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MTD
Instruments currently built in Kingston, NY since 1994.
Luthier Michael Tobias has been handcrafting guitars and basses since 1977. The forerunner of MTD, Tobias Guitars was started in Orlando, Florida in April 1977. TobiasĀ“ first shop name was the Guitar Shop, and he sold that business in 1980 and moved to San Francisco to be partners in a short-lived manufacturing business called Sierra Guitars. The business made about fifty instruments and then Tobias left San Francisco in May of 1981 to start a repair shop in Costa Mesa, California.
Several months later, Tobias left Costa Mesa and moved to Hollywood. Tobias Guitars continued to repair instruments and build custom basses for the next several years with the help of Bob Lee and Kevin Almieda (Kevin went on to work for Music Man). The company moved into 1623 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood and after a year quit the repair business. Tobias Guitars added Bob McDonald, lost Kevin to Music Man, and then got Makoto Onishi. The business grew in leaps and bounds. In June of 1988 the company had so many back orders that it did not accept any new orders until the January NAMM show in 1990.
After several attempts to move the business to larger, better-equipped facilities, Michael Tobias sold Tobias Guitars to Gibson on January 1, 1990. Late in 1992, it was decided that in the best corporate interests, Tobias Guitars would move to Nashville. Michael Tobias left the company in December 1992, and was a consultant for Gibson as they set up operations in Nashville.
By contractual agreement, after TobiasĀ“ consulting agreement with Gibson was up, he had a one-year non-competition term. That ended in December 1993. During that time, Tobias moved to The Catskills in upstate New York and set up a small custom shop. Tobias started designing new instruments and building prototypes in preparation for his new venture. The first instruments were named Eclipse. There are fifty of these instruments and most of them are 35 in. bolt-ons. There are three neck-throughs. Tobias finally settled on MTD as the company name and trademark. As of 1997 he had delivered 250 MTD instruments, including bolt-on basses, guitars, neck-through basses, and acoustic bass guitars.
Michael Tobias is currently building nearly one hundred instruments per year, with the help of Chris Hofschneider (who works two days per week). Chris has at least fifteen years experience, having worked for Sam Koontz, Spector Guitars, Kramer, and being on the road with bands like Bon Jovi and other New Jersey-based bands. Michael Tobias is also doing design and development work for other companies, such as Alvarez, Brian Moore Guitars, Modulus Guitars, Lakland, American Showster (with Chris Hofschneider) and the new Czech-built Grendel basses (source: Michael Tobias, MTD fine handmade guitars and basses).

From Blue Book Publications:


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