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Thread: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

  1. #1
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    For the last 6 months I've been playing a with a small local bluegrass cover band that does a lot of bar and small party type of gigs. It has been pretty fun, and I have had to embrace some aspects of amplification and using effects that I never really expected. I have done a lot of reading here over the years and feel I gained a lot of knowledge from the equipment forum here on the cafe so THANK YOU to all the regular posters here who share their knowledge! It has been invaluable in figuring out the mandolin specific aspects of sound reinforcement.

    So I have been experimenting and my "gig rig" has evolved into something elaborate. It all started with just my Collings MT2 and a Radial Stagebug active DI. I told myself that was all I would ever need. And I still can do that. But I also wanted a boost. And then a mute for tuning. So of course I got a Grace Designs Felix preamp; who doesn't need 2 channels with independent EQ and an XLR input with 48V phantom power?!? (I just got a K and K put into my Northfield octave mandolin which is not in the picture below). So then there was this gig where I was swimming in reverb - and of course I wanted to be able to control that. And the fiddle player isn't always there, so a bit of chorus or delay really help with some sustain and feel when we cover 80s tunes... which turned into a pedal board. What's a pedal board without a tuner pedal? Then I wanted a mandolin case with backpack straps. When I found the cross rock A-style case and then braided some paracord backpack straps I knew I was onto something...

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    In many ways this seems totally over the top and yet it is also the fulfillment of some dream I didn't know I had... This setup is also very versatile since I also have a Schertler stick on pickup, a clip on Mic and some condenser mics. All the potential! And with my pedal case in one hand, octave in the other and mando on my back I feel ready for any gig.

    What's in your "gig rig"? What's essential? Did you eliminate anything?
    Am I just crazy?
    Dan G.
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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  3. #2
    Dan Brooks lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Hi Dan, I think you are on the right track... certainly some reverb, boost or digital delay could be useful. I have a pedal board with an overdrive pedal, but I generally only engage most of this for my electric guitar. However, doesn't hurt to have a great inline tuner and or DI with solid EQ functions.

    My favorite rig is just my Flatiron Festival with the pure K and K mini through a small but powerful batterpowered acoustic amp made by Peavey-- 15 watts with an heavy duty 8" speaker... 8 D cell batteries... It also has an XLR Mic input so it is self contained for singing anywhere!
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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    I went the opposite way. I used to use a 6 pedal rig with a portable pedal board.
    Now I gig 5-6 times per month with my Collings MT2-O with Pick-Up-The-World under bridge ribbon pickup and this direct into the PA via XLR:
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    It has everything I need to produce a natural sound, has a built in mute/tune, built in adjustable boost, and I can change the sound by training it with other mics, and varying the straight pickup vs modified output ratio.
    No more pedal board needed!

    1 note, the XLR output is quite high and your PA will need to be able to pad the input -10db

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    I bought a Grace Felix preamp after talking to a couple of friends who raved about theirs. It's quite a machine. I switch between mandolin (Heiden F with a Fishman Bridge pickup) and Fiddle (A nice Chinese thing with a Baggs bridge transducer), and the Grace lets me switch between the two easily. I run each instrument into separate channels. I mix the channels but use only the channel I need, using the blender control as an on/off switch--all channel 1 or all channel 2. The Grace has a footswitch that would switch between the instruments, but if I use that I lose the amp output and only have the XLR. I use the Grace XLR out to the board, so the house gets the appropriate level. I use the tuner output on the Grace for tuning, and the Grace separate amp output to an AER Compact 60

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    mostly as a local monitor for the instruments. Our bassist uses an electric bass, and our guitarist sometimes switches from his Circa OM to a Strat. When that happens, I need some extra zuzz to keep up with those guys, and I can crank the AER to match the way that the electric instruments are set up--amp behind the player.

    The only change I would make to the Grace is to have the footswitch allow me to switch between channels, and still have separate outputs for the amp and the mixing board. As it is, I have to bend down and turn the mix control one way or the other when I switch instruments. I suppose I could go from the Grace to AER via XLR and then from the amp out to the board, but that puts the amp in the mix chain, and I lose independent volume control.

