I recently became the proud owner of Steffey No. 38. I was thinking about getting another Gibson F without having any particular thought about buying a Steffy. Plan A was to start looking for a deal on a used Fern. I stumbled upon this mandolin by dumb luck, and really like it.
(I'd flirted with buying a Sam Bush model, back when they first came out, after trying one in the Gibson tent at Telluride. A friend got me a CD autographed by Sam that says, "Mike, buy the F5!" I didn't have the dough at the time, however.)
I don't know more than the most general details about this particular run of 50 signature models. I'd be interested in hearing from others who know about these mandolins, and from other Steffey owners. Mine belonged to somebody who knows a thing or two about Gibson mandolins (I'm being coy), but apparently not played until I got it.
I own Steffey #13 (signed August, 2002). It's a great mandolin. Aside from the cosmetics, the only difference between a Steffey and a Fern, to the best of my knowledge, is the lack of a fingerboard extension and the radius on the fingerboard. I know Josh Williams had a Steffey also, not sure if he still does, but he played one when he was with the Special Consensus a while back. Sierra Hull also has one, but lately has been playing a Webber. She recorded her CD with the Steffey though.
My old Mandolin teacher had No. 33 and i liked it but i dont much like a F5Fern
What did you like about it that you didn't find in a Fern?
Hmmm well its just the fern i played it didnt sound as good as the Steffy
I've had #20 for about 5 years now, and I love it. It had all the things I was looking for: radiused fingerboard, no fingerboard extension, dark burst, Gibson tone (and lots of it!). The neck is narrow at the nut compared with a Sam Bush, but it works for me. Much more playable than the A9 I had before it.