In 1972, Mike bought a banjo that had an oddball neck on it so he and his brother decided to build a new neck for it. The seed was planted about building things.
Moving to North Idaho in 1976 he ran into two guys who were building guitars and they hired him. He worked there for five years. Rooming with RL (Bob Givens), Givens mandolins and guitars, he worked off and on with Bob during the slow times at the guitar shop. Post full time building, the next 12 years found him repairing instruments in music stores, gaining much insight into the 'how' instruments were constructed.
1993 found him moving to Missouri where he took odd jobs, one of which was teaching guitar at a local music store. One day, while waiting for a very tardy student, he waltzed over to the banjo and mandolin display. He picked up a brand name mandolin and noticed three things. The price tag of 900 dollars, the fact it was made out of plywood and it had nothing in the way of ‘good tone’.
To the garage he went.
Starting out alone, he developed what is now Big Muddy Mandolin. Reaching out to one dealer at a time he then created a market via word of mouth. As the mandolins got more exposure and more in demand he began hiring one person at a time until he reached three full-time and two part-time employees. Reaching a total of nearly one thousand mandolins a year.
In the past few years, after being the 'manager and CEO' he began to realize his first love was actually building the mandolins himself. Now down to one part-time employee, Mike is doing all the critical work and is limiting production in what he calls ‘a saner workplace’. Actually, he's a lazy guy by nature and isn't afraid to tell you so.
PS. Big Muddy Mandolin is fueled by Lakota Coffee’s “Big Muddy Mud” a custom blend coffee bean mix designed by Mike Dulak, guaranteed to get your Big Muddy mandolin/mandola playing up an running!