Tobias Braun was born in Holzminden/Weser, Germany in 1960. The following year his family moved to Perchtoldsdorf, a suburb of Vienna, in Austria. After finishing school in 1980 Tobias started his studies in German and Journalism, and although this was quite interesting, it was not the path Tobias wanted to be on – indeed within a few years, he would be well on his way to a career in guitar making.
Tobias Braun was born in Holzminden/Weser, Germany in 1960. The following year his family moved to Perchtoldsdorf, a suburb of Vienna, in Austria. After finishing school in 1980 Tobias started his studies in German and Journalism, and although this was quite interesting, it was not the path Tobias wanted to be on – indeed within a few years, he would be well on his way to a career in guitar making. In 1983 Tobias worked his way, self-taught, through the construction process of his first classical guitar. A year later, he attended his first guitar-making course under the tutelage of the great José Luis Romanillos, learning in just three short weeks what most people take many years of apprenticeship to acquire. In the spring of 1988 he completed his second course with José Romanillos in Aalst, Belgium and the following year, in 1989 he would complete his studies by both receiving his Master Craftsman’s Certificate in Vienna, and also by attending a third course with José Romanillos, in Córdoba, Spain. His association with Romanillos would continue well after being established as a professional luthier. In 1990 Tobias contributed to the translation into German, of José Romanillos’ book “Antonio de Torres, Guitar Maker – His Life and Work” (published by Bochinsky), followed up in 1992 by another trip to Córdoba to attend his fourth course (and last as a pupil) with José Romanillos. 1993 marked an important turning point in his career, it began with a week-long training course at Gibson in Nashville, Tennessee, and later that summer Tobias worked as José Romanillos’ assistant during his Guitar Makers’ Course in Córdoba.
Since 1998 Tobias has worked out of his current location in Gaaden, situated near Vienna in the Vienna Woods. In addition to guitar making, Tobias did a lecture tour of Japan on “The Santos Hernández Guitar of Luise Walker” which he has also done in Europe. He has also served as founding member of “N.I.C.E. – Neufeldner Instrumentenbauer Congress und Erlebnistage“ (“The Neufeld Instrument Makers’ Congress and Event”), an association for the continuing education/professional development of makers of musical instruments. In 2012, Tobias established his annual guitar making course at Ottenschlag Castle, Austria, where construction details of the great 1937 Hauser I (ex Andrés Segovia) are passed on to a group of select students over a two week period.
His instruments are informed by the great traditional masters of the past – most notably Santos Hernandez and Manuel Ramirez (of whose guitars Tobias has also made detailed copies). He is quite fond of the use of the “tornavoz” in some of these older instruments and uses a modified form of it in his guitars with great success. His love of exotic wood makes him one of the few makers to work with satinwood since the time of Enrique Garcia and Francisco Simplicio in the 1920’s, and he has also recently done a series of beautiful maple instruments that are “heat-treated” as part of the construction process so as to give the guitars an aged look and sound. We are pleased that Tobias has worked exclusively in the US with GSI since 2000.
Wooden Soul from Carlo Hofmann on Vimeo.