Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, you should always have one of the best guitar tool kits in your home, studio, or your tour bus. It’s vital that you continuously take care of your guitar and that you’re using the finest tools for the job.
It’s also essential, in my opinion, that you learn to do this yourself instead of turning to bandmates, staff, managers, and guitar nerds to do the job for you.
Best Guitar Tools for Setup & Adjustments
Table of Contents
- Best Guitar Tools for Setup & Adjustments
- Guitar Tool Kit Essentials
- Nice to Have but not Mandatory Tools
- Do All Tool Kits Include Wood Maintenance Products?
If you already have a good polish, a string cleaner, and a pickup cleaner, then you may not need an extensive tool kit. If that’s the case, then I recommend checking out the Ernie Ball Musician’s Tool Kit.
It contains a sturdy carry case, all the hex wrenches you’ll ever need, string pliers, a screwdriver, a peg winder, guitar wipes, a tension ruler, and a microfiber cloth.
It will be enough for string changes and maintenance, as well as experimenting with different guitar setups. It’s probably a kit you should have on hand if you’re not too pleased with your guitar’s intonation, string action, or even if you just have trouble changing the strings from time to time.
The Music Nomad MN146 tool kit comes with GRIP cutters and a GRIP winder. Both tools are ergonomic, silent, and very easy to use. It makes them ideal for beginners that don’t know their way around a guitar.
I like the inclusion of the innovative Octopus Tech Tool. It combines the screwdriver with hex wrenches and also acts as an ideal tool for adjusting output jacks, control knobs, screws, and even strap locks.
The kit comes with a TUNE-IT lubricant with which you can lube up the bridge saddles. Cradle Cube, ergonomic neck support, is also in the package. It features five heights and angles, sufficient to accommodate most string instruments. You’ll need it to speed up your string changing and maintenance work.
Although this kit is quite pricey for novice guitar players, it does have some of the best tools on the market.
The D’Addario PW-ECK-01 is an impressive kit, equipped with premium servicing products. This kit contains the XLR8 lubricant, guitar wax, a spray cleaner, as well as a detailer for maintenance and restoration work.
I also like that D’Addario included a fingerboard conditioner, which I find mandatory for vintage guitars that see heavy usage. A microfiber polishing cloth is also in the package. It will prevent scratching and will ensure even distribution of the conditioner.
String pliers are also in the case. Although the kit may be missing some beginner-friendly essentials, I still think it’s good value for money, especially if you’re a seasoned guitar player that tours a lot. What makes the kit most valuable are the products used in restoration work.
The Guitar Pro Care Cleaner Kit Bundle by Elagon is a standard guitar tool kit. It’s complete with acoustic and electric guitar tools and accessories, a sturdy and well-compartmentalized carry pouch, and printed instructions.
The kit contains Allen keys, a string winder, string cleaner, cutting pliers, polish and cloth, as well as a ruler. You can use the ruler to set up the string action on your guitar, which is something that you should learn how to do as soon as possible.
I like that the tools are diverse and that you can also service other string instruments such as bass guitars, banjos, or even ukes and mandolins with them. It’s an almost complete kit for string instrument players. With the included instructions, you’ll quickly learn how to maintain your guitar, improve its playability, as well as make a few repairs and adjustments on the fly.
GIGmate offers a budget-friendly option for young guitarists. This kit doesn’t come with polishing products or conditioners. However, it does have a good selection of keys, wrenches, cutters, and other tools that can help you repair, maintain, and customize your guitar.
The carry pouch even has string pockets, pockets for picks, and a string action gauge. Thus, it’s even more valuable for touring musicians.
There are five Allen wrenches in the kit, a 2-in-1 screwdriver, batteries, a flashlight, and carbon steel string cutters. Allen wrenches can handle everything from Fender USA 1,5mm saddles to 3mm Floyd Rose saddles. You’ll also get a truss rod wrench for acoustic guitars.
Although it may lack conditioners, polishers, and other products that you might need, the GIGmate kit has everything you’ll need for string and electronics maintenance. You’ll also get the tools for adjusting string tension, tuning, etc.
If you want to take your guitar maintenance and servicing one step further, then you’ll need some of the most reliable tools out there. The D’Addario PW-EGMK-01 is a guitar-only tool kit. It’s a bit pricier than most, but all the accessories and tools are premium quality.
The kit comes with a body mat that will allow stability and improve your precision when working on your guitar. The string height gauge, winder, headstand, and patented multi-tool can help you make a wide range of adjustments to any electric or acoustic guitar.
I also like that D’Addario included a lubricant as well as their own Fret Polishing System. Even the travel case seems more high-end than many others. However, this one’s among the bukier maintenance kits out there, and, thus, more inconvenient to carry.
The only real downside of this kit is that unlike others, it’s not as ideal to use on smaller instruments. Whereas others, even cheaper ones, tend to come with more generic tools that help service ukuleles, mandolins, junior guitars, and even bass guitars.
Guitar Tool Kit Essentials
Two tools are essential in any good kit – the precision ruler and Allen wrenches/ hex keys. The precision ruler will be your go-to tool to adjust the string action and intonation of your guitar. This is especially important when you want to do the setup yourself after buying the guitar.
The keys are essential in making other adjustments and repairs to locking nuts, guitar saddles, even output jacks. Of course, in some situations, a truss rod wrench may also be indispensable.
It is the only tool that will allow you to adjust the bow or relief on the guitar neck. However, the truss rod wrenches come in different sizes, so it’s crucial to pick the right one for your guitar. That means that not all tool kits may contain the right one, or have one at all. But, if you do need it, there’s no reason why you couldn’t add one to a kit.
Nice to Have but not Mandatory Tools
String cutters or pliers are always cool to have. They can help you keep your guitar looking neat by cutting excess string length. That said, they’re not essential. You can buy custom strings that don’t leave much excess or cut them with other good pliers you have lying around your home or studio.
String winders make tuning and stringing a guitar easy and effortless. But are they essential? No. Guitarists have been tuning strings this by hand for centuries, and many of them still do.
Remember that while string or peg winders can make light work of stringing your guitar, not all of them will fit. If you have custom tuners, standard winders may be too big or too small for them.
Do All Tool Kits Include Wood Maintenance Products?
When talking wood maintenance, a few products come to my mind – fingerboard conditioner, cleaning products, lubricants, wax, and others. These aren’t necessarily included in guitar tool kits because they’re not tools.
Guitar tool kits often focus on repairs and adjustments, instead of maintenance work. Most tools will assist you with string changes, tension adjustments, neck position, pickup changes, and so on.
You can typically find products that clean strings, lubricate the fretboard, or clean the pickups in maintenance kits. Therefore, if you want an all-in-one tool and maintenance kit, you should expect to pay significantly more than what you’ve seen in this article.
Choosing the Right Tool Kit Recap
There’s a lot of stuff that can go into a guitar tool kit. But now, you can make a better decision and avoid overpaying for tools you won’t need or maintenance products that might not help. Just remember that whether you’re traveling a lot or you spend most of your time in the studio, you will need specific tools to keep your guitar in perfect playing condition.