    I've always played solely through mics, and this requires the hauling of the amp, the preamp, and several cables. One of the first times I used the rig, I was in a rush and I remembered to pack all the electronics, then went to the gig, 50 miles away, completely forgetting the instruments. Fortunately, the guitar player also plays fiddle, so I used his for a set, and a couple of really great friends relayed to fetch the fiddle/mandolin case for me. I will never hear the end of that story...
    Jack C.
    non illegitimati carborundum

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  9. #5
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Quote Originally Posted by jackc View Post
    I bought a Grace Felix preamp after talking to a couple of friends who raved about theirs. It's quite a machine. I switch between mandolin (Heiden F with a Fishman Bridge pickup) and Fiddle (A nice Chinese thing with a Baggs bridge transducer), and the Grace lets me switch between the two easily. I run each instrument into separate channels. I mix the channels but use only the channel I need, using the blender control as an on/off switch--all channel 1 or all channel 2. The Grace has a footswitch that would switch between the instruments, but if I use that I lose the amp output and only have the XLR. I use the Grace XLR out to the board, so the house gets the appropriate level. I use the tuner output on the Grace for tuning, and the Grace separate amp output to an AER Compact 60.
    ...
    That is a great story about forgetting your instruments, horribly great! At least you got to play!

    I have been using this Felix pedal for a while and I still feel like I am just learning so please forgive my asking: Why don’t you have it set to “A-B” mode instead of “mix” on the side switch in position 6? I thought the footswitch all the way on the left switched between the channels?

    Dan
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  10. #6
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    I am brand new entering this end of the game. I play on stage from time to time with the worship band at my church. Initially I had an Eastman 305 with a surface mounted JJB Marcado Twin Piezo and carpenter Jack Pick-up (really sounded nice), now I play a Silverangel with an internal K&K Mandolin Twin (equally nice). I run it through a friends LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI that is sort of permanently on loan to me. I am planning to get an inline tuner/mute and am now seriously considering when I can get a Fire-eye Red-eye DI. Been thinking about a reverb pedal, but that seems a little redundant since they can add that in the board.
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
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    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

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  12. #7
    Registered User mandowilli's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    I also went with the Grace Felix after trying many other options and my mandolin with a K&K twin sounds great. I use the second channel for my dobro and I have it set to A-B so that the unused channel is muted.

    One great feature is the very high quality high pass filter which I set at just under 200hz. This removes all of the thumping or thud sound that is heard when playing a note.

    As for the reverb, I use it primarily to add some sustain to the dobro and set it low enough that you get the sustain without hearing any reverb.

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    willi

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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Simplified rig--no effects needed for jazz dates or folk dances. Trace Elliot "Elf" amp (Gallien-Kreuger in the shop now). 130W into 4 ohms, speaker is 6.5" 100W Eminence neodynium-magnet woofer. Amp head is small enough to fit in the pocket of my gig bag for either mando, all cables included.

    Total amp weight about 7 lbs, and way loud. I also upgraded to digital tablet instead of paper library for jazz and folk. iPad fits in the mando case as well. Lean, mean, music machine.


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    Blog--Miniature Orchestra
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    The viola is proof that man is not rational

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  16. #9
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    I've been switching between these, but I bought a Marshall dsl15h and I've been using it mostly

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    Ibanez 70's 524, 521, 3 511's,2 512's,513,1 514,3 80s 513's, 522
    J Bovier F5-T custom shop
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  18. #10
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Fire eye red eye.

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  20. #11
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    I've used a variety of things over the last 20 years, but have pretty well settled down to my current setup. I'm usually tripling on my gigs now (mando, guitar, bass) and I wanted something simple that would let me use 1 channel on the PA, and one cord, for all three. None of my instruments have onboard preamps, all have pickups (K&K on all the acoustics). So I started with a variety of preamps and switches and eventually wound up with a small pedal board with tuner, 4-channel eq, and 2 volume boost pedals (one on all the time for a master volume, one used for a solo boost). This worked great for a couple years until the Boss AD-10 came out.

    10 savable presets, so I can set one up for each instrument I have (I'm up to 9 that might show up at any given gig). Just pick the preset and off you go. Integrates tuner and boost switch, and will do looping and some basic effects if you like that sort of thing. It sounds good and is small and simple -- I like that, just fits in my cord bag.

