Pete’s own story:
“It was 1969 or 1970 when my dad told me I may some day find a way to combine my music and woodworking skills. As a third generation woodworker I was building upscale Scandinavian furniture under the tutelage of my foreman John Hampton, and playing drums three nights a week with Johnny Olsen and the Bandits (I was a Bandit).
Not too many years down the road music became full time with my own band, and I got my first taste of lutherie refurbishing band member’s guitars. Eventually traveling and nightlife began to conflict with family life, and woodworking became once again a full time venture.
It was Polly, my wife, who encouraged me to begin building instruments such as dulcimers and Celtic harps, and after wrestling her Oscar Schmidt autoharp from her arms to learn to play, I knew it was time to design a better autoharp. I’ve been designing and inventing things for as long as I can remember – a rocket ship at age six, a carpenter’s pencil sharpener at age eleven, and a submarine at age twelve.
I knew that designing a better autoharp was a destiny. I began to devour every morsel of information available on instrument building, and I especially picked the brains of everyone who knew anything about autoharps. Still working full time, it took at least a dozen years before I had an instrument ready for public display.
Folks often ask what is different about our autoharps from others. The ‘harps I build are a complete redesign form the inside out. My primary design goals are an autoharp that looks great, sounds great, is easy & comfortable to play, easy to maintain and tune, and stays in tune. Check out our website for details and examples of some of our design innovations.
I am quite proud to be a partner to the California Autoharp Gathering, and under the capable leadership of Mike Mueller I believe it will continue to be propelled to the ranks of one of the finest music festivals around.
Hope to see you there!”
Pete will be there in full force with his magnificent handmade autoharps. His harps glow in a variety of gorgeous woods designed to deliver the greatest sound quality.