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Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners

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

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    Work Activities

    Work Activities

    • Play instruments to evaluate their sound quality and to locate any defects.
    • Align pads and keys on reed or wind instruments.
    • 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.
    • Solder posts and parts to hold them in their proper places.
    • Compare instrument pitches with tuning tool pitches to tune instruments.
    • 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.
    • String instruments, and adjust trusses and bridges of instruments to obtain specified string tensions and heights.
    • Adjust felt hammers on pianos to increase tonal mellowness or brilliance, using sanding paddles, lacquer, or needles.
    • Polish instruments, using rags and polishing compounds, buffing wheels, or burnishing tools.
    • Remove irregularities from tuning pins, strings, and hammers of pianos, using wood blocks or filing 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.
    • 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.
    • Cut out sections around cracks on percussion instruments to prevent cracks from advancing, using shears or grinding wheels.
    • Stretch drumheads over rim hoops and tuck them around and under the hoops, using hand tucking tools.
    • 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.


    • 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.


    Applied Math
    Workplace Documents
    Graphic Literacy


    • 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.


    • 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.

    Career Video

    Additional videos and more information available on CareerOneStop

    Ohio Employment Trends

    • Currently Employed 330
    • Yearly Projected Openings 30

    Typical Education


    Realistic: People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.They do well at jobs that need:
    • Attention to Detail
    • Dependability
    • Integrity
    • Persistence
    • Independence
    • Achievement/Effort


    • Specialty wrenches
    • Saws
    • Height gauges
    • Hand reamer
    • Burnisher


    • Analytical or scientific software


    • Apprenticeships are available for this occupation. These programs can help you get hands-on experience and build your skills.
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