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Our Mission

At Sophia’s Strings we believe that stringed music greatly enriches the lives of the player and the listener alike, and as a result we have three main goals:

The Story

It is true to say that my journey into the fascinating world of a Luthier was not my first choice of career. Although music was always around our house, it was not until my late teens that I began to develop a love for baroque and classical music. Unfortunately the opportunity to learn the violin was never available as a child, and the making of instruments was even further from the world I grew up in.

When was the seed sown? Well in 1988, by this stage married, with a young family and (like many) managing a mortgage, I had the great fortune of meeting an elderly Czech man within whose house I was working. During work time I played tapes of my favourite composers particularly Mozart and Strauss. He thought it was very odd that I, a building worker would like such music. This led to discussions over the course of a few weeks on the value of classical and baroque music to the individual, as well as the wider community. During one of these discussions he stated that ‘the violin is the Queen of all instruments and the violoncello is the King’. I have never forgotten the passion in which he said that and agree with him to this day.

As work progressed he opened up aspects of his life, tinged like all of us with loss, sadness and joy. It just so happened that as a young man he had learned violin making at Schonbach, Czechoslovakia (now Luby, Czech Republic). Then came WWII. In 1942, a few months after completing his journeyman's course, he was (like many young men of the day) conscripted into the German Army and sent East. He was captured by the Russians, escaped and after numerous years eventually came to Australia. Like many at this time his life was turned upside down. After being in Australia for a considerable time, he returned to violin making and repairs and it was in this late stage of his life I had the good fortune to meet him. He was quite old by this time, but it was a pleasure and a joy to hear him talk of music, of the types of timber, the ring, the grain, the trials of working with curly maple and how to select the best trees. After some time he then showed me some processes and some old tools he had. Then came jointing and repair methods, glues, tap toning and what constituted good instruments.

I had the good fortune to be with this great Sage until 1991, when I and my young family moved to Bathurst. Whilst we maintained contact for a while after our move, eventually this ended. Nevertheless, we were now in a new town where we were relatively unknown so it was an opportunity to begin something new. That said jobs were plentiful and I quickly got work that paid the bills. In the meantime I began investigating the needs of the area in terms of instrument repairs. After sometime, some frustration and a lot of leg work the opportunity arose for me to begin repairing instruments for myself. As a result I began Peter Reid Instrument Repairs. Work came in slowly, but with each completed job, it grew as did the complexity of the work.

In 2001 we made another move to Orange. Bathurst was still close, but another new town broadened the opportunity for repair work. I also at this time began to consider the possibility of making my own instruments. I purchased some timber that I deemed to be suitable and got started. Unfortunately other factors took precedence. By now work was plentiful and quite complex. I also supplemented my instrument income by teaching joinery in a local school. In 2007, after considerable research, I thought ‘now’s the time. If I don’t do it now, I shall never do it’. I got out the old timber, made a template from an instrument I liked and got down to it.

What made the decision easier was the realisation that there were a great number of students and highly talented professionals in our district, but no one that supplied handmade instruments. Local schools and conservatoriums gave us great encouragement, which has been maintained to this day. In 2011 we changed the business name to Sophia’s Strings after the birth of our first grandchild. We now offer all instruments in the bowed range from violins to double bass. Each instrument teaches us something new. We are fortunate to be involved in a great industry that has stood the test of time. This is our way of entering a page into that story.

Sophia's Strings Instruments
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