Neck reset Question

midnightright

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Thanks guys!
I thought he’d just shaved the precious one down - I certainly didn’t get charged for a new saddle. . ? But in any case, this is all good to know! Thanks! And yes, as a comparison, albeit a poor one (hardly, “apples to apples”) — my late 60’s to early 70’s Yamaha FG 180 (red label), doesn’t have anywhere near as noticeable a difference when tuning down to D. : )
 

Br1ck

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At some point, as you acquire more and older guitars, and depending on your handiness, you might want to invest in some tools and be able to do your own setups. This includes the ability to level frets. Nut files, machinist's straightedge, fret crowning files, calipers, sanding beam, etc., will set you back several hundred bucks, but if you have eight or ten fretted instruments, can be well worth it.

My mandolin that I built two years ago developed a common hump at the body joint that was ruining tone and action. A fret level and crown brought it back. A pro couldn't have done it any better. Saved $150 on one instrument alone. I've become a believer you should always get a fret level when you do a setup. It is the difference between OK and great action. It's the difference with new instruments too. A $500 guitar can be made to play as good as anything. A $4000 guitar gets a couple hours worth of extra care.

I've leveled and crowned half a dozen instruments now, and refretted two. That's eight fret levels, so the tools pay for themselves. Start with a cheap instrument first. I bought an old Stella archtop just to hack away on.
 

wileypickett

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Something else to possibly consider in lieu of fret-leveling (if there's someone near you with one) is having your fretboard Plek'ed!

Anyone had this done? I'd never heard of this before but there's a luthier near me with a Plek machine, and a friend had his Lowden guitar done. Having played the finished instrument I can affirm the post-Plek playability is outstanding.

This is on en electric, but works on any guitar.

 

F312

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I recently bought a new Martin 00-17S that comes pleked, and can tell you, it is the best action I have ever played. I looked into locations that had a plek machine and the closes is 250 miles from me, that was a couple of years ago, I'll have to search again to see if there is one closer..

Ralph
 

midnightright

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Thanks! Appreciate the tips & insights. . . I don't know if they'd still be able to do a level & crown or not, as they seem pretty low to me now. I have had one other guitar that was played quite a bit before I'd gotten it. It was, according to the tech of the Guitar Center I'd bought it from, in definite need of some fret work due to the wear on the frets in the first position. So, when I got it, there were massive grooves in the high strings region of those frets. And the most serious divots, or finger print impressions into the fretboard that I had ever encountered. Both were hard to play for entirely different reasons. I'd say that that one would be unplayable for me now. I never got anything done on it before selling, but did play it virtually every single day for the next 4-5 years I'd owned it for a good 2-3 hours per day. Arguably the best sounding guitar I've ever owned (A DV-6). When consulting a couple of professional luthiers from out of town, I think I'd recalled them telling me one advantage to having a full fret replacement was that they could then replane the fretboard at the same time. Wasnt' even sure what that meant then! ;)

Another thing I wasnt' sure of, is whether or not it is recommended that if you do hypothetically need to get both done (the reset and refret), is it best to do so at the same time (money aside). In other words, how much easier are you making it for the one whose working on it; their life easier, that is (aside from money)?
 

Br1ck

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Many manufacturers use pleck machines now. You can justify the $200,000 + cost of one with volume.. Any GOOD luthier can match a pleck job. Pleck machines certainly work, but a lot of the hype is to justify the price they have to charge to pay for the machine. It is human nature to think it's a better job when you just paid $250 for it. I've had the same awesome feeling after a fret level and crown from local techs.

I have also seen first hand the action of quite a few pro player's guitars. Tuck Andress' being probably the highest action I've ever seen. Pleck jobs are wasted on these guys.
 

wileypickett

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I'm not advocating that people run out get their guitars Plek'ed. I'm just just letting folks here know that this new technology exists, at least if someone near you has the machine.

Of course capable luthiers can do great fret level and crowning -- I've been getting them done for 40+ years -- but many capable luthiers are adding the Plek machine to their shops because, as they are the first to admit, they cannot do as precise a job by hand as the Plek machine can do.

The advantages of the Plek are that they don't remove metal from frets that don't need to have metal removed, and that they measure where adjustments need to be made with the strings on the guitar and the neck under tension.

Even if your luthier does your fret levelling with the neck tensioner jig, they are still leveling frets, or parts of frets, that don't need leveling.

The guy who did the Lowden (he charges $150.00) is one of the most experienced luthiers in New England. Not only does the Plek do a better job than he can do, even with 30+ years experience, but it actually does the work, allowing him to focus his attention on other jobs.

I'm not sure what a fret level and crown runs on average these days -- costs vary -- but by-hand and by-Plek costs are not wildly disparate.

Just an option -- that's all. FYI.
 
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