Career summary

Details for Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners


Description

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

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.

Interests

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Knowledge

  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • 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.

Skills

  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

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