MiVT: Morande Instruments

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 7:31 PM EDT
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NORTHFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) - To say Peter Morande is familiar with his workspace is an understatement. This was his childhood bedroom.

"It's a lot different then it was then," Peter said. "A lot cleaner now, too."

Peter and his wife are renting the house where he grew up from his parents, who now live outside the state.

"It still takes me back sometimes, thinking what this room was and actually the countless hours that I spent learning guitar and now I'm building not only guitars but ukuleles and electric mandolins," Peter said.

Morande Instruments started about three years ago. It stems from Peter’s love of string instruments. He started learning to play them after a few years of pounding percussion instruments.

"I just remember it was a lot easier to play at night. It was also a lot easier to play with friends," he said.

Peter spent years working at Guitar Sam in Montpelier. The owner, Kevin, was instrumental in helping Peter get his business off the ground. Kevin would allow Peter to repair and build instruments in the basement of the shop.

"Seeing his progress, his builds that he'd bring in, really fascinated me," Peter recalled. "If it wasn't for his instruments and me being exposed to those, I probably wouldn't be building."

Peter uses a heavy-duty router with a template to get the rough body shape of the instrument. Most of his heavy-duty machinery is in another part of the house. His more meticulous work happens in his former bedroom. He’s currently building a ukulele for a man in Pennsylvania who reached out through Peter’s website and email address.

“Highly figured myrtle wood for the back and sides. I’ve got a nice ebony fingerboard for it and actually using koa for the neck,” Peter explained. “Working at a local guitar shop for basically the last decade, I’m really good at helping someone find what they’re looking for.”

A homegrown business in every sense, Morande Instruments plays to the strengths of its customers.

"There wouldn't be a whole room in my house filled with instruments if I wasn't having fun," Peter said.

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