Best Guitar Repair Tools to Setup and Fix Your Guitar

guitar-repair-toolsFinding the best guitar repair tools to setup your guitar or fix a broken part isn’t always easy. Guitars have many specialized parts that need to be adjusted and fitted accurately in order for the guitar to play well and stay in tune. Unfortunately, the average hardware store tools don’t always work for guitar repair projects.

That’s why there are tons of custom tools made specifically for guitar building and guitar repair. It took me years making and customizing my own tools before I found out about some of the custom stuff that is out there. That’s why I wanted to make this resource. I wanted to share with you the tools that I use to do repairs and the weird custom guitar tools that you can’t find in your average hardware store.

These tools will not only save you time, but they will help you do a better and more accurate job setting up your guitar and making it play and sound its best.

With that being said, let’s jump into the tools that I use and what I would recommend to you. I’ve divided each set of tools into repair categories, so you find each tool you’ll need for whatever job you want to do.

The Ultimate List of Guitar Repair Tools

Here is a list of guitar repair tools that you will need to do any fix or setup on your guitar.

Guitar Setup Tools

Guitar setup tools are general tools that are used to setup your guitar and get it playing great. These tools are used to lower your guitar action, set the string radius, adjust the pickup height, and straighten the truss rod.

Here’s a list of setup tools that you should have.

Mini Guitar Setup Kit

lower-guitar-action-tool-kit-setThis mini guitar setup kit includes a set of string radius gauges, a set of truss rod allen wrenches, and a string height ruler. This is a great set to have for lowering and setting the action on any guitar.

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String Winder

battery-powered-guitar-string-winder-giftIt doesn’t matter if you are a professional guitar tech or just an amateur guitar player, you need a string winder to change your strings. I prefer using this electric string winder because it makes changing strings about 1,000x easier and faster with way less frustrations than using a manual one. It’s worth it.

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Truss Rod Wrenches

truss-rod-wrenchesOne of the most basic guitar setups includes adjusting the truss rod, so the guitar neck is straight and flat. These wrenches are specifically designed to fit Gibson truss rod access points in the headstock. Normal nut drivers are too big for this, but these wrenches easily fit in there.

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Truss Rod Wrench Set

truss-rod-wrench-setGuitars have tons of different styles of truss rods, so a single wrench isn’t enough to adjust all of them. You will need a set like this. This set includes specialty wrenches that fit in the sound hole of acoustic guitar to reach to truss rod at the base of the neck. It also includes wrenches to adjust both nut and socket style truss rods. This is the ultimate set. You won’t need anything beyond this.

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Guitar Screwdriver Set

guitarist-screwdriver-giftGuitars have many different screws, nuts, and bolts that you’ll need to adjust in a normal setup. Here’s a set of the most common bits you will need to adjust just about any guitar.

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String Radius Gauges

string-radius-gaugeAn important part of making your guitar play smooth as butter is matching the string radius with the fretboard radius. The easiest way to do that is to use this gauge set to measure the fretboard and then set the bridge. These gauges are design to easily slide between and underneath the strings. This way you can easily measure the fretboard with out taking the strings off.

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Guitar Feeler Gauges

guitar-repair-setup-feeler-gaugesGuitar repair feeler gauges are used to measure the action at the first fret, the relief or back bow of the neck at the 12th fret, and a bunch of other key setup measurements. If you want an accurate setup, you’ll need to have one of these in your tool box.

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Guitar String Height Ruler

guitar-string-action-measurement-rulerThis string height ruler is one of the most handy tools that you can have. It has easy to read rules designed for key setup measurements. One section is used for the action at the 12th fret while another is used to measure the nut spacing. It also has key measurements highlighted, so you can remember them. This is a must have!

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Guitar Fret Repair Tools

Guitar fretting tools are designed to do all different types of guitar fret repairs. There are special tools for removing, leveling, crowning, and measuring guitar frets. If you ever plan on doing any type of guitar fret repair or simply trying to get rid of annoying fret buzz, you will need these tools.

