Some tools are just so cool I can’t imagine living without one… Except that these things cost a small fortune… Then I went to Harbor Freight today, and guess what.
Must Have Luthier’s Tool: Laser Level
If you’ve ever tried to set the neck on a guitar at the correct level and straight you will understand why this is such a cool tool… I always wanted one but damn they were expensive… Then I found this Pittsburgh Tools Lazer Level at Harbor Freight for less than $20… Yes it’s made in China but how could you screw up a lazer… I half expected that all I’d be getting from China for $20 would be something like a can of Silly String with a ruler, but… Here it is shown on a ’59 Les Paul kit I’m preparing to review in the very near future:
The Cheap laser Level works and considering it’s closest competitor was 5 times the price ( And I’ll be damned… It was made in the PRC as well) it works really well.
Of course it comes in one of those packages that require a hand grenade to open… And hey even though the back of the package clearly states “Requires 2 AAA batteries sold separately” as you see there is a pair included right there with the level… Ever heard of “Trillion Batteries”?… No me neither but they work… Anyway…
Why a Laser Level for Building Guitars?
These are to coolest of tools with multiple purposes especially for setting a neck straight and when used properly it is dead accurate because for all intent purposes light doesn’t bend… It is also a fantastic tool for many other things such as accurate placement of a tail piece, pickups… etc. The straight light line and cross hairs can even aid in identifying flaws in contour when sanding so you don’t have to sit in the dark with a desk lamp like a bad 50’s film interrogation ogling the top for misshapen shadows.
The build on this level is not bad at all and it has the same features and is rated for the same accuracy of it’s $100 competition… It even has a “Lifetime Warranty” vs the 90 days.
I only have one minor gripe and that’s with the dialing up the angle on the side vial… The markings and the pointer are just a bit ambiguous and the clicks at 0°, 45°, 90° and 180° are stiff as $h1t but aside from that, the tool is all aces and I give it an A for quality and function and a Double A+ for price.