed instrument repair and fabrication. Plek, a state of the art CNC machine, was designed to scan and diagnose issues and perform work on the frets and fretboard to the accuracy of two ten-thousandths of an inch. This highly detailed scan allows the luthier/operator to design a process that is tailored to the player's needs. Once a process is written, the Plek then performs the process that includes fret dressing, nut cutting and shaping, fretboard planing, cutting fret slots, routing nut pockets, inlays and more.
This level of accuracy not only improves playability and feel but it also improves intonation and clarity. Our job as the luthier/operator is to understand the needs of the player and translate that into the process. This process eliminates buzzing, fretting out on bends and generally removes the usual limitations that we've all grown used to, sadly. It also allows us to get all of your instruments playing similarly and consistently from one to another.
The Plek Machine
Created in the 1980’s, by German guitar tech Gerd Anke and toolmaker Michael Dubach, PLEK is the pinnacle of guitar set up, a platform for super accurate set up and fret dressing. Relying on pioneering German engineering thinking and the latest CNC technology, the PLEK takes lutherie to a whole new level.
Equipped in the greatest guitar manufacturers and shops including Taylor, Glaser Instruments, Gibson and Thompson, PLEK scans and dresses a guitar under actual playing conditions, strung and tuned to pitch. This is a major breakthrough since the PLEK identifies precisely what needs to be done for perfect fretwork, executes this rapidly, and delivers perfect results on the instrument when restrung.
How does it work?
After an initial assessment by a skilled luthier, your guitar is loaded in the PLEK machine. PLEK will then scan the fingerboard and frets, evaluating string heights, positions and consistencies across the entire neck. During this diagnostic period, PLEK provided a series of detailed graphs and plans to communicate the results and areas for improvement and refinement.
Then the real magic of the PLEK experience occurs, the “Virtual Fret Dress”. This software tool makes it possible to set the amount of fret height to be cut as well as adjusting the radius (making it possible to obtain a compound radius within the frets) as well as the amount of “fall-off” on the upper frets.
Initially, this all happens virtually, meaning that the VFD merely simulates the result of cutting without actually processing the frets.
Frets that are too high or too low can be easily recognized and targeted for virtual correction. This means that when the instrument is actually processed, the amount of fret material to be cut is kept to a minimum.
The machine automatically sets about leveling and dressing the frets for optimum performance and playability. The dressed frets are then polished and your guitar restrung, the level of consistency across the neck is incredible and every note and string will ring clear and true.
The PLEK can also custom cut a new nut to provide greater tuning stability and improve the action if required.