Here’s a list of the best guitar fret repair tools that you should have in your toolbox.

Guitar Fret Repair Tool Kit

guitar-fret-repair-tool-kitThere are a lot of different tools you need to do basic guitar fret repairs. Some are more common than others, but you pretty much need a basic set of tools to do most repairs and projects. This fret repair tool kit comes with all the basics and an instructional guide on how to do the repairs.

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Fret Leveling Bars and Beams

fret-leveling-beam-barA fret leveling beam is a machined bar with sand paper on it used to evenly sand and level all of the frets across the fretboard. This is the only real way to accurate level guitar frets and make sure there isn’t any string buzz. Plus, these save you tons of time doing any type of fret dress repairs. You can also use them to level the fretboard if you ever replace all the guitar frets.

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Fret Bender

fret-wire-benderA fret bender is used to easily bend fret wire into the perfect radius to fit your guitar fretboard. Since all guitar fretboards have different radiuses, it can be difficult to accurately match the fret wire to them by hand. This miniature pipe bender allows you to get the perfect radius by simply running the fret wire through the rollers.

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Fret Tang Nips

fret-tang-nippersThe part of the fret wire that gets inserted into the fret slot is called a tang. Some guitars have binding on the side of the fretboard to hide these tangs. Thus, the tangs need to be cut off the edges of the frets so they don’t hit the fretboard binding. This is a special tool that uses a mini sheering blade to easily cut the tang accurately. This is a huge time saver!

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Fret Crown File

fret-crowning-fileA fret crowning file is a special file designed to round the top of the guitar fret wire. After you level the guitar frets, the tops of each fret are flat. This will cause fret buzz because the strings are hitting multiple points on each fret. The fret crown file lets you easily round the fret tops with only a few passes. It’s way fast than trying to use a standard file.

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Curved Fret Crown File

guitar-fret-crowning-fileThis is the ultimate fret crown file. It is diamond crusted, so it cuts way faster than a normal file. It also has a unique curve on the ends, so you can easily file down the edges of the guitar frets. It’s also dual sided with two different grits of diamonds. This way you can file something down quickly with the harsh grit and then clean it up with the smooth grit. If you do a lot of fret work, this is the file to get. I have two of them. đŸ™‚

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Fret End File

fret-end-fileAfter frets are installed in the fretboard, they typically hang off the edge of the neck. This is what most guitarists call “sharp fret ends.” This is also common in dry climates when the neck shrinks and the frets down. The frets stick out of the side of the fretboard and poke your hand as you play. This specially designed file easily files down the frets, so they are smooth with the edge of the fretboard with only a few passes.

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Fret Beveling File

fret-beveling-fileOnce frets are installed on the fretboard, they will have square, sharp edges. In order to make the frets more comfortable to play, you’ll need to file a bevel in each fret. This file is designed to put a perfect, uniform bevel in every fret with only a few passes down the guitar neck. It’s way faster than using a regular file and way more accurate.

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Fret Files

fret-dress-filesAfter the fret ends have been beveled, there is typically a small burr left over from the fret beveling file. You’ll need a small, sharp set of files to clean up the burrs and make the fret ends and make the guitar playable. These files are designed for fret work with their slim, low profile.

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Fret Slot Saw

guitar-fret-slot-sawA fret slot saw is a extremely thin and sharp Japanese pull saw designed to cut a slot in the fretboard at the exact thickness of a fret tang. Having one of these is crucial to doing any fret work because a sloppy, oversized fret slot won’t allow the fret to seat properly and will probably make the fret come loose in the future.

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Fret Slow Saw For Fretboard Binding

fret-slot-sawYou can’t use a regular fret slot saw on a guitar with fretboard binding because you will simply saw through the binding and ruin it. Not to mention cutting into the binding kind of defeats the purpose of having it. This saw is designed to reach in the fret slot without hurting the binding. It’s great for fitting fret wire or just cleaning out remaining glue.

