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Thread: Chinese made Northfield

  1. #1

    Default Chinese made Northfield

    What do you think. Will the Chinese made Northfield Mandolins hold their value years from now? Ive been looking at buying American made or an import like the Northfield Mandos

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Take it out of the shop and it's no longer worth what you paid for it. If you find one you like and can afford buy it. I've had a number of friends who have died whilst still having plans for the future. If we knew what something would be worth in the future we'd all be rich!

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    Registered User George R. Lane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    If it is a good sounding mandolin, I don't think where it is made should matter.
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    I maybe wrong, but it is highly doubtful.

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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    The answer to the question is, "Who knows?" Any new instrument depreciates once it becomes a "used" instrument. In some cases, the depreciation is minor, and the general inflation in instrument prices overcomes it, so you can sell your instrument for about what you paid for it. In other cases, you take a major "hit" when you put it on the used market.

    Northfield mandolins get general high marks for quality, and I'd say -- in current conditions -- they'd depreciate less than some less respected brands.

    The other question is, "Why make a mandolin purchase decision, based on the instrument's projected resale value?" Don't questions of sound, playability, looks etc. completely outweigh the issue of what you might sell it for in the future? Might be different considerations if you were considering a vintage mandolin that could be a "collector's item," but the last thing on my mind, when considering purchasing a new instrument, is what some other person might pay me for it ten years hence.

    There are those who consider their instrument purchases as "investments." The ups and downs of the used/vintage market would make me cautious as far as predictions are concerned. IMHO, if you like the Northfield, it fits your budget, and you're getting a decent deal on it, these are the factors I'd consider.
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  7. #5

    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    In general, Chinese made instruments have done very well in maintaining their value once you get past the initial hit (many are worth what was paid 5-10 years ago). Possibly better than US Made. The simple reason is that retail prices on Chinese instruments skyrocketed over the past decade (bring used prices along for the ride), and US made instruments have been relatively flat. How long will this continue? Well, you need to be an global economist.
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    If resell is a concern, buy something like new but used from the classifieds here.

    Northfield resell should hold up as good or better than it's counterparts. 30% (or more) drop from store prices seems nominal when doing quick math on private late model resell prices in classifieds

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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Man, I played a Northfield at Dusty Strings the last time I was up there. It sounded awesome and played very well. It really gave just about everything else a run for It money (in its price range). It could've come from Pluto and I wouldn't have cared. Well build, terrific sound, easy playing.... good looking too.

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  11. #8

    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    I've bought, sold, and traded a lot of mandolin family instruments in the last 2 years, looking for the right fit. They've all been nice instruments. Well regarded makers and sounded good. I lost between 30-50% of the new value each time I sold. Country of origin seemed to make no difference.

    I don't think you will see anything holding full value or appreciating until you get over 5k.

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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Are you buying instruments for speculation purposes, with the eye mainly to making a profit, or mainly to play them? If you want an instrument to hold most of its value, then buy something used, not new. This truth holds regardless of where the mandolin happens to be made. If you are looking for good tone, then stop obsessing over resale value and get something that speaks to your heart. There is no evidence that lower-to-middle end, American-made mandolins are currently holding more value than PacRim instruments in the same general price range. (This may not hold for very high-end instruments, which are in a class by themselves.)

    As it happens, I bought a Northfield F5 Master Model early on, before their S-series came out, for comparatively little money. At the time, Northfield was still raising its prices on a regular basis, because they were underpriced for what you got. I eventually wound up selling my Northfield, used, for a competitive price. And that price happened to be MORE than I paid for it new! So, based on this anecdotal evidence of a single sale, I would say that Northfields definitely hold their value! But this result is not typical.

    Finally, as many have noted here in the pages of the MC, Gibson F-models from the 1970's (pre F5L) were mostly pretty terrible, and these instruments did not hold their value, despite the famous Gibson name.

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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    I have a rule that has served me well. If I am thinking about resale before even buying an instrument, I pass on it. Wait until you are playing one you can't imagine ever parting with.
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I have a rule that has served me well. If I am thinking about resale before even buying an instrument, I pass on it. Wait until you are playing one you can't imagine ever parting with.
    Same here. I buy them to play them. When I need to sell one to buy another that I would like, I do it. I try to buy used as much as possible, in order to get the best value. At sale time, I can usually get about the same I paid, so I'm just out shipping costs and fees and donations to the cafe. Sometimes I make a few bucks, sometimes I lose a few, but I got to play the instrument for a while and that is worth it to me.
    I think if you like the Northfield and find a good deal on one used, go for it. If you are looking to keep it and can afford it new, that is a great option too.
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I have a rule that has served me well. If I am thinking about resale before even buying an instrument, I pass on it. Wait until you are playing one you can't imagine ever parting with.
    Cool, so you've never parted with any mandolin?

