What are Guitar Tools?
Guitar tools" can refer to a variety of items and resources used by guitar players to maintain, repair, or enhance their instruments, as well as tools that aid in playing and practicing the guitar. Here are some common types of guitar tools:
Setup Tools: These tools are used to adjust the guitar's action, intonation, and overall playability. They include tools like truss rod wrenches, nut files, and bridge saddle sanding tools.
String Changing Tools: These tools assist in changing and restringing guitar strings. They can include string winders, string cutters, and peg pullers.
Tuning Tools: Devices and apps that help you tune your guitar accurately, such as electronic tuners or smartphone apps.
Maintenance Tools: Tools for general guitar maintenance, like cleaning and polishing products, fretboard conditioners, and humidity control devices.
Repair Tools: Tools for more extensive guitar repairs, such as soldering irons, fret-leveling files, and nut slot files.
- Guitar Building Tools: For those interested in building or customizing their own guitars, specialized tools like fretting saws, body templates, and router jigs are essential.
Repair Manuals and Guides: Instructional materials and manuals on how to repair and maintain guitars. These can be valuable resources for DIY enthusiasts.
The specific tools a guitarist uses can vary greatly depending on their playing style, level of expertise, and the type of guitar they have. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, having the right tools can make your guitar-playing experience more enjoyable and help you take better care of your instrument.
What brands make Guitar Tool kits?
At Coleman's Music Melbourne CBD and online with fast shipping to your door, we love both Taylor and Dunlop offer guitar tool kits and maintenance products for guitarists. Here are some examples of essential tools and maintenance kits from these brands:
Taylor Guitar Tool Kits: Taylor is well-known for producing high-quality acoustic guitars, and they offer maintenance and care products designed to help guitar owners keep their instruments in top condition. Taylor's kits often include items like guitar polish, fretboard conditioner, a microfiber cloth, and instructions on how to properly care for your Taylor guitar. These kits are typically tailored to the needs of acoustic guitar players.
Dunlop Guitar Tool Kits: Dunlop, specifically under their Jim Dunlop brand, offers a variety of guitar tools and maintenance kits. While they may not have comprehensive kits in the same way as Taylor, they provide individual tools and products for guitar maintenance and care. For example, Dunlop offers items like Formula 65 guitar polish, fretboard 65 ultimate lemon oil, string winders, and string cutters. You can assemble your own toolkit by selecting the specific products that meet your needs from Dunlop's extensive range.
Why setup my guitar yourself?
Setting up your guitar yourself can be a rewarding and cost-effective option for several reasons:
Learning Experience: Setting up a guitar yourself is a valuable learning experience. It allows you to become more familiar with your instrument, its components, and how they interact to create playability and tone.
Cost Savings: Professional guitar setups can be expensive, and by doing it yourself, you can save money over time. The cost of necessary tools and materials for setups can pay for themselves after a few setups.
Customisation: You can tailor the setup to your specific preferences. Adjusting the action, neck relief, and other parameters to match your playing style can lead to a more comfortable and personalised playing experience.
Immediate Adjustments: When you're comfortable setting up your guitar, you can make quick adjustments on the fly. If you change string gauges, for example, you can adjust the guitar's setup to match without having to wait for a professional luthier.
Convenience: You don't need to schedule appointments or leave your guitar at a shop for a few days. You can set up your guitar at your convenience, even late at night if necessary.
Maintenance: Regular maintenance, such as cleaning, restringing, and minor adjustments, can be done at home without the need for a full setup, saving both time and money.
However, it's important to note that setting up a guitar yourself requires knowledge, patience, and the right tools. If you're not confident in your skills or don't have the necessary tools, attempting a setup yourself can lead to unintended issues and potentially damage your instrument. Here are some tips:
Learn the Basics: Before attempting a setup, invest time in learning the fundamentals of guitar setup through books, online tutorials, or guidance from experienced players.
Use the Right Tools: Invest in quality tools and materials to ensure you can make precise adjustments. This includes hex keys for the truss rod, feeler gauges, string action gauge, and more.
Be Cautious: Make small, incremental adjustments, especially when adjusting the truss rod or saddle height. This can prevent overcorrection and minimise the risk of damaging the guitar.
