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Thread: Take your best mandolin to the festivals?

  1. #1
    Registered User Darren Bailey's Avatar
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    Default Take your best mandolin to the festivals?

    Ivan and I were chatting about whether to take your best/favourite instrument to festivals. It came about as a result of my own concerns for taking my prized mandolin to a four day festival in August. Ivan has had many more years of bluegrass festivals than myself and tells me that he's never had any problems taking his various instruments along. Just out of interest, how many here take their main mandolin and how many have a back-up "beater" that only makes it to festivals? I'm kind of swung by what Ivan says as I'd like to have something that sounds as good as I can be when I'm jamming etc but still there's a little voice in my head shouting "play safe". What do you think?
    Last edited by Darren Bailey; May-31-2014 at 1:39pm. Reason: All my Ls were missing!

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    Economandolinist Amanda Gregg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    Most of the folks I know bring their best instruments with the justification, "Why own them, if you aren't going to really play them?" This includes friends who own Loars. Their advice: pay for good insurance and go have fun.

    A few years ago at Greyfox, a rather well known mandolin player awoke in the middle of a field after a long crazy night with nothing but the clothes on his back and his 1st tier mandolin around his neck.

    Which reminds me: the thing to worry about is not theft but drunken mayhem, like the time someone let someone else borrow their bass, and it exploded on the ground in a missed handoff. Keep your eyes on your instruments to avoid theft. I generally keep my mandolin with me or locked in a car under blankets (if it's not too hot).
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    Now that I own one of Peter Mix's Carbon Fiber ones, no problem .. (mine an A5)

    well not no problem, Its still awfully expensive to travel so far to even Get to most Festivals ..


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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I believe it's spelled "Festivus":



    But seriously, yeah, I take my best instruments to the festivals I attend (or perform at). But, I don't drink, I try to keep 'em secure, within sight at all times -- and, honestly, even my better stuff isn't of such high value that it would be an overwhelming temptation to a potential thief.

    So far, so good; been lucky, maybe even a bit cautious (fingers crossed)...
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    Troglodyte Michael Weaver's Avatar
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    I'm with Allen and Amanda. I take my main axes with me. I don't drink either. I have taken my beaters before but I end up leaving them back at camp because I want to sound my best. Playing a mandolin I barely ever play means that I won't sound my best. After midnight.....watch for swinging guitar headstocks flying through the top of your mando. Hop into the circle, play your solo, duck out of the way and watch for falling drunks. I did one time have a guitar player swing the top of their Gibson guitar into my headstock and it poked a hole right through the top. Luckily it didn't damage mine soooo....too bad for them.
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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    If i play anywhere,i want to sound as good as i can - 'mandolin wise' anyway - i ain't too sure about the talent !. If i had a Lloyd Loar or any mandolin by a 'top maker', that's the one i'd take,i'd just take good care of it as i always do. If i'm not playing either of mine,it goes in it's case & the case stays with me - permanently. Also,if where i'm playing gets too overcrowded,i'll put it in it's case & just listen. Michael's 'swinging guitar headstocks' is what i'm thinking about.There's alway other less potentially damaging time to play,
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    Registered User Pasha Alden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I have a beater/beat up mando. I do very basic things like camps. For festivals I use my more expensive mandolin: Jbovier. Reason: I wish, as you said to sound as good as I can. Like Ivan I have not yet had trouble of any kind. I am going to play my more expensive mandolin at our national arts festival in July. So I look forward to that. three mini concerts. Good luck with your preparations for the August festival.

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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    Oh god yeah, take your best one - but as others have said - be insured if you're not already.

    I only don't take my bestest one when I think the space will be a feedback nightmare - that's when I take the still very good other one but with a different type of pickup.

    For outside - it's the best one as it cuts lots more
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    'course I do, since I have no second-best.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    Take what you're most familiar/comfortable with. However, if the likes of John Reischman will take his Loar to workshops and let the students 'have a go', I'd have no problem taking my favourite mandolin.

  16. #11
    Registered User joemcg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I'm leaving 6/11 for the summer in my travel trailer. I'm starting at the Huck Finn Festival and then heading North to campground host in Sequoia National Park.

    I purchased a Kentucky KM-150 specifically for the summer. I wasn't as worried about damage/theft at Huck Finn as i was during the CG hosting stint. Also I won't have electric at either site, so no air conditioning. I wasn't too excited about subjecting my more expensive instruments to the vagaries if the summer weather.

