Arizona fine Violins

Jon Peterson, Bass Luthier Repairman Extraordinaire

I first met Jon Peterson more than 15 years ago, long before we started this violin shop.  Jon, is known internationally as one of the finest bass repairmen (luthiers) in the world.  For more than 40+ years Jon owned and operated his World of Strings in Long Beach, CA and has recently downsized.  While he still works in the LA area, he combines his time between work a small workshop space in Malibu, his home shop in Buena Park, and now with us here at Arizona Fine Violins.  Here's his small (contact) website, Jon Peterson Upright Bass Repair

He now comes to Mesa and works in our shop every 2 months or so. Appointments for him to do bass restorations are planned and slotted months in advance. He's the best bass guy on the planet and is always worth waiting for. If the restoration or work needed is not super major, he will do the work completely while he is here, where he usually stays between 1-3 weeks per visit. If it is a major restoration, with the customer's prior approval, he will even sometimes take the bass back with him to California work on and then complete it in Arizona on return.   Arizona is the perfect place for heavy bass restorations.  First, the climate is almost always super dry here.  The humidity down to between 10-40% which is usually the most optimal setting for taking apart and putting pieces back together again.  The wood is dry and at it's smallest, contracted state.  This is the perfect time and place to do the bigger restorations:  If wood contains any humidity (during the repair and gluing process), when the bass eventually then shrinks (in the drier or winter months), it will greatly increase the chances for re-cracking. 

Not only is Jon totally at home with the major restorations, he is also extremely well known for bass set up conditions, playability and optimal sound for your bass.  I have on occasion driven (in one day), round trip 800 miles just to have him tap the sound post of my Italian bass and tweak it to play better!  Yes, I was tired, but extremely happy that my bass played so well again.  Jon has seen, adjusted and repaired almost every kind of bass and condition.

What, no bridge adjusters?  The very first time that I met Jon, I decided to drive from Phoenix to Long Beach for him to work on a bass that we were selling, but had a major wolf note on it.  I just couldn't show it like that... It was a nice, old German bass, yet had an F# on it that would sound like a failing propeller plane (WWII) that was being shot down.  I had heard about him and his shop for years, but just thought it too long of a drive, with hotels and everything to really think about checking him out.   The bass had a huge, fat neck, a badly (ruined) bridge that needed replacing and again...that wolf! 

When I arrived there from the 400 mile drive, Jon told me to go ahead, have some lunch and come back later that day.   When I did, the neck looked and felt incredible (a rasp file will do wonders when you know how to use it!), and it had a new bridge fitted with the strings already nice and low, as I had asked.  That old German bass, now sounded like one of the nicest basses I ever played.  No wolf either!!  I was greatly impressed to say the least.  Who was this guy??!! It was then where I asked Jon, "hey, can you please install those bridge adjusters in now for me?"  Jon replied: "Well sure, if that's what you want, but with a bass that is so 'dialed in' now, do you really want to do that?"  Our customer/player that purchased the bass really wanted the bridge adjusters in, which I also agreed with too.  After he installed them I was blown away with how that bass changed instantly:  The wolf note was back, the bass didn't have the same sound as it did before either.  The timbre changed (less complex now).  I was shocked to say the least!  After about a half hour, shaving and changing the dimensions of the bridge and re-positioning the post, the sound was pretty much all back. 

I learned a few valuable lessons that day.  First, that this man is a genius and that if you are able to and live in a climate that is not too extremely seasonal, one can use a bridge without adjusters and that it opened a whole new world of bass set ups: A combination of bridge adjustments, string height and tension, with sound post adjustments can most greatly change the character of an instrument.  This was the beginning a truly magnificent mentorship I received from Jon of which I will be grateful forever.  You know the old can feed a man, or teach him to fish.  Jon is 'old school' and will show anyone anything that he has to offer. 

For bass set ups to major restorations, (no matter where you live in the world), we can do it all here.  Kindly contact us to set up an appointment or discuss how to ship your bass here, any time of the year!