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Basic guitar toolkit | by TT Zop
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Basic guitar toolkit

Tools used to perform this retrofit:

 

The Gibson Les Paul Handbook by Paul Balmer ($16.50 from Amazon)

Dremel™ rotary tool (grinding, fret polishing)

Screwdriver with hex head socket, multiple tips stored inside

Hex bit for the above, to use sockets

Deep 1/4" socket, for jack and pot nuts

Narrow walled 5/16" socket, for truss rod adjustment

Small Phillips and Standard tip jeweler's screwdrivers

Wire snips and needle-nosed pliers

Multimeter, digital auto range ($13 on eBay)

Pair of alligator clip leads

Micrometer, with digital readout ($12 on eBay)

X-Acto™ knife

Small pistol-grip battery-powered drill with hex head socket

Turbo Tune string winder, pulls apart for drill use ($8 from Stew-Mac)

Helping Hands clips w/ lighted magnifier and soldering station

25 Watt soldering iron (pen type), chisel tip

Desoldering bulb, solder wick for cleanup

Solder, 60/40 resin core

Wire strippers

Bright halogen desk lamp

Acrylic ruler with metal straightedge to check fret level (not shown)

 

Also essential: Besides a few cleaning/polishing products, three large thick bath towels to lay flat or roll up, to both support and protect the guitar.

 

Don't let a fear of soldering prevent you from doing your own guitar work. If you can play guitar, you already have more than enough dexterity to do it. Basic instructions and how-to videos are all over the Web; spend five minutes to learn and five minutes to practice, and you'll have it down well enough. Just remember:

 

1. Heat the part, not the solder; apply solder to the part, not the tip.

2. Don't get the parts too hot. That can melt insulation or fry a capacitor (I've 'cooked' a few pots and ruined them from excessive heating after lots of pickup swapping). Using hemostats or aluminum heat sink clips (even larger alligator clips) can keep things from overheating.

 

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Taken on March 1, 2010