In a recent phone call, Woody Mann told me about John. What a personality!!! Having met him several times at the music fair in Frankfurt I will remember John as a musician with great passion and a true gentleman. I feel privileged to have met him!
Thomas Brendgens-Mönkemeyer, Germany http://www.guitart.de
john had invited me to his home near allentown because he wanted to take a look at a wierd maccaferri guitar i had found. although we had never met, i spent the day with john looking at the guitars in the vault in his house. spectacular. some people just talk a good game, john played great and knew his business.
mickey dean, United States http://www.soundclick.com/mickeydean
Am devastated to read this news just now. Only yesterday I sent John an abusive email for not replying to any of my recent missives. Oh John, cant imagine you not being around even if there were long gaps since meeting or corresponding.
First met in l965 at Cecil Sharp House in London, when I worked in the folk shop, when he would fill the small area with his large frame, tweed cape and snuff box! He would bring fun to the various folk festivals from Keele to Cambridge, always made the time fly.John came down to Hastings Folk Club several times, waking many enthusiasts to the variety or range of folk music. One scene has just sprung to mind of John sitting on the gra*s at Keele sparring music with Jerry Silverman. Wherever you are John, it will be a great meeting place.
Heather Bridgwater, United Kingdom
Two years ago, John contacted me, out of the blue, sending a copy of beautifully written short stories. He suggested he’d had me in mind when creating one character and wanted to encourage its being filmed. I was flattered but had reservations. We exchanged e-mails for a time and he generously sent me a number of string sets for my Gibson J-50, which I am now using.
I had a computer meltdown during the summer and lost several years of saved correspondence. Today I chanced to notice a saved entry to this website…only to discover that he has graduated.
John, I know there will be at least one person to share my affection for picking and country blues when my time comes. Godspeed.
Tucker Smallwood, United States http://tuckersmallwood.com
I’m one of the large army of wanna be guitarists who got mesmerized by the folk revival movement in the 70s and 80s. I remember attending every concert that featured fingerstyle or figerstyle related music, buying every record, inhaling every book that contained fingerstyle stuff.
Like most of us, I switched over to reality at some point, got a job, a life and the whole bit. However the music always remained somewhere in the back, providing an anchor in the rapidly changing world that helped me stick to something.
Two years ago I took my midlife crisis. Instead of going for sports cars and younger women, I picked up the guitar again and got involved in the local fingerstyle scene which, not amazing, consists mostly of elderly grey haired or balding geezers like myself. I checked upon most of my heroes from back then – Grossman, Kottke, Dave Evans, Renbourn and so on – and they all were still there somehow, easily traceble through the internet.
All except John Pearse. He seemd to have disappeared from the world without a trace until I found a note somewhere saying that he was living in Germany and very ill.
It is sad for me to learn that the moment I saw his web site for the first time, the headline was that he had passed away. I will always connect the name John Pearse with one of the very first moments of magic I had with the guitar. Thanks John, even though we never met, you planted the seeds for something that is very important in my life.
Ruediger Asche, Germany
Suppose you work as an intern in hospital and you meet this larger than life person…
Within weeks he finds out most about your future plans,
Within days you adress each other with your first names,
Within hours you can sense his greatness and humanity.
The time I spent with you, John was more than short and more than rich. What a full life, what an open mind, what a strong will.
A thing I have learned studying life science is that personality is sometimes unstable, that much of our beloved self is relative. I never noticed anything like that in you, John. You were never a patient but always yourself.
And so today I cannot imagine, anything about you has changed, wherever you are (a hunch is telling me it’s with good wine and a nice tune).
Simon Eisel, Germany
Just to let you know that you are missed already.
I thank you for your friendship, your excellent memory (before I turned pro I booked you at our folk club in Halesowen, West Midlands, UK in 1968 and when we renewed aquaintance in ’97 you remembered it!!); your willingness to share and inform without attitude; your wonderful products (a 12-string set in C# !!!) and your sheer joy for life.
