PRS SE 22 Custom won’t intonate after plek

Christian King

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Sending it to PTC may not be the financially sensible option. Just saying.

The shop should sort this.

The shop is 1.5 hours away from my house. That means 3 hours of drive there and back. Considering the horrendous gas prices plus what the shop charges for a refret I think it wouldn’t really be a difference. I emailed the shop owner, though. Let’s see what he says. Another plek setup won’t be an option for me. I don’t want to lose more fret height.
 

Ovibos

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The shop is 1.5 hours away from my house. That means 3 hours of drive there and back. Considering the horrendous gas prices plus what the shop charges for a refret I think it wouldn’t really be a difference. I emailed the shop owner, though. Let’s see what he says. Another plek setup won’t be an option for me. I don’t want to lose more fret height.
I think what we’re saying is that the shop broke it and should warranty their work.

If they screwed up the frets, they should make it right somehow. The absolute bare minimum would be a refund.
 

Christian King

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I think what we’re saying is that the shop broke it and should warranty their work.

If they screwed up the frets, they should make it right somehow. The absolute bare minimum would be a refund.
I’d like a refund. But I doubt he’ll offer me one. I contacted him and he said he’s on vacation until Wednesday. So I guess I’ll wait until tomorrow and see what he says.
 

JohnnyThul

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Hi Christian,

I'd say, if the intonation is off, when you fret the strings, that means the nut slots are not filed correctly (likely, they are not deep enough). As long as you can play the guitar on all frets with no fret buzz, then I do not see how the fret levelling / pleking could be the problem here. Even if the crowns are not 100% perfect, or even flat (think about Gibson's fretless wonder frets) intonation should be good enough.

If you have a straight ruler, you may check that, by takling the strings off, adjust the neck to be as straight as possible, put the ruler on the first frets and see, where the edge of the ruler hits the nut. If the nut slots are above the ruler's deepest point, they are not cut deep enough, resulting in a string bend, which can set off the intonation the way you described it here.

Good luck!

Best regards

Jonas
 

Christian King

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Hi Christian,

I'd say, if the intonation is off, when you fret the strings, that means the nut slots are not filed correctly (likely, they are not deep enough). As long as you can play the guitar on all frets with no fret buzz, then I do not see how the fret levelling / pleking could be the problem here. Even if the crowns are not 100% perfect, or even flat (think about Gibson's fretless wonder frets) intonation should be good enough.

If you have a straight ruler, you may check that, by takling the strings off, adjust the neck to be as straight as possible, put the ruler on the first frets and see, where the edge of the ruler hits the nut. If the nut slots are above the ruler's deepest point, they are not cut deep enough, resulting in a string bend, which can set off the intonation the way you described it here.

Good luck!

Best regards

Jonas
The intonation on the 12th fret shouldn’t be affected by the nut height. It’s usually only the first frets that are out of whack when the nut is too high. That said, the nut string height at the first fret is on the lower side. I’m speculating that it’s the frets because it’s only the fretted notes. But then again why doesn’t the intonation change much when I turn the screws in either direction? Makes no sense. Something isn’t right whether it’s the nut or the frets or maybe even the bridge.
 

Christian King

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San Fernando Valley- Renson Guitars North Hollywood, Eric's Guitar Shop Van Nuys. Both are very good.
Eric did the refret on the PRS. It was returned to me with uneven frets (especially the 8th fret was buzzing when fretted), burn marks on the fret board from Eric’s use of a soldering iron to heat up the nut slots, and the frets were crooked in the nut slots. Look at the pictures I linked. You can see that some of the frets are tilted. In addition when I got the guitar back him or his worker adjusted the floating bridge to be tilted. That is, the bass side was adjusted higher than the treble side. Why that was done, I don’t know. Even I know that a PRS flotating bridge has to be level and all screws have to be at the same height. He could have looked up PRS specs. Moreover, the nut wasn’t replaced to match the new fret height. That would have been too much work for him. Instead he shimmed it and it came off after a couple months of mostly sitting in the gig bag. One day I open it up to play it and discover that the nut is loose. That was the reason why I had the nut replaced by the plek shop.

Eric did two other guitars of mine and they had similar issues. Burn marks, uneven frets, first fret the highest, glue sticking out every slot etc. Just really messy work. And all guitars had finger prints and gunk on them. They didn’t even bother to clean the guitar before it was returned to me.

I was very proud of having found Eric. A guy who can do a refret for half the price of what PTC charges. I was so cocky I even said here on the forum “Why spend so much on a PTC tech when I can get the same quality work for half the price”. But you get what you pay for, I guess. Eric was spread thin at that time. He probably tried making up for lost business during the pandemic. He was rushing every customer. It was like a supermarket and he was the cashier.

Funny thing is, PTC is now telling me that they usually don’t do refrets on SE models because the fretboard sides have to be sprayed. Eric didn’t say anything about that. My 7 string has a maple fretboard. I bought it used and tried to polish the frets with steel wool. I didn’t know that I would mess up the fretboard that way. It was my first maple fretboard. So when I went to Eric I asked him if the fretboard can be worked on. He was adamant on not working on it. Tried to scare me into not having him do it. My guess it’s because it would have been too much work. He was literally rushing every job. Same with my Jackson. The binding was cracked. He scared me into not replacing it with horror stories about thousands of dollars of work. I was too naive to understand what he was saying back then. I’m definitely not going back to him.
 

