Frequently Asked Questions
What is MITA?
MITA (Musical Instrument Tecnicians Association) International is a professional organization of technicians that are involved in the repair and maintenance of electronic musical equipment. It was formed in the earliest days of the electronic organ to promote continuing education and increased standards of professionalism. The organization has grown and evolved with the ever changing technology and now has technicians throughout the World with expertise in every facet of electronic music technology. MITA members are committed to sharing their knowledge and experience with other members and to improving the electronic musical instrument repair industry as a whole.
What is my instrument worth?
This is certainly the number one question that we get asked. The honest answer is whatever someone is willing to pay for it. The value of older instruments varies wildly. Most of the older home organs frankly cannot be sold. On the other hand some of the classic drum machines, synthesizers and tape echo machines are currently hot items. Some older amplifiers and guitars are collectibles. The best way to tell is to check Ebay and see what your instrument is selling for. If it is not listed it is likely that there is little demand for it. Be sure to adjust the price to reflect condition of the instrument. Your local MITA technician may be able to give you some guidance as to whether you have a treasure or a boat anchor but only the market can give you the actual value.
Why do repairs cost so much?
Electronic repair techs in music industry have training in one of the widest ranges of technologies of any industry. Tube amplifiers, analog synthesizers, studio tape equipment, digital signal processors and an ever changing array of mechanical designs all require their own deep technological understanding and skills for proficient troubleshooting. This wide range of technologies also requires more extensive inventories of parts and manuals. Much of the trouble shooting is done to the component level since board replacements become unavailable within a few years of a products release. The parts and assemblies used in the repairs are all custom developed by the manufacturers and the development costs must be amortized over far fewer units than you see in the consumer electronics industry. All this is added to the basic overhead of running a business. MITA technicians are committed to the highest ethical standards of conduct and fair treatment of the customer. You can be sure that the price they charge is a fair representation of the services provided.
What about a free estimate?
The nature of electronic repairs is that the bulk of the work performed is in opening the instrument, gaining access to the circuitry, and isolating the problem. Once isolated the repair in most instances is straightforward and rarely complicated. By the time an educated estimate of the repair can be made, often 90% of the actual work involved has been performed. Individual technicians are free to set their own policy regarding, estimates but all of them make that policy with the constraints mentioned just described.
Can the Repairs be Guaranteed?
Every technician sets his own policy about warranty of their repairs but all of them must consider the following factors. The actual parts used for the repair are not made by the technician. When repairing older equipment the parts used are often NOS (new old stock). This means that the parts were manufactured when the instrument was still being made and have been sitting on a shelf since then. Some older electronic components can degrade while sitting unused. Sometimes used parts are the only available option. Key contacts, tape heads, and mechanical parts may not be available at all and may have to be repaired or reconditioned.
My Instrument is not that Old why can it not be repaired?
The electronics used in modern musical equipment has become highly customized and is only available from the manufacturers. Keyboard parts, button tops, knobs, and body parts are all available only from the manufacturer. Once the manufacturer stops providing the parts the only other source for those parts is a very limited supply of used parts from retired instruments. Few of the manufacturers are providing parts past 10 years from product availability. The technology in your keyboard, digital hard disk recorder or modeling amplifier is the very similar to that used in personal computers and very few 10 year old computers are still in service.
Can I still get tubes for my old amplifier?
Many of the more popular tube types are still being manufactured in China, Russia, and eastern Europe. There are also still fairly large quantities of unused old stocks of tubes that are available. Some tubes are available but stocks are low and they command premium prices. A MITA member technician can locate nearly any tube you need to restore your classic guitar amplifier. We strongly advise however that you get the work performed by a trained technician. The voltages in the old tube equipment is very high and very dangerous. Also when changing tubes biases need to be checked and adjusted. Failure to do so can shorten the life of your new tubes and alter the sound of your amplifier. Also tube failures can indicate other problems with the amplifier and only a knowledgeable technician can track that down.
Should I try to repair my guitar amp myself?
While guitar amps tend to be conceptually rather simple pieces of equipment, there are particular risks associated with delving into them without clear understanding of what you are doing. Guitar amps contain very high DC voltages to make the vacuum tubes work properly. This poses an extreme risk of electrocution. Before opening up a guitar amp you should understand where you will encounter these voltages and how to safely work around them. If you do not fully understand this you should never attempt to open up your guitar amp. Tubes are quite accessible and are the most frequent point of failure in guitar amplifiers. Like light bulbs they deteriorate with time and even "burn out". While replacing the tubes will often make the guitar amp "work", many tubes require proper biasing to make them work properly and to maximize there service life. Changing tubes without knowing how to bias them properly can make repairs short lived and may not deliver the optimal tone. An experienced service person can maximize the life and satisfaction that you get from your guitar amp.
Where can I get training to repair electronic music gear?
There are currently no schools that we know of that still offer courses in the specialized technologies that are used in modern keyboards, digital recording gear, digital pianos, and the like. We know of no courses that cover the old technologies such as the tube circuitry used in guitar amps or the magnetic tape mechanisms and circuitry that are used in the older studio recorders and tape echo machines. The only way to get that training is through a personal mentor or by joining an organization such as MITA. MITA is like having a worldwide network of mentors from all corners of the music industry right at your finger tips. The tutorials and technical articles in the members section of the web site cover the whole range and history of electronic music. At the MITA convention held every summer in Las Vegas major manufacturers and experienced technicians present classes for 5 days straight presenting unparalleled learning opportunities and the only form of formal classroom training available in the diverse technologies that comprise the electronic music industry.
Can Non-Members Attend the Convention?
Non-members can attend all sessions of the convention by paying the non-member rates. Information about the upcoming convention starts appearing here on this web site around January and includes convention rates and sign up forms. Some non-members show up each year to attend specific manufacturers courses to meet requirements for authorized service center status. A quick review of the rate charts will show, however, that the cost of membership will pay for itself with just a couple of days of convention attendance. With that membership you will also gain access to all of the technical articles on this web site, the forums, with ongoing discussions in every segment of music technology, and the email forum where you can request assistance from a world wide pool of experts, and your business will be listed in the directory of service centers on this web site. Your MITA membership will pay for itself many times over.
How do I join MITA?
Membership is currently $165 per year including all member benefits including password access to the technical sections of this Web Site, Web based and email forums, discounts on convention fees and members discounts with manufacturers. You may contact us directly by email using this link. Contact MITA Directly