• Northfield and Mike Marshall Announce Partnership and Collaboration On New Line of Mandolins



    Marshall, Mich. — Compelling music is often a finely tuned collaboration of extraordinary talent. Believing the craft of making great instruments is no different, Northfield Mandolins and Mike Marshall are pleased to announce a new partnership.

    Marshall will partner with Adrian Bagale and Kosuke Kyomori of Northfield in a quest to create a series of instruments that exceed expectations.

    "When Mike to came to us with the idea to work together we jumped at the chance. I mean, we just had to go for it. We kicked around a lot of ideas and both agreed that a true artist collaboration on the development side instead of a basic product endorsement would be a lot more meaningful," said Adrian Bagale, founder of Northfield Instruments.

    "It's one thing for a great player to put their name on an instrument, but we think it says far more when they are deeply involved in every part of its creation."

    Marshall brings his experience and insight to the process, and will push the talented group at Northfield to craft unique instruments that suit a range of styles.

    "This isn't a one-and-done kind of thing for me," noted Marshall. "I see it as an ongoing process and a chance to really explore the boundaries of what makes a great mandolin.

    "There is no such thing as a 'perfect' model so we'll continue to work to produce a number of instruments that offer the qualities different performers are seeking."



    Northfield has long been a proponent of artist collaboration. Throughout its history, the company has worked with top talents such as Adam Steffey, Emory Lester, Martino Coppo, and Aaron Ramsey, relying on them to road test instruments and provide essential feedback.

    Bagale believes this venture expands on that approach. These mandolins will reflect not only the collaboration between Mike and the Northfield team but also the deep connections that Mike has within the musician community. The road testing in live performances will grow, small batches will be produced and fine tuned, and the information gained will be part of a constant evolution.

    "Mike understands, in a way that very few do, all the different contexts that a mandolin might need to fit into, or what different player styles demand of the instrument," continued Bagale. "This effort is going to be about constant dialogue and interaction with the musician community."

    The mandolins produced as part of this project will be sold in the Artist series. The first batches are scheduled for a production release in December 2015.

    Additional Information

    Comments 18 Comments
    1. CES's Avatar
      CES -
      This is really exciting stuff! It's very cool to see a company so willing to experiment and innovate, and the fact that great artists keep stepping up to be part of the process adds credibility, for sure. Hope to be able to try one of these out soon...
    1. tkdboyd's Avatar
      tkdboyd -
      Wow, the one Mr. Marshall is playing at 34:20 on this video is just wonderful sounding. I thought I didn't want another F...
    1. Jonathan James's Avatar
      Jonathan James -
      Exciting project. Will be interested to see the details -- specs, based on Mike's Loar?, pricing?
    1. tkdboyd's Avatar
      tkdboyd -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan James View Post
      Exciting project. Will be interested to see the details -- specs, based on Mike's Loar?, pricing?
      If you listen to the above Youtube conversation they go into the woods, carving, tone bars etc...
    1. mandopixie's Avatar
      mandopixie -
      Very exciting, indeed!
    1. Marcus CA's Avatar
      Marcus CA -
      In the music that plays throughout the shorter video, is either of the mandolins a Northfield? I'm guessing no, since that is from Mike and Caterina's first album from several years ago.
    1. Nick Gellie's Avatar
      Nick Gellie -
      Great video and very informative.
    1. SternART's Avatar
      SternART -
      That last one DID sound good through my computer.
    1. McIrish's Avatar
      McIrish -
      I got a chance to play one of their new demo mandolins labeled "Ribs" earlier this year. I can say it was the best mandolin I'd ever played. The depth and punch it has was fantastic. I would have bought it if I had the chance. I still love my Northfield Big Mon but their new ideas are really something else. I'm looking forward to checking them out more in the future. Just when you thought MAS has ended, they come out with something even better. :-)
    1. Daniel Vance's Avatar
      Daniel Vance -
      @McIrish, I have yet to play one of the new Artist Series, but was thinking the same thing when I saw these videos. I have played a bunch of mandolins, some five times the price of my Big Mon, and I have yet to date played one I would rather than my mandolin. I thought may MAS had ended, but as soon as I heard those mandolins on the video, I started thinking I might need a new instrument in the future.

