Musical Instrument Fabrication and Repair

Music instrument fabricators or repairers are responsible for the design and tuning of musical instruments. Keep reading to learn more about job options you might have in musical instrument repair and fabrication.

Is Musical Instrument Fabrication and Repair for Me?

Career Overview

As a musical instrument repair worker you fix, tune and clean precision musical instruments. You may have to disassemble an instrument in order to fix it. You could specialize in repairing wind or stringed instruments. As a fabricator, you put the pieces of an instrument together to make a working piece of musical equipment; fabricating high-end instruments may also include constructing the instrument components like bells for horns. Fabricators sometimes work with designers to provide suggestions on how to improve the manufacturing process of an instrument. If you're skilled in instrument fabrication or repair, you might be able to find job opportunities at instrument makers, music shops, high schools and colleges.

As an instrument repairer, you typically work by yourself in a workshop setting. You need to pay close attention to detail and possess problem-solving skills. If you work in instrument fabrication, you may work at manufacturing plant, though some high-end instruments are custom fabricated in smaller workshops. You could end up working irregular shifts as a fabricator, but it depends on your employer.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that instrument repairers and tuners were expected to experience 6% growth in job opportunities from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov), and fabricators not listed separately could expect average growth of 9%. Instrument repairers and fabricators typically have modest earning potential. In 2013, fabricators not listed individually earned a median annual income of $25,720 and instrument repairers and tuners had median earnings of $31,750.

How Can I Work in Musical Instrument Fabrication and Repair?

Training

You can find some musical instrument repair jobs without formal training, but you usually need to be able to play the types of instruments you repair. Formal training from a postsecondary school may be beneficial if you want to work in musical instrument repair, or instrument fabrication employers may provide on-the-job training to those with existing metalworking or woodworking skills. You might need some specialized training in instrument fabrication or the musical arts, but it depends on your employer.

Education

You can find certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in instrument repair. A diploma program in guitar building and repair, sometimes called luthier programs, may offer courses in resetting guitar necks, guitar repairs and electric guitar setup. In these programs, you learn fret installation and polishing, bridge replacement and crack repair, and lutherie programs also cover custom construction of stringed instruments.

Some schools may offer a certificate or an associate's degree in band-instrument repair technology. After you complete the general education requirements for an associate's degree in instrument repair, you can take courses in dent removal methods, repairing stringed instruments and soldering techniques. Some schools may offer a minor in instrument repair. With this minor, you can learn how to tell what is wrong with an instrument and then calculate the cost to fix it.

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