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Tools every tech should own

Everyday Bench Tools

You will need only a few basic tools to get started. Some come from industry specific vendors and others you can buy locally. There are certain tools you will want to invest in that will make your repairs go smoother and prevent damage.


Using the wrong screwdrivers for example can cause screw slots to be damaged and require fabrication of a new screw. Instrument screws and rods are delicate and must be removed and installed properly. 

Your bench tools are an extension of your hands and should feel comfortable. There are many options for each tool type. As you gain experience you will understand how important the right tool for the job will become. 

You will need screwdrivers, pliers, mallets, tool holders, knives and blades, scrapers and torch to get started. Here are some examples of the tools we use in our school and shop. 


Clarinet Tools

Pad Slick

Smooth Jaw Pliers



Pin Vise

Steel Rule

Feeler Guage

Spring Hook


These are all the tools used in regular clarinet repair.

You should plan to spend about $1000 on your basic bench hand tools.

Here are the main tool suppliers for the instrument repair industry.

Music Medic -

JL Smith -

Ferrees Tools -

Allied Supply -

Once enrolled in one of our courses, you will be given a recommended list for the necessary tools to complete the assignments. 


The screwdrivers to the left are just a few of the daily used sizes. You will need different size tips and widths, and some with a longer blade shaft. The short small blades are used for micro adjustment screws, the longer ones are needed to have a good reach on bari sax and bass clarinet. Some of the screwdrivers have one specific use and are rarely used, but believe me when I say it makes for a quicker repair when you have them. 


The pliers to the right are just a small selection of all the specialty tools you can buy. Each tool has an intended use for a specific instrument. Having the right tool for the job ensures your quality is top notch and you won't cause damage when attempting to MacGyver the repair. 

There are 2 pliers you need to get started:

Smooth Jaw pliers and Duck bill pliers. 

You will add to your collection as necessary when the repair is on your bench. Garage sales and pawn shops are a great place to get pliers that can be modified for special use. 

The picture below is an example of a well outfitted brass tooling wall. Many of these mandrels are special use and not needed to get started. Like Pliers and screwdrivers, you will add these to your arsenal as needed. The nice thing about tooling is that if you take care of it, it will last your entire career. 

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