What’s In Your Toolbox?
By Sam Hindmarsh
Picture this; you are a guitar player and you are about to play the biggest show of your life, I mean the crowd is there - your flyers worked! (Does anyone use paper flyers anymore?) The vibe in the club is hot and you grab your guitar and BOOM, something is not working right….WHAT DO YOU DO!?
We have all been there and yes I learned the hard way as many of you probably have too. So what is the solution to this existential problem? A Toolbox.
But what do you put into your toolbox? Whats right for a guitar player may not be right for a drummer and vice versa. Perhaps you are a guitar tech responsible for more than just tuning but frets, electronics etc.
The good news is that for just a little bit of money or even none at all if you have some basic tools around the house, you can build out a toolbox that could one day save your performance and totally save the show!
Let’s dive into a few different types of toolbox setups.
Its easy to find some pre-made toolkits online at places like Sweetwater, Amazon, Musicians Friend and even WalMart for like $30/$40 and up. You can create your own as well and I am here to give you a road map from a basic setup to a more built out version.
Basic starter toolbox:
So this is gonna be a setup that can solve most, not all, but most common issues that you may encounter.
- Quarter Inch adapter (Headphones)
- 9V batteries
- AA batteries
- String Winder/w string cutter OR wire cutters
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Small Zipties
- Mini Flashlight
- Small set of Allen wrenches
- Couple small screwdrivers or screwdriver set with Phillips & flatheads
- Gaff Tape
- Extra Picks
- Extra Strings
- Extra in ears if you are running ears (can be as simple as basic headphones) - NO EAR PROTECTION but at least you can get through your show if you are running tracks or playing to a click etc.
- Extra 1/4in cables
- Extra xls cables
- Extra Speaker Cable
- Extra patch cables
- Extra power supplies for pedals
- Extra power supplies for heads/amps
Now this list may seem like a decent bit of stuff but trust me you can fit most of this into your pedalboard case and guitar case if you don’t have a dedicated toolbox. I have at one time or another literally used everything on this list.
Higher End - Restring and Setup Tool Box
This is stuff you can add in addition to list above. Yes there is some overlap but I am just giving you various options that you can start with and then optimize as you go along and figure out what you like to work with the most or what your specific situation needs.
- Radius gauges
- Fret rocker
- Radius gauges
- Inspection mirror
- String wonder/cutter
- bridge pin puller
- String winder stewmac
- Ruler for strings (standard)
- 2032 coin battery
- Guitar picks
- Extra springs
- Tooth picks
- Extra of screws
- Esp wrench
- Fret guards
- Steel wool 000
- Painters tape
- Stew max tool tighten jacks
- Gibson multi tool (d’ddario, Ibanez)
- Fret files
- Gator socket
- D’ddario fast winder for drill
- Different tuners
- On the go headstock test (d’ddario)
- Magnet for guitars stillete design
- Deoxit D5
- Tool to spray knobs
- Stewmac tool screwdrivers
- Allen keys multi (standard and metric)
- Lubricant (d’ddario) Lubrikit
- Super glue stew max 20x
- Mini-zip ties
- Zip ties
- Lemon oil - ColorTone StewMac
- Goby labs guitar polish
- D’ddario polish
- Stew mac polish cloth
- Micro fibers polish cloth
- Stewmac complete cleaning kit
And that’s the good stuff ladies and gentlemen, this will save your show and by default your life when the natives don’t boo you off the stage for your rig cutting out. I hope you all got some nice insights and we wish you guys luck out there as you build your personalized toolbox.