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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    It`s a matter of being in the right place at the right time...I bought a new Flatiron Festival from a music store that was going out of business and after a year I resold it and made about a 25% profit so there are some deals out there to do that with but not every day...I also have seen some of the Kentucky models going up in price, Just look around and you can find these deals, just don`t jump at the first one that shows up...I never buy with the idea of making a profit but it has been done by myself a few times...

    Willie

  19. #14

    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Let's pretend I buy a Northfield F5S for about three thousand dollars, play it every day for three years - then sell it. I think I could get two thousand back for it. Meaning having a beautifully built instrument at my disposal for three years would have cost me about a dollar a day in depreciation. If I was obsessing over that sort of outlay I would be better off finding a different hobby that wouldn't be so shockingly expensive. Perhaps looking at the sky or listening to my neighbour's stereo.

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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron McMillan View Post
    Let's pretend I buy a Northfield F5S for about three thousand dollars, play it every day for three years - then sell it. I think I could get two thousand back for it. Meaning having a beautifully built instrument at my disposal for three years would have cost me about a dollar a day in depreciation. If I was obsessing over that sort of outlay I would be better off finding a different hobby that wouldn't be so shockingly expensive. Perhaps looking at the sky or listening to my neighbour's stereo.
    I prefer to let the 1st owner take the initial hit on depreciation. There is no shortage on high quality used mandolins at 70% of their original price, and that is what they'll likely sell for after another owner or 2, as long as they stay in good shape. If there is a particular instrument that you really want that you can't find used, you either have to be really patient, or buy one new, or look for something else that you might enjoy just as much.

    Let's pretend you buy a Northfield F5S for about three thousand dollars, play it every day for three years - then sell it to me for $2000. Then I play it every day for 3 years and then sell it for $2000. Meaning I've played a beautifully built instrument every day for free.
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  23. #16

    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    If you love the mandolin then buy it. If you don't you'll perhaps always wish that you had. I would nearly always recommend a USED one as they have already had the depreciation hit. As for the Chinese question I totally agree with other comments. Makes no difference and if it's great then MOST players don't give a hoot where it was made apart from perhaps a small percentage who have their own reasons or USA made etc. I LOVE my Northfield Big Mon. Just the most wonderful mandolin imagineable but that's after a set up by a VERY EXPERIENCED person. Set up is everything.
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Who cares ! If you like it, buy it and play it ! Don't speculate on future appreciation ! Difficult to predict ! Mercedes, Corvettes. BMW's all depreciate !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain

  25. #18

    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    Cool, so you've never parted with any mandolin?
    One. My first was an Eastman 505 which taught me I needed to just move up to better. Of course over time some will be bought and sold, and many will have to buy sight unseen, but if you have a mandolin in your hands and are already thinking of selling it, you are judging the mandolin on possible resale and not just on its own merits. Say you buy a Collings in part because you know you can move it easily, but that local luthier mandolin might suit you better but you pass on it. I just wonder why you'd do that.

    Now if you really do like the Collings better, resale is just gravy. The classical world has the right idea. It's the instrument not the name.
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    I think we sometimes try to apply one rule to two worlds.

    If you can play it first (best world) then by all means buy the one that trips your buttons and don't look back. It's less of a risk when it speaks to you before you buy. Even then there's a good chance you'll desire something else one day

    If you can't play it first, (many a picker's world) I think it's smart to buy with resell in mind. You hope you will like it forever but a realist knows better and it will be a relief to know you were thoughtful enough to select something with a good rep and following when MAS drops by unexpectedly.

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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    You mean you can sell these things? I thought you was supposed to always buy more.

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  29. #21
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    Default Re: Chinese made Northfield

    Obviously no one knows for sure. I think it really depends on how many more new players we get in the next few years.

    There seems to be a fairly decent supply of mandolins out there in the 3-10K price range. This was certainly not the case 10-15 years ago as there was often a waiting period and few to try out first.

    As the current crop of mandolin players age, there will be more used instruments on the market. But if more new players are picking up the mandolin than sellers are selling, the price will likely increase.

    Now as to how the Northfield will fare with other makers, my opinion is that if you get a great sounding mandolin in the lower end of the F5 price range, it will hold it's value no matter what brand it is. Marquee brands may sell quicker, but it's got the tone, someone will eventually pick it up.


    Like others have stated, I generally don't consider resale value when buying, but maybe it's not a bad idea. A good way to judge the current market is to look in the classifieds and on eBay. But since these are made in small numbers, there's not generally a lot of used ones for sale, so you'd have to be patient.
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