Know Your Limits: Some tasks, such as fret levelling or complex neck adjustments, may require professional expertise. If you're unsure about a particular task, it's best to consult a luthier.
Practice and Patience: Mastery comes with practice, so don't be discouraged by initial challenges. Start with basic adjustments and gradually work your way up to more complex setups.
In summary, setting up your guitar yourself can be a rewarding and cost-effective option, but it requires knowledge, practice, and the right tools. If you're unsure about your abilities, it's always a good idea to consult with a professional luthier to ensure your guitar is set up correctly.
When should I take my guitar to a luthier?
Just as important as learning to setup your guitar yourself, is knowing "when" to take your guitar to a luthier workshop. Taking your guitar to a luthier is a good idea when you encounter issues beyond basic maintenance or adjustments - that you are not comfortable with.
Here are some common situations when you should consider taking your guitar to a luthier:
Major Setup or Adjustment Needs: If your guitar has major issues with playability, intonation, or other setup-related problems that you're not comfortable addressing yourself, a luthier can diagnose and correct these issues.
Fret Problems: If you're experiencing fret buzzing, uneven frets, or fret wear that affects playability, a luthier can level, crown, or replace frets as needed.
Cracks or Structural Damage: Cracks in the body, neck, or headstock, or any other structural damage, should be addressed by a luthier to ensure proper repairs and prevent further issues.
Electronics Issues: If your guitar has electronic problems such as static, poor output, or malfunctioning pickups, a luthier can diagnose and repair these issues.
Nut and Saddle Replacement: If the nut or saddle is worn or needs replacement, a luthier can fabricate and install new ones for optimal tone and intonation.
Bridge Re-glue: If the bridge is coming loose from the body, it should be reglued by a professional to maintain the guitar's structural integrity.
Neck Reset: If the neck angle is incorrect or the guitar has significant intonation problems that can't be fixed with standard adjustments, a neck reset may be necessary. This is a complex procedure best left to a luthier.
Restoration and Vintage Guitar Work: If you own a vintage or rare instrument that requires restoration or repairs to maintain its value and authenticity, a luthier with experience in vintage guitars is essential.
Customisation: If you want to modify or customise your guitar, such as changing the hardware, upgrading pickups, a luthier can handle these tasks effectively.
Complex Repairs: Any complex or specialised repairs, such as fixing a broken headstock, addressing severe finish damage, or repairing intricate inlays, should be entrusted to a luthier with the appropriate expertise.
Vintage or rare guitars: If you're unsure about the age of your guitar or what it needs, a guitar shop or luthier can provide professional guidance, assess the guitar, and recommend necessary repairs or adjustments. This is particularly important with vintage guitars, not only from a value perspective, but also to avoid any major issues.
Regular Maintenance: While learning and doing the basic yourself is a great idea, don't over do it! Taking your guitar to a luthier for periodic check-ups and maintenance can help prevent potential problems and keep your instrument in excellent condition.
If you are unsure, simply reach out to the team at Coleman's Music. Our store is in Melbourne CBD, with fast online shipping all over Australia, or give us a call on (03) 9654 5115 with any questions, we’re always happy to help!
What tools come in the DUNLOP System 65 Complete Set-Up Tech Kit?
The DUNLOP System 65 Complete Set-Up Tech Kit is the bees knees, with a wide variety of tools! This kit includes a variety of tools and products for guitar maintenance and setup. Please note that product contents may change over time, and I recommend checking with the team here at Coleman's for all of the latest specs. Here's what you will find in a current DUNLOP System 65 Complete Set-Up Tech Kit:
Multi-tool: A versatile tool that can be used for adjusting various parts of the guitar, such as truss rod, bridge saddles, and more.
String cutter: A tool for trimming guitar strings after restringing.
String winder: A tool that makes changing guitar strings quicker and easier.
Fret collars: These can be used to protect the fretboard when polishing the frets.
Fingerboard guards: Thin, protective strips that can be placed on the fretboard to prevent damage during fretwork and polishing.
Microfiber cleaning cloth: Used for cleaning and polishing the guitar's body and hardware.
Formula 65 guitar polish and cleaner: A cleaning and polishing solution to keep your guitar looking its best.
