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Mandolin Cafe Black Friday Gear Recommendations

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On Monday we covered some 2011 new music in advance of Black Friday and today we have some gear recommendations to share. Not necessarily restricted to what's new to 2011, we're happy to recommendation products that are tried and tested and are widely in use. If you've been paying attention and are a certified AAS sufferer (Accessory Acquisition Syndrom) you may have some of these items.

Got your own suggestions? We'd like to hear them, and please share a link with us.


inline imageCooper Stand Pro-Mini Mandolin/Violin Stand - Retails around Price $44. Portable, light-weight and what we really like about it is it fits in most case cover pockets or gig bag accessory case. Perfect for hauling along to gigs without having to take up a bunch of room in your vehicle. Product Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 1.5" and 10.1 ounces. Get it: | Elderly

Tuners - When it comes to tuners, two products seemed to stand out this year and we love both the Snark SN-2 All Instrument Clip-On Chromatic Tuner and the ultra mini Planet Waves NS Mini-Headstock Tuner. Both under $20 for a quality tuner and at that price you can't go wrong. We're making use of the mini with one stored in each instrument case.

Get the Snark: | Elderly | Dietze Music
Get the Planet Waves Mini: | Elderly | Dietze Music
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Small Dog Case Cover from Colorado Case - We are long-term card carrying Small Dog case cover lovers and not an instrument passes through our hands that doesn't have a case protected by Small Dog. The zipper pocket for picks, strings, tuners, string winders and everything else--indispensable. The shoulder strap, a requirement! You can even get the Mandolin Cafe logo embroidered onto it. Our opinion is no decent case or instrument should be without one of these. Protects the case from long-term damage, helps control the temperature of the instrument and protects if from the elements, and gets you to your gigs or jam sessions with all of your gear neatly in tow. Our highest recommendation. Get it: From Colorado Case

Hoffee Carbon Fiber Mandolin Case - At $699 retail these surely are not flying off the shelf, but we admit to wanting one badly. At that price, they're competitive with Pegasus cases (we have one). According to the Colorado Case web site which offers these: Hoffee cases are available in natural carbon fiber finish, Silver, Gold, light blue, cherry red, green, and purple. Colors are all slightly translucent showing some of the carbon fiber pattern underneath. All exterior colors have some sparkle in the color. The interior options are red, green, blue and black. Get it: From Colorado Case Company

inline imageJupiter Silkweave Cloth from - We find these indispensable for cleaning up a messy instrument after a rehearsal or gig. At $5.25 + some shipping they're darn cheap, work great and do exactly what they're supposed to do. According to their site: This short-term investment of time will prevent build up, keep your instrument looking nice, and preserve its overall value. We concur. Get it:

Sound Dampeners - See the picture to the right (the Jupiter Silkweave), the little black dots between the strings just below the bridge? Those are sound dampeners, also known by their scientific name, Rubber Grommets. We dig these for several reasons: 1) they dampen sound vibrations between the tailpiece and bridge, 2) they look cool (our opinion), and 3) they infuriate old school mandolin players because "That's stupid! Bill didn't use them. He used a piece of rawhide so that's what I use." You can pay a fortune for these prepackaged and resold by various folks or you can buy your own from a hardware store or Radio Shack. We choose the latter. Get them: Radio Shack

Like to lose yourself in an extended forum discussion about grommets? Of course, we're here to serve that need.

Blue Chip Picks - We're crazy about these. Pricey, yes, but they last forever and require little if any maintenance. You owe it to yourself to try one if you haven't yet. We scoffed at the rave reviews until trying one out, and now it's all we use. If you're already using them, give the products at V-Picks a try. You never know what's going to work for you and if it doesn't, easy enough to resell or trade on our Classifieds. By the way, the folks at Blue Chip tell us our forum discussion on their picks, currently with over 1,500 posts and well over 150K views, is one of the three largest and most heavily trafficked on the internet. Get them: from the manufacturer.

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