What is the term for repairing musical instruments?

Are you a musician who’s ever had to deal with a broken instrument? Or maybe you’re a repair enthusiast looking to learn more about fixing musical instruments? Whatever your reason, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll be exploring the fascinating world of musical instrument repair, and uncovering the term used to describe this craft. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete novice, get ready to discover the exciting world of instrument repair!

Quick Answer:
The term for repairing musical instruments is “instrument repair.” Instrument repair involves the restoration and maintenance of musical instruments to ensure they are in good working condition. This can include fixing broken or damaged parts, adjusting the tuning, and replacing worn-out components. Instrument repair professionals may specialize in a particular type of instrument, such as stringed instruments like violins and cellos, or brass and woodwind instruments like trumpets and clarinets. Repairing musical instruments requires a thorough understanding of the instrument’s construction, as well as the skills to diagnose and fix any issues that may arise. Instrument repair is an important aspect of the music industry, as it helps musicians maintain their instruments and ensure they can continue to play at their best.

The Importance of Instrument Maintenance

Why is it important to maintain your instruments?

As a musician, it is essential to take good care of your musical instruments. Maintaining your instruments is not only necessary for their longevity, but it can also affect the sound quality and playability of the instrument. Neglecting maintenance can lead to costly repairs in the future. Here are some reasons why it is important to maintain your instruments:

  • Preserve the value of your investment: Musical instruments are often expensive investments, and proper maintenance can help preserve their value. Regular cleaning, tuning, and adjustments can help prevent damage to the instrument and keep it in good condition.
  • Maintain the sound quality: Regular maintenance can help ensure that your instrument stays in tune and produces the best possible sound quality. Neglecting maintenance can lead to poor sound quality, which can be frustrating for any musician.
  • Reduce the risk of injury: Instruments that are not properly maintained can be more difficult to play, which can increase the risk of injury. For example, a guitar with poorly adjusted action can cause hand and finger strain, leading to discomfort and pain over time.
  • Increase the lifespan of your instrument: Regular maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your instrument. This can save you money in the long run by preventing costly repairs or replacements.

Overall, maintaining your musical instruments is essential for both the longevity of the instrument and the quality of your playing. It is important to schedule regular maintenance and repairs with a qualified technician to ensure that your instrument stays in top condition.

What happens when you don’t maintain your instruments?

Neglecting to maintain your musical instruments can have a variety of negative consequences. Failure to properly care for your instruments can lead to a decrease in their overall performance, resulting in poor sound quality and potentially even damage to the instrument. This can be particularly problematic for stringed instruments, such as violins and cellos, which are susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Without proper maintenance, these instruments can experience changes in their tone and structural integrity, which can be difficult and expensive to repair. Additionally, neglecting to maintain your instruments can also increase the likelihood of developing health problems, such as respiratory issues, due to the buildup of dust and other particles within the instrument.

The Different Types of Instrument Repair

Key takeaway: Maintaining your musical instruments is essential for both the longevity of the instrument and the quality of your playing. Neglecting maintenance can lead to a decrease in performance and potential damage to the instrument. Regular maintenance and repairs should be performed by a qualified technician to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the instrument.

Basic repairs

In the world of musical instruments, there are different types of repairs that can be performed. Basic repairs refer to the simplest and most common types of repairs that can be done on a musical instrument. These repairs are typically performed by instrument technicians or luthiers, who have specialized training in the repair and maintenance of musical instruments.

One of the most common types of basic repairs is the replacement of broken or damaged parts. This can include things like replacing a broken string on a violin or replacing a cracked key on a saxophone. These types of repairs are typically quick and inexpensive, and can often be done by the owner of the instrument themselves.

Another type of basic repair is the adjustment of the instrument’s mechanics. This can include things like adjusting the action on a guitar or adjusting the keys on a piano. These types of repairs are necessary to ensure that the instrument is functioning properly and is easy to play.

Finally, basic repairs can also include things like cleaning and polishing the instrument. This is important to keep the instrument in good condition and to help maintain its value. A well-maintained instrument will not only sound better, but it will also look better and last longer.

