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Made in Idaho: Prestwich Violins

Posted: 8:23 AM, Nov 23, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-14 00:27:03Z

 

</p><p>A Treasure Valley fire lookout with a passion for instrument making, uses wood from high atop an Idaho mountain in McCall, and it ends up playing music.

Halfway between the equator and the north pole lies the 45th parallel north, which is where the old Italian masters cut their violin wood.

And it just so happens to cross right over New Meadows, Idaho, a town just north of McCall, where Kevin Prestwich spends his summers high atop Granite Mountain.

"I think we're lucky that we have some of the best tone wood in the world here," said Kevin

He cuts wood in his free time, then hauls it off the mountain himself, all while using his lookout as a makeshift workshop during fire season, then he brings it back to his Treasure Valley workshop to build, repair and restore violins during the rest of the year.

"I can generally find the maximum potential in any instrument," said Kevin.

Which gives him a noteworthy advantage to a violin made in a factory.

But being a human version pack-mule, cutting his own violin making wood in McCall isn't the only unique thing about Kevin’s story. His passion for the instrument started in 1993, when he walked into a shop to rent a mandolin.

"I saw some guy building violins. He had big speakers up in the rafters and he was building a violin, and it really stuck with me," said Kevin.

Which then led to his journey as an apprentice at a shop in Boise, and eventually violin making school in Utah in 2008.

But something you wouldn't expect from a maker who has such a passion for creating musical instruments, "I'm not as musically inclined myself," said Kevin.

Although fine tuning his own playing abilities is his goal for this winter, as a side hobby of course, to his job of fine tuning and building instruments for others.

"I consider it to be the best job in the world," said Kevin.

If you want to take your own string instrument to Prestwich Violins or purchase one of his custom, 45th-parallel-made violins, visit PrestwichViolins.com .