So, last time I talked about methods for fishing output jacks into hollow-body guitars.
That’s all well and good until you try to tighten up the securing nut on your jack and find it spinning endlessly in the body because you can’t get your fingers inside to hold it in place.
Most solid-body guitars have the output jack positioned somewhere your grasping fingers can reach. You just hold the jack with one hand and tighten the nut with the other.
If you’ve a hollow-body guitar (or if you’re too lazy to remove a pickguard/cover to hold the jack as you tighten) you’ll probably stress the hook-up wires and break them off.
You need a means of preventing the jack from turning as you tighten the nut.
Bullet Guitar Jack Tightener
This little gizmo is pretty simple. A shaft with a rubber tip is pushed into the jack. It doesn’t go all the way in, but the rubber tip ‘grips’ the jack.
The hex-socket head goes over the nut and you can use the little tab-handle thing to tighten it.
These things are not terribly expensive and I’d count them as essential guitar-case tools. Seriously, they can really save your ass if you turn up at a gig and find your guitar or bass has a loose jack. Even better, they’ll make you look like a superstar if you produce one when someone else has a loose jack.
Jack The Gripper
The brilliantly awful pun is the name of the Rolls Royce solution to this problem. For most people reading this, the Bullet gizmo above is perfect. Relatively cheap, small enough to throw in a guitar case or gig bag, and it works well.
For someone who works with guitars, though, you might want an even more surefire method of gripping jacks. Enter Jack The Gripper (ahem).
This thing has a clever little knurled cam on the end of a shaft. The cam locks to hold a jack while you tighten it up.
These are more expensive (and over-engineered) than most readers will need but, whereas the Bullet’s rubber tip will eventually wear out if you use it often, Jack The Gripper will be good for ever. That’s useful if you have to do this sort of thing a few times a week.
Get ‘em at Stew Mac (where else?).
The Bottom Line
I really recommend everyone get a Bullet Jack Tightener and throw it in their case. You might not need it for years but — wow — when you do need it, you will be so thankful.
Just ask anyone who’s played a gig where their guitar kept cutting out because of a loose jack. That’s no fun.
And they’re not just for hollow-body guitars. If you’re in a hurry, you don’t want the hassle of taking of your pickguard or cavity cover to tighten a jack.
By the way, both of these work with amps too. Just be careful of inserting Jack The Gripper’s metal shaft too far inside a plugged in amp. There shouldn’t be anything carrying dangerous electrical current behind the jack sockets but it pays to be careful.