Formula 65 fretboard cleaner and conditioner: Used to clean and condition the fretboard.
Formula 65 polish cloth: A cloth designed for applying the Formula 65 guitar polish and cleaner.
Dunlop Super Bright string set: A set of guitar strings that may be included with the kit.
Instructions or setup guide: Some kits may include a setup guide or instructions for using the tools effectively.
What would cause a guitar to need a setup?
A guitar may need a setup for various reasons, as adjustments become necessary over time due to factors like changes in climate, string wear, or playing style. Here are common reasons why a guitar might require a setup:
String Changes: When you change the gauge or brand of strings, the guitar's neck tension and intonation can be affected. Different strings can require adjustments to maintain proper playability.
Climate Changes: Shifts in temperature and humidity can cause the wood of the guitar to expand or contract, affecting the neck relief, action, and intonation.
Fret Wear: Over time, the frets can wear down due to playing, and this can lead to uneven frets, which impact playability. A setup may involve fret leveling and crowning.
Neck Relief: The neck's curvature (relief) can change over time due to string tension and climate. A setup may involve adjusting the truss rod to achieve the correct relief.
Action: The string height (action) may need to be adjusted to your playing style and preference. High action can make the guitar harder to play, while low action can cause buzzing.
Intonation: Changes in string gauge or the way strings are wound can affect intonation. Adjusting the saddle position ensures that the guitar plays in tune up and down the fretboard.
Nut and Saddle Wear: The nut and saddle may develop uneven wear, causing tuning and playability issues. They may need filing or replacement.
Tuning Stability: If the guitar has tuning stability issues, it may need adjustments to the tuning machines or lubrication of the nut and string contact points.
Buzzing or Fretting Out: Fret buzzing can occur due to uneven frets, a warped neck, or an incorrect setup. It needs to be addressed to improve playability.
Playability Preferences: As a player's skill level and style evolve, they may prefer different setups, such as action height, string gauge, or neck relief.
New Guitar Purchase: New guitars, especially those shipped long distances, may need a setup to adjust to the local climate and ensure optimal playability.
Restoration or Repair: If a guitar has undergone repair or restoration work, a setup is often necessary to make it play correctly.
General Maintenance: Routine maintenance includes cleaning, fret polishing, and checking the overall condition of the guitar to keep it in top playing shape.
A guitar setup is a combination of adjustments to the truss rod, nut, bridge or saddle, and other components to optimise playability, tone, and tuning stability. While some players may be comfortable making these adjustments themselves, it's often advisable to have a professional luthier or guitar technician perform a setup, especially if you're not experienced in these tasks. A properly set up guitar can make a significant difference in how it plays and sounds.
How do I setup an electric guitar?
Setting up an electric guitar involves adjusting various components to ensure that the instrument plays and sounds its best. While guitar setup can be a bit complex, especially for beginners, I'll provide you with a basic overview of the key steps involved. If you're unsure about any step, it's a good idea to seek professional help from a luthier or a guitar technician. Here's a general guide on how to set up an electric guitar:
1. Gather the Necessary Tools:
- Allen wrenches or screwdrivers for truss rod and saddle adjustments.
- String winder and cutter.
- Tuner for accurate tuning.
- Capo (optional).
2. Restring the Guitar:
- Remove the old strings by unwinding and cutting them.
- Replace them with new strings of your preferred gauge.
- Make sure the strings are properly seated in the bridge saddles and nut slots.
3. Adjust the Truss Rod:
- The truss rod is used to control the neck's relief (the curvature of the neck).
- Use an appropriate Allen wrench to make adjustments.
- If the neck is too flat, loosen the truss rod to create more relief; if it's too bowed, tighten it to reduce relief.
- Make small adjustments, let the guitar settle, and recheck until the neck is straight with a slight relief (usually a small gap between the strings and the frets around the 7th-9th frets when pressed at the first and last frets).
4. Set the Action:
- Action refers to the height of the strings above the fretboard.
- Adjust the bridge saddle height using a screwdriver or Allen wrench.
- Lower the saddle for lower action and raise it for higher action.
- Aim for a comfortable action that doesn't produce excessive fret buzzing.
5. Intonate the Guitar:
- Intonation ensures that each string plays in tune across the entire fretboard.