Overall, basic repairs are an important part of keeping a musical instrument in good condition. Whether you are a professional musician or a hobbyist, it is important to have your instrument serviced regularly to ensure that it is functioning properly and is easy to play.

Advanced repairs

Advanced repairs refer to the complex and specialized restoration of musical instruments. These repairs are typically performed by experienced technicians who have a deep understanding of the intricate mechanics and materials used in instrument construction. Some examples of advanced repairs include:

  • Re-scaling: This process involves adjusting the size and shape of the instrument’s components to improve the instrument’s playability and sound quality.
  • Neck reshaping: A common problem with older instruments is that the neck can become twisted or warped over time. A skilled technician can correct this issue by carefully reshaping the neck using specialized tools and techniques.
  • Cracks and damage repair: Cracks and other types of damage can occur in the body of the instrument, particularly in older or heavily used instruments. Advanced repair techniques may be necessary to repair these types of damage and restore the instrument to its original condition.
  • Re-stringing: The process of replacing the strings on a stringed instrument can be a complex task that requires specialized knowledge and tools. Experienced technicians can help ensure that the new strings are properly installed and adjusted for optimal performance.

Overall, advanced repairs are necessary to maintain the condition and performance of high-quality musical instruments. These repairs can be time-consuming and expensive, but they are essential to ensure that the instrument continues to provide enjoyment and inspiration to musicians for years to come.

Professional repairs

Professional repairs refer to the restoration of musical instruments by skilled craftsmen who specialize in this field. These experts have undergone extensive training and possess a deep understanding of the intricate mechanisms and materials used in instrument construction.

Professional repairs may involve a wide range of services, including:

  • Reconditioning: This process involves restoring the instrument to its original condition by addressing any wear and tear, cleaning, and polishing.
  • Crack repair: Cracks can occur in instruments due to changes in temperature and humidity. Professional repairers use specialized techniques to repair these cracks, ensuring that the instrument remains structurally sound and continues to produce the desired sound quality.
  • Mechanical repair: Musical instruments contain various mechanical components, such as keys, tuning pegs, and hinges, which may wear out or break over time. Skilled repairers can diagnose and fix these issues, ensuring that the instrument functions smoothly and efficiently.
  • Padding and regulation: Some instruments, such as pianos, require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. This may involve adjusting the piano’s action or replacing worn-out strings and hammers.

In addition to these specific repairs, professional repairers may also be called upon to assess the condition of an instrument, advise on potential issues, and provide guidance on preventative maintenance.

Overall, professional repairs are essential for maintaining the quality and longevity of musical instruments. By entrusting your instrument to a skilled repairer, you can ensure that it continues to perform at its best and retain its value over time.

The Tools and Materials Needed for Instrument Repair

Basic tools

Repairing musical instruments requires a set of specialized tools and materials. Some of the basic tools that are commonly used in instrument repair include:

  • Screwdriver: A screwdriver is a handheld tool that is used to tighten or loosen screws. There are different types of screwdrivers, each designed for a specific type of screw. For example, a flathead screwdriver is used for Phillips head screws, while a Phillips head screwdriver is used for flathead screws.
  • Pliers: Pliers are a handheld tool that is used to grip and twist wires, metal, and other materials. There are different types of pliers, including needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, and locking pliers.
  • Hammer: A hammer is a tool that is used to drive nails, assemble musical instruments, and remove old parts. There are different types of hammers, including claw hammers, ball-peen hammers, and mallets.
  • Files: Files are handheld tools that are used to shape and smooth metal, wood, and other materials. There are different types of files, including flat files, round files, and square files.
  • Sandpaper: Sandpaper is a material that is used to smooth and shape wood, metal, and other materials. There are different types of sandpaper, including coarse, medium, and fine grit.
  • Wrenches: Wrenches are handheld tools that are used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. There are different types of wrenches, including adjustable wrenches, box wrenches, and torque wrenches.
  • Saws: Saws are handheld tools that are used to cut wood, metal, and other materials. There are different types of saws, including hacksaws, jigsaws, and miter saws.

