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MiVT: Sanzone Guitar & Mandolin Co.

(WCAX)
Published: Feb. 3, 2020 at 1:49 PM EST
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He thought he wasn't good enough to be a professional musician, so he decided to make instruments that pros could play. That includes one famous client who you could say has become comfortably numb.

Chuck Sanzone started playing the guitar from an early age. He wanted to have a career in music coming out of college. He saw an ad on the back of a guitar magazine for a luthier school in Arizona. That was 25 years ago.

"So as soon as I graduated, I packed up my car and drove out there," Sanzone said. "You're lucky to kind of bump into people that are lucky to share your knowledge and mentor you and I've had some good ones throughout the years."

"A good musical instrument needs to be light and responsive. If it's too heavy than it dampens the tone of the instrument," Sanzone said.

He mostly sells his work direct to customers. "Everything I make is different every time. That kind of helps me stay interested and not burn out instead of making the same thing over and over again," Sanzone said.

One of his most famous clients is David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Sanzone had collaborated with a New York City Jewelry artist on a guitar. She put it up for sale at her shop in Sojo, which was then purchased by Gilmour's wife for his 72nd birthday.

"And to make things even better, he played it publicly the day he gave his big speech, the day he auctioned his guitars off. And I'm proud to say that mine was one of the ones he hung on to," Sanzone said.

Sanzone and his family moved to Stowe in 2012 and he works out of his home, the old Brownsville Schoolhouse. It was built in the 1850s and to Stowe during the 1950s.

"This is an amazing place and I'm lucky to have this as my shop. I'll probably not have another shop this cool again. And it's been a great creative spot for me to hang out in and it's separate from the house too, so I don't have to bother the family while I'm out here doing my thing," Sanzone said.

Unless of course the family wants to take part, like Sanzone's 17-year-old son, Carson, a junior at Stowe High School.

"I kind of want him to understand that anything he wants to do, there is actually a way to still do that and he's doing a great job with it," Sanzone said.

Once the protege, now the mentor, Chuck Sanzone has shaped a successful luthier career. All it took was an ad for him to take action.

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