What guitar tools/things are good to have?

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by gnoll, Nov 1, 2020.

  1. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I've never liked working on guitars, doing setups etc. and done as little as possible of it. I've pretty much stuck to fixed bridges and sometimes I'll play with a kinda crap setup just because I'm lazy.

    But now I've 1) actually bought a Floyd Rose guitar I plan to keep and 2) made a half-assed decision to spend at least a bit more time setting shit up/doing general guitar care/maintenance stuff.

    So I thought I'd ask, what are the best tools and things recommended for setting up and maintaining FR and tune-o-matic guitars?
     
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  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    A good set of SAE and Metric (more so Metric) allen keys. Go for ball end, T-handle if possible, the longer the shaft the better {:lol:}.

    A good precision screwdriver kit. Don't get individual drivers, but a handle and bits.

    Measurement tools are a must. A digital caliper (they're really cheap now), and good metal ruler, feeler gauges, and if you can spare it: radius gauges.

    A good bit driver. Something like a Wera or Klein 9/10-in-one.

    Good set of wire cutters. Get the Knipex.

    A really good tuner. Don't settle, get a Peterson or Sonic Research.

    A good Floyd specific tool would be an intonation "key". Ibanez makes a really good one that works on various bridges.

    Then you got your consumables: mineral oil, lithium grease, and micromesh (4000+).
     
  3. BenjaminW

    BenjaminW SS.org Regular

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    I got an Ernie Ball Musician's Tool Kit that I really love and has every tool you'll need for doing general work on a Floyd. Biggest downside of the kit is that it comes with Wonder Wipes which are one-time uses for string cleaning, fretboard cleaning, and I believe guitar polish.

    Speaking of tools, I should probably go ahead and buy out all of Stew-Mac's inventory because every time I think about them or watch one of their videos, they always have some tool I don't have and it frustrates the hell out of me.
     
  4. TheBolivianSniper

    TheBolivianSniper SS.org Regular

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    A deck of cards you don't care about or a small wood block to fit under the trem that'll keep it level while you're restringing it is invaluable. Even if you do strings one at a time, it makes sure the tension won't pull your high strings out as you tune them. I found that out the hard way.
     
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  5. guitaardvark

    guitaardvark SS.org Regular

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    Maybe not a tool for maintenance, but my quality of life increased significantly after I got an adjustable heat soldering station with a stand and sponge. I can't believe I used to solder pickups with my $2 Harbor Freight iron. Don't try to do guitar electronics with a cheap iron.
     
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  6. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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  7. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Thanks guys, this is great stuff, I'm taking lots of notes here.

    Two follow-up questions I thought of:

    1) What are the best ways to clean a FR bridge of rust?

    2) What are the best products to use on an ebony board with mother of pearl inlays? I'm slightly worried that some cleaning/conditioning things might not be good for the mop.
     
  8. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    1) Break it down, leave in a bath of naphtha overnight. Brush with an old toothbrush, and then polish with 3-In-One oil.

    2) Clean with naphtha, rub with a lint free cloth, and then hydrate with food grade mineral oil once dry.
     
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  9. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    So...

    I have been looking at screwdrivers. My conclusion? They are going to seriously bankrupt me!!!!

    There's too many different types and sizes. There's flat ones but then also Phillips, pozidriv, JIS, etc. etc. etc. And there's this SAE stuff (which I don't even know what it is, imperial?) AND metric? And ATLEAST five different sizes for each. I can't afford that many screwdrivers, and I doubt so many of them would even fit in my house!!!! Even if I buy bits instead of individual drivers, I'm going to drown in tools, while being completely broke!!

    Is there some sort of list which types and sizes are most commonly used, especially on guitars? Because buying all of them just to be safe seems completely out of the question. I worry because guitars come from all over the world (I even have guitars built for the Japanese domestic market) and so I bet the screws do too!!

    I feel so screwed.
     
  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    You're way over thinking it.

    Get this:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002RI5EY/?tag=sevenstringorg-20

    and this:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZB7FMLB/?tag=sevenstringorg-20

    That'll cover about 95% of your driver needs for about $30.
     
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  11. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Ok.....
     
  12. Muzz

    Muzz SS.org Regular

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    For a floyd you want 2mm hex for loosening the saddle to allow it to slide back/forth. You'll also need 2.5mm for another bit forgot what exactly but the most used would be 3mm. Used to clamp the strings in the bridge and the string clamps up near the headstock. Phillips #2 seem to be most common tips for the spring claw.

    Depending on guitar, most use 4mm hex for the truss rod but get a really long one so it's well clear of everything when you wanna adjust it. Having a cheap socket set is good for tightening up input jacks and tuners.

    Some TOM bridges use a 1.5mm hex grub screw too.

    Here is a list of what I consider essentials screwdriver wise:
    2, 2.5, 3, 4mm Hex (maybe 1.5 depending on particular bridges)
    Phillips 1, 2. Be sure to not use Pozi-drive (usually abbreviated via PZ; these will round your screws)

    A shifter would suffice most times you need to tighten nuts.

    Using AA batteries under the bridge while changing strings works a treat for me, have done it many times with no issue.

    Oh, a nice big pair of cutters will be essential. Gotta cut the ball ends off the strings for a floyd. Could also go old school and have the ball end up at the headstock but you'd still need to cut the string down to size so nvm (get a cutter, and a good one. Not something you want going blunt quickly)
     
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  13. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Just watched a video of James May putting together a Tokai that had JIS screws.

    *screwdriver anxiety intensifies*

    Almost all my guitars are Japanese lol...
     
  14. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Phillips will work just fine in JIS, the only difference is you don't want to crank it the heck down, which you shouldn't be doing anyway.

    Honestly, if this is a problem, have you considered the kazoo? No screws to worry about there. :lol:
     
  15. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    It would probably be a better idea. I'm just not good with this stuff.

    Way back in school I actually tried to build a guitar in shop class. It ended up never looking like more than a huge wooden dildo. I got the lowest grade and it tanked my gpa.

    Fuck it though! I can do this!!
     
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  16. soul_lip_mike

    soul_lip_mike SS.org Regular

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    Can you provide a link to the one you use? Mine is a really cheap shitty chinese one I got on Amazon.
     
  17. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Stage IV GAS

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  18. gunch

    gunch Riff Chugman

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    Wera and Knipex are good shit but expensive
     
  19. Emperoff

    Emperoff Hasta la vista, Baby Contributor

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    The Ibanez multi-tool is super handy for common stuff and has everything you need for q quick fix.
     
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  20. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I've ordered some stuff!!

    I realized that Wera actually have a guitar kit with a Knipex, a bunch of screwdrivers and allen keys, feeler gauges, and other stuff that seems useful. So I got that, a Peterson tuner, a guitar neck rest, fret polishing stuff, an oil cleaner for the fretboard, some FR screws (decided to just replace the rusty screws) aaaand humidifying stuff for my acoustics, strings, picks, and IEM tips.

    It ended up being more expensive than I'd planned but screw it, I plan to get good use out of this stuff!
     

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