In addition to these basic tools, other materials that may be needed for instrument repair include glue, string winders, fingerboard dressing, and fret wire. Having the right tools and materials is essential for any instrument repair job, as they allow the repair person to complete the job efficiently and effectively.

Advanced tools

Repairing musical instruments requires specialized tools and materials to ensure the instrument is restored to its original condition. In addition to basic tools, such as screwdrivers and pliers, advanced tools are necessary to perform more intricate repairs.

One of the most essential advanced tools for instrument repair is a strobe tuner. A strobe tuner is a device that displays a strobe light that flashes at a frequency corresponding to the pitch of a note. This tool is used to accurately tune instruments and diagnose any issues with the instrument’s tuning mechanism.

Another essential advanced tool is a digital caliper. A digital caliper is a precision measuring tool that is used to measure the dimensions of various parts of an instrument. This tool is essential for making precise adjustments and replacements of small parts, such as pads and springs.

A drill press is also an essential advanced tool for instrument repair. A drill press is a motorized drilling machine that is used to drill holes in various parts of an instrument. This tool is necessary for making holes for tuning pegs, adjusting truss rods, and installing tuning machines.

In addition to these tools, other advanced tools that may be necessary for instrument repair include a bore gauge, a heat gun, and a dremel. These tools are used for tasks such as measuring the inside diameter of an instrument, removing old glue and finish, and sanding and shaping various parts of the instrument.

Overall, having access to a variety of advanced tools is essential for repairing musical instruments. These tools allow technicians to perform accurate and precise repairs, ensuring that the instrument is restored to its original condition.


Repairing musical instruments requires a range of materials that can vary depending on the type of instrument and the extent of the damage. Some of the commonly used materials include:

  • Wood glue: This is a strong adhesive that is commonly used to repair cracks and splits in wooden instruments. It can also be used to reattach loose parts such as pegs and keys.
  • Super glue: This is a fast-drying adhesive that is ideal for fixing small cracks and chips. It is also useful for attaching small parts such as pickups and screws.
  • Sandpaper: This is used to smooth out rough edges and remove imperfections on the surface of the instrument. There are different grades of sandpaper that can be used for different purposes, such as fine grit for finishing and coarse grit for rough shaping.
  • Steel wool: This is used to polish and clean metal surfaces. It can also be used to remove rust and corrosion from metal parts.
  • Rubber cement: This is a strong adhesive that is used to attach rubber parts such as pickguard, grip tape, and feet.
  • Wire: This is used to make repairs to the electrical components of the instrument, such as soldering guitar strings, replacing broken potentiometers, and repairing frayed cables.
  • Lubricants: These are used to lubricate moving parts such as tuning machines, hinges, and slides. They can help to reduce friction and wear, and prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Replacement parts: These are pre-made parts that can be used to replace damaged or worn-out components of the instrument. Examples include strings, tuning machines, pegs, keys, and bridges.

In addition to these materials, it is also important to have a set of tools that are specifically designed for instrument repair. These tools can include screwdrivers, pliers, tweezers, magnifying glasses, and sanding blocks, among others. Having the right tools can make the repair process much easier and more efficient.

Common Instrument Repairs

Cracked or broken strings

Cracked or broken strings are a common issue that can occur in musical instruments, particularly in stringed instruments such as violins, cellos, and guitars. When a string snaps or cracks, it can result in a loss of tuning stability and an unpleasant sound. Repairing cracked or broken strings is an essential skill for any instrumentalist or luthier.

There are several ways to repair cracked or broken strings, depending on the severity of the damage and the type of instrument involved. One common method is to replace the damaged string with a new one. This is a relatively simple process that can be done by anyone with basic string-changing skills.

Another method is to repair the damaged string using a technique called “winding on a new core.” This involves removing the damaged string from the instrument and winding a new core of wire around the existing string. This can be a more complex process that requires more skill and expertise, but it can be an effective way to repair a damaged string without having to replace the entire string.

In some cases, the damage to the string may be too severe to be repaired, and the string will need to be replaced entirely. This may be necessary if the string has snapped in two or if the damage is too extensive to be repaired using other methods.

