Tried to search for a similar thread, but "do, you, take, your, best, mandolin" are all too common for the search engine!
Anyway, this occasionally gets bandied about on the Martin guitar forum: Do you take your best guitar to the fest/camping/jam/bar gig, etc., or do you take a beater?
Some exceptions, obviously, but the general consensus is that folks say, "I might as well play it!" ... so yeah, they bring their best guitar everywhere. (Or if their best guitar is an 12-fret 000, they might take their best Dread to the fest, or whatever.)
But was thinking about this as I'm saving for an upgrade to my MT. (I love it, but MAS is, um, you know, insidious...) I figure in a year or so I'll get an Ellis/Kimble/BRW/Brentrup A-style or something similar, and I think I'd keep the MT. (It's probably worth about $1700 or so, but I'd rather keep it to have as a backup or if my 9-year-old takes a keener interest, etc...)
And I thought, hmmm, would I bring the [INSERT UPGRADED BRAND HERE] to an outdoor/camping fest? I mean, the MT isn't a "beater" by any stretch, but I would certainly be less worried about that than a $5000 instrument. (To be fair, it's not like an Ellis A is an irreplaceable Loar, or even a $15,000-25,000 Gilchrist/Dudenbostel/Gibson MM, etc...) But still. (I could see the decision being easier if one was a bluegrass mandolin, and another was an old-style oval hole or something, but these would be two similar mandolins.)
Anyway, some folks bring their best everywhere, regardless of whether they're even playing on stage; I see Brentrups and Gibby MM's at group jams around the campsite.
When do you decide NOT to take your best? Or similarly, how do you decide when it's OK to take your best?