My 10 Luthier Tools for Getting Started in Guitar Maintenance


When I started to get into electric guitar maintenance with my kit builds and wanted to modify and set up my own guitars, I really didn’t have any specific woodworking or luthier tools, or skills for that matter.

I used what I had on hand but soon found that there are some things that are just essential and others that just make your life easier and take your finished work to a higher level.

In this post, I will try to break down the tools I found most useful and why.

10 Most Useful Hand Tools for Guitar Maintenance

When starting out in guitar setup and maintenance.

Being that I am in the UK and a follower of Crimson Guitars on youtube, as well as a lover of how they do things, most items in my list, will be from their shop Crimson Guitars or from Amazon because where else are you going to buy things these days. I have purchased a few items from other places over the last few years including sellers in the States and EU.

  1. Notched Straight Edge Guitar – Notched straight edge for guitars, used to check how straight your neck is.
  2. Traditional Fret Crowning File – Fret crowning file, for re-crowning your frets after levelling.
  3. Fret Levelling Beam – Levelling beam for sanding and fret levelling. Plus 220 and 320 grit sandpaper to stick to the sides. Sticky back sandpaper would be easier than glueing.
  4. Fret End Bevelling File – Bevelled file to angle the fret ends to the correct degree.
  5. Knipex Side Cutter – For cutting strings and wires, or any side cutters you prefer.
  6. Wera Craftform 300 Screwdriver Set – Either a basic screwdriver set like these were drivers or a combined luthier specific driver. Personally, I prefer a separate driver set as it can have plenty more uses.
  7. Weller WE1010 Soldering Iron – For re-soldering or replacing pots and switches, don’t forget your solder as well.
  8. Fret Rocker – To check for those elusive high frets and spots.
  9. Steel Rule 300mm – Steel rule for checking action pickup height etc… You can get specific tools for this but a good rule is always handy.
  10. Sharpie Markers – Used to mark the top of the frets during levelling.

5 Must-Have Consumables

3 Additional Handy to haves

These are items that might not be strictly necessary to have but can come in handy.

What next.

Keep enjoying what you are doing, Working on guitars no matter your skill level is something that I find to be rewarding and relaxing and if you are here you probably do too to some extent.

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