Today I very proudly took ownership of Brian's newest instrument, which he created after many discussions between the two of us. I'll be writing a little article about the creation process of this instrument in the next Mandolin Journal, but the crux of it was that I wanted an instrument I would never have to amplify when I play in chamber settings, that blended with a harp, and most importantly, was big, dark, and loud. And having now played on it for all of 45 minutes -- 5 of which were spent changing the E string which disintegrated after having been left in hot trucks and warehouses for the last week -- I can say unequivocally that this is the loudest mandolin I have ever played. It is stunningly, shockingly, face-meltingly loud, but yet consistent in tone from pp to ff. It never feels pushed, no matter where I am or what dynamic I'm playing at. It's just unbelievable, this thing. I'll attach the picture he sent me a few days ago, which I've already shown to some of you, and I'll have some sound files in a few days after it's played in a bit and I have Yuriy tweak the action for me, but even now, though it's been through UPS purgatory and emerged hot, dry, and cranky, I can tell that this is going to be just an unmitigated joy to play and to own. Thank you Brian, for having the guts to create something new and amazing, and for the craftsmanship that allowed you to create one of the finest mandolin I've ever played!