MusicNomad is a US-based company that offers specialised products for musical instrument care. The range includes a variety of cleaning products as well as some innovative tools to make basic guitar maintenance more straightforward, while also protecting your instrument’s finish and easily damaged parts.
First up we’re looking at the GRIP Winder string-winding tool, which promises to make string-changing “a whole lot easier, safer and more fun”. While we’re sceptical that changing your strings is ever likely to be classed as ‘fun’ the rest of those claims are much easier to get onboard with. It’s a tool with just one function – namely to tension and de-tension strings as quickly and smoothly as possible, and it does that job extremely well.
What sets it apart from cheaper string winders is a fat, non-slip handle that makes it easy to grip, and a dual-bearing mechanism for the shaft. Clever design allows the GRIP Winder to fit a wide variety of tuner buttons – including bass tuners – and there’s also a sealable compartment inside the handle for you to store loose acoustic bridge pins.
If you’re a super-organised guitar tech, we’re sure you have all your tools in their right place and never mislay the thing you need at the right time. The rest of us, however, spend a significant amount of guitar maintenance time looking for the correct-sized socket or screwdriver for the job – enter The Octopus.
The Octopus is so-named, of course, because it’s an eight-in-one multi-tool. It more closely resembles a screwdriver than a cephalopod, but there’s more besides. The screwdriver section is reversible, so there are cross- and flat-head options. With the screwdriver shaft completely removed, there’s a socket for 1/2 inch nuts that’s slim enough to get at recessed pot nuts or into a Tele jack cup.
Located at the rear of the handle there’s a moulding that comprises five hex sockets. Imperial options include 1/2-inch and 7/16-inch, and metric options are 10, 12 and 14mm. The plastic used is ballistic nylon, which promises to be tough and strong, but cannot scratch metal parts and is safer to use in the vicinity of nitrocellulose finishes.
The GRIP’s winding mechanism has no sideways play whatsoever and feels completely friction-free. The handle is easy to grip and the soft plastic moulding ensures that tuners and headstock cannot be damaged. This will be welcomed by anybody with pearl or lacquered wood tuner buttons.
We particularly like the way the winder ‘grips’ tuners buttons because there’s no unwanted movement. It’s also narrow enough to use with tightly packed tuners on Fender style guitars and 12-strings. Besides the fact that there’s no tool to prise out acoustic bridge pins, it’s hard to conceive of a better manual string winder.
The concept of reviewing tools is a bit odd, but every aspect of The Octopus performs flawlessly. Of more interest is the range of uses… The Octopus can tighten tuner bushings as well as potentiometer and jack nuts. The screwdrivers can be used for strap buttons, tuner screws, pickup height adjustment, string trees and switch screws. You can even use The Octopus to tighten loose jack sockets on amplifiers.
No doubt we’ve missed a few things, but you get the idea. It weighs next to nothing, takes up very little space and feels like it’s built to survive anything. At this price, there’s no reason why we all shouldn’t keep one of each of these tools in our gigbags.
- PRICE £13.99
- DESCRIPTION 8-in-1 guitar maintenance tool. Made in China
- DIMENSIONS 155 x 27mm
- PRICE £15.99
- DESCRIPTION String-winding tool. Made in China
- DIMENSIONS 130 x 50mm
- CONTACT High-Tech Distribution www.htd-uk.com www.musicnomadcare.com