      @Marcus, I believe Mike and Martino are playing it on Northfield Mandolins, at least that is what the video would have me believe, as they start playing after Mike says something about it rolling, and it ends with them sitting there around the music stands. I also listened to the audio in the video compared to the audio from Mike and Caterina's album, and the sound is totally different. My bigger question would be is Martino playing his Big Mon or one of the new Artist Series mandolins, the wear on the top would lead me to believe that it is his personal mandolin, but who knows. The sound from whatever is be played is incredible.

      @Northfield great job continuing to push your instruments to the next level.
    1. Daniel Vance's Avatar
      Daniel Vance -
      ...and now I am not sure, listened again at home (not on my work computer in an office) and the two audios do sound the same as Marcus suggested.
    1. Northfield mando's Avatar
      Northfield mando -
      Hi everyone. Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments as well as the phone calls and emails we've been fielding since Monday. It's been a bit of a blur actually. I want to get back to a few of the pending questions here.

      Specs: These new mandolins are based on a lot of different ideas and concepts. They are not based on one instrument, Mike's or otherwise, rather a combination of a lot of different observations and design changes. We're working on compiling the details so they're easier to take in. Some of them are discussed in the interview that a few of you have mentioned here which can found on our site. We'll be happy to answer any questions over emails and phone calls in the meantime.

      Music: The soundtrack to our short video is from Mike and Caterina's album together. We put a credit at the very end but I realize there's a lot to take in with the video. The track is "Gankino" from their 2010 release. We love this tune and it fit perfectly with the type of editing we wanted to do for the various scenes. Tempo, and feel were perfect and we feel very lucky to have been given permission to use it. Right now Mike is working on some recordings with the first instrument variations that will be available in late fall. These tracks will go up on our site on the Artist Series page along with all of the specs in the next 2 weeks.

      Thanks again everyone. -Adrian
    1. Luna Pick's Avatar
      Luna Pick -
      Quote Originally Posted by Northfield mando View Post
      Hi everyone. Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments as well as the phone calls and emails we've been fielding since Monday. It's been a bit of a blur actually. I want to get back to a few of the pending questions here.

      Specs: These new mandolins are based on a lot of different ideas and concepts. They are not based on one instrument, Mike's or otherwise, rather a combination of a lot of different observations and design changes. We're working on compiling the details so they're easier to take in. Some of them are discussed in the interview that a few of you have mentioned here which can found on our site. We'll be happy to answer any questions over emails and phone calls in the meantime.

      Music: The soundtrack to our short video is from Mike and Caterina's album together. We put a credit at the very end but I realize there's a lot to take in with the video. The track is "Gankino" from their 2010 release. We love this tune and it fit perfectly with the type of editing we wanted to do for the various scenes. Tempo, and feel were perfect and we feel very lucky to have been given permission to use it. Right now Mike is working on some recordings with the first instrument variations that will be available in late fall. These tracks will go up on our site on the Artist Series page along with all of the specs in the next 2 weeks.

      Thanks again everyone. -Adrian
      Adrian-

      Will the new mandolins with the secret sauce all be F5 Masters, or will you make some A Masters with the new mojo as well?

      Thanks.

      Steve
    1. dschonbrun's Avatar
      dschonbrun -
      Quote Originally Posted by Northfield mando View Post
      Hi everyone. Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments as well as the phone calls and emails we've been fielding since Monday. It's been a bit of a blur actually. I want to get back to a few of the pending questions here.

      Specs: These new mandolins are based on a lot of different ideas and concepts. They are not based on one instrument, Mike's or otherwise, rather a combination of a lot of different observations and design changes. We're working on compiling the details so they're easier to take in. Some of them are discussed in the interview that a few of you have mentioned here which can found on our site. We'll be happy to answer any questions over emails and phone calls in the meantime.

