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Peter Prier has passed away


David Burgess
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Super sad news. He was one of the most important persons in the field based on his teachings and school. Making violins is one thing, setting up a school to teach is another. He really help to spread the love more than anyone in recent history that I can think of based on his commitment to teaching, big loss.

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Peter was an amazing dude. He was tough and sweet and hilarious. He hired and fired me twice. He brought me a Stradivari once at the bench, put his feet up next to the fiddle at my station, folded his big old hands onto his apron and said, "Okay. Let's see you fit a soundpost, instead of talking." I have rarely been more nervous in my life. Rest in Peace, Big P.

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Peter was an amazing dude. He was tough and sweet and hilarious. He hired and fired me twice. He brought me a Stradivari once at the bench, put his feet up next to the fiddle at my station, folded his big old hands onto his apron and said, "Okay. Let's see you fit a soundpost, instead of talking." I have rarely been more nervous in my life. Rest in Peace, Big P.

Didn't he do the same thing, putting his feet up on the bench next to you when you were removing a neck from a Vuillaume? The other night I was reading a old VSA journal that had an interview with Peter Prier. He told his story about coming to America to work at a shop in Salt Lake City. He said he first landed in New York City when his friend Hans Nebel, who he knew from violin making school, took him to see the Wurlitzer shop. After meeting Sacconi, Sacconi offered him a job, but he declined because the shop in Salt Lake City had paid his way to the United States. I like to wonder where violin making in the US would be if he had taken the job at the Wurltzer shop.

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Peter was fond of pointing out that women generally were better than men when it came to varnishing because of their wrists.  He never said whether that was at all dependent on the varnish being used, Joe.   ;)

And before he told us that, all males in the room, he walked down the hall and surveyed the varnishing room and checked the set-up room, and surveyed the stairwell!

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Ryan, he came in and found me pulling the neck UP on a Vuillaume, and spooked me. I found the fiddle in a cardboard box under a shelf in a closet, with some broken bows, and thought the varnish was pretty nice, for a fake copy of a Vuillaume. He'd asked for a 4-8k fiddle to be set up, so I picked the box fiddle. The extension was down below 24 mm, so I happily removed the top half of the table, and was pulling the neck back to slip a shim into the mortice when he came into the workshop. He claimed he had been looking for his Vuillaume for ten years. :D

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Ryan, he came in and found me pulling the neck UP on a Vuillaume, and spooked me. I found the fiddle in a cardboard box under a shelf in a closet, with some broken bows, and thought the varnish was pretty nice, for a fake copy of a Vuillaume. He'd asked for a 4-8k fiddle to be set up, so I picked the box fiddle. The extension was down below 24 mm, so I happily removed the top half of the table, and was pulling the neck back to slip a shim into the mortice when he came into the workshop. He claimed he had been looking for his Vuillaume for ten years. :D

Woah! Did he buy you lunch after that?

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Everytime I visited Salt  City I would visit Peter. We had great talks did some good business over the years and had many lunches together. It was always a pleasure to see him and he became a good friend. He was always willing to answer any question going all the way back back to his Hamma days. An honest man the violin world and his family lost a great icon last Monday.

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