    I've got about a year on it and it's nicely dialed in now. Took a few gigs to get it all sorted out and balanced between instruments, now it's just plug in and go. Means one less bag to take to each gig, a real benefit when the load in is sketchy. Takes up less room on stage as well. Has 2 inputs so if a friend sits in I can set it up for mando and guitar. Very functional.

    Old pedal board on left, AD-10 on right



    The usual suspects

    Andrew Frink
    '23 Gibson A Snakehead, Phoenix Bluegrass, Ranger travel mando, Kentucky electric, Weyman

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  22. #12

    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    It took a long time, but I found the "one pedal to rule them all" or, "one cheap pedal that does what I need"...

    The Zoom MS-60B (yes that's right, a bass pedal - I am a bass player in another life), has the best EQ I could find in a (cheap multi-)pedal.

    Their bass pedal has shelving EQ, and mysteriously their guitar version (MS-50G) does not. I use it for preamp, EQ, compressor, tuner, and boost, but it can do delay and reverb too. The only thing it's missing is balanced out so I need a DI to send a signal to a board. If I needed to switch on more effects a B3 would be my thing.

    That combined with either a THR-20 (small table-top amp), or a 10" PA (Yammy or QSC in my sig), gives me everything I need.

    The best part of the THR-20, is it's small and (optionally) battery powered (as are the pedals). It fits in a duffel, along with the pedal, cables, music and instrument stands. So it's a two handed carry for everything. I have a series of small bags inside the duffel to prevent things from scratching.
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    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, Fender Mando-Strat, Godin A8. Tin Guitar travel mando.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, Pocket POD (Express).
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Bose SoundLink Mini II.

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  24. #13
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWilliam View Post
    Fire eye red eye.
    Yup, me too, it's all I need. Well except my mandolin with K&K.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  26. #14
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Thanks for all the responses, lots of great ideas, keep ‘em coming!

    I agree with the simple rig being desireable, my radial stagebug is similar to the redeye and it fits in my case, which is also
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Registered User treidm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    PICKUPS
    KNA UP-2 w/ volume control ~ Black
    FISHMAN M-200 w/ carpenter jack ~ Gibson
    FISHMAN M-100 converted into end pin jack ~ Washburn

    SPEAKER & MONITOR
    QSC K8.2 Speaker
    VoiceSolo VSM-300 Monitor

    MAIN MICROPHONE STAND
    König & Meyer (K&M) 210-9 Boom Microphone Stand

    MICROPHONES [Depending]
    SHURE SM7B [Main Vocal Mic]
    AKG C 414 B-ULS
    SHURE SM58

    INSTRUMENT STANDS
    Cooperstand Ecco-G
    König & Meyer (K&M) 17620 Double Instrument Stand

    INSTRUMENT [DEPENDING]
    2011 Black A5
    1952 Gibson A40N
    1999 Washburn M3 SW/TS

    INSTRUMENT STRAP
    Lakota Leathers LMSM Buffalo Leather Mandolin Strap - Mahogany

    MISCELLANIOUS
    Snark SN-8 Tuner
    BlueChip SR40 Pick
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    2011 Black A5 (#9) Mandolin
    1952 Gibson A-40N Mandolin
    1924 Gibson TB-1 Trapdoor Tenor Banjo
    1975 Gibson MK-35 Hybrid Braced Dreadnought Guitar
    1993 Washburn M3 SW/TS F-Style Mandolin
    2004 Martin D-16 GT Dreadnought Guitar
    2006 Martin DC-16RGTE AURA Dreadnought Guitar
    1997 Seagull S6 Dreadnought Guitar
    1970's Kay KB-52 5-String Banjo
    1960's Pirles 4-String Tenor Banjo

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  29. #16
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    The rig is slightly different in that I go to the amp via the XLR out, and the AFX pedals are in the loop of the amp. The only ding to this rig is the tuner on the Baggs; meh. Otherwise, I can use the amp for a smaller venue, mic it for a larger one, or go XLR out from the amp/monitor to the board.

    Both the AFX pedals are stereo in/out; the Baggs is likewise loaded with features including an adjustable 9dB boost. The plate reverb on the amp does it for me, so only delay and chorus are needed on the board.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Uwc...ew?usp=sharing
    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Andrew Jerman Irwin-style 5 string electric "Stealie", Eastman 515, Shiro F-5, Crafter M85E, Dillion 335 style, Grandmom's solid-mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
    Boards: Acoustic Electric
    Amps: Fishman Loudbox 100; Rivera Clubster Royale Recording Head; Laney Cub 10 & Cab, Peavey Studio Pro

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  31. #17
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Quote Originally Posted by mandowilli View Post
    I also went with the Grace Felix after trying many other options and my mandolin with a K&K twin sounds great. I use the second channel for my dobro and I have it set to A-B so that the unused channel is muted.

