Musical instrument maker and repairer

Job Description:

Musical instrument makers and repairers create new musical instruments or repair ones that have been damaged.

Job Category:
Professional Services

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • build new instruments
  • repair or renovate damaged or worn instruments
  • restore or reproduce period instruments
  • work with materials like wood, metal, plastic and fibreglass
  • use traditional hand tools
  • fit plastic, fibreglass and electronic parts to modern
  • instruments like electric guitars
  • apply finishing techniques like polishing and varnishing
    tune instruments


You’ll need:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to repair and test the performance of instruments
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • customer service skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed (ambition/drive)
  • problem-solving skills (creative skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a musical instrument maker and repairer, also known as a luthier, you don’t typically need specific qualifications. However, having a strong foundation in certain subjects can be beneficial for pursuing this career. Here are some subjects that can be useful:

  1. Design and Technology: This subject can provide you with valuable skills in working with materials, tools, and design principles. It can help you understand the basics of crafting musical instruments.
  2. Art and Design: This subject can help you develop your artistic and creative skills, which are important for designing and decorating instruments.
  3. Mathematics: A basic understanding of math is essential for measuring and calculating dimensions, which is important in instrument making.
  4. Physics: Understanding the physics of sound can be beneficial, as it will help you design and repair instruments that produce the desired tones and timbres.
  5. Music: While not required, having a passion for music and some knowledge of music theory can be advantageous, as it will help you understand the instruments you are working on and how they produce sound.
  6. Woodworking or Metalworking: If your school offers courses in woodworking or metalworking, these can be very relevant to instrument making and repair, as many musical instruments are made from wood or metal.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a specialised training course

You could do a specialist musical instrument craft degree at university.

You’d learn traditional skills and knowledge to specialise in building and repairing instruments like the guitar, violin, piano or woodwind.

You could do a college course like a Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology. This would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job.

There is an organ builder higher apprenticeship if you want to specialise in building and repairing pipe organs.

This typically takes 36 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study.

You may find other craft skills apprenticeships like leatherwork or carpentry may also give you some of the skills needed for instrument repair.

Other Routes
To learn the specialist craft skills you’ll need you could take a short training course related to the type of instrument you want to make. Courses are offered by professional bodies for particular instruments and some university music departments.

Career tips
Craft skills are often more important than qualifications to get into this career. A background in woodworking or music technology may help.

You may also find it useful if you can play a musical instrument.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 37 to 40 hours a week.

You could work from home, at a client’s home, in a workshop or at a client’s business.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

If you work for a larger manufacturer, you may be able to progress to supervisor or manager level.

You could move into product development, buying or sales work.