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Thread: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

  1. #1

    Default Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Hey forum,

    I've been listening to a lot of Adam Steffey lately, and I just started listening to his 2001 album "Grateful." On the cover, he's playing a mandolin that I can't identify. Anybody know what it is? Here's a link to the album cover. http://crossroadsmusic.com/images/ca...60/MH08512.jpg

    Thanks!
    ~David Chernack

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  2. #2
    Registered User sgrexa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Oliver Apitius in Canada, not sure if he is still building, though his website is still up?

    Sean

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  4. #3
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Adam's had so many mandolins over the last several years that it's hard to keep track of what he's 'playing now'. As Sean says,i't very likely the Apitius he used back then.He eventually did swing over to using a Sim Daley mandolin,then the Gibson 'Adam Steffey' model & then ......... !. Whatever he plays,he's unmistakable & awesome !,
    Ivan
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    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Think he's sticking with his Northfield right now, but as mentioned, Adam changes mandos like he changes socks! I should have such a choice. Whatever he's playing, it seems to sound like him, though, and that's a good thing!
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

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  7. #5
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    I thought he just a got new Elkhorn.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  8. #6

    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    What's interesting to me is that many of his mandos are in the $2000-$4000 range (used) and he's won umpteen ibma awards. Which just goes to show you a lot of the MAS we all deal with is an unrelated hobby to sounding good… as he says in one of his northfield videos "this is all the axe anyone would ever need..."
    (By the way… I'm lecturing myself here, not anybody else)

  9. #7
    Registered User samlyman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    It can be easy to forget that the player has a huge influence in how good or bad an instrument sounds. I am reminded of how good the S.S. Stewart mandolin sounded on Tone Poems as played by Grisman. An inexpensive but expertly played mandolin can sound better than an average or poor player on a 23 Loar.

    Perhaps the take-home lesson is that one should dedicate one's passion to playing as good as possible and not get caught up in the pursuit of the best instrument... Let us ourselves be that best instrument!

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  11. #8
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Quote Originally Posted by samlyman View Post
    It can be easy to forget that the player has a huge influence in how good or bad an instrument sounds. I am reminded of how good the S.S. Stewart mandolin sounded on Tone Poems as played by Grisman. An inexpensive but expertly played mandolin can sound better than an average or poor player on a 23 Loar.

    Perhaps the take-home lesson is that one should dedicate one's passion to playing as good as possible and not get caught up in the pursuit of the best instrument... Let us ourselves be that best instrument!
    Yes, well... we do everything we can! For most people, it's a whole lot easier to find the money to buy a great instrument than to find the time and the talent to develop better technique. Of course, these things are not mutually exclusive, so it's not just the one or the other. Furthermore, owning a great instrument can be a real incentive for bettering one's technique. The best advice should not be "just get better," but "get inspired to get better," I believe. Now, if only someone would stake me to that 1924 Loar...

  12. #9
    AKA Billgrass
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Took a lesson or two from him and he used a Collings A. I know he ordered an Ellis A (wide neck) but I think I saw it in the classifieds. An allegory: Lance Armstrong May have lied about a lot, but he got it right with "It's Not About The Bike."

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  14. #10

    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    As far as I know he did just buy this Elkhorn that he was playing at Carter Vintage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4Dmq6-TXuY

    The Sim Daley "Hoss" copy he played for a while is on sale there too: http://cartervintage.com/mandopage/hoss-f.jpg

    Plus probably 3 Northfields. Anyone know if he owns a Loar?
    ~David Chernack

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  15. #11

    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    At Billgrass, is this the Collings you were talking about? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDammichC50
    ~David Chernack

    2003 Lawrence Smart A5 #145
    2011 Kentucky KM-1000
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    1961 Silvertone 3/4 octave mandolin conversion
    2015 Eastman E20D

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Charley - Adam did indeed buy an Elkhorn mandolin & it's a beauty !.However,i think that it'll go on the 'roundabout' to be played as all his others are - when he feels like it !. His Northfield is a superb mandolin judging by the recorded sound of it ,& as his touring instrument is certainly good enough. It also means the his more expensive instruments aren't facing the dangers of being on the road.
    David - Unless it's a very closely kept secret,i'm fairly sure that Adam doesn't own a Lloyd Loar. He couldn't play / sound any better if he did (IMHO).I have a feeling that at one point he did own or at least play a Gilchrist ?,
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  18. #13
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    On a TV program called, "Country`s Family Reunion" on RFD-TV on satellite TV he appeared to be playing a Northfield, and it sounded as good as any of the big name mandolins that the "super stars" had on the program.....I never did see a close up on the mandolin peg head so I am not 100% sure if it was a Northfield or not but the markings that I could see looked like it was, maybe some one else also watched the program and knows for sure, also I am not sure when this show was recorded for TV...Maybe some one could see if Adam would like to respond here on The Café....

