Michael has been a professional musician since he was fourteen years old. He started in high school playing the tuba with a small dance orchestra, a community band, and participating with Elizabethtown College musical organizations.
After graduating high school he entered the United States Army where he continued his study of music. Michael graduated from the Navy School of Music, first in his class. From there he went on to serve with the 389th Army Band out of Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
It was here, while playing the electric bass with the show and rock bands, that Mike met his destiny, the acoustic bass. Through the generosity of Harvey Johnson, who went to serve with the tank corp., he was given his first bass.
To his great fortune, while playing this bass with a Baldwin Long Island Big Band, Michael found his way to the shop of Barrie Kolstein who initiated him to the art of repair and restoration. Thanks Barrie!
During his apprenticeship at Kolstein's shop, Michael continued his musical studies with Homer Mensch and Dave Burns. He also freelanced as a jazz player, performing with Jim Galli of the Charlie Barnett Orchestra, Vincent Herring, Dennis Charles, Charles Davis, C.I. Williams, Jim Hartog, Clarence Sharpe, Don Cherry, Marvin Blackman, and others.
Michael moved back to Pennsylvania to complete his education, graduating from Penn State University with degrees in American History and Communications. It was here that he met the other love of his life, Linda. Together they started Shank's String Instruments, opening their doors in 1990 with a box of hand tools and a couple of basses.
The rest, well, we're still writing it.