      Music: The soundtrack to our short video is from Mike and Caterina's album together. We put a credit at the very end but I realize there's a lot to take in with the video. The track is "Gankino" from their 2010 release. We love this tune and it fit perfectly with the type of editing we wanted to do for the various scenes. Tempo, and feel were perfect and we feel very lucky to have been given permission to use it. Right now Mike is working on some recordings with the first instrument variations that will be available in late fall. These tracks will go up on our site on the Artist Series page along with all of the specs in the next 2 weeks.

      Thanks again everyone. -Adrian
      I decided to buy one of the Artist series mando's in the 5-bar red spruce configuration, have been in discussion with the boys at Northfield on this for some time. The tone of that mando blew me away. I am looking forward to delivery with Adrian and Peter later this year after IBMA and a few other shows in Oct/Nov.

      For anyone interested... the tech used in the design and refinement of this mandolin is better than any other company I know of here or abroad. The only thing close to being as innovative is the approach Greg Smallman takes with his guitars. Smallman's cost 30K new right now, for reference. $5,800 seems quite affordable, when you consider a Collings F5M-V is about $11,000. I've played all the Collings models, and preferred the Northfield's tonal qualities. Just suited my ear better.

      Please, if you get a chance to go to IBMA to see/try the new instruments... do it. You won't be sorry. These will go like hotcakes.
    1. dschonbrun's Avatar
      dschonbrun -
      I decided to buy one of the Artist series mando's in the 5-bar red spruce configuration "named 'Ribs' " visible in the video at 32:20 and 34:40, have been in discussion with the boys at Northfield on this for some time. The tone of that mando blew me away, and what Mike has done with it is incredible. I am looking forward to delivery with Adrian and Peter later this year after IBMA and a few other shows in Oct/Nov.

      For anyone interested... the tech used in the design and refinement of this mandolin is better than any other company I know of here or abroad. The only thing close to being as innovative is the approach Greg Smallman takes with his guitars. Smallman's cost 30K new right now, for reference. $5,800 seems quite affordable, when you consider a Collings F5M-V is about $11,000. I've played all the Collings models, and preferred the Northfield's tonal qualities. Just suited my ear better.

      Please, if you get a chance to go to IBMA to see/try the new instruments... do it. You won't be sorry. These will go like hotcakes
    1. Nat's Avatar
      Nat -
      On Monday I was lucky enough to stop by the Northfield shop in Marshall, Michigan (a town which, in some superior alternate universe, is the true capital of Michigan).

      Adrian was kind enough to pause his labors and show me around their stunning building, and to let me spend some time with the four Mike Marshall artist models hanging on the wall. These did not yet have labels in them. As best I can recall, three of them were Engelmann spruce, the third from the left was red spruce, and all four were in the two-bar configuration. I had a hard time concentrating on specifics due to euphoria, etc. I'll correct below if I learn my memory is wrong in any particular.

      All four sounded great. Really great. Well balanced across the strings, quick response, and, unlike most new f-styles I've played, the quality of the E string wasn't at the cost of the G string (or vice versa). Good all the way up the neck.

      I play mainly classical, not bluegrass, so maybe my opinion is moot. But I liked the sound of these better than any other newish company-made mandolin I've played (including other Northfields and some much more expensive instruments by other makers). I've played my share.

      If you are considering one of these, go for it.

      My favorite (by the slightest of slight margins) was the second from the left, which I understand was only a few hours old. I've attached a closer shot of that particular mandolin.

      Attachment 138782Attachment 138781
    1. CHASAX's Avatar
      CHASAX -
      Just ordered this one-
    1. dschonbrun's Avatar
      dschonbrun -
      Artist #30, a custom 5-bar Engelmann top that we started some 9 months ago shipped out today. Arrives Wednesday... can't wait! Will post pics and sound files when available.