The Inexpensive, Everyday Tools That Live on My Workbench – Premier Guitar

The issue with providing recommendations is that there are many different methods to every little thing, as well as generally more than one “best” solution. With my 5 decades of taking guitars apart, as well as occasionally putting them back with each other, I take a lot of things for given, and I admit that I’m still discovering. However disregarding all that, I’ll just advance and also share the cost-effective tools and materials required to do several of my favorite little methods.


The solvent, not day-drinking. Pharmacy grade isopropyl is a respectable at a lot of cleaning jobs, and is fairly benign. It’s great for puncturing the cruds that builds up on guitars, as well as it will not harm your finish. If you have actually purchased an entry-level Jazzmaster slathered with stickers, this is just things to obtain you back to a fresh start. You can generally degrease hardware as well as de-schmutz fretboards without concern of harming your valued axe. Isopropyl functions excellent on sticky fingers, also.


When cleaning with alcohol stops working, naphtha is a DEFCON-level higher. You might recognize it as benzine or lighter liquid. It’s method extra caustic than alcohol, and it’s also cancer causing, so wear handwear covers and also a NIOSH-approved respirator ranked for organic vapors when you’re using this things. It’s very combustible (lighter fluid, right?) as well as unsafe sufficient that a half-dozen states have outlawed its sale. Oddly, it’s mild enough to make use of on nitro surfaces. I used this things for wet-sanding nitro for years, up until a sander blew up in our store. I quickly switched to completely dry fining sand with open layer paper. I warn you not to utilize this solvent unless it’s your last resort.


This is as near a miracle as you can obtain for $15. A Tri-Flow pen is a wonderful method to lube whatever ails your equipment. Got a sticky truss rod nut? One decrease on the strings and also washer as well as you’re off to the races. Loud fan? Squeaky bearings? Rusty pliers? You thought it, Tri-Flow to the rescue. Relax those situation pivots and also hasps. In Chicago, I put a decrease in my shop door lock to keep it functioning when it was 25 below no.

Squashing Paste

This is some traditional spray-painter tomfoolery. Want to get that plain matte or flat surface result when painting your guitar? Don’t pay for matte lacquers, just add a little of this things to your gloss clear and also you’re good to go. Build up the clear coats with your normal gloss clear, and then do a final layer with some squashing paste combined in. You won’t see it working when you spray, but when it dries, the effect begins. Trying out the formula on a scrap piece beginning with a mix of concerning 5 percent in the beginning, as well as increase up until you get what you want. The insane thing is that if you do not like the means it looks, you can simply buff it out to gloss like normal.

Ruby Toenail Documents

Luthier supply shops get serious coin for diamond-coated documents because they function great and last nearly forever. My tip is to get a set of German-made ruby nail data from Amazon. You can obtain a collection of 5 various dimensions for 10 bucks! I use them to deburr sharp edges on bridges, frets, and also anything that needs a quick smoothing. Get 2 collections and also place some in your job bag. You can likewise submit your nails with them.

Notched Fret Cauls

Have a look at StewMac to grab a collection of notched fret-press cauls. These points won’t obtain made use of that usually, but if you have a lifted fret at a gig, or if you’re just as well careless to take the strings off, this is the nazz. The great point is that, in a pinch, you can position the caul on the high fret (the strings enter the notches) and also just hammer it lightly with a Shure 58 to reseat that buzzy fret.

Watco Oil

Step up your fretboard preparation to the pro degree with Watco. Technically a permeating varnish, it looks terrific as well as seals wood against dampness, which supports your neck. Begin with a cleaned fretboard, then use all-natural Watco on your rosewood or ebony, being careful not to trickle any type of on lacquer. If you’re worried, mask off the sides of the neck. Adhere to the directions on the canister. Apply with a soft rag or paper towel, and flooding it with two or three liberal passes until it quits taking in. Do not worry if you get a little on the stresses, yet normally attempt to avoid them. Wait 20-30 minutes– that’s the secret, so go do something else for a while. Come back and also add a light coat and enthusiast to a shine with a cloth. Let it heal overnight.

There are a zillion little shortcuts as well as techniques you grab with time and experience, and also these are simply a few of the ones I utilize almost daily. Like I stated, I’m still discovering, so I’m passing these on you. If even one of them aids you out, you’ve made my day.

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