Guitar techs are musical instrument repair professionals who specialize in guitar repair, reassembly, maintenance and adjustment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies guitar techs in the occupational category "musical instrument repairers and tuners."
According to May 2010 occupational data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, guitar techs earn an annual mean wage of $34,830 per year. This equates to an hourly wage of $16.75. Those in the occupation's lowest earning percentile, such as those with little experience or in entry-level jobs, earn $8.95 per hour or $18,620 per year. Seasoned guitar technicians in the field's highest earnings percentile average $27.07 per hour, or $56,300 per year, according to BLS figures.
Factors Affecting Salary
Breadth of skill and experience are the major factors affecting the salary rate of a guitar tech. According to the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, many instrument repairers begin their careers at the assistant or apprenticeship level. Guitar techs who are well-versed in a variety of instrument styles, from electric to acoustic, hollow body to hard body, or even antique guitars can command much higher salaries than those capable of basic adjustment or maintenance.
Salary by State
Guitar techs in Maine earn more than those in any other U.S. state according to BLS salary figures. Guitar repairs in that state earn an average hourly rate of $22.04 or $45,840 per year. Guitar technicians in the Nassau-Suffolk, New York, metropolitan area earn more than those in any other U.S. city on average, with an hourly rate of $28.05, equating to an annual salary of $58,350. States where guitar repairers earn less than $30,000 on average include Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama.
Relevant Background and Skills
In addition to an expert-level knowledge of the guitar, including the electronics of the guitar, aspiring guitar techs should also be at minimum elementary guitar players to locate defects and evaluate their work through a guitar's sound quality and playability. Above average manual dexterity and critical thinking skills are also necessary skills for the occupation, which often involves the manipulation of small objects. Keen customer service and interpersonal communication skills are also important given the role's interaction with musicians.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, 49-9063 Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners
- ONetOnline: Summary Report for 49-9063.00 -- Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners
- "Occupational Outlook Quarterly;" Precision Instrument and Equipment Repairers; Ian Wyatt; Summer, 2001 (.pdf)
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images