My Favourite Things
My main PA is a pair of Fishman SA220 Solo Amps, loud enough to easily fill a room of up to 400 people. This is a very high quality acoustic PA with a clear, professional sound. I also have a small battery powered amp for venues without electricity.
I am a complete guitar geek and love nothing more than playing guitars and finding out every little detail about how they were built. All my guitars have K&K or JJB passive pickups, and I usually run them through a Redeye preamp.
My current guitars are:
Monkman 00 - Lutz Spruce top and Macacauba back and sides. This is a gorgeous handmade short-scale guitar based on a vintage Martin, it is a firm favourite and currently my main gigging guitar. You can find out more about Monkman guitars here: Monkman Guitars
Gibson J50 - Sitka Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, standard scale. This was my very first guitar bought way back in the 80's, paid for by flipping burgers after school for over a year. It was my only guitar for decades. It was built during the Norlan years and has the much less desirable square shoulders, but it has huge sentimental value and I won't ever part with it. It was signed by Bruce Springsteen in 1986 after I took him and his wife horseback riding.
Tanglewood TW130SM - a very nice all mahogany 000, found on gumtree for £50. I intended to use it solely for busking and outdoor events, but I like it so much that I often use it for noisier pub gigs as well.
I am hoping to add a Gibson J45 to my collection at some point in the future, as well as a vintage 30's or 40's Gibson LG-2 and a similar era Martin 00-18, 0-18, 00-17 or 0-17. Can you ever truly have too many guitars? I think not...
Or should I say banjo in the singular? I only have one at the moment - a Deering Goodtime 5-string banjo with a JJB pickup. I am hoping to add a Deering Vega Old Tyme Wonder or something similar with a frailing scoop in the not-too-distant future.
I use various brands of harmonicas, though most are Hohner 'Marine Band' - the same make that I started off playing years ago. I also have a few by Lee Oskar, Suzuki, and my new favourite - Seydel. My harmonica rack was made by K&M, it has kindly been modified to fit me better by my good friend, musician and luthier Martin Browne.
Percussion - a home-made suitcase drum and bottle-cap foot shaker, an old Farmer Foot Drum downbeat pedal, a Route 66 stompbox, a generic crescent tambourine, and whatever else I can find to bang, stomp on, or kick with my feet to make a joyful noise.
Mandolin - an old Antoria A-style bought cheaply on Ebay. I'd really like an F-scroll mandolin, something like a Loar or an Eastman, but I refuse to buy one until I learn to play this one properly.
Washboard - a vintage washboard with a leather rein screwed in as a strap. It still smells faintly of Sunlight soap. It currently doesn't have any bells or whistles, but I am working on adding a bit more fun!
Kazoo - Clarke Gold Top with a Brasso can attached for added volume. I can wedge it into my harmonica holder and hum away...
Mics/Leads/Stands - after years of using a Shure SM58, last year I switched to an AKG D5. It seems to be much clearer and more focused for female voices. I use Planet Waves Custom Series and Studio Spares Armoured leads. My mic stands are made by Hercules and K&M.