Those closer to you than me will understand,
how I’ll miss because you were one of the band…
dave cartwright, United Kingdom
Just learned today of John’s passing through an advance copy of the Martin Guitar Sounding Board. I’ve been using his strings on my Huss & Dalton Guitars now since I got them (1997 and 2002, respecitively) and will not use anything else. Got to see John play a couple of times at the Philadelphia Folk Festival some years back, and I always knew he had a good time making music. Hope he’s somewhere now where he can still do that. Thanks for all you did, John. Wherever you may be, have a good time!
Michael W. Fluegge, Germany
I had a wonderful time meeting John at Pinewoods Camp one summer in 1978 or ’79. He was doing informal workshops about guitar building and worked in a little ragtime finger picking on the side. (Some of it on a beautiful guitar that I think he designed for Mary Faith, possibly a maple OO?) At the end of the week, as he was leaving, he offered me — at a very generous price — an old mandolin that he’d patched back together from a too-broken-to-fix bin at Martin, where he was working at the time. Since then, I’ve only seen his smiling face on those string packages, but each time I remember that summer as very, very special. (Oh, and I’m still playing that mandolin — 30 years later.)
Bob Stepno, United States http://stepno.com/podfolk
I first met John at Ivor mairants’ shop in London where I worked in the eighties. I met him again over the years in nashville and at Frankfurt. One time he gave me a buffalo horn pick to use on my acoustic To this day I have not come across a better pick than the blue jazz pick that he gave me years ago. He was one of life’s good guys with a ready smile and a passion for guitar
Grahame Hilll, United Kingdom www.heybrookmusic.co.uk
Just coming home, I found the new edition of Folker (the German magazine on Folk, Song and Worldmusik) on my table; I open the index-page, and I am struck with the news of John’s death. And sadness overwhelms me. Just lately I had been curious to know what had become of my earlyest fingerpicking-teacher. And didn’t I get the joyous information-via Internet- that he had refound the force to play again, and even had returned to giving concerts, playing apparently better then ever! And now this downstricking news! John had an immense-not too exaggerated a word- influence on my life as a modest amateur folkmusian playing guitar. His early publication on Country Blues guitar as well as his teaching on Germany’s 3rd program gave me invaluable insights in -for me-a new kind of music. In addition it was thanks to John that I crafted my first Appalachian Dulcimer and got interested into that instrument.
And I had the chance to see and hear you in Freiburg University in 1975 I think. Thank you, John Pearse, for all those inspiring moments. You will always continue to be on my mind .
Uli Schneider, Germany
It saddened me to read of John´s passing. Had it not been for his programmes on BBC television, Hold down a chord , I probably would´t be involved in the music industry as I am so blessed with being today. Had it not been for John´s programme I would´nt have met my many musician friends in short my life as I know it today wouldn´t be as fullfilled. May his memory live for ever for my part I can only thank him fo rthe inspiration he gave a small boy in the sixties to play the instrument he was so passionate about and I have also made my life . Rest in peace and hopefully arrive at the great guitar gig in the skies – respectfully ,
Iain Snowdon, Norway www.gemusikk.no
I was honored and lucky enough to meet John. The industry has lost a great soul.
Alan Rosen, United States www.bananasmusic.com
I was very sorry to hear that one of my Guitar Heroes has left us, he was such an inspiration for me and my fellow guitar students, when we listened and learned from his playing many years ago, <br>Rest in Peace John, you were one of the Greatest!
Peter Ammondt, Finland
Having known John since 1985 meeting him at the NAMM show in Anaheim, I’ve had the pleasure of his company on several occasions over the years. I learned a great deal from him about recording, instruments, music and stories he told over the years. I accompanied him and Mary Faith to London for a week stay at his mother’s house. This was during the weekend of Chernoble incident which we thought was just a joke until we got to Soho for DimSum breakfast and saw the news on the tele! The coolest thing was he didn’t tell me the house was haunted until the last day of the trip! Waaa! I’ve always wanted to see a ghost! Having the opportunity to play quite a few of his guitar collection was a treat very few people were privy to. Meeting friends of his in London and Brighton was fun as well! The “sightseeing” solo was a bit strange but I quickly learned to drop what John thought was “a pretty good English accent” when I got lost! All in all I’ll mostly miss his inventive mind and ability to see simple answers to problems… as evidenced by his growing line of products… very few of which I do not have!
