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For the majority of my recording and performances, I play a Deering Sierra Maple Custom 5-String Bluegrass Banjo, which I absolutely love! This is a masterfully crafted instrument, and the addition of the Hartford Grenadillo tone ring provides a friendly yet full tone and light-weight that makes frequent travel and stage time considerably easier.
For amplification, I use the EMG ACB-5 Banjo System magnetic pickup. Reliably excellent tone quality, and I don't need to stuff my banjo with anything. It never touches the head, easy to install, and sounds great.