A Sensible Way to Mic a Mandolin

AKG C406 Microphone

When I finally stumbled upon this method of amplifying the mandolin, how happy I was to get away from toting huge speakers, mic stands, and all of the other stuff that filled the back of my vehicle to and from gigs. I now show up with mandolin in one hand, and amp in another, and a shoulder bag to carry the microphone, a few small cables and a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans.

The clamp attached to the base of the boom is custom-made by a friend.

The connection between the microphone and the amp is about six feet long.

The sound quality is very good but at high volume the potential exists to make the amp "pop" if you start playing chop chords. I'm using this in a jazz setting so things are a little milder in terms of percussion. You'll also need to get used to doing dynamics yourself vs. moving in and out of a mic. I suppose you could add a volume pedal but to me that equates to more equipment to carry and more money to spend.

Here's a recap of the total set-up I use for gigs:

  1. AKG C406 Microphone with custom tailpiece attachment
  2. Trace Acoustic Amp (a real killer)
  3. Six foot cable from mic attachment to amp
  4. One small screwdriver for attaching to tailpiece
  5. Power strip for electricity

Outside of the mandolin and amp, the equipment fits neatly into a small shoulder bag and weighs maybe 10 pounds. Easy enough to carry all of it several blocks to a gig if necessary.