Regardless of the method used, it is important to have cracked or broken strings repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the instrument and to ensure that it remains in good playing condition. A skilled luthier or instrument repair specialist can assess the damage and recommend the best course of action for repairing the string.

Squeaky pegs

When a musician plays their instrument, they expect it to produce a beautiful, clear sound. However, sometimes the instrument may produce an unwanted sound – a squeaky peg. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including humidity changes, dryness, or even wear and tear over time.

Squeaky pegs can be a nuisance for musicians, but there are several ways to fix the problem. One solution is to use a peg compound, which is a lubricant specifically designed to reduce friction in the peg box. This can help to eliminate the squeak and allow the peg to move smoothly.

Another option is to use a peg puller, which is a tool that grips the peg and allows the musician to remove it from the peg box. This can be especially helpful if the peg is particularly tight or difficult to remove. Once the peg is removed, the musician can clean the peg and the peg box with a soft cloth, and then apply a lubricant such as peg compound to reduce friction.

If the squeak persists, it may be necessary to adjust the peg box or even replace the peg. In some cases, the peg box may be slightly warped or damaged, which can cause the peg to squeak. In these cases, a professional repair person may need to adjust or replace the peg box.

In summary, squeaky pegs can be a common issue for musicians, but there are several solutions available to fix the problem. From using peg compound to adjusting the peg box, there are many ways to get rid of the unwanted noise and ensure that the instrument produces a beautiful, clear sound.

Sticking keys

One of the most common repairs for musical instruments is fixing sticking keys. This issue occurs when the keys of a piano or keyboard become stuck in either the up or down position, making it difficult for the player to play smoothly. There are several reasons why keys may become stuck, including dust buildup, humidity, and worn-out key mechanisms.

There are different ways to fix sticking keys, depending on the cause of the problem. For instance, if dust buildup is the issue, a simple cleaning with compressed air or a soft brush can do the trick. However, if the keys are stuck due to worn-out mechanisms, it may require more extensive repairs, such as replacing the keybed or rebuilding the key mechanism.

Professional technicians use specialized tools and techniques to diagnose and fix sticking keys. They may also need to adjust the key height, adjust the key contacts, or regulate the key action to ensure the keys function properly. If not addressed promptly, sticking keys can cause damage to the instrument’s mechanism and affect its overall performance.

Loose tuning pins

When it comes to repairing musical instruments, one of the most common issues that can arise is loose tuning pins. These pins are responsible for holding the strings in place and keeping them taut, which is essential for proper tuning and sound quality. If a tuning pin becomes loose, it can cause the string to slip out of tune, which can be frustrating for the musician.

There are several reasons why a tuning pin might become loose. One of the most common causes is simple wear and tear. Over time, the pin can become loose due to the constant tension of the string, and it may need to be tightened or replaced. Another common cause of loose tuning pins is exposure to extreme temperatures or humidity, which can cause the wood to expand or contract and loosen the pin.

Fortunately, repairing loose tuning pins is relatively easy and can be done by a skilled instrument repair technician. The first step is to identify which pins are loose and need to be tightened or replaced. This may involve removing the strings and checking each pin individually. Once the problem pins have been identified, the technician can use specialized tools to tighten or replace them as needed.

It’s important to note that repairing loose tuning pins should be done carefully and with precision. If the pin is tightened too much, it can damage the instrument or cause the string to break. Similarly, if the pin is not tightened enough, the string may slip out of tune again. A skilled technician will have the knowledge and experience to ensure that the repairs are done correctly and will not harm the instrument.

Overall, repairing loose tuning pins is a common but important aspect of instrument maintenance. By keeping the pins tight and in good condition, musicians can ensure that their instruments stay in tune and sound their best.