    One great feature is the very high quality high pass filter which I set at just under 200hz. This removes all of the thumping or thud sound that is heard when playing a note.

    As for the reverb, I use it primarily to add some sustain to the dobro and set it low enough that you get the sustain without hearing any reverb.

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    Great idea putting a clock on the pedal board!
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

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  33. #18

    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Here's my everything gig rig. If there is a PA with sufficient AUX I only bring the top rack which is wireless, Helix, and Wireless IEM. Everything else is optional. If they need me to have an amp on stage or don’t have enough AUX for me to run IEM I bring the K12.2.
    If im playing bass and have to have a stage amp I add the K-sub. If I am providing the PA then I add the bottom rack and bring 2 of the K12.2 and the K-Sub. This covers everything: Mandolin, banjo, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, saxophone, vocals.

    The top rack is a little more cumbersome than a little combo amp, but has allowed me to consolidate thousands of dollars of various amps etc into a single unit that sounds amazing on everything i have tried it for thus far. My plan was to get a platform that will work for anything, so instead of spending money on amps and effects in the future, I can spend it on instruments instead.

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    Missing from the photos as I just snapped them off real quick is the Helix Control foot controller and expression pedal as well as my actual instruments which are as follows:

    Kentucky KM-1500 with CA bridge and internally mounted Radius-M pickup
    Deering Goodtime 2 Banjo with LR Baggs bridge transducer
    Taylor 816ce Acoustic guitar
    Seagull Performer series acoustic guitar with aftermarket LR Baggs Anthem pickup
    Gibson Les Paul Traditional PRO II
    Burns Sonic Custom ELite electric Guitar
    Gretsch Electromatic hollowbody electric guitar
    Fender American Elite Jazz V Bass
    Cheap Allora Tenor Sax
    King Alto Sax
    assorted Hohner and Lee Oskar diatonic Harmonicas covering all 12 keys
    Shure Beta 58a Vocal Mic
    Last edited by MojoDaniels; Dec-12-2018 at 9:55pm.

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  35. #19

    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    So THAT'S who got the username I wanted. I'm betting you are likewise a Dan with a "G" last name. I have 2 jackets from different hospitals I worked at where my name reads "DanG!" and I always initialed my dressings that way. Anytime anyone said "Why does it say dang?" I said "no, no , no. That says Dan G." Then if they said "Why is there an exclamation point then?", I'd say "Because I'm excited to be me."

    Editing as I thought this would point back to user "dang"s post. Otherwise it doesnt make sense.

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  37. #20
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Quote Originally Posted by MojoDaniels View Post
    So THAT'S who got the username I wanted. I'm betting you are likewise a Dan with a "G" last name. I have 2 jackets from different hospitals I worked at where my name reads "DanG!" and I always initialed my dressings that way. Anytime anyone said "Why does it say dang?" I said "no, no , no. That says Dan G." Then if they said "Why is there an exclamation point then?", I'd say "Because I'm excited to be me."

    Editing as I thought this would point back to user "dang"s post. Otherwise it doesnt make sense.
    Ha, you got it, Dan G! And I like your use of the ! Also funny, cause I work at a hospital.
    I sign my notes in the charts DanG, but when I joined a long time ago I was inspired by “danb” one of the users/moderators to go all lowercase.
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  38. #21
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Hi,

    my Mando gig rig is:
    Collings MF 5 mandolin
    K&K mandolin pickup / DPA 4061 microphone on the edge of the f-hole
    Pickup and Microphone go to a Grace Felix Preamp / Blender, mixed 50/50 (no EQ, but 200 Hz HPF an the mic channel)
    XLR to FOH (no EQ used there most of the time), line out to personal stage monitor (QSC K 8)

    As often as possible I use only a microphone on mandolin and everything else I play on stage: Schoeps MK 41 (hypercardioid)

