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The DIYers toolbox...what do I need?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by funkasaurus, May 24, 2005.

  1. funkasaurus


    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I want to start performing my own setups on my basses, the problem is I don't have the right size hex wrenches.

    I own:
    2000 Fender MIM Jazz 4 w/BadAss II bridge and DiMarzio Model J's
    MTD Kingston Fretless 4 completely stock

    Does anyone know what size hex wrenches I need for the truss rods and bridges on these two basses, and for the pickup pole piece height adjustment on the Model J's?

    What other tools do you guys keep in the ol' toolbox for doing your own setups?
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Not much that you'll really need. But, I suggest the following:

    1) Complete set of hex wrenches including both Metric and Standard sizes. You never know when you'll get paid to do a setup on an imported instrument.
    2) Screwdriver set, always need the little guys for height adjustment and the big ones for neck bolts. Make sure you're well equipped.
    3) Action gauge from stewmac.com. Black lines make measuring action a breeze. Worth the price.

    Other than that, a nice clean area away from traffic, a soldering iron and some patience, that should be all you need for basic setups.
  3. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    Other then what tplyons posted, I'll add a few items I like to have around as well..

    A GOOD tuner for setting intonation...I use a Peterson strobe tuner

    A truss wrench, radius gauges, nut files, feeler gauges, burnishing sticks (for nut work) 0000 steel wool for cleaning up dirty fingerboards...bore oil for oiling ebony and rosewood boards. A straight edge steel rule (notched is best) for getting a ruler flat action.
    I'm sure there's more...but that's a good start

    good luck!! :hyper:
  4. funkasaurus


    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Looks like I have most of what I need, except for the small hex wrenches for bridge and pole height adjustments.

    I checked out the action gauge you mentioned. Very cool! Here's a link in case anyone else is interested:

    At this point, I just want to be able to do basic setups. Once I feel comfortable with that, I'll move on to more advanced (for me) tasks, like installing pups/electronics, adjusting nuts, and fretwork.

    Thanks for the great info! :hyper:
  5. Jimmy P.

    Jimmy P.

    Apr 5, 2005
    Tokyo, Japan
    The DiMarzio Model J pole piece adjustment screw requires a 3/32" (inch) hex wrench.
  6. Most big box home stores have decent sets of standard and metric hex keys for under $20. I have a nice Bondhus ball end set, and a matching English/Metric Husky set and they have fit everything I have needed to adjust so far. I also have a bag of single hex keys that I have acculumated and that comes in handy too.

    I'd want to have (meaning that it is in my toolbox now):

    Hex keysets - English/Metric
    Precision screwdriver set, flat and phillips, long shafts
    Jewelers file set
    mini VOM
    Stewmac fret rocker
    Stewmac setup gauge
    Stewmac "T" radius gauges
    One or both 24" and 8" precision straightedge
    Large Phillips and flat drivers
    Nut driver set, from 1/8 to 3/4"

    Anything past that falls into the "repair" kit category.
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I would add a capo and a set of feelers (auto type are fine) for adjusting the relief.

    And that action guage looks cool. I read the description, and that's me. Hmm, I want 5/64ths, that's two lines and a half.... :D

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