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Here is all you need to know about Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners

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What do Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners do?

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

What are the Main Tasks of Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners?

  • 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.
  • Disassemble instruments and parts for repair and adjustment.
  • Inspect instruments to locate defects, and to determine their value or the level of restoration required.
  • Repair cracks in wood or metal instruments, using pinning wire, lathes, fillers, clamps, or soldering irons.
  • Reassemble instruments following repair, using hand tools and power tools and glue, hair, yarn, resin, or clamps, and lubricate instruments as necessary.
  • Compare instrument pitches with tuning tool pitches in order to tune instruments.
  • String instruments, and adjust trusses and bridges of instruments to obtain specified string tensions and heights.
  • Repair or replace musical instrument parts and components, such as strings, bridges, felts, and keys, using hand and power tools.
  • Polish instruments, using rags and polishing compounds, buffing wheels, or burnishing tools.
  • Shape old parts and replacement parts to improve tone or intonation, using hand tools, lathes, or soldering irons.
  • Make wood replacement parts, using woodworking machines and hand tools.
  • Mix and measure glue that will be used for instrument repair.
  • Align pads and keys on reed or wind instruments.
  • Adjust felt hammers on pianos to increase tonal mellowness or brilliance, using sanding paddles, lacquer, or needles.
  • Solder posts and parts to hold them in their proper places.
  • Remove dents and burrs from metal instruments, using mallets and burnishing tools.
  • Wash metal instruments in lacquer-stripping and cyanide solutions in order to remove lacquer and tarnish.
  • Test tubes and pickups in electronic amplifier units, and solder parts and connections as necessary.
  • Refinish instruments to protect and decorate them, using hand tools, buffing tools, and varnish.
  • Deliver pianos to purchasers or to locations where they are to be used.
  • Cut out sections around cracks on percussion instruments to prevent cracks from advancing, using shears or grinding wheels.
  • Refinish and polish piano cabinets or cases to prepare them for sale.
  • Solder or weld frames of mallet instruments and metal drum parts.
  • Remove drumheads by removing tension rods with drum keys and cutting tools.
  • Assemble bars onto percussion instruments.
  • Remove irregularities from tuning pins, strings, and hammers of pianos, using wood blocks or filing tools.
  • Travel to locations such as churches and concert halls to work on pipe-organs.
  • Repair breaks in percussion instruments such as drums and cymbals, using drill presses, power saws, glue, clamps, grinding wheels, or other hand tools.
  • Clean, sand, and paint parts of percussion instruments to maintain their condition.
  • Replace xylophone bars and wheels.
  • Strike wood, fiberglass, or metal bars of instruments, and use tuned blocks, stroboscopes, or electronic tuners to evaluate tones made by instruments.
  • Place rim hoops back onto drum shells to allow new drumheads to dry and become taut.
  • Assemble and install new pipe organs and pianos in buildings.
  • Cut new drumheads from animal skins, using scissors, and soak drumheads in water to make them pliable.
  • Stretch drumheads over rim hoops and tuck them around and under the hoops, using hand tucking tools.
  • Remove material from bars of percussion instruments to obtain specified tones, using bandsaws, sanding machines, machine grinders, or hand files and scrapers.
  • Adjust lips, reeds, or toe holes of organ pipes to regulate airflow and loudness of sound, using hand tools.
  • File metal reeds until their pitches correspond with standard tuning bar pitches.
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