Like so many of us that work from home, my office has slowly become a sort of shrine to the different lives I’ve lead over the years. From tactical gear to trophies, stacks of books to childhood toys, parts of my office can sometimes feel like a museum meant to help me remember all of the things I’ve been: Marine, journalist, rugby guy, MMA fighter, science fiction nerd, football player, and so on. Of course, none of the objects I’ve got decorating my bookcases or hanging on the walls date back quite as far as the dusty Dean acoustic guitar I keep within arm’s reach, just at the end of my desk.

Pictured: Where I spend half of my life.

Of course, I’m no good at playing it–never was. This guitar belonged to my father, who, as luck would have it, was also never all that good at playing. I keep it here because, for a few years during and after high school, it and the electric Fernandez Revolver Pro sitting in my closet served as part of my connection to the greatest group of friends I’d ever have: A small band of like-minded maniacs that used music as our excuse to have a good time. Of course, some of us were better than others, and while I may have muddled through a few chords and faked the rest through sheer confidence, the guys I was fortunate enough to play with were no such charlatans. Brad Martin, as one example, always had an ear for music, and thanks to him and Chris Raetz, our Spinal Tap-esque antics were always accompanied by a professional caliber soundtrack.

A lot has changed since then. We each went on and built our own lives as high school friends tend to do, but some things stayed the same: I still suck at playing the guitar, and Brad still has one hell of an ear for music.

Today, Brad’s the owner of a company called 12 Gauge Microphones, and true to his innate knack for musical mastery, his microphones have already found their way into professional studios all over the world. It isn’t just the great quality sound Brad’s microphones capture, however, that helped his startup grow into a successful enterprise, it’s also the aesthetic. Just as the name suggests, the first pieces of gear produced by 12 Gauge Microphones were studio mics housed within expended 12 gauge shotgun shells. It didn’t take long for the combination of quality and style to catch the attention of folks in the music industry and today, those mics remain among the company’s best sellers.

This setup was used to record Dee Snider in Finland (photo credit Peter De Wint)

Here at the Loadout Room, we tend not to spend much time talking music. It just isn’t in our realm of expertise, but I know I’m not the only veteran that keeps a guitar close at hand. Perhaps more importantly, I know lots of vets that are actually good at playing theirs — and if you want to record your ballad about the romantic times you spent alone in a port-a-john parked unceremoniously behind a chow hall, the rock anthem you wrote about police calling a flight line, or an instrumental beat for your interpretive dance about DD-214s, you can’t find a more appropriate recording medium than the guts of a high quality microphone stuffed into a spent .50 cal shell.

Order your own mics from 12 Gauge microphones by clicking the link below:


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