Tools needed for cutting a nut and doing a setup?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by memphisrain, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. memphisrain

    memphisrain Member

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    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Since I've moved away from my luthier friend that used to do all of my work, I'm considering getting started in doing my setups myself. I also like to build guitars from Warmoth or USACG parts, but would rather not pay the $100 for a nut and setup. So, I'm wondering what tools are necessary in order to fit/cut a nut properly, set a bolt on neck at the proper angle, and intonate and setup a guitar to play properly.

    I've got a lot of basic handtools, and drills, etc. I'm talking specialized tools here. I know I'll need a set of nut files, spacing guide, and fingerboard contour guide, but what else?

    Oh and I'm also interested in the buzz feiten system, is there anything special for that, other than the technique?

    Finally, I should probably get a good book on the subject, suggestions?

    TIA,

    mR
     
  2. joey_r

    joey_r Member

    Messages:
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    Aug 24, 2006
    As far as informational material goes, Dan Erlewine's books and DVDs are great. Regarding tools go, you're just about set. You will need a way to measure the relief on your neck. Most people use simple feeler gauges. And if you want to do a full setup, including frets, you could really use a straightedge will notches cut out for the frets to make sure your neck is dead straight. Stew mac sells them, but you can build one easy enough. Another uncommon tool would be a ruler with 64th inch gradients for checking string height over frets and polepieces. And of course files. You can't have too many files. Maybe even a rasp to quickly rough in the shape of a nut.

    While we're at it, how about electronic tools? A good soldering iron is indispensable. If you're on a budget, look for a good Weller iron that can use both pointed and chisel tips. And you absolutely need a way to clean and maintain the tip while you work with it. This is the most important aspect of making good solder joints: keep your tip clean and tinned while working, always. And a solder sucker is useful for unsoldering terminals. And a desoldering braid works well for cleaning solder off pots and bridge claws. A multimeter is useful when you start messing with electronics.

    But the books above will give you a better idea of what you need, depending on the exact types of jobs you'll be doing. I highly recommend learning how to set your own guitar up. It's very satisfying.
     
  3. memphisrain

    memphisrain Member

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    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    I should have mentioned in my first post that I have the electronics side covered as well as my basic tools. I've got the soldering iron, etc, already. Thanks though, that is a very good suggestion.

    Also, thanks for the Dan Erlewine suggestion. I kinda figured he would be the one suggested, but was wanting some more opinions.

    Thanks again,
    mR
     
  4. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

    Messages:
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    Jan 9, 2005
    The content of my setup bag:

    Allen wrenches, metric & standard.
    Six inch ruler for measuring action and pickup height.
    Feeler gauges for measuring relief.
    Small screwdrivers for adjusting pickups, setting intontation, and removing trussrod covers.
    Large multi-tip screwdriver for adjusting action and tailpiece height.
    Makeup brush for dusting off bridges, pickups and other hard to get places.
    String winder.
    Small pair of dykes for cutting strings.
    Graphite and Graph-it-all for lubrication.

    I also use a Stewmac straightedge for measuring relief, and a Peterson strobe tuner for setting intonation.
     
  5. joey_r

    joey_r Member

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    Aug 24, 2006
    Erlewine is great (Guitar Player Repair Guide being my favorite), but if you're looking for other suggestions, check out Melvyn Hiscock's "Make Your Own Electric Guitar." Granted, it covers construction, but in doing so it covers setup stuff very well and in a mostly different manner than Erlewine.

    I've got a couple of good electronic books too: Craig Anderton's "Electronic Projects for Musicians" and Donald Brosnac's "Guitar Electronics." The latter title is better for learning guitar electronics, but they both helped my to understand electronics as relevant to music gear.
     
  6. fabiomayo

    fabiomayo Member

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    Jun 14, 2005
    Location:
    Niteroi - RJ, Brazil
    I personally like Erlewine's 'How to make your electric guitar play great'
    better than the 'Guitar Player Repair Guide' though both are fine references.
    His videos are terrific, though I don't personally own any. Worth the
    expensive price in my opinion.

    As for tools, the books and videos above are really helpful on choosing
    tools as well as teaching to build your own tools for the hoobyist.
    His newer book comes with detachable radius gauges, but you can get
    those at (or even draw your own - it's not all that difficult):
    [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]http://www.pickguardian.com/pickguardian/index.html
    http://www.kinman.com
    [/FONT]
     

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