PLEK Review : Is it worth the price?

Hey – It’s Tim the Worship Guy, and today we’re talking about guitar necks and why you may want to consider getting your neck PLEK’d. (I’ll explain that in a minute.) 

Now you may be an absolute wizard when it comes to the mechanics of your guitar. You can set your intonation, swap out pickups, modify your electronics, adjust your neck, and care for your frets. You may even build your own guitars. On the other hand, there are a lot of us who find all of this a mystery. We have to rely on other people to provide some of the care for our instruments.  

I’ve been playing guitar for 40 years now. You’d think that by now that I’d know all these things. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I don’t. You pick up some things over time, but I’m still learning. 

My guitar neck is one of those things. I don’t want to just jump in there and experiment and screw things up. But my guitar needed some care that I couldn’t give it. And, honestly, I wasn’t sure who I could trust. 

This is my favorite guitar. It’s my workhorse. It’s a custom Godin LGX that I’ve been playing it for just over 20 years. That’s a lot of playing. I’ve worn down the frets over the years and put grooves in the fretboard. And even though I try to be careful with it, it’s been knocked around. I travel with it – it can’t help but pick up some scars and dings along the way.  

All these things affect the playability, the intonation, and the pitch of the guitar. 

Even though I love this guitar, it was getting some buzzing and playability issues that I couldn’t address without changing the intonation. It made me sad to think that it may be time to retire my baby.  

Then one day while visiting a church in Chicago area, I was talking with their bass player after the set and he told me about a procedure performed by what was called a PLEK CNC station. He said that it could make a guitar neck like new, or even better.  

That intrigued me – wouldn’t you want to have your guitar neck in pristine playability? 

So I checked into it.  

Now, full disclosure, I’m not associated with any company that offers PLEK services, I don’t get any kind of referral fee or even a discount. So I am free to give you my honest opinion. But guitar matters for me – it’s part of my voice. It opens the door to my soul and takes me places where I need to go, and I can take other people there, too. I’m guessing that your guitar matters to you, too. And this could make a difference for you, so I wanted you to know. 

O.K., what a PLEK machine does… It’s a super-high end, automated, machine that flattens the neck, dresses the frets, helps with truss rod adjustment and neck relief, and fret seating and placement. It tests everything under actual playing conditions—I really like that fact. So for that part the guitar is actually strung and tuned to pitch. And it does all this in microscopic detail. Everything is matched to your playing style and action preferences. It’s far more accurate than most technicians would ever dream of.  

That’s why companies like Martin, Gibson, McPherson, Collings – and some other really high end guitars manufacturers use Plek machines at their factories. That’s the kind of quality I want. 

So I went to The Music Gallery in Highland Park, and talked with the lead guitar tech, George McPhail. He’s been caring for guitars for decades, and doing PLEK for years. (He was pretty proud to tell me that the week before he had PLEK’d all the guitars for the BeachBoys, who were playing in town.) I decided to move forward. 

So, using the PLEK machine, he evened out my guitar neck, aligned it, refretted it, dressed the frets to get them perfect. The nut was the only thing that didn’t need adjusting.  

The process wasn’t cheap. As I’ve done more research, I’ve heard prices range from $250-$450 depending on what all needs to be done. But they say that half your guitar’s value is in the neck, so for a third of the cost of replacing my guitar, I made my old one better than new. And it’s all set for my playing style. 

That’s the PLEK process. I’ll tell you, it’s given my favorite guitar new life. You have to feel the difference. So if you want to take your guitar up a notch or two, there’s a simple solution: Go get PLEK’d.

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One simple verse can change everything for your 2019 worship ministry big picture

So it’s the new year, and it’s time to take a deep breath before jumping in. Wow—looking at the past year–or really several years in my own life, it’s truly been a wild ride. I’m excited to be moving into some–at least for me–tremendously exciting times. New location, new focus, new blog… This year really appears to culminate all that the Lord has brought me through and done in me to this point.

I hope your year holds similar promise!

So how will this coming year unfold? I have no clue!

Well, honestly I do have a few ideas. And I’ll tell you about them over the year.

But hey, it’s the beginning of the year and I though a great place to start would be picking a verse to move forward by. Kind of a guiding light.

This is one of those Big Deal verses because in one small package it provides the “why” behind so much that we try to accomplish in worship ministry. It provides the reason for getting up early, the reason for practicing, the reason for supporting ministry partners, the reason for improving, the reason for memorizing, the reason for buying gear, the reason for serving.

Actually, I don’t see how I can serve well without having this verse as a prime directive.

I though you may find it worth considering, too.

I’m a fan of Romans 12:1 (New American Standard Version):

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Allow me break that down a bit.

Therefore… Because. Because of who God is, because of all that He has done, because He created us, because He saved us, because we’re more than conquerors through Christ Jesus our Lord, because he goes before us, because He enables us through His Spirit, because we owe Him everything, every breath, every thought, every emotion, every deed, every grumble, every irritation, every single note. Therefore.

