The lowly string cutter, AKA your least favorite piece of gear.

Butcher of Strats

Most Honored Senior Member
Feb 28, 2022
I use Channellock diagonal cutters
Been using Channelock since the 1960s and also buy Klein tools, favored by electricians.
Basics of tools is that cheap tools cost far more than expensive tools because on average they fail in use, work less effectively, and fail more frequently. Have had some cheap tools that were good but overall tools cost so little if they last for decades that I see no advantage in sourcing cheap tools.
I would never buy tools I have not seen and tried, online, certainly not from Amazon.

Butcher of Strats

Most Honored Senior Member
Feb 28, 2022
i bought the cheapest side cutters at home depot 25 years ago and they still work great.

(i am a needle nose plier snob, however).
Home Depot 25 years ago sold tools they would replace for free forever if you broke them.
I knew carpenters who routinely returned chalklines when they broke, which the Irwin plasic ones with a transmission did indeed wear out. Guys who did roofing or siding wore them out regularly and got a new one free every year or so.
Home Depot is no luxy supplier but they tend to sell legit tools that work and hold up.

The cheapest tools are pretty bad, the cheapest tools at Home Depot are often pretty good.


Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
Altered States
I use a "on the small side" pair of diagonal cutters that were my grandfathers. Probably from the 40's or 50's but still very sharp. He used them as a professional electrician so they've gone some miles. I'll have to check the name on them for curiosity.

I also have a mini-pair, maybe 3" that I bought at Lafayette Electronics back in the late 70's for working on small stuff. They get use when the other pair isn't at hand. Still gong strong.


Dr. Stratster
Mine is rather precious to me...
It is an orthodontic wire cutter. A surgical instrument for all intents and purposes.

It was my fathers. He was an orthodontist. He died suddenly at a young age.
I had long standing instructions from him that should ...that...I was to retrieve a notebook from his office and follow the instructions inside.

Thus I had a key to his office.

As I was leaving, rather hurriedly because I had to catch a, having the temerity to drop dead 2000 miles away at a conference, had left my mother stranded more or less...

I picked up something of his from his office.

A pair of these...

They have served me for almost 40 years.


Senior Stratmaster
May 12, 2017
Others have posted similar stories, but I’ve been using the same pair of cheap wire cutters for the last decade. Zero maintenance needed and still snips the thickest strings easily. It’ll cut all six at once too

Boyd L

Jul 17, 2020
Appalachian Foothills
I probably have 10 import quality side cutters, diagonal cutters, and end nippers. I also have 3 sets of Channel Lock end nippers that I've used primarily to build or repair fence 170 acres for the past 30 plus years. Cutting 14 gauge steel barbed wire is demanding on my cutters. Ernie Ball 10s? Not so much. Never damaged or wore out those inexpensive cutters from guitar use and typical "around the house" use.