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Memorial Page 2


I like so many entertainers love John Pearse Strings, and use them exclusively on my Flat Top Guitars. My condolences go out to the family, and everyone in the JP Organization. I never did get to meet John, but wish I could have. RIP Sir John!!!

Red Kilby, United States

John’s contributions made a huge difference in the lives of a lot of guitar players, myself included. I met him several times…didn’t know him well but he was a friend, for sure. He always had a good word for me.

Ed King, United States

I met John first when I booked him to play at my school folk club back in 1970 or ’71. It is typical of him that he gave us a great evening.. and then didn’t charge his fee.. just expenses because he’d enjoyed the evening himself so much.. I was 16 or 17.. had written a song called Sweet Acoustic Music which John liked and brought into his repertoire. He also helped me get it published.. Many, many years later we met again at the Frankfurt Messe in 2004.. I had long since forgotten my song.. but John played it right through for me! It was wonderful to meet him, Linda and Mary Faith and to do some business with them for a while.. The world will be poorer without him and we’ll miss him.

Nick Campling, United Kingdom

I first met John in England in 1970.I was fresh off the boat with my friend Luke Wilson and John convinced Sovereign Records to record us with him as producer. He had a collection of Martins that numbered somewhere around 20 back then and every one a collectors instrument.His stories were endless.He made a dulcimer for us and we used it on stage often.I still play some Rev. Gary Davis licks he showed me and his influence has been with me through all these years.Some people are just larger than life and he was one of them. My heart goes out to his wife and all those close to him.

Ron-Paul Morin, Canada


I think John made, among other things, the best set of acoustic guitar strings there is to be had. I enjoyed chatting with him several times through the years at NAMM shows as he was always full of new ideas. John was a sweetheart of a man who devoted his life to making things better for musicians by making better things for musicians. He will be sorely missed.

James Pennebaker, United States

I had the great pleasure of meeting John at the 1996 NAMM show. I caught him at a slow moment, which was very fortunate for me; John graciously took the time to teach me some ukulele licks, informed me on which strings he thought best for some of my instruments, and was simply a lot of fun to hang out with. I have used many of his products for years, and it was a wonderful experience to meet him.

Mike Stanger, United States

Love and prayers for Mr.Pearse’s friends and family. The guitar is one of the loves of my life and I would probably never have started on the guitar if it weren’t for John Pearse and “Hold down a Chord”. thank you, John, for a lifetime’s source of joy. Rest in Peace.

Andrew Waugh, United Kingdom


I was so shocked and saddened when I got the news of John’s passing…..I have known John for many years now, and of course Linda, Mary Faith and everyone at John Pearse Strings, and what a wonderful, genuine life force he is, now, as well as all the wonderful years I have known him!!!! What a powerful legacy he has left for us all to share….

Terry Jones Rogers, United States

Good thoughts and feelings for a truly unique and important contributor to the world of music- John Pearse

May the music take you onward and upward.

Dear wishes to family and friends

Chuck Wilson, United States

I was very saddened to hear of John’s passing. I will never forget his generousity, kind nature and good humor. He not only provided a road for many musicians, but took care to smooth the way for many of us. I recall John, when coming up with a new idea, would send me a sample to try out and his imagination was not only boundless, but infectious. He will be missed.

David Rea, United States

Thanks John, for everything you left to the guitar-world – too much to mention everything!
I’ll have a cup of good wine tonight – you might be swimming in it by now! Cheers.

Rainer Woeffler, Germany

My sincere condoleances on John Pearse’s passing away. As a recent Artiste strings endorser, I have never met John but his success in creating affordable good violin strings will not soon be equalled.
Tim Kliphuis, violinist

Tim Kliphuis, Netherlands

We hadn’t seen enough of John here in the UK of late, and his friends have been hugely saddened by his passing. His huge personality, his supreme design talent, and his clear understanding of the balance between art and craft will be sorely missed, and never equalled, together with his infectious joy in performance.

Our deepest sympathy go to Linda, Mary Faith, and all at Breezy Ridge. Our thoughts will be with you on Wednesday.