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Fret Slot Depth Gauge

fret-slot-depth-gaugeA fret slot depth gauge is used to measure how deep the fret slots are. This is handy when you are replacing frets and you need to know what size tang can fit in the existing slot. It’s also a must have when you are building a guitar and installing frets for the first time.

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Fret Slot Cleaning Tool

fret-slot-cleaning-toolA fret slot cleaning tool is a hooked blade used to scrape out glue or other debris in the fret slot after you remove a guitar fret. This handy tool has a blade thin enough to fit in the slot with a nice over-sized handle, so you will have complete control.

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Fret Rocker

fret-rocker-toolA fret rocker is one of those tools that you have to have if you are doing any type of fret work. This mini straight edge is designed to check how level the frets are by spanning the distance between a few frets on the fretboard at a time. The different length edges can be used on different places on the neck as the fret spacing varies. It’s an awesome tool to have.

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Notched Straight Edge

guitar-notched-straight-edgeA notched straight edge is a complete innovation. This tool allows you to check the straightness of your guitar neck by measuring the fretboard with the frets still on the neck! The notches in the straight edge go over the frets, so you don’t get any false measurements due to the frets not being level. I love this thing.

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Fret End Cutter

guitar-fret-cutterThe fret end cutter is a special ground down pair of end nips that can not only be used to cut the fret ends flush with the edge of the fretboard, but it can also be used to remove frets by wedging the nips between the fretboard and the bottom of the fret bead.

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Guitar Fret Hammer

guitar-fret-hammerA fretting hammer is used to make sure the frets are seating all the way down in the fret slot and bottom of the fret bead is evenly touching the fretboard. This custom hammer is designed to prevent you from denting or marring the frets while hammering them in the fretboard.

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Guitar Fret Press

gutiar-fret-pressThe guitar fret press is used to press the frets into the fretboard instead of hammering them in place. This ensures the frets are evenly seated in the slots and there is not damage done to the frets in the process. Plus, it’s way faster than using a hammer. This is how just about every guitar company installs their frets.

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Guitar Nut Repair Tools

The guitar nut not only controls the guitar action on the first 5-10 frets, it also controls the string spacing and has an important role in guitar intonation. Thus, if you want to lower the action, get rid of fret buzz, or fix the intonation on your guitar, you’ll need a few different tools.

Here’s a list of the most common guitar nut repair tools that you will need for most repairs.

Guitar String Slot Files

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Guitar Nut Slot Files

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Guitar String Spacing Ruler

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Guitar Nut Slot Feeler Gauges

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Guitar Nut Saw

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Guitar Nut Vise

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Guitar Bridge Repair Tools

  • String Radius Gauges
  • String Height Ruler
  • Guitar Screw Drivers
  • Saddle Files
  • Saddle Vise

String Radius Gauges

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String Height Ruler

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Guitar Screw Drivers

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Saddle Files

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Saddle Vise

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Guitar Truss Rod Adjustment Tools

  • Truss Rod Wrench Set
  • Truss Rod Pocket Wrench Set
  • Sound Hole Allen Wrench Set
  • Guitar Screw Drivers
  • Truss Rods

Truss Rod Wrench Set

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Truss Rod Pocket Wrench Set

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Sound Hole Allen Wrench Set

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Guitar Screw Drivers

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Truss Rods

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Guitar Fretboard Repair Tools

Fretboard Leveling Bars

Guitar Fretboard Radius Blocks

Guitar Fretboard Straight Edges

Fretboard Glue

Fretboard Cleaning Products

Guitar Pickup & Pot Repair Tools

Guitar Pickup Soldering Gun

Guitar Wire Strippers

Guitar Pot Cleaner

Guitar Multi-Meter Gauge

Guitar Finishing Tools

Guitar Finish Spray Gun

Guitar Finish Mask

Guitar Finish Sand Paper

Guitar Buffing and Polishing Wheel

Guitar Tuner Repair Tools

Powered Guitar String Winder

Guitar String Winder

Guitar Tuner Bushing Reamer

Guitar Tuner Peg Hole Reamer

Guitar Tuner Press