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If you’re doing regular guitar DIY for yourself or others, you could easily spend hundreds of dollars accumulating a heap of tools for the various guitar nuts, bolts, and screws you’ll encounter.
That’s what I had to do. Years ago, there really was no other choice.
But over the past few years “all in one” guitar tool kits have been popping up. For years I’ve recommended the StewMac Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set and still do. It’s a great little kit.
However, in February of 2019, Music Nomad released its own Premium Guitar Tech Screwdriver & Wrench set.
I already use a number of Music Nomad products and know them to be top-quality. That, combined with the fact that this kit’s price comes in a few dollars cheaper than the StewMac kit meant I just had to order one to review for all of you.
The Music Nomad Guitar Tech Screwdriver & Wrench Set
Here’s what you get inside a very compact, lightweight aluminum carrying case:
- 12 Allen key sizes: .050″, 1/16″, 5/64″, 3/32″, 7/64″, 5/32″, 1.5mm, 2.0mm, 2.5mm, 3.0mm, 4.0mm, 5.0mm
- 3 Phillips: #0, #1, #2
- 3 Flat Blade: 2.5, 3, 5
- 7 Hex Wrench Sizes: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 1/4″ 1/2” (2) & 7/16
- Premium Spanner Wrench with suede backing to avoid scratching your gear
- Large ergonomic handle (aka “The Octopus”) with universal 1/4″ adapter
The Carrying Case
The aluminum carrying case is compact and lightweight, and not much bigger than my old iPhone 6. The case measures 3″ x 5.5″ x 1.4″.
All the tools inside are held in place by friction and/or magnets, so you can tip the case upside down with the lid open without any tools falling out.
Now, let’s take a look at a few of the tools by themselves.
The Guitar Tech Screwdriver and Wrench Set is built around 3 core components: the Octopus handle, premium spanner wrench, and the ¼” universal adapter.
The Octopus 8 ‘n 1 Tech Tool Handle
The handle in this set is a standalone product in its own right and serves as the foundation of two other Music Nomad products: The Octopus 8 ‘n 1 Tech Tool and the 17 ‘n 1 Tech Tool. This handle is also a nice complement to Music Nomad’s 11pc Guitar Tech Truss Rod Wrench Set or any of its individual truss rod wrenches.
The handle has 5 hex wrenches built right into its rear end: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, ½”, and 7/16” to tighten various nuts found on guitars (and amps). The other end houses a ½” hex wrench, and is also where you’ll attach the universal ¼” adapter that’ll hold all your bits.
It’s made of strong ballistic nylon, so there’s less risk of accidentally scratching or dinging hardware.
The Spanner Wrench
You see this style spanner wrench all over Amazon, white-labeled and at various price points. I’ve used a couple of them, but despite similarities they’re not all created equal. Of the 3 I’ve tried so far, I found this Music Nomad spanner wrench to be superior in 2 primary areas:
First, the teeth on the Music Nomad spanner are better than those of similar spanner wrenches I’ve used in the past. They’re precision cut and grippy, so they really grab whatever you’re trying to turn without slipping.
Second, and this is a big one, it’s backed with soft microfiber suede to prevent it from scratching your guitar during use.
Universal ¼ Inch Adapter
The universal ¼” adapter inserts securely into the handle and is what’ll hold all your screw and hex tips. The tips are magnetic, which is great for grabbing screws that might fall down into the guitar.
Tips and Bits
Unlike a generic toolset, Music Nomad has included only the most common metric, imperial, phillips, and flat-tip sizes needed for guitars. This not only saves space, it prevents you from needing to sift through dozens of tips to find the one you need. Good luck finding a screw or nut on your guitar that can’t be adjusted with one of these bits.
Similar Products / Competitors
As mentioned in the intro, Stewart MacDonald offers a very similar compact, all-in-one tool set called the StewMac Guitar Tech Screwdriver set. It’s a good set–one I’ve recommended in the past throughout this blog.
However, I feel the StewMac set is geared more toward a pro guitar tech or luthier and has a few specialty bits that the at-home DIY-er may never use. These include an awl point, screw starters, and a mini wire brush. So, keep this in mind when deciding between the StewMac or the Music Nomad tool set.
The Music Nomad Guitar Tech Screwdriver & Wrench Set In-Use
To put this tool set to the test, I used two of my 7-string electrics. I chose these two because they both have floating tremolos and locking nuts, which equates to just about every kind of nut, bolt, and screw you’ll find on a guitar.
First, I’ll start at the headstock end and work my way toward the body. Both ends of these guitars have a plethora of hardware that can be adjusted.
What Others Are Saying
I always like to feature other people’s opinions in my reviews. So, here’s what Raul Amador of Jazz Guitar Today had to say about the Guitar Tech Screwdriver and Wrench Set:
All the tools in this set are held securely in a lightweight aluminum case that measures only 3” x 5.5” x 1.4”. This is small enough to easily fit inside most guitar cases or even a large pant pocket. Go ahead and tip the case upside down with the lid open. Nothing will fall out because every tool and bit is held in by friction or magnets.
I could find no faults here. Time will tell how well the ballistic nylon hex wrenches and the various bits hold up to abuse, but my initial impression is that these are all top-quality components. The fact that Music Nomad tools are used by top guitar techs and luthiers all over the world only reinforces my confidence that it’ll be a while before I have to replace anything in this set.
I was able to adjust nearly every single screw, nut, and hex bold on my guitar… with only one exception. That exception was the string lock hex bolts on my Ibanez tremolo/bridge. The fine tuners got in the way of the universal adapter, forcing it into too steep of an angle to get in there. So, I’ll have to stick to an L-shaped Allen wrench for this one bolt. This is the only reason I deducted half a star here.
This set is competitively priced compared to other similar sets. It’s slightly cheaper than the StewMac tool set, and a LOT cheaper than a few other similar guitar tool kits out there made by companies such as Dunlop, Fender, and CruzTools.
Recap: What I Liked
- All the tools and materials are top-notch. Everything feels high quality and well made, as I’ve come to expect from Music Nomad’s products.
- The set contains just about every tool you’ll need for most guitar nuts, bolts, and screws.
- It’s a compact little tool set, and the lightweight carrying case will fit easily into the accessory compartment in most guitar cases or even a large pants pocket.
- I loved the protective suede on the back of the premium spanner wrench.
Recap: What I Didn’t Like
- Truss rod tools not included (but are available separately. Music Nomad sells individual truss rod wrenches, or their 11pc Guitar Tech Truss Rod Wrench Set)
The Final Verdict
This is a great tool set that seems to be made of top quality materials. I have no reservations recommending this to anyone who needs to do guitar setup and maintenance and wants a compact, almost-everything-in-one tool kit. It’s a set that’ll serve the casual DIY-er as well as pro guitar techs and luthiers. However, note that truss rod tools are not included here, so you’ll need to buy those separately if you don’t already own the ones you need.