The job of a guitar technician is to maintain, repair, and set up guitars and other electronic equipment, making sure everything functions properly and sounds great prior to a performance. They can acquire the needed skills and experience through vocational courses, guitar shops, or earning a college degree in music production or music technology.
Guitar technicians, commonly known as guitar techs, travel on the road with bands and musical acts to set up guitars, amplifiers and effects pedals for live concerts and performances. Guitar techs ensure that both electric and acoustic guitars work properly and respond to any technical needs during a live performance. They perform sound checks before shows and repair damaged guitars and amplifiers. They must know how to play guitar and have a thorough knowledge of musical equipment, as well as a good ear for tuning and achieving the correct guitar and amplifier tones.
|Required Education||No formal education is required, but most guitar techs have some training in music, music technology and production|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||4% for musical instrument repairers and tuners|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$38,590 annually for musical instrument repairers and tuners|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The typical duties of a guitar tech range from restringing guitars and performing sound checks to making guitar repairs, often on the guitar's wood or electronic wiring. The duties of a guitar tech vary depending on the quality and type of equipment the band uses. Smaller bands, for example, use equipment that needs instrument cables, whereas larger bands may use wireless systems for their guitars and amplifiers. Guitar techs may be on hand for performances to assist musicians if a need should arise.
There are no strict educational requirements for becoming a guitar technician; however, expertise in guitar repair and technology is often learned in school. Community colleges offer courses in music technology and music production. Many technical and trade schools across the country also offer guitar programs. These schools often offer classes in guitar design, fretwork and setup, instrument repair and instrument electronics.
Because guitar techs perform sound checks, they must be able to play guitar and understand their sonic capabilities. They must have a good ear for tuning and sculpting tones through guitar amps. Experience playing in bands, working in music shops and becoming an apprentice to a luthier-- a person who makes stringed instruments-- are potential ways to gain the expertise with guitar functioning, repair and terminology that guitar technicians require.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that musical instrument repairs and tuners, including guitar technicians, made a mean hourly wage of $18.55 in 2015, yielding an average annual salary of $38,590. However, salaries can vary depending on the industry in which technicians work. For instance, they can make an average of $50,670 per year by working for colleges, universities and professional schools, according to the BLS. In 2015, the BLS estimated that there were 7,730 people working in the broader category of musical instrument repairers and tuners.
Guitar technicians are there to establish maximum sonic capability, performance, and equipment operation. A strict auditory sensibility and understanding of guitar maintenance and repair are necessities for this job, part of which can be gained by degree programs and hands-on experience. The job outlook is slow, but it is not discouraging as there is always need for technical workers.