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Thread: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

  1. #1
    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Suppose you really like the F style shape in general, but all you have money-wise is enough to buy a new Northfield M A-style mandolin($1,900) looks aside, is it worth waiting to come up with $500 more, give or take, to get a used F5S?
    Is there anybody that has played both and could give an idea of tone and volume comparison?

    I have played an F style for 14 years now, and I've always thought of going back to an A-style as downgrading, just doing some re-thinking now and considering my options. It's like the F style is a status symbol, and I've never played a decent A-style, so I've always envisioned A-style as just lesser. I know I'm biased towards the F shape, but I'm not sure if I can get over that.

    And Btw, I don't know of anywhere close to me that has decent mandolins for sale(besides Eastman, which I have already ruled out) without me driving several hours, so I don't readily have the option of just playing a bunch of different ones. I know that would be the best thing to do, but I'm kind of out of luck on that at the moment.
    Thanks in advance!
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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Oops, I thought I posted this in the "looking for information..." forum, I apologize. Is this fine in here, or do I need to move it?
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    The M model has an Engleman top, where the F5S has an red spruce top. Different tones.

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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Here's a review from a few years ago...

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...hlight=model+m
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Let me tell you, I have a really nice A style. I have an F style as my beater. As soon as I got it, I wanted a better F. I want a Northfield F5S or some such in the worst way, first of all as a sonic complement to my A, secondly, just because it's got a scroll and those pointy thingies.

    Notice nowhere do I say instead of.
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    The F5S comes in both Englemann and Adi (red) spruce tops, while I believe the M style is Englemann only. I have played several Northfields and I strongly prefer the Adi/red spruce tops (although that is a matter of personal preference). You can probably find an F-style red/adi spruce top used for around $2300.

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    Registered User Lane Pryce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    I really like the tone of the M model and have no problem playing an A. I believe that M is a great value. Pull the trigger! No regrets either. Lp
    J.Lane Pryce

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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by Skaggs2.0 View Post
    Suppose you really like the F style shape in general, but all you have money-wise is enough to buy a new Northfield M A-style mandolin($1,900) looks aside, is it worth waiting to come up with $500 more, give or take, to get a used F5S?
    If you really like the F style shape in general, then you should look around for a deal on a used F5S like the one that Kevin has at mandomutt.com:

    http://www.mandomutt.com/products-pa...thfield-nf-f5s

    Personally, I gravitate to A styles and prefer the Model M's Michigan construction and varnish finish. I wonder if Northfield will ever offer one with an upcharge for an Adirondack red spruce top . . .
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    I don't know about you, but once I got used to playing an A model mandolin, I had a hard time adjusting to playing an F. I try to switch back and forth so as not to get into a rutt, but I really prefer the A model. Its a different approach physically, and I find that it takes a while for me to settle into the angle of where the mandolin sits (or hangs) with an F style.

    There are enough F5s models out there to find one, if you are patient. I thought I saw a used or demo model on the Northfield website not too long ago. You might contact Peter and see if they have anything available.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    The inferiorness( is that a word) of A's to F's I think comes from years ago when at least with Gibsons the A's were short neck with the fingerboard laying on the top. They had a good tone as a rule but lacked in volume and limited by the short neck. The F just seemed more "bluegrass". That is not the case with today's A's, there is no real difference in tone due to body shape. OP stares he has never played a good sounding A ---he should get out more. Nevertheless if you think you are downgrading Moving to an A then get a F, but try to find some upper level A's to try first. You don't state what you now have but insisting on a F in your budget you may be downgrading in tone

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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    The M model has an Engleman top, where the F5S has an red spruce top. Different tones.
    I didn't really think of that, I think I saw that, but I was guessing you could get it in both like you can an F5S. Thanks for the heads up!
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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    Here's a review from a few years ago...

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...hlight=model+m
    Ok thanks, I didn't see that before, I can't seem to get the searching thing on here down, I search for Northfield M and all it catches on to is Northfield.
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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    If you really like the F style shape in general, then you should look around for a deal on a used F5S like the one that Kevin has at mandomutt.com:

