Get the right tools for optimal guitar care! Explore essential guitar tools for precision, maintenance, and improved playability.
Beyond the Basics
Amidst the excitement of collecting guitars and gear, let’s not forget the thrilling world of guitar tools. Having the right tools at your fingertips allows you to fully appreciate and care for what you hold dear.
Now is the perfect moment to revisit what’s inside your toolbox or consider investing in a quality guitar toolbox that can accommodate your current tools and the collection of guitar tools you’re about to acquire.
Guitar Tools for Every Beginner
- String Winder
- String Cutter
- Bridge Pin Puller
- Microfiber Cloth
- Soft Brushes
It’s time to go beyond the basics! Discover essential guitar tools and take your playing and maintenance skills to the next level.
Every part of the guitar, from the headstock and nut to the strings, frets, fretboard, and hardware, holds equal importance and requires proper care and maintenance. Paying attention to each component ensures optimal performance and longevity for your instrument.
There are specialized guitar tools for each part!
Essential Guitar Tools Every Guitarist Should Have
We have compiled a comprehensive list of guitar tools, categorized for your convenience, that you can add to your guitar tool collection.
Measuring tools are essential for guitarists who strive for precision and accuracy in their playing. These guitar tools enable precise measurements, adjustments, and setups, ensuring every aspect of the instrument is finely tuned.
A string action gauge measures the height of guitar strings above the fretboard. It helps guitarists find the right balance between comfortable playing and optimal string action. Using this gauge ensures guitar strings are neither too high (causing discomfort and difficulty in fretting) nor too low (resulting in buzzing or fretting out).
Radius affects how the strings interact with the frets, influencing the feel and playability of the instrument. With understring radius gauges, guitarists can ensure that the fretboard curvature is consistent and well-suited to their playing style, resulting in improved comfort, better string action, and enhanced overall performance.
These gauges allow you to measure the radius of your guitar’s fretboard. Place the gauge over the frets to identify the exact radius measurement, ensure consistent string action, and facilitate smooth bending and fretting.
A notched or precision straightedge is used to check the flatness of guitar fretboards and measure neck relief.
Feeler gauges are thin, flexible tools for measuring small gaps in guitar components, including string height, nut slot depth, and fret slot width.
- Fret Rocker – Stewmac
A fret rocker is a specialized guitar tool with a curved shape designed to identify any raised or uneven frets by rocking back and forth across them. In contrast, a straightedge provides an overall assessment of the neck and identifies significant deviations, while the fret rocker focuses on specific issues with individual frets.
A fret leveler beam is a tool that levels the frets on a guitar’s fretboard, ensuring a smooth and even playing surface.
A digital caliper is a precise measuring guitar tool with an easy-to-read digital display, ideal for accurately measuring string thickness, nut width, and fret height.
- Shop Rule – Stewmac
The shop rule is the go-to tool for every workshop, serving as a versatile measuring companion. Whether you need to measure lengths, widths, or depths, the shop rule provides precise and reliable measurements.
Nut files are tools for shaping and slotting the nut on a guitar. They come in different sizes to match string gauges, allowing for precise adjustments. Nut files ensure optimal string height, intonation, and playability by creating smooth and accurately sized slots.
- Nut File Set – Amazon | Sweetwater
- DiamondCut Nut Slotting Files – Amazon | Stewmac
- Gauged Nut Slotting Files – Stewmac
Fret files are used for leveling, shaping, and dressing the metal frets on a guitar. Guitarists use fret files to eliminate buzzing, correct uneven frets, and achieve a smooth and consistent playing surface.
Fret erasers are handy tools for polishing and smoothing the metal frets on a guitar, helping to remove tarnish, oxidation, and minor imperfections for improved playability and a cleaner fretboard.
- Fret Leveler – Stewmac
A fret leveler is used to level the tops of the frets on a guitar’s fretboard, ensuring they are all at the same height.
- Double-edge Fret File or Crowning File – Stewmac
A crowning file is designed to shape the rounded crown on the top of each fret after leveling. It helps create a comfortable and rounded surface, allowing for smooth bending and accurate intonation.
- Fret End Dressing File – Stewmac
A fret end file, on the other hand, is used to smooth and shape the edges of the frets, particularly the ends that protrude from the sides of the fretboard. It helps remove sharp edges and makes the fret ends comfortable to play on.
