Musical instrument maker or repairer

piano tuner musical instrument technologist luthier
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Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would make new musical instruments or repair ones that have been damaged so people can use them to make music.

You would usually specialise in one type, or family, of instrument, such as:

  • Pianos
  • String instruments including violins and guitars
  • Brass instruments such as trumpets

You would:

  • Work with a variety of materials including wood, metal, plastic and fibreglass, depending on the instrument
  • Use traditional hand tools for working with wood or metal
  • Use plastic, fibreglass and electronic parts for modern instruments like electric guitars and keyboards
  • Build new instruments
  • Repair or renovate damaged or worn instruments
  • Replace damaged parts
  • Tune instruments to make sure they produce high-quality sound
  • Use finishing techniques such as polishing and varnishing

You could specialise in restoring or producing period instruments.

If you are self-employed, you would also be involved in promoting and selling your work and in running your business.

Working conditions

Hours

You would normally work around 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Some part-time opportunities may be available. If you were self-employed, you would choose your own working hours to meet customers' demand.

Environment

You would usually work in a small workshop, or from home if you are self-employed. As a piano tuner you would visit customers’ homes and other premises usually within a local area to service or repair instruments on site.

Travel

As a piano tuner you would visit customers’ homes and other premises usually within a local area to service or repair instruments on site.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Persevering
  • Managing resources
  • Concentrating
  • Attention to detail
  • Working with technology
  • Supporting
  • Observation

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no set qualifications required to enter this role but the work is very skilled. You would benefit from having qualifications and experience that demonstrate musical knowledge, practical skills with wood and metal work and basic electronics. 

You could do a National Certificate in Stringed Instrument Repair (SCFQ level 5/6). 

There are no progression courses above National Certifcate level in Scotland although there are options to study at a higher level in England.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses) 
  • Maths
  • Music
  • Music technology
  • Practical technologies such as practical woodwork

You will also need

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

Helpful to have

  • The ability to play a musical instrument
  • A driving licence