    http://www.mandomutt.com/products-pa...thfield-nf-f5s

    Personally, I gravitate to A styles and prefer the Model M's Michigan construction and varnish finish. I wonder if Northfield will ever offer one with an upcharge for an Adirondack red spruce top . . .
    Thank you, I did see that one but I noticed that the post got taken out of the classifieds here, I assumed it was sold already. I doubt he'll still have it available when I have enough money for it tho.
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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    The inferiorness( is that a word) of A's to F's I think comes from years ago when at least with Gibsons the A's were short neck with the fingerboard laying on the top. They had a good tone as a rule but lacked in volume and limited by the short neck. The F just seemed more "bluegrass". That is not the case with today's A's, there is no real difference in tone due to body shape. OP stares he has never played a good sounding A ---he should get out more. Nevertheless if you think you are downgrading Moving to an A then get a F, but try to find some upper level A's to try first. You don't state what you now have but insisting on a F in your budget you may be downgrading in tone
    I have a Kentucky KM630S, it was like $450 new back in 2003. It is pretty good sounding tho for what it is. I do understand that something like a Collings MT or a Northfield M would be a major upgrade in terms of volume tone and playability, but I'm meaning downgrading as in if I was to get another mandolin that was the same as mine but A style, I would consider that downgrading. It's a mental thing. Since this is hopefully my last mandolin purchase(I can't see why I would want to upgrade after this, and I wouldn't be able to financially anyway), I should probably just hold out and get what I want versus something that would be "good enough"

    As far as the short neck tho, that is the problem I ran into years ago, and that's the reason I got the F style I have now, cause the A styles I had as options were like 10th or 12th neck joint, and that is a total no-go for me.
    I need to just plan a trip up to Nashville and visit a few stores and see what floats my boat, cause I would really like to play it before having any money invested into it, other than gas to get there.
    Thanks for the info tho guys, I appreciate it!
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    I prefer the symmetry and value of an A style.

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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    You need to find a dealer with a lot of mandolins, then play a $2500 used A style and a $2500 used F style and compare. The $2500 A style might sound good enough to sway your decision, or may not.
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Can you find an M model? NFS are everywhere but I can rarely find an M for sale. Might be because they didn't make many...or maybe owners never part with them?
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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Can you find an M model? NFS are everywhere but I can rarely find an M for sale. Might be because they didn't make many...or maybe owners never part with them?
    Not used, but you can order one on the Northfield website for $1899
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    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    I am prejudiced in a way, as few of the A's I have played and none that I owned have been A5 copies. Most of mine have been oval holed, 12th fret (13th with the MT2-O) and attached to the top (MT2-O is raised). So my experience with A's provide a very different sound than let's say the As Shaun Garrity will talk of that are A5s, f holed, attached at the 15th neck and raised from the top. So for me the sound of an A, in my mind, is very different from the F5 model. Shaun on the other hand when talking A's will be very similar (some say the same) to the tonal qualities of an F5. So whenever this type of discussion comes up in the Cafe, I have to remind myself to expand my concept of As to Shaun's.
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Listen to "coffee and a good book", by Andrew Buckner. 5 tunes very well played on a M model.
    Andrew put this out in the past year.
    It's excellent.

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  31. #21

    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Can you find an M model? NFS are everywhere but I can rarely find an M for sale. Might be because they didn't make many...or maybe owners never part with them?
    You see them in the classifieds here used every once in a while. At one point there were several listed at one time. So, it's not unheard of.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

  32. #22
    Registered User Lane Pryce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    I don't recall ever seeing one of the M models in the classifieds. The NF5's do show up occasionally and are usually scarfed up quickly Lp.
    J.Lane Pryce

  33. #23

    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    There have been at least five or six that have gone through the classifieds, generally priced at about $1500. Wait long enough and you will see a few come up. I don't remember seeing as many Givens A mandolins as there are for sales now, but I think these things run in cycles.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

  34. #24
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    There have been at least five or six that have gone through the classifieds, generally priced at about $1500. Wait long enough and you will see a few come up. I don't remember seeing as many Givens A mandolins as there are for sales now, but I think these things run in cycles.
    I can recall seeing several used Model M's in the classifieds but few if any at a price approaching standard depreciation.
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  35. #25

    Default Re: Northfield M new versus Northfield F5S used

    Quote Originally Posted by Skaggs2.0 View Post
    Suppose you really like the F style shape in general, but all you have money-wise is enough to buy a new Northfield M A-style mandolin($1,900) looks aside, is it worth waiting to come up with $500 more, give or take, to get a used F5S? . . . I know I'm biased towards the F shape, but I'm not sure if I can get over that. . . .
    You probably can't.

    Personally, I like their new A model. But you're shopping for you, not me, and it doesn't sound like you'll be happy being seen (even in the mirror) with an A-style. So do the saving, do the waiting, and get the one you want.

    Buying the A-style would just be inviting a life of regret!

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