Musical instrument technologists repair, adjust and may make musical instruments. They normally specialise in one area such as pianos, stringed instruments such as violins or guitars, or brass and woodwind instruments, such as trumpets and flute.
You could be:
working with materials like wood, metal, plastic or fibreglass
using hand or machine tools such as lathes, to cut, bend, shape and polish materials
repairing an instrument damaged by heat, damp or an accident, for example, repairing a crack in a violin
restoring an old instrument to its original condition in both sound quality and appearance
applying finishes to instruments such as varnish or polish
fitting electronic units such as guitar pickups
servicing instruments, including dismantling, cleaning, polishing and replacing any worn parts
constructing modern or replica period instruments.
For the work involved in piano tuning see the Piano Tuner job profile.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Many musical instrument technologists are self-employed and income can vary, depending on how much work they get and how well they can build up a reputation. Fees that they charge for servicing can vary between £55 and £500 or more, depending on the complexity or size of the job.
Some musical instrument technologists work from their own homes, but many work for manufacturing or repair companies in workshops or factories.
Hours of work will vary depending on where you work.
Factory and workshop hours are usually regular.
There may be glue, fumes and sawdust.
If you are self-employed, you may have to work irregular hours.
Glasgow Clyde College offers a National Qualification (NQ) in Stringed Musical Instrument Making (Level 5/6). For entry you need 4 subjects at National 5 including English.
They also offer a Higher National Diploma (HND) course in Stringed Instrument Making and Repair. For entry you need NQ Stringed Musical Instrument Making and Repair or other relevant national qualifications at (SCQF Level 6).
Some employers may offer apprenticeships with part time study.
The work is very skilled. For building, repairing and tuning instruments, you need good hearing and a natural ear for music, as well as musical knowledge.
You will need experience in woodwork, metalwork and be able to read technical drawings.
Knowledge of basic electronics is helpful.
The ability to play a musical instrument is useful but not essential.