Stringed Instrument Repair & Tuning
Kenneth Gerard Williams
On a daily basis, repairers work with their hands using tools and expertise to repair instruments. They interact with customers to determine needs and work within time constraints given. They repair and replace defective parts, restore paints and finishes, and test the finished product before giving it back to the customer.
Project in Progress
An example of the tools they use
An example of what their workshop looks like.
An example of the instruments they must repair
People working as instrument repairers are generally on their feet all day though they remain on location. They are exposed to some hazardous equipment when using the tools necessary to repair instruments and also to contaminants when painting or treating materials that they are working with. Time stress is always a factor with this job as time is money and the longer it takes to repair the less profit involved. Most work regular business hours and sometimes on weekends with big projects.
Most people employed in this profession have at least a high school degree although it isn't always required. A post-secondary certificate is helpful as it shows that the perspective employee has received proper vocational training. A four-year bachelor's degree or beyond is rare in this field.
People who work in this profession must be patient and logical. It requires a lot of time, thought, precision, and accuracy to properly restore and repair instruments. It also helpful to be good with working with one's hands. Being practical and creative can be necessary when the worker doesn't have all necessary tools or equipment.
Earnings and Job Outlooks
There is not much room to advance in this field. If working for someone, the highest possible would be the team leader for projects although this might not necessarily mean more than the standard pay-around $17/hr. The only way to move beyond this is to open an independent shop and become the owner/operator of your own repair shop. However, success, stability, and pay is uncertain when doing this.
The American School of Lutherie in Portland, Oregon offers courses in stringed instrument repair.
The Guitar Building School and Repair Workshop is a school in Winters California offers training and certification in stringed instrument repair.