Love, Andy Roberts

Andy Roberts, United Kingdom

I think I was one of the last journalists, who had the luck and the opportunity, to write a longer story about John. This was in 2006, I spent a weekend down at Linda´s and John´s home in a beautiful small city, surrounded by vineyards – you can picture that this was the ideal place for John to live. (The story was released in the German magazine GITARRE & BASS, and I can send everybody, who is interested, a PDF copy of it.) After having done the work (interview), the ending ended with playing and singing songs to each other, trying out amazing guitars of John´s collection and drinking good wine. You must know that many Germans picked up a guitar because of John … he was doing his TV broadcasts in the 70s, where he teached his kind of finger picking to us and the STERN, the best selling magazine over here, even called him The Guitar Teacher of the Nation.

So many people over here remember him as an eloquent man, who knew how to teach and who knew how to tell stories. I met John on countless trade shows like NAMM, and it always was a pleasure seeing him, Linda, Mary and the others from Breezy Ridge. He still was crazy about guitars, always telling me, where the best ones are. Sometimes we went to the booths of interestant guitar builders and tried their instruments. I will miss these enthusiastic talks for ever, like I am thinking now, I should have known him better than I do. All the best to John, where ever he might be, and all the best to Mary and to Linda.

Heinz Rebellius, Germany

Sorry to hear this. John sold me my first decent steel many years ago. It was an MSA 12 string and I owned it for quite some time. When I went to his house to pick it, he couldn’t wait to show me all of the new inventions he had been working on at the time. The 2 I remember was a bar that had a slot cut in the nose for easier slants. And, an instrument that he had been working on in conjunction with Charlie Bunker. It was a twin neck instrument. The top neck was a standard 4 string bass and the bottom neck was a guitar type deal that one had to tap to make chords. The idea was that one could accompany one’s self or add a drummer to create a full 3 piece band with just 2 players.

The pickups that were used on this instrument seemed to be what interested John the most. They sustained forever! For instance, if you fretted the bass on the third fret of the E string, That G note would not stop until you took your finger off of the string.At that point it would stop instantly. It was pretty amazing. My description doesn’t do it justice I know. You really had to be there.

Also, standing in the corner of his dining room was the most pristine Fender lap steel you’ve ever seen. He told me that it was the original guitar that Patsy Cline’s steel player used to record

Robbie Bossert

Sorry to hear of John’s passing. He provided us all with the right tools to play better music…

Chris Hillman, United States

John will be strongly remembered by those who had a hard time learning to fingerpick in an era where almost no records or tab existed. Thanks for helping us out, John!
I attended two International Guitar School workshops in the USA that were very generously sponsored by John’s Breezy Ridge as John loved to share!
May he rest in peace!…

Ed van Gasse/ Mr. Natural, Belgium

John was a friend, mentor, father and jamming buddy to me. I met John at a studio in 1983, ultimately working for him and having many adventures. Like most things in our lives, I did not realize how important John was to my life until years later when he and Linda moved to Europe. I gained a love of fine old Martins and Nationals, wine, ragtime and blues fingerpicking. I also learned about life from him.

I owe so much to John, and I am saddened to hear of his passing. I only wish is that I could have told him this myself. I hope he knew. .

Michael Fritz, United States

I knew John for tor too short a period of time. It started in the 1980’s when he and his then wife, Mary Faith Rhoads, were at the Galax, VA Old Fiddler’s Conventions. John was a physically impressive man, and was a design engineer for the Martin Guitar company. A great musician, who also produced regaling mouth-sounds of trombones and trumpets.

My most memorable time with John and Mary Faith was in 1984, when I had just won the International Autoharp Championship … and they insisted on taking me to dinner. But John decided to drive to Oklahoma as we couldn’t get wine with our dinner in the dry state of KS.
John suffered a terrible injury to his nerves when the hood of his car fell down on his neck. He eventually slowly recovered, and I only saw him a few times after that period.

It was an honor to have known him, and I remember the kindness he displayed to me in those years. God speed, John.

Drew Smith, United States

I always wondered, what the guy’s name was, which was written on my first ‘how to play guitar’-book, 35 years ago. Now I know. It was John.
Thanks buddy.

Tom, Switzerland