Finding a Professional Instrument Repair Technician

What qualities to look for in a technician

When looking for a professional instrument repair technician, it is important to consider certain qualities to ensure that your musical instrument is in good hands. Here are some qualities to look for:

  • Experience: A technician with a lot of experience is more likely to have encountered and fixed a wide range of problems, making them more likely to be able to help you with your specific issue.
  • Knowledge: A technician who has a deep understanding of the mechanics and construction of various instruments is more likely to be able to accurately diagnose and repair your instrument.
  • Attention to detail: A technician who pays close attention to detail is more likely to be able to identify and fix small problems before they become bigger ones.
  • Good communication skills: A technician who is able to clearly explain what they are doing and what needs to be done to fix your instrument is more likely to build trust and ensure that you are comfortable with the repairs being made.
  • Reliability: A technician who is reliable and punctual is more likely to meet deadlines and complete repairs in a timely manner.
  • Cleanliness: A technician who keeps a clean and organized workspace is more likely to be thorough and careful when working on your instrument.
  • Professionalism: A technician who is professional and respectful is more likely to provide a positive experience and make you feel confident in their ability to repair your instrument.

How to find a reputable technician

Finding a reputable instrument repair technician can be crucial to ensure that your musical instrument is in good hands. Here are some tips to help you find a skilled and reliable technician:

  1. Ask for Referrals: One of the best ways to find a reputable technician is to ask for referrals from other musicians or music stores. They may have worked with a technician before and can provide valuable insights on their experience.
  2. Check their Qualifications: It’s important to ensure that the technician you choose has the necessary qualifications and experience to handle your instrument’s repairs. Look for certifications or degrees related to musical instrument repair, and ask about their experience working on instruments similar to yours.
  3. Research Online: You can also research online to find a reputable technician. Look for reviews and testimonials from other customers, and check their website for information about their services and qualifications.
  4. Contact Local Music Stores: Local music stores may also have recommendations for instrument repair technicians. They may have worked with technicians before and can provide insight into their skills and reliability.
  5. Schedule a Consultation: Before committing to a technician, schedule a consultation to discuss your instrument’s needs and get a sense of their workmanship. This can help you determine if they are the right fit for your instrument’s repairs.

How much should you expect to pay for instrument repairs?

When it comes to repairing musical instruments, the cost can vary widely depending on the type of instrument, the extent of the damage, and the expertise of the repair technician. Here are some factors that can affect the cost of instrument repairs:

  • Type of instrument: Different instruments require different levels of expertise and skill to repair. For example, repairing a grand piano can be more complex and expensive than repairing a violin or a trumpet.
  • Extent of damage: The cost of repairs will depend on the extent of the damage to the instrument. For example, a simple crack in a wooden instrument may be relatively inexpensive to repair, while a more extensive crack or damage to the mechanics of the instrument could be more costly.
  • Location: The cost of instrument repairs can also vary depending on your location. Repair technicians in major cities or tourist destinations may charge more than those in smaller towns or rural areas.
  • Reputation of the repair technician: Experienced and highly regarded repair technicians may charge more for their services, but you can expect higher quality workmanship.

In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars for instrument repairs, depending on the factors mentioned above. It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different repair technicians to get a sense of the average cost for the repairs you need.


1. What is the term for repairing musical instruments?

The term for repairing musical instruments is called “instrument repair.” Instrument repair is the process of fixing or restoring musical instruments that have been damaged or are no longer working properly. This can include anything from replacing broken strings on a guitar to completely rebuilding a grand piano.

2. What types of musical instruments can be repaired?

Most types of musical instruments can be repaired, including stringed instruments like guitars and violins, woodwind instruments like clarinets and saxophones, brass instruments like trumpets and trombones, and percussion instruments like drums and cymbals. Even electronic musical instruments like keyboards and synthesizers may require repair from time to time.

3. Who can repair musical instruments?

Musical instrument repair is a specialized field, and many instrument repair technicians have years of experience and training in this area. Some repair work can be done by the owner of the instrument, but more complex repairs should be left to a professional. There are also many music stores and repair shops that offer instrument repair services.

4. How much does instrument repair cost?

The cost of instrument repair can vary widely depending on the type of instrument, the extent of the damage, and the location of the repair shop. Some simple repairs, like replacing a broken string or padding a clarinet key, may only cost a few dollars. More complex repairs, like rebuilding a piano or replacing a broken horn, can cost thousands of dollars. It’s always a good idea to get a quote from a repair technician before proceeding with any work.

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