John Weier has worked as a builder and repairer of musical instruments since 1975 when he was invited to set up shop in the Winnipeg Folklore Centre. In 1978 he joined the shop at Guitarland, then the largest fretted and stringed instrument dealership in the city. By 1985 he had built one hundred instruments—banjos, guitars, dulcimers, violins, violas, and one cello. By that time as well he had started his own shop in the industrial district near the Winnipeg airport, and had decided to focus his attention on instruments of the violin family. 

Though much of John’s early learning came from books and practice, he also received hands-on training from Harold Myers, the senior violin restorer at Croft Music in Winnipeg. And he set aside several months each year to work in the shops of other luthiers. In this way he trained in the Toronto shop of Otto Erdesz, designer of the Rivka Golani cutaway viola; and in the shop of violinmaker Paul Bickle in his shop in Alton, England. More recently he attended master-class workshops with internationally renowned luthiers Horacio Pineiro and Jonathan Woolston at the Banff Centre.

John has worked as on-site luthier for both the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the Winnipeg Women’s Music Festival; and as consultant to the Manitoba Arts Council Musical Instrument Bank. A list of current and former clients includes musicians in both classical and folk/fusion traditions—Kristina Bauch of the high-octane fiddle band Barrage; internationally known cellist Paul Marleyn; fiddler Tania Elizabeth of the fusion Duhks; the late Charles Dobias of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.