    I'm leaving the Martin guitars at home also and taking a Taylor GS Mini.
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    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I wasn't too excited about subjecting my more expensive instruments to the vagaries if the summer weather.
    This is much more my concern than damage from accident. My 3 best mandolins are not worth collectively what many people on this sites beaters are worth. However I don't take my favorite 42 Strad o lin much further from home than my front porch. Mostly because I fear for 70 y/o glue and no truss rod construction. The Strad-o-lin has a beautiful bell like tone but is not as loud as My Rover RM75 or my Gitano ( a Great sounding cheap F) so are more suitable for big groups anyway. I wouldn't own them if they didn't sound good so I'm not really worried about not sounding my best. I think a good case is the most important thing for these festival situations and making sure your instrument is in it when you are not playing.
    Jim Richmond

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    Registered User John L's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I would never buy anything that I consider too valuable to take anywhere I want to play - keeps my MAS (and GAS) under some control I guess, but my instruments are still good enough to play pretty much anywhere. I lean toward good quality used instruments as they come with scars. Call them players quality I guess, but I don't worry about taking them out.
    Johneeaaddgg

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    Still Picking and Sawing Jack Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    My best is a beat-up A-1. It looks like the previous owner took it to festivals and any other place it could be played. I bought it from a dealer who bought it at a festival.
    I take it everywhere, but I keep an eye on it. I would hate to lose it.
    My second best is a pristine F-4 with great sound, but it lacks the scars of time that would make it truly great. I play it at home and keep it well protected.
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    plectrist
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I don't subscribe to the "having a beater" philosophy. I come from the school of "Buy the best you can afford, take excellent care of it, and play the bejeezus out of it."
    Even at home, once i pour a scotch or glass of wine the instruments aren't touched.
    Both of my mandolins will fit in the Calton case i had done in "Marigold" yellow which can be seen from any distance, though it's usually either next to me or secure somewhere else.

    Take the good one!

    Ryk
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  21. #16

    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    My beater is a Kentucky KM340S with a JJB pickup so it only is taken anywhere I need to plug in. For purely acoustic playing like at a festival, I take the tool that will get the job done best, my '56 F-12 of course.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Registered User Bill Baldridge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I wouldn't know how to buy a mandolin as a financial investment, so if I don't play it, why have it?

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  24. #18
    Registered User Darren Bailey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I'm swung by the arguments /experience here. However, I also know that once I get out in the open air for a few nights without the watchful gaze of my good wife I'm likely to be sampling a few real ales and red wines. It's not theft or climate I'm concerned about, it's a stumbling owner who might get stupid.

  25. #19

    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    Can't help you there....I've been a stumbling owner at times......so far, the mandolins gods have smiled kindly. The damage could be fixed

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    Only own one mandolin so I do take it to festivals.

  27. #21
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I've long assumed that the low-end-of-the-line early Flartirons were called the "Festival" model as their way of saying "here's really nice mandolin that won't hurt quite so much if it gets rained/spilled/fallen on." But still very nice mandolins!
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I live by the beach so I have a beater( old Ajr) for that because of the sun and the sand and the potential for that occasional wave that travels much farther than all the others. For anything else I would take my best. I always figured that having a very nasty looking case is a pretty good deterrent to snatch and run thieves, not that I have one at the moment. My thinking is that they are going for the instrument in the really nice case. I worry more at festivals about getting run over by a drunk while I'm sleeping in my tent than damage or theft of an instrument! The best solution to that is not to sleep which seems to happen a lot to me at festivals since the best stuff seems to happen in the middle of the night!

  29. #23
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I always take my best mandolin and one time a dobro player put his head stock smack into the body of my mandolin and all he did was laugh about, he didn`t look so good wearing a dobro around his neck though...Not really, I just let it pass and rubbed it out and it is hard to see the scratch unless you look real hard....

    No use having them if you aren`t going to play them and show them off....

    Willie

  30. #24
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I tried buying a second mandolin when I was concerned how difficult it would be to replace my first. I fell in love with the second, and even had some custom art work applied, (making it irreplaceable), so instead of a second I had another first.

    I would gigantically regret and miss the loss or damage of any of my mandolins. I don't have any best mandolin, really, they all do something really well, and I don't treat any mandolin as a beater. Likely if I felt that way about a mandolin I would sell it, because it would never get played.
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  31. #25
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take your best mandolin to the festivas?

    I take both my Rigel and my Washburn to Grey Fox. Around my campsite I'm more likely to pull the Rigel out. The Washburn is more likely to come with me on a walkabout.
    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Jerman custom 5 string electric, Eastman MD-515 & El Rey, Grandmom's solid-mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
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