Tools of the trade...
I''m blessed to have some really great instruments. One is a Northfield Master Model (#70) which I have owned for around 10 years or so. It's a great mandolin and has a tone that I just love. Can't ever see myself letting this one get away. I recently acquired a 2004 Alan Bibey Gibson Signature F5 that is just awesome and a 1997 Buckeye F5 that is absolutely incredible! This year (2021), I also picked up a 1995 Duff F5 that I'm playing a lot these days. I endorse Curt Mangan Strings and use a couple of signature sets (see and click images below) on mandolin that are phosphor bronze or Monel (depending on the mandolin) with 11.5, 16, 26, and 40 gauges. I've always liked the heaver E and A strings for the "pop" and cut you can get out of them. Mixing these heavier E and A strings with the "normal" D and G courses seems to provide the right balance and give me more cutting power along with a really nice chop. My Northfield mandolin is equipped with a K&K Twin pickup system which works wonderfully with the RedEye preamp but now days I'm primarily using an Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina condenser microphones and a Charlene Ear Trumpet Mic for Vocals. The Fire Eye is a wonderful preamp built by Darren Applet in Texas and it gives a very natural sound with acoustic instruments. It sounds equally great on mandolin, guitar, and fiddle and it's straight forward simplistic design is easy to manage... not to mention they are built like tanks! I use Harrison straps on my mandolins and guitars. I also use the SR 50 BlueChip pics in either a round bevel or left hand bevel and from time to time use the TD50 BlueChips. Peak Design bags are the best thing I've found to carry my equipment and these are the best bags organization and ease of use, period. My guitars include a 1955 Gibson J50 and a Taylor GS Mini Bass.
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