    With the same rig I play:
    acoustic guitar (equipped with Dazzo pickup / DPA 4061)
    Weissenborn (K&K pure western / K&K mic)
    Bouzouki (K&K pure western / DPA 4061)
    Dobro (Sunrise pickup / K&K mic)
    Banjo (Pickuptheworld pickup / K&K mic)
    Collings MF 5
    Brentrup M 23 V (for sale here)
    Gibson F 2 (1917)
    L. Smart H 5 Mandola
    Gibson K 4 Mandocello (1921)
    Sobell 10-string Bouzouki
    Sanden 8-string Bouzouki

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  40. #22
    Registered User Toni Schula's Avatar
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    Vienna, Europe
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    I've been up and down and round about and back again....

    I started gigging in the late 1980ies. Our bandleader somehow got some decent refurbished small diaphragm condenser mics from the national TV company for our bluegrass instruments. Back then feedback was always an issue. My Washburn mandolin was rather silent and the mixing desk and PA speakers for sure also contributed to the problems.

    Around 2001 I started playing my mandolin with a rock band and feedback issues became worse. So I ended up with an AKG C411 contact mic "pickup". But the I realized, that I really had no chance to match the dynamic range of them electric guitars in this rock band. Also even though the AKG C411 is really nice, I still didn't like the sound. The 'air' was missing. I tried a Zoom acoustic guitar pedal but that wasn't a solution.

    Then I got me a real nice and loud Krishot mandolin. And along with that a DPA 4099 clip on mic. Wow!

    But there was still the dynamic range problem. With a PU or a clip on mic, you cannot step closer to the mic for solos...

    So I got me a Morley optical volume pedal. Which in addition needed a pre-amp with a side channel. That was a JoeMeek threeQ in my case. I used that a lot with acoustic and electric bands with my Krishot.

    Later I replaced the threeQ with a Behringer digital mixer - so I could throw in a gate, EQ, compressor, de-esser ....
    A little bit of an overkill to just play the mandolin.

    The rig was: Krishot mandolin + DPA 4099 + digital mixer (pre-amp + noise gate + EQ + compressor + de-esser) + Morley Volume pedal in a side chain + a small speaker as personal monitor placed near to my head if any how possible, and that all into the PA.

    Now I play with an Americana band with double base, acoustic guitar, lap steel or Gretsch style electric guitar at not so loud level (no drums). And at the last gig all my mandolin rig again was:

    Krishot mandolin + a nice small diaphragm condenser (just my old AKG C1000, but I guess most anything cardiodid or hyper cardiodid would work) into PA, with monitor wedges.

    https://youtu.be/ppK6Z4GeYh4
    https://youtu.be/fIwlB5aKY0o

    Less is more in this case.

    Of course that was a very nice room (the book shelf behind the stage is invaluable!) with an audience that was listening. In a loud bar environment, I will use my DPA 4099 or even the C411 again.

    The airline electric mandola you see in the back is another totally different story....
    Last edited by Toni Schula; Dec-14-2018 at 12:08pm. Reason: Style

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  42. #23
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    15,631

    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    If needed, (rare) My level 1 is a Roland Mobile AC , Dyn M pickup in Mix A5..

    AC 60 is the other amp, Heavy due to transformer in power supply....

    Mostly I just use my regular mandolin no amp, Mic etc.. , tune swapping, no money involved.
    except in buying the gear ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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  44. #24
    Player, luthier, tech Andy Miller's Avatar
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    Chicago, IL
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Pictured here are two alternative rigs:

    1. Preferred, whenever it makes sense - just play into the KSM8 mic!
    2. When plugging in is required, my board here contains a Shure GLXD16 wireless, Radial Tonebone PZPre, reverb/delay/boost that I built, and a homebrewed power supply that powers everything on the board from a single IEC mains cable.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  46. #25
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    Omaha, NE
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    Default Re: Show your Mando "Gig Rig"!

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Miller View Post
    Pictured here are two alternative rigs:

    1. Preferred, whenever it makes sense - just play into the KSM8 mic!
    2. When plugging in is required, my board here contains a Shure GLXD16 wireless, Radial Tonebone PZPre, reverb/delay/boost that I built, and a homebrewed power supply that powers everything on the board from a single IEC mains cable.
    Very nice, how do you like the Sure GLXD16 wireless? How does it compare to just a cable?
    Dan
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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