"Tool Kits" for guitars


From time to time, you might need to adjust the action and/or intonation on your bass. Or you might want to make some other modification such as changing a pickguard or upgrading your tuners.

What tools do you need to do this?

There seems to be a zillion different “Musician’s Tool Kits” out there on various websites! All sorts of kits with any number of different screwdrivers, wrenches, hex drivers, etc. of all sizes, and it’s tempting to buy one of them, thinking it’ll cover everything. But unless you have a number of guitars and/or are planning to open a luthier shop of your own, it’s probably a waste of money. I just spent the morning looking at a lot of these kits, from all over the web.

My “Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass” came with a hex wrench for adjusting the truss-rod, and a smaller one for adjusting saddle height.

The smaller hex key that came from Fender appears a bit too loose, and I’m concerned that it may get rounded off. There are no markings on them but it appears that the larger one is 4mm, and the smaller one may be either 1.0 or 1.5mm

@JoshFossgreen could you ask your father what size that one may be? :slight_smile:

I know everyone’s situation is different, but in my case, all I need is a small Phillips screwdriver (perhaps a #0) to adjust pickup height and a larger one (perhaps a #1) for everything else. It’s crazy to have to buy an entire set of screwdrivers or hex wrenches in order to get the one you need. :yum:

I finally found a good source for individual quality screwdrivers in various sizes:

They also carry individual precision hex drivers in various sizes:

HTH someone out there.

All best, Joe


Maybe it is not so much the screwdrivers and wrenches that make these kits more costly, but perhaps there are some gauges included as well!?! I have never adjusted anything on a bass before, but don’t you need some gauges to check the radius of the fretboard and the action of the strings and stuff like that?? And, since some of these gauges probably are custom-made, perhaps that is why the kits cost more?


@joergkutter Yes, some kits do have feeler gauges, steel rulers, etc.

After studying dozens of “Guitar Tool Kits”, I decided to start with just what I needed: one two or Philips drivers, and a single (but exact fitting) hex driver. I know that Josh’s dad is a professional luthier, so I figured he would know the exact size of the hex driver for the saddles.

So many of these kits contain way more than you need, unless you have a number of guitars and/or do repair work. Most of us just need to change strings and check intonation. :slight_smile:

I am slowly building up my kit, and already have some common hand tools lying about, but I wanted to get an exact fit for the screws on my guitar, so I won’t strip any. Later on, if I need something specific, I’ll get it.

Thanks for your post and all best, Joe :slight_smile:


Yeah, you nailed the reason that I haven’t bought one of the guitar-specific kits - they come with a lot of stuff, and I don’t see myself (for example) sanding and filing down my bass’ nut any time soon :slight_smile:

My bass came with a decent set of allen wrenches, they all fit fine, but if they didn’t I would probably just buy a set of allen wrenches like you did, and not a guitar kit. Same goes for feeler gauges - they are not exactly expensive:

That said I will also say I was able to set up my bass without using a feeler gauge. A gauge would allow you to get it exactly in spec for the truss rod, but one point a lot of youtube tutorials make is that “in spec” is just a nominal target and may or may not feel best to you anyway. I checked mine by eyeball, it looked good, and the bass plays fine. I don’t necessarily recommend this, and YMMV.


Agreed @howard :grin:

StewMac also has a selection of individual drivers at comparable prices.

Thanks for your link and all best, Joe :slight_smile:


Hey @Jazzbass19, I’m not sure the exact size of the bridge saddles on that bass. I have that bass too and the wrenches that came with work fine, but also if you just get a basic assortment of imperial and metric allen wrenches that’ll cover any bass you have now or get in the future (as far as I know). And those are pretty cheap, I think I got both my sets for <$20 years ago and they’re useful for house projects and stuff too.


Thanks, @JoshFossgreen, The problem is that I already have several sets of keys, but none that small :slight_smile: The small hex key that came with the guitar is a loose fit, but the other one for the truss rod seems to match either my 5/32" or my 4mm key and fits just right. (Neither are marked for size, though)

My guess is that they mixed up imperial vs metric sizes. I am also guessing that the small one is either 1.5 mm or 1/16" so I’ll buy one or both. I realize you have the same guitar and that your dad is a professional luthier, so I figured you might know. But it may depend on where and when our guitars were made and shipped. It’s not super important at this time because I don’t need to make any adjustments yet and I’m just planning for the future.

There goes my “left” brain again :yum: ha-ha

Anyway, thanks for your reply and all best, Joe