Peter Anderson, United States www.angelfriendmusic.com
Our prayers go out to you this past hoiday season, Linda and wish you many many memories to hold on to. John, we wish to have known you and more about your last home in PA that we had since purchased. Your spirit is still here and we cherish your experiences that you shared with so many people with this house.
Linda, our house is always open to you whenever you decide to visit.
Greg Snider/Philip Rossetto, United States
God Bless one of the kindest, most gentle men i have ever met. I’ve been to many NAMM shows in Ca. The first booth i would go to would be John’s and Mary’s. It always set a wonderful and positive mood for the rest of the show. I’m just a guitbox player who has enjoyed every time i would see John and Mary at the show. I will now put all the great t-shirts, picks, and many other items they gave me in a tribute to John. Gonna MISS you my friend.
Rusty, United States
I have been lucky enough have been an endorsee since 1999. It seems like I have used John’s 12 string sets forever. It has been so long that I can’t remember what I used before them. I only got the chance to meet John a couple times at NAMM shows, but was struck by how personable he was and always took time to talk with everyone. John remains a true original in a world of so many imitators. RIP John and thank you for all you did for all of us.
Tom Henry, United States www.lawnjockeymusic.com
so sorry to hear about john. a friend of the late sixties. I had tried to find him
Ute Unger-Dinneen, Germany
It was with sadness that I recently read of John Pearse’s passing. Although I didn’t know him, personally, I’ve always loved what he represents in this world. I’ve been a faithful user of his strings for many years, and am about to order a boatload more of his thumbpicks, tonight. They’re the best I’ve ever played with.
So…here’s to John Pearse!
Bob Prince, United States
Well, it is a little late, but please accept my sincere condolences. It is just I was struck by lightning reading about John’s passing. I had only once the chance to meet John at the trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany several years ago and I will always remember him as being a very kind and cooperative person.
Daniel Grossl, Germany
Aloha to my friend John,
I am tremendously saddened by the passing of a wonderful, kindred spirit. I wish I could have been there to play some music at his memorial service along with a lot of my fellow Hawaii musician friends.
I met John in 1995 at the NAMM show. I was running around like a chicken without a head, a kid in a candy store, looking at everything I possibly could in the time allotted. I was looking for a string sponsor and had approached several of the major name brands who were willing to sign me up. I had my mind set on one company, so I continued to walk around the place to window shop. All of a sudden my eyes catch a scruffy man at a small booth with the sign John Pearse Strings. I?d never heard of the guy, much less those brand of strings. My curiosity got the best of me, so I approached the booth and ask a few questions about the strings. In the middle of all the hustle and bustle, this guy stops and starts to explain what he was passionate about.
In the ensuing days, I returned to that booth to listen to his stories and found out that he loved Hawaii, the slack key guitar and the steel guitar. I was hooked on this guy. When he asked if I wanted to be an endorsee of his strings, I didn?t hesitate one bit. For me, it wasn?t even about the strings, but about the relationship, and John was REAL.
I met up with him several times more at the Halekulani Hotel on Waikiki beach, where he loved to listen to the afternoon Hawaiian bands perform, sipping on his favorite beverage. He never talked business, only the love affair he had with music at several levels. He cared so much about the needs of the player and the types of things he did to make sure every genre was happy.
I have been endorsed by this incredible company for fifteen wonderful years. I will miss the man who cared so much for Hawaiian music that he created sets of guitar strings for the slack key, among others. More importantly, I will miss the man who took the time to chat with me, while the world was rushing by. He was a genuine person and he will never be forgotten.
Me ke aloha pua‘ole,
Kenneth Makuakane, USA