Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners
49-9063.00

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

Sample of reported job titles: Banjo Repair Person, Brass Instrument Repair Technician, Fretted String Instrument Repairer, Guitar Repairer, Instrument Repair Technician, Luthier, Mandolin Repair Person, Piano Technician, Piano Tuner, Stringed Instrument Repairer

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • 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.
  • Assemble and install new pipe organs and pianos in buildings.
  • Refinish and polish piano cabinets or cases to prepare them for sale.
  • Deliver pianos to purchasers or to locations of their use.
  • Remove drumheads by removing tension rods with drum keys and cutting tools.
  • Place rim hoops back onto drum shells to allow new drumheads to dry and become taut.
  • Solder or weld frames of mallet instruments and metal drum parts.
  • Repair breaks in percussion instruments, such as drums and cymbals, using drill presses, power saws, glue, clamps, grinding wheels, or other hand tools.
  • Cut new drumheads from animal skins, using scissors, and soak drumheads in water to make them pliable.
  • Assemble bars onto percussion instruments.
  • Stretch drumheads over rim hoops and tuck them around and under the hoops, using hand tucking tools.
  • Cut out sections around cracks on percussion instruments to prevent cracks from advancing, using shears or grinding wheels.
  • Clean, sand, and paint parts of percussion instruments to maintain their condition.
  • File metal reeds until their pitches correspond with standard tuning bar pitches.
  • Replace xylophone bars and wheels.
  • Remove material from bars of percussion instruments to obtain specified tones, using bandsaws, sanding machines, machine grinders, or hand files and scrapers.

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Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software — Katsura Shareware KS Strobe Tuner; Katsura Shareware ProLevel; Tunic OnlyPure; Veritune Verituner; 4 more

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 93% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 90% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 79% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Electronic Mail — 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 79% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 79% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 66% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 55% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Time Pressure — 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 48% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 45% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 48% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 34% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 38% responded “Important results.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 38% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 41% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 38% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 45% responded “40 hours.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 45% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Level of Competition — 52% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 28% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 31% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, desktop publishers, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters and simultaneous captioners, and medical assistants.
SVP Range
1-2 years of preparation (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Equipment Selection — Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Knowledge

  • 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.
  • Fine Arts — Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 43%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required
  • 36%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 11%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • 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).
  • 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 that 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.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

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Interests

Interest code: RAI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • 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.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$17.87 hourly, $37,160 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
6,400 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Decline (-2% or lower)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
600
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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