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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys and gals. After 20+ years of playing I'm getting tired of taking my guitars into shops for set ups and basic repairs. I have a copy of Dan Erlewine's The Guitar Player Repair Guide and am wanting to get started trying out the basics of guitar set up and repair. I have an Epiphone Les Paul II that I've owned for over 20 yrs but has sat most of it's life in a case that I will be using as my guinea pig. I figure I'll wait until I feel confident before I start tweaking my Gibson!

So what are your MUST have tools? What are the basics that everyone should have to get started? The book has a pretty good list but I'm wondering what everyone here has to say.

Cheers!
 

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Are you including electronic repairs and/or mods? I (and many others here) could provide quite a long list of tools somewhat specific to that type of work alone.
 

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Graduated ruler/guitar action ruler - I use that all the time to check the string action.
Feeler guages - I use two, primarily a .10 for neck relief and a .20 for nut action.
Capo, or I use a good straight edge most of the time, either works.
Adjustable illuminated magnifying glass.
Neck support, you can get a mat and support incorporated for not a whole lot, or make your own if your handy.

A set of precision screw drivers, rubber handled preferably.
Larger screw drivers may be needed along the way too.
Allen keys, both standard and metric, ball ends are easier to work with.

Some truss rods require certain wrenches, sometimes the guitar comes with them.
Make sure that you're using the right allen key, or wrench for the job.

I've learned a ton off of this guy, search his channel for setups.
Dave's World of Fun Stuff
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I wanted to get started slowly building up a tool set, getting a tool here, a tool there as I need them. Right now I need to dress some fret ends on an el-cheapo I picked up and am trying to freshen up.

I came across this:Fret End Dressing File | stewmac.com It seemed to be the best tool for the job. I didn't mind the $17 CAN to buy it, but the $13 shipping seemed outrageous to me! I've read several times that StewMac is the best place to get tools, but the shipping seems excessive.

Later, I came across this set: Andoer Guitar Fret Nut Saddle Slot Pickguard Grinding File Group Set Luthier Repair Tool 10pcs in 1 Set: Amazon.ca: Musical Instruments, Stage & Studio I know that it probably isn't the same quality as the 1 file from StewMac, but this is a whole set that will do a wide number of jobs and if I add a few other things to get my order up to $35 I can get free shipping.

Thoughts?

Also, I bought this: International Measurement Standard String Action Ruler Gauge Guitar Luthier Tool: Amazon.ca: Sports & Outdoors I couldn't see any difference between this $6 one and the $13 one. Maybe the first is flimsier or something but I ordered it as it seems like a tool no guitar player should be without.
 

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how about starting with the simple basics first..
changing strings
intonation
neck releaf ( trus rod adjustment.)

Whats needed for the above is a nice guitar tuner ( plenty of options form chromatic to digital).
Changing strings and then tuning them properly and setting up proper intonation is very easy stuff.
Here you will need a set of wire snipers to cut off the access strings when done, and screwdrivers to turn the intonation screws.
The proper truss rod allen key ( that fits the individual guitar ) and the basics of what the neck releaf should be.

I would do this stuff first which will get you a long way into making any guitar playable.

just me 2 cents worth.
G.
 

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and am wanting to get started trying out the basics of guitar set up and repair.
Do you thunk you will try any electronics repairs/mods on your guitars? If you are considering that, I can offer some suggestions of specific tools for that type of work. Actually, I think there have been some good threads on that topic..I'll see if I can find one.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not looking to get into electronics yet. For now they I'm just interested in basic set up, fret dressing etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So here is the file set (10), radius gauges and polishing cloth (to get my order to qualify for free shipping) from Amazon. The files and gauges are from a company called Andoer. Not sure if they're they're great quality or not but should be fine to get me started. I also have a string action ruler coming.

Looking forward to putting these to use tonight once the kiddos are in bed!

 

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Here is what I picked up to help me do my own setups, fret levelling, fret dressing, etc.
  • Some kind of neck caul or support
  • Fret levelling file
  • 3-sided fret dressing file, or fret crowning file (either can be used to crown frets)
  • Fret-end file
  • Notched straightedge
  • Fret rocker
  • #0000 Steel Wool
I got some of mine from Amplified Parts as it was a fair bit cheaper than StewMac. Stuff like the notched straightedge and fret rocker are a lot more affordable there, and really quite helpful in determining what needs filing at what does not.
 

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Check out a luthier course, they will tell you the minimum required tools. then pick and choose what you think you will need.
 
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