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Purchasing Luthier Tools Online

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Night Prowler, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler Tele-Meister

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    It's near impossible to get my guitars worked on during this pandemic so I decided to try and learn to do my own setups and maintenance. But obviously I need some basic luthier tools.

    I was looking around on eBay and noticed several sellers specializing in guitar tools. I don't want to buy junk but since I'm just doing it for myself, I can't really justify spending a hundred + bucks on one file from Stew Mac.

    Here's what I think I need:
    • fret rocker, files and protector guards
    • fret leveling tool
    • string action ruler
    • understring radius gauges
    • notched straight edge
    So I thought I'd ask if anyone has had any luck or suggestions buying luthier tools from eBay or other online retailers that are decent and don't cost $$$ ?
     
  2. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    I got some really decent stuff from Aliexpress. Just write 'luthier' in the search bar.
     
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  3. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    I bought my fret file and action gauge from FretGuru on Amazon - worth the few extra bucks. The rest of that stuff, I bought cheapies off eBay. I get by just fine. Same boat: I've struggled to get stuff serviced during the last year and just learned to do my own from youtube. The John Carruthers videos really helped
     
  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    • fret rocker, Bought mine on Ebay, they are great. Appear to be the same maker that makes Stew Mac's and a small portion of the price. "Homeland"
    • fret leveling tool
    • string action ruler Bought 4 on Ebay for nuttin. "Forstring Instruments"
    • understring radius gauges Yep, bought some fine ones on Ebay.
    • notched straight edge Bought a non notched one on Ebay from Greece. It's fine and straight.
     
  5. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

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    You'll need some 30 wt ball bearings and some antifreeze, preferably Quaker State.
     
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  6. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    You really want to find a seller that has an established reputation for selling good quality luthier tools :).

    I've never bought a bad tool from Philadelphia Luthier Tools. Or, for that matter, anything else. Always good quality.

    I've bought a few tools from Elmer Guitar, and they are identical to the same tool sold by StewMac except for the name sticker and a final spit-polishing (and an additional cost mark-up).

    Buy your tools wisely, and they'll serve you for a lifetime :).

    .
     
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  7. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Tele-Afflicted

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    Seriously, one thing I would consider buying to go along with your tools is a very cheap beat up old guitar to experiment on first. I work on all my stuff, but I've destroyed a lot of guitars since I was 11 years old!
     
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  8. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not sure that you'll need a notched straightedge.

    I get along fine with just a good regular straightedge and a decent set of feeler gauges; I think you can get both for less than the price of a notched straightedge.

    .
     
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  9. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    old wrench, I came across this eBay seller https://www.ebay.com/str/guitartools88


    I have no affiliation. Just seems to offer quality tools at a fair price so I'm going to order a few tools from him.
     
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  10. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    Looks like a good choice :).

    I believe those are the very same tools sold by Elmer and StewMac. It's just a matter of getting hooked up with the real manufacturer or their distributor.

    The StewMac versions are just cleaned up a little prettier and given a final buff before they slap their name on them.

    Same functionality though.

    Moving on to do your own work on setups and maintenance gives you the opportunity to setup your guitar the way it feels and plays it's best. Small changes can make a big difference :).

    .
     
  11. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    if you level frets you need a way to crown them=crowing files can get pricey. I got by for years without a notched straight edge- a hardware store wetstone can be used to level frets- I did it for years-I also hear folks using cutoff pieces of countertops with sandpaper stuck to it
     
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  12. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I read about Corian countertop pieces being used for leveling.

    I'm not going to lie, I'm more than a little confused about which crowning files to get now that I looked into this. There's so many different sizes, style, grit, etc., available.
     
  13. smoothrecluse

    smoothrecluse Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    This video by stewmac explains the different fret crowning file options. It’s worth watching, and of course, you don’t have to buy them from stewmac. In fact, the guy in the video says that he prefers a regular three-corner file with the edges ground to protect the fretboard.

     
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  14. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

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    IMO, radius gauges are a waste of time and money. I set the string height from the top of the last fret to the bottom of the string at a certain number, then tweak from there if there happens to be any buzzing or fretting out.
    I also feel a notched straight edge isn't necessary.
    YMMV
     
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  15. MLHull

    MLHull Tele-Meister

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    For a fret leveling bar I have heard of using a marble threshold from Home Depot or Lowe's. Cut in half or to you preferred length.
     
  16. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    This is very good advice. On that same coin, I built my first tele having no prior knowledge about building, set up etc. at all. I learned a TON building that guitar. Perhaps the OP should consider this option as a learning tool as well. My tele came out great and is my main guitar today, but I took my time and went really slow... and consulted the experts out here which were invaluable to my success in that build.
     
  17. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    purchase a cheap guitar neck=ebay.
    a]learn to a]level and crown to completion the frets. learn to file/reduce the string slot depthat the nut.
    b]learn to set up the guitar to completion. sell neck and purchase another neck=recuperate tools cost etc..
    repeat a-b=practice and hone the skill acquired...learn from your errors etc.

    gain the understanding etc. avoid guesswork.
     
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