Making things fit as a fiddle again

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This instrument repairer likes to listen to all types of music, but he particularly enjoys Christian music.

Bruce Himmerich wanted to be a motorcycle mechanic. The class was full, so his instructor suggested he learn to weld. So he learned to weld for a year and worked as a welder, but found it too smoky and didn’t like it, he said.

His mom saw an ad in the newspaper for a music repair instructor at Red Wing Technical College, so Himmerich called to see why they needed one and the school said it was because they were going to start a new music repair program.

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Himmerich loves to work with his hands and enjoys playing the guitar, so he decided to enroll in the program. After he graduated, he opened up a shop in Mankato for a year, until he heard that Albert Lea’s old music store, Kopet, was looking for an instrument repairman. He was hired at Kopet in the spring of 1976 and stayed for 21 years — much longer than his welding career experience.

After the store closed in 1997, Himmerich worked various jobs while still doing instrument repair on the side. And now, he’s back into steady repairs.

“It’s fun and I enjoy it,” he said.

Himmerich does the repairs out of his home at 211 Sixth Ave S. in Albert Lea and people are welcome to stop by with their instrument in need of repair. He does all sorts of repairs including guitars, violins and other string instruments, band instruments and accordions.

Although the only instrument Himmerich plays is the guitar, he says he can do enough with each instrument to tell if it’s playing correctly.

He particularly enjoys it when someone brings in an instrument that is in pretty poor shape and after he is finished with it, it’s like a new instrument, and it does things it could never do before and play notes it was never able to previously.