- Play each open string and compare it to the same string played at the 12th fret. Adjust the saddle position until both pitches match.
- Use an electronic tuner to help with intonation.
6. Check Nut Slot Heights:
- The nut slots should be cut to the right depth.
- Ensure that the strings sit comfortably in the nut slots without binding or rattling.
- You may need to file the slots or have a professional do this for you.
7. Tune and Play:
- Tune the guitar to your preferred tuning.
- Play the guitar and check for any issues like fret buzzing, string slippage, or tuning stability.
- Make any necessary adjustments and re-check as needed.
8. Final Setup and Maintenance:
- Make sure all hardware is secure.
- Clean and polish the guitar to keep it in good condition.
Remember, setting up a guitar can be a skill that improves with practice. If you're uncertain about any step, it's advisable to consult a professional luthier or guitar technician for assistance. They have the expertise and experience to ensure your guitar plays at its best.
How do I setup an acoustic guitar?
Setting up an acoustic guitar involves a series of adjustments and maintenance tasks to ensure that the instrument plays well and sounds its best. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to set up an acoustic guitar:
Tools and Materials You May Need:
- Guitar tuner
- String winder
- Set of fresh guitar strings
- Truss rod adjustment tool (if necessary)
- Screwdriver (for bridge and saddle adjustments, if necessary)
- Guitar polish and cloth
- Measuring ruler or feeler gauges
- Fretboard conditioner (optional)
- Humidifier (if you live in a dry climate)
Step 1: Restring the Guitar:
Remove the old strings by unwinding and cutting them with a string cutter or wire cutters. Dispose of the old strings properly.
Clean the fretboard and the guitar body with a microfiber cloth and guitar polish.
Attach the new strings to the bridge and wind them around the tuning pegs using a string winder. Tune the strings to pitch using a guitar tuner.
Step 2: Adjust the Truss Rod (if necessary):
Check the neck relief. To do this, press down the first and last fret of a string (usually the low E) and observe the gap between the string and the frets in the middle of the neck.
If the gap is too large, you may need to tighten the truss rod to straighten the neck. If it's too small, you may need to loosen the truss rod to allow for a slight bow.
Adjust the truss rod according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Make small adjustments and check the neck relief again until it's within the acceptable range.
Step 3: Set the Action (String Height):
Measure the action (string height) at the 12th fret using a ruler or feeler gauges. The exact measurements depend on your playing style and preference.
Adjust the saddle height by sanding it down or using shims, if necessary, to achieve your desired action.
Step 4: Check the Nut and Saddle:
Inspect the nut and saddle for any uneven or sharp edges. These should be smooth to ensure proper string movement.
If necessary, file or sand the nut or saddle to ensure proper string spacing and height.
Step 5: Intonate the Guitar:
Play a harmonic at the 12th fret and compare it to the fretted note at the same position. If they are not in tune, adjust the saddle position.
Move the saddle back or forth until the harmonic and fretted note are in tune.
Step 6: Check for Proper Neck Angle (for bolt-on necks):
- Check if the neck is correctly aligned with the body. If it's a bolt-on neck, ensure the neck is securely attached to the body.
Step 7: Condition the Fretboard (optional):
- Apply fretboard conditioner to hydrate and protect the fretboard wood if it's made of rosewood or other porous materials.
Step 8: Adjust the Tuning Machines:
- Ensure that the tuning machines are tight and function smoothly. Lubricate them if necessary.
Step 9: Check the Guitar's Setup:
- After making all adjustments, re-tune the guitar and check the playability. Make any final adjustments to the action and intonation as needed.
Step 10: Set Up the Guitar for Your Playing Style:
- Adjust the action, neck relief, and string gauge according to your playing style and preference.
Step 11: Monitor and Maintain:
- Regularly check and maintain your guitar's setup, especially if you change string gauges or experience changes in climate.
Looking for more information on guitar tools?
Be sure to get in touch with Coleman’s Music of course! If you're looking to buy Guitar Tools, even on a tight budget, simply buy online today or get in touch with the friendly Coleman's Music team and our stores in Melbourne CBD, with fast online shipping all over Australia, or give us a call on (03) 9654 5115 with any questions, we’re always happy to help!