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Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners Career

Career Description

Repair percussion, stringed, reed, or wind instruments. May specialize in one area, such as piano tuning.

What Job Titles Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners Might Have

  • Banjo Repair Person
  • Luthier
  • Piano Technician
  • Piano Tuner

What Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners Do

  • Play instruments to evaluate their sound quality and to locate any defects.
  • Adjust string tensions to tune instruments, using hand tools and electronic tuning devices.
  • Reassemble instruments following repair, using hand tools and power tools and glue, hair, yarn, resin, or clamps, and lubricate instruments as necessary.
  • Disassemble instruments and parts for repair and adjustment.
  • Repair or replace musical instrument parts and components, such as strings, bridges, felts, and keys, using hand and power tools.
  • Inspect instruments to locate defects, and to determine their value or the level of restoration required.
  • Compare instrument pitches with tuning tool pitches to tune instruments.
  • String instruments, and adjust trusses and bridges of instruments to obtain specified string tensions and heights.
  • Polish instruments, using rags and polishing compounds, buffing wheels, or burnishing tools.
  • Repair cracks in wood or metal instruments, using pinning wire, lathes, fillers, clamps, or soldering irons.
  • Mix and measure glue that will be used for instrument repair.
  • Shape old parts and replacement parts to improve tone or intonation, using hand tools, lathes, or soldering irons.
  • Refinish instruments to protect and decorate them, using hand tools, buffing tools, and varnish.
  • Make wood replacement parts, using woodworking machines and hand tools.
  • Align pads and keys on reed or wind instruments.
  • Solder posts and parts to hold them in their proper places.
  • Remove dents and burrs from metal instruments, using mallets and burnishing tools.
  • Test tubes and pickups in electronic amplifier units, and solder parts and connections as necessary.
  • Adjust felt hammers on pianos to increase tonal mellowness or brilliance, using sanding paddles, lacquer, or needles.
  • Remove irregularities from tuning pins, strings, and hammers of pianos, using wood blocks or filing tools.
  • Strike wood, fiberglass, or metal bars of instruments, and use tuned blocks, stroboscopes, or electronic tuners to evaluate tones made by instruments.
  • Wash metal instruments in lacquer-stripping and cyanide solutions to remove lacquer and tarnish.

What Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners Should Be Good At

  • Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

What Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners Should Be Interested In

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

What Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners Need to Learn

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Median Salary: $35,010

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.