    Willie

  19. #14
    Registered User John L's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Apitius - there is a used one for sale in Guelph, Ontario-http://www.folkwaymusic.com/vintage-...pitius-f-0413/
    Johneeaaddgg

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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    I remember seeing John Moore at San Diego Summer grass years ago . Went to his workshop and he had a Kentucky for the mandolin he used on stage. When asked how often he changed strings? He replied that he did not remember. John is a very good player and comes from a long line of great musicians from San Diego. Just goes to show you. A great player does not need a $16,000 mando.
    ntriesch

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  22. #16

    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    At Ivan, I feel like he did too at some point. And that Apitius is be-e-eautiful! Nice quilting on that one.
    ~David Chernack

    2003 Lawrence Smart A5 #145
    2011 Kentucky KM-1000
    2010 Kentucky KM-150
    1961 Silvertone 3/4 octave mandolin conversion
    2015 Eastman E20D

  23. #17
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Nick - John Moore is one of the finest mandolin players around,although he doesn't get mentioned much on here. He was over here many years ago with ''Bluegrass Etc.''.His mandolin playing really wowed me & i wasn't playing mandolin at the time.He was also one of the finest flat pickers on guitar that i've heard to date. Again,JM is one of those players who can extract good tone from most mandolins. Here's a decent clip of JM & the awesome Dennis Caplinger on banjo :- http://youtu.be/_pUlJ0J37oQ
    Ivan
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  24. #18

    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    It's the player, not the instrument, and the tone is in the hands, and in the ear, and whether you believe it or not, in the mind. Once you have a good instrument, keep it, and learn to play it well. I'm glad Adam Steffey is proving that by using any and every brand of mandolin available to him, and still sounding like a beast. What a great player!

    Jack

  25. #19

    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Watch any of those northfield videos..I'm sure they're fine instruments, but a used one is around $2k...you can't get a better mando sound than adam gets out of em...

  26. #20
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Quote Originally Posted by jackofblack View Post
    Once you have a good instrument, keep it, and learn to play it well. I'm glad Adam Steffey is proving that by using any and every brand of mandolin available to him
    I agree that we can learn from Adam Steffey that it's the player and not the instrument. It's a bit harder to learn from him that once you have a good instrument you should keep it, however. Even great players are susceptible to MAS.
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Ever wonder how good he would be if he would get a decent mandolin???

    Don't shoot....just kidding.

    Seriously, it is the picker that makes the difference, BUT, there is a limit. I would guess that Adam plays a lot of mandolins before he decides which one to perform/record with.

    No matter what he's playing, I can usually tell it's him about 4 measures into a break. Super musician and baritine singer.

    Not mentioned much, but Adam played some fantastic mandolin on the Forbes Family project, In the Shadow of Your Wings from about 15-20 years ago. I don't know what mandolin he played there.

    Bob
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  28. #22

    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Ya, interesting that he seems to have always been on the hunt (MAS) yet stays mostly in the low-medium price range. I'm sure he's had the big names offer him instruments.

  29. #23
    Registered User Brian scott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    I have played several Northfield mandolins and their ok sounding. None of them really blew me away. Adam Steffey can pull good tone out of a plastic mandolin. I'm pretty sure he used the Daley mandolin on the Grateful cd though.

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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    Apitius and Gibson Steffey mandolins are low to medium models? I beg to differ.
    ntriesch

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adam Steffey is playing a...?

    I'm sure that Adam could get the very best out of any number of 'El cheapo' mandolins,but there comes a cut-off point where they simply won't respond tonally to what he requires as a pro.player. Then there comes the 'other' cut-off point,the one where the cost of a top of the line mandolin ceases to be of 'better value' because of the diminished 'tonal' benefits for the cost. Between the 2 points,there's the happy land where most mandolins within it's borders are capable of producing as good a tone as we 'standard' humans will ever require,in fact,more than some of us will ever produce ! - I include myself in that group,but i do try !.
    I'll qualify my 'diminished 'tonal' benefits' remark by saying that the instruments by the 2 makers whom i had in mind.are 'to me' simply incredible instruments - but,are they regarded by all players as 'superior sounding' ?. Personally,i still prefer Chris Thile's Dude.to his Loar,& Ronnie McCoury's Gilchrist to his Loar,as he apparently does. The mandolins that Adam Steffey plays obviously sound & play good enough for him,& that's certainly good enough for me when i hear him play any one of them !,
    Ivan
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