”I am Michael Tobias, and I have been building instruments since 1974. I started in Washington, D.C., working in The Guitar Shop doing repairs for a time to learn about other luthiers’ instruments and construction methods. Most of my early work was on acoustic instruments. I worked on a great variety of instruments including Martin, Gibson, Fender, Kohno, and Ramierez. I also worked on banjos and mandolins, harp guitars and even a few sitars.
The most important thing I learned is that, no matter what the instrument is, it is first and foremost acoustic. If an instrument sounds weak acoustically, adding pick-ups will just amplify its shortcomings. Throughout my career I have tried to apply this principal to everything I build. By experimenting with different types and combinations of wood, I seek to get the best possible tone from an instrument. And, by using different woods for body and neck, I am able to offer a wide variety of speaking voices and tonal capabilities.
Music has evolved over the years but there are still a few basic and fundamental constants; rules that must be dealt with. The instrument must satisfy the creative and emotional needs of the owner and it must play in tune.
After leaving Tobias Guitars at the end of 1992, and fulfilling my contractual obligations for consulting and non-competition with Tobias, I started building MTD (Michael Tobias Design) instruments at the beginning of 1994.
I have a small shop in the town of Woodstock, New York. Working with my son, Daniel and my friend Charlie Kniceley, we produce about 10 instruments per month. I enjoy building instruments and consider myself quite lucky to be doing something daily that creates a great deal of satisfaction for my customers and myself.