String Tools: Winder, Cutter, Bridge Pin Puller
Together, these string tools make the process of restringing a guitar more convenient, efficient, and hassle-free, allowing guitarists to focus on playing their instrument without the frustrations of manual winding, uneven cuts, or difficult pin removal.
The string winder is a handy device for quick and efficient winding of the strings onto the peg, saving time and effort. The cutter is essential for cutting string or cleanly trimming the excess string length after installation, ensuring a neat appearance. Lastly, the bridge pin puller is specifically designed to safely remove bridge pins, which hold the strings in place at the bridge.
A string dampener is commonly used to reduce string ringing and unwanted sympathetic vibrations, but it can also aid you during string changes to prevent injury from string snaps. Additionally, it helps maintain a tidy and organized workspace, preventing loose strings from tangling or getting in the way.
Multi-Tools: Screwdrivers, Wrenches and Allen Keys
Guitarists can easily handle common issues and make on-the-spot repairs with a multi-tool. With its portable design that fits in a pocket or guitar case, it is a valuable companion during gigs and rehearsals.
- Multi Tools – Amazon Fender, Ernie Ball, MusicNomad
- Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set (Assorted Flats and Philips Head) – Stewmac
A screwdriver set is a collection of various sizes and types of screwdrivers to tighten or adjust screws on guitars.
A hex key is used to adjust and tighten hexagonal socket screws on guitar hardware like truss rods and bridge saddles.
- Guitar Knob Puller – Stewmac
A knob puller is a handy tool for safely removing control knobs from guitar controls without damaging knobs and guitar finishes.
The Multi Spanner is a compact and convenient pocket-size wrench that efficiently resolves issues with loose jacks, pots, switches, and tuners on guitars, making it a must-have tool for quick and effective fixes.
A truss rod wrench is used for adjusting the truss rod in the guitar’s neck to achieve optimal neck relief.
- Jack The Gripper – Stewmac
A practical guitar tool that securely holds the jack in place, making it easy for guitarists to tighten or loosen the nut.
- Guitar Nut Drivers – Stewmac
Guitar nut drivers are designed for adjusting control pots, output jacks, and tuning machine bushings on guitars.
When cleaning your guitar, use the appropriate tools that are specifically designed to remove dirt, grime, and residue without causing any harm to its surface. Avoid using random cloth or brush and opt for the right tools to ensure effective and safe cleaning.
- Guitar Cleaning Tool Set – Stewmac
- Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (soft, lint-free) – Amazon | Sweetwater
A microfiber cleaning cloth removes fingerprints, smudges, and dust from the guitar’s surface, keeping it clean and polished.
To clean your guitar, use a soft-bristled brush in different sizes. It enables you to effectively clean small components and reach difficult areas on your instrument.
- Steel Wool (Ultra Fine) – Amazon
Steel wool, particularly the ultra-fine 0000 grade, is a useful tool for cleaning the fretboard of a guitar, gently removing grime and residue while preserving the wood’s integrity and smoothness.
Fretboard guards are practical guitar tools designed to protect the fretboard while filing or polishing the frets, preventing accidental scratches or damage.
Other Workstation Tools
A neck rest securely holds the guitar’s neck in place during maintenance and string changes, ensuring stability and protecting the instrument from unwanted movement or damage.
Of course, you can’t place your guitar on a rough surface; it would be a total disaster. Use a soft and non-slip work mat to protect it from scratches and damage.
It’s a must to tune a guitar, and part of that is obtaining a reliable tuner for accuracy. There are different types of tuners from top brands you can choose from. Fortunately, there are various types of tuners available from top brands, allowing you to select the one that best suits your preferences and needs.
When diving into guitar repair, get to know these essential guitar tools and equip your workstation with a reliable set. Soldering may be needed for loose contacts and ensuring proper electrical connections.
For in-depth guitar maintenance and repair, a digital multimeter is a must-have. Digital multimeters measure and troubleshoot electrical components, check voltage levels, test pickups, and diagnose wiring issues.
The Guitarist’s Toolbox
Your guitar toolbox should be well-equipped to handle all necessary maintenance and repairs. Here are some essential guitar tasks you’ll most likely encounter.
When it comes to caring for your guitar, there’s a tool for every job. You don’t need to purchase all these tools at once. Simply build your guitar tool collection gradually, adding new tools as you go, until you have a comprehensive and versatile set at your disposal.
Remember, having the right tools for each guitar task ensures efficiency and accuracy. If you’re serious about keeping your guitar in top shape, it’s time to upgrade your tool collection. Shop now!