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Michael Thiele

Hardwood Music Gallery

"In art as in life, to continue to learn and grow, the questions that come to one's mind are at least as much if not more important than the answers to problems already solved."

Questions are at our artistic core; they inspire our curiosity and journey of discovery. My dad Michael Thiele and I are the father and son designer/builders at Hardwood Music. Michael built his first instrument in the early 1970s. Long story short, he had purchased a simple tongue drum for my mother on a whim, for rhythmic use in her dance class. Soon after a student dropped and broke the...

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... instrument, he set out to replace it himself and curiosity took over.

Through trial and error, dad spent the years that followed teaching himself how to tune wood and learning what made one board more musical than another. From the very beginning, Michael has been inspired by the question of how these instruments worked and motivated by the challenge of making them better. Today, we continue this journey of discovery together.

Hardwood Drums and musical furniture are a modern version of an ancient Aztec device known as the "Teponaxtli" or log "tongue" drum. In our modern take on this age-old tradition, we aim to create pieces that are finely tuned and aesthetically beautiful versions of their distant cousins.

The quality, clarity and pitch accuracy of our work has attracted a long list of some of the world’s best musicians, celebrities and composers. You might not have recognized it at the time, but you've likely heard our work before on a movie soundtrack or two, or as an accompanying instrument on a record.

Michael and Joah Thiele and family currently reside in Flagstaff, Arizona.

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We have won best of category and best of show awards at numerous art shows over the years including:

Affaire in the Gardens (Beverly Hills, CA)
Art In The Park (Boulder City, NV)
Coconut Grove Arts Festival (Coconut Grove, FL)
Festival of the Masters (Orlando, FL)
Kimball Arts Festival (Park City, UT)
Mainsail Art Festival (St. Petersburg, FL)
Sausalito Arts Festival (Sausalito, CA)