I urge you… Beg you, command you, implore you, use every bit of influence I have with you, I’d make you if I could. I urge you.

brethren… My family in Christ, my partners in ministry, my sword-brothers and sword-sisters, my teammates, my co-laborers for the Gospel, my companions for all eternity, those I rise and fall with, those who have seen me fail and succeed, those who know me intimately and witnessed the best and worst of me, those who have my back. Brethren.

by the mercies of God… Through God’s redeeming love, by His tenderness– His unending lovingkindness, through His tenacious commitment to never stop calling us into all He created us to become. By the mercies of God.

to present… To offer, show, display, to reveal, place on the altar without taking it back. Present.

your bodies… Your flesh, presence, core, the container holding the compilation of all that makes you who you are: your strength, your passion, heart, mind, resources, drive, vision, relationships, scars, wounds, strengths, joys, your identity. Your bodies.

a living… Alive, today, now, ongoing, vivacious, growing, continual. Living.

and holy… Righteous, pure, untainted, set apart from the muck of this world, worthy of the purity of God Almighty Himself. Holy.

sacrifice… Freely given, handed over, without struggle, beyond my control, unreserved, offering, irretrievable gift, no longer mine. Sacrifice.

acceptable to God… Owed to Him, His fair due, pleasing to Him, approved, received and cherished by Him. Acceptable to God.

which is your spiritual… Ultimate, complete, beyond the limitations of this world, your true eternal reality. Your spiritual.

service… Reasonable action, consecrated call, job, overwhelming mission. Service.

of worship. Attributing to God all the worth—the value—to Him for who He is and what He has done, more than attributing, more than giving mental assent, more than lip service, but laying down all that there is in grateful and humble recognition of Jesus.

Isn’t that’s a great nutshell for why we do what we do?

Here’s Romans 12:1 again.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

For me, this verse encapsulates in a few simple words so much that’s core to serving in worship ministry. Actually, I can’t think of much activity that isn’t covered in this short sentence.

Doesn’t that sound like a great place to start the year?

Well, I’m excited. Lot’s on the burner. My new book’s being released on Amazon – should be next month. Born For Worship: The Best You Can Be In Worship Ministry. Check it out or even be a part of the launch team by going to bornforworshipbook.com. Your teammates may find it worth talking about, too. Good stuff.

Well, blessings on your year. May your notes be on pitch perfect and your timing spot-on! Have incredible impact for the Kingdom of God, as you transform and grow, and present your living and holy sacrifice of worship to our King!

See you soon!

#WorshipValues #ChurchMusic #TimothyJMiller #WorshipLeading #TeamBuilding

Hello World from Tim the Worship Guy

I never set out to be a blogger, and still don’t.

Being someone so interesting that a significant number of people can’t wait to catch the subtle nuances of every phrase I write – yech!

Perhaps I don’t take myself seriously enough to be quite that arrogant.

Still, there are some worthwhile reasons for us to get to know each other.

After 30+ years serving in Worship World, I have picked up a few things about leading,  training, and equipping that may be worth a read. It’s probably helped that I like researching and learning – my dozen or so degrees and certifications are weirdly diverse, including English, Pyrotechnics, Communications, Life Coaching, Speaking, Game Theory, Computer Programming, Stage Combat, Music, Seminary, and Studio Audio Engineering, and I can’t recall what else off the top of my head.

I’ve served in volunteer, bi-vocational, and full time positions in small, medium, large, and multi-site churches. Somewhere in all that I taught high school and also ran my own advertising agency.

I’ve been at it a while.

What really makes the joy cells in my brain start buzzing is when I see lights go on in someone’s eyes as they discover something that shifts their whole paradigm. Epiphany. When it all comes together in that “Aha!” moment.

Hearing things like, “Now I get it – this changes everything!”

“You know what I’m discovering about myself?”

“Everyone from our church should be in this room hearing this right now!”

“I really can do this!”

Yep, that’s the good stuff for me. Better than a great stroke on the golf course.

So what can you get by reading my posts?

I’m brain-dumping some of the gold from those years of my life I’ve invested in helping others help others. The kind of lessons I’ve paid deeply to learn. (And, as it goes, so have the people who served under me.) There’s value there. Challenges.

Perhaps you have already surpassed me along your own journey. You may read my content, smile and say, “Oh how cute. I remember when I learned that.”

But also, perhaps, you’ll read something that helps trigger an “Oh, yeah!” connection between what you’ve experienced and where you want to grow. That’s my goal.

Plus hopefully we’ll share more that a few smiles along the way.

So I invite you consider occasionally stopping in for a visit.

In addition to leadership and worship stuff, I’ll review related products, update you about my (real) writing projects, and give you a low-down on some of the many conferences and workshops I attend. I’ll write about life stuff, too, like searching with my wife Anita for our new church home in Sarasota, where we intend to land in a couple of months.

From my background, you may have assumed that I’m a person of faith, and you’d be right. I’m not really religious—actually, I sometimes struggle with being downright irreligious and politically incorrect—but I embrace walking deeply with my Lord. So you’d be making a safe bet that you’ll see some of that mixed in here as well.

Of course, I’d love to hear from you and turn a one-way post into an actual conversation. Maybe that’s part of why I’m doing this, too, for a sense of connection. I can go with that.

I can hardly think of something worse than discovering after a life pouring myself out to create an environment, invitation, and opportunity for people to breathe more deeply in what life is all about, that I missed the boat. Swinging at the wind. Playing on a guitar that made no sound. Having no impact. For me, that would be worse than pointless.

And now as I have transitioned from full-time church ministry into focusing on writing and connecting with church leaders and teams mainly in the areas of worship and growth, I cannot help but get excited about the coming time of deepening impact.

I’m trusting that you want to make a difference in the lives of others, too. And I’m convinced that together, we can touch more lives more deeply. (And speaking about touching more lives, please feel free to like and share this post!)

In the meantime, I’ll include anything that I think may nudge your noggin or brighten your day.

Fair enough?