I should have bought a digital caliper years ago. This one cost less than £14. I bought it to measure the gauge of guitar strings, but it’s proved itself with the diameter of tiny screws and nuts, and all the other things you need to keep a stable of guitars in good working order.
I have two acoustic guitars, two semi-acoustics – one with a Bigsby, two bass guitars, a Danelectro dedicated to slide, two Strats, a Les Paul and one 12 string electric…. and I keep forgetting the gauge of the strings on each.
I used ultra-cheapo strings for some of the electrics – a huge box of Harley Benton Value 9 to 11’s that will last me from now until the final Trump. But for the guitars I play loads, especially the acoustics, I’ve gone over to the much more expensive Elixirs, which do last a lot longer if you play them loads.
But with guitars that have trems, and semi-acoustics that play better with a 10 rather than a 9, the slide guitar, and the acoustics that are best with 11’s rather than 12’s, it’s important to get all the variables exactly right.
Also, acoustic “Lights” and “Ultra-Lights” are heavier gauges than their electric equivalents. I got caught out with the “Light” Elixirs, and so am regarding the process of wearing them out on my J-45 as being a method of making my fingers stronger….
But the digital caliper gives me the sizes in millimetres. So now, that dreadful moment when you change strings at a gig then realise that you’re not going to be able to string bend – or that it ain’t going to stay in tune – are in the past. Plus, no more guess work as the which socket to use, of bolts to be buying….