Christian King

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Eric sounds like he needs to be El Kebong’d.:mad:
I’m convinced that he was rushing every job to make up for lost business. The shop is too well known and established to deliver messy work. Or maybe he had his employe work on my guitars because I’m not a high profile customer. I remember that sweat was running down the employee’s forehead and that wasn’t during summer time. He was working hard. One customer at that time asked “Man you guys have a lot of work don’t you?” and the employee answered “Well if it wasn’t that way I’d be flipping burgers at McDonald’s”. So I’m almost certain they didn’t have time for a quality job.
 

Christian King

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Here’s the response from the shop owner:

I may have messed up the intonation when I did that level adjustment to the bridge. Sorry!

The fret height has only lowered .08mm from the original height. If we didn't get a consistent crown all the way across, I'm guessing it's the areas where the fretboard dips down. We can address that by hand without having to remove any more fret height, or we can go over and take maybe another .02-.03mm off to make it consistent everywhere. This change in height is completely undetectable.

We always spare as much fret height as possible with the Plek. If the frets are very uneven like yours were from the factory, this can happen.

I believe you had said you live far? I'd like to arrange for you to spend maybe an hour down here while I work on your guitar. Could take less time, but just trying to give a realistic estimate. You could go eat while I work or something.

Can we set that up? And what day would you like to do it? We're closed for the holiday this weekend. I'm around here all day Thursday and Friday.

Thanks

I guess I’ll give him a chance to correct it.
 

JohnnyThul

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The intonation on the 12th fret shouldn’t be affected by the nut height. It’s usually only the first frets that are out of whack when the nut is too high. That said, the nut string height at the first fret is on the lower side. I’m speculating that it’s the frets because it’s only the fretted notes. But then again why doesn’t the intonation change much when I turn the screws in either direction? Makes no sense. Something isn’t right whether it’s the nut or the frets or maybe even the bridge.
Hi Christian,

If the frets do not buzz anywhere on the fretboard when fretted, that means in my book, they are level. If they are level, they may be a little flat at the crown. But, I mentioned fretless wonder frets, those are very flat, something, you would instantly notice, and even on these guitars intonation is passable.
If nut slots are not deep enough, at every fretting it bends the string more, than necessary, maning, it detunes it a little. You are right, the effect is less, when you are going up the fretboard but still, the effect is there.
If you say the slots are okay and the frets don't buzz and do not show signs of extremely wide and flat crowns, I don't know what the culprit may be here, sorry!
I just thought, the nut may be the most likeable issue, as I just finished my 9th build of a guitar and had the exact same issue, because I did not cut the nut slots deep enough.

Anyway, good luck!

Best regards

Jonas
 

Christian King

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Hi Christian,

If the frets do not buzz anywhere on the fretboard when fretted, that means in my book, they are level. If they are level, they may be a little flat at the crown. But, I mentioned fretless wonder frets, those are very flat, something, you would instantly notice, and even on these guitars intonation is passable.
If nut slots are not deep enough, at every fretting it bends the string more, than necessary, maning, it detunes it a little. You are right, the effect is less, when you are going up the fretboard but still, the effect is there.
If you say the slots are okay and the frets don't buzz and do not show signs of extremely wide and flat crowns, I don't know what the culprit may be here, sorry!
I just thought, the nut may be the most likeable issue, as I just finished my 9th build of a guitar and had the exact same issue, because I did not cut the nut slots deep enough.

Anyway, good luck!

Best regards

Jonas
Were your strings all flat all the time no matter whether you moved the saddle towards or away from the nut? It may not be the frets but regeldass the frets don’t have a nice crown. They’re definitely uneven. Even if the issue lies with something else such as the nut or even the bridge I’d still insist on a perfect crown.
 

Rhythmisking

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Yeah well I got burned hard. Lesson learned. I’ve had other guitars plek’d in the past and it felt really consistent. And the crown was visible and even. I guess it’s like everyone says, it depends on the experience of the machinist. I’ll contact the shop owner for sure because I’m almost certain that he didn’t do it. He did my Jackson and it turned out perfect. Plus, I’ve read reviews from customers who had the same experience. When the shop owner worked on their guitars it was perfect. When he had his employees work on it there were always issues.

I've had many guitars PLEK'd and none of them looked like that. I've heard an inexperienced tech can mess up using a PLEK machine. This looks like proof.
 

Christian King

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I've had many guitars PLEK'd and none of them looked like that. I've heard an inexperienced tech can mess up using a PLEK machine. This looks like proof.
I’m sure that the shop owner wasn’t the one who did it. He did my Jackson and it is an impeccable playing instrument. The plek job turned it into a buttery smooth playing guitar. What happened with the PRS, I don’t know. The shop owner is willing to correct it. Let’s see how that’ll turn out.
 

bodia

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I’m sure that the shop owner wasn’t the one who did it. He did my Jackson and it is an impeccable playing instrument. The plek job turned it into a buttery smooth playing guitar. What happened with the PRS, I don’t know. The shop owner is willing to correct it. Let’s see how that’ll turn out.
Glad to hear that the shop is stepping up.
 

Hugo Agogo

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You need to be fully recompensed for this. Be it by the owner himself, or him paying PTC to rectify this abortion.
No way on this earth should you be out of pocket for this.
FWIW, use a different tech in future.
 
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