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Thread: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instruments

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    Default Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instrument


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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Very cool interview! I had the opportunity to play all 3 of these instruments and I was impressed by them all

    The Calhoun had that nice loud sound you would expect from a flat top, and all the modern playability you could wish for. I know it is better then the first two or three "starter" mandolins I went through - and better then the few flat tops I have had the opportunity to play. YMMV.

    The Flat top octave was great, you can't exactly see from the pictures above but the body is pretty shallow. The feel was nice, definitely all the modern playability. Also very loud sound - you know how a flat top mando can sound really loud vs an arched top mando? this seemed to roughly translate the same but in octave form. Not a great description, and it is really tough to place these... Not quite the tone of the arched top octave but for me it was more satisfying then a tenor guitar tuned GDAE.

    I have to say if the New F-5 that is yet unnamed is the one I think it is (version 4.0?) I want one. Have you ever heard a mandolin at a jam and really liked the sound, and then you could hear that tone and recognize it when someone else across the room was playing it? It had that. It just sounded alive. Which is funny, considering that "for trees, this is the after life" . And I used another one of those words that don't really describe sound well, but I am sticking with "alive". When you get a chance you should try one out is all I can say... Did I mention I want one?

    I met Adrian (and played the instruments mentioned above) at the mandolin summit and he is a really cool guy. It's nice to see this interview; more people should know about him and what he is doing.

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Wow and thanks dang both for your post above and the review of the MM Summit, I hope to make it there at some point. I have a 2014 F5 Master model I absolutely love and have played and heard a few of the Artist Series which are great! Now this one...I really thought I was done with MAS but Northfield is making sure I’m not.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Excellent interview. Adrian really sounds like a guy to watch.

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    rock in rôle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Northfield Workshop - ever evolving. Great to see the updates here. Thanks so much to Adrian, Michael, and of course Scott and mandolincafe for making all of this community possible.

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    That new F5 looks and sounds like it will be serious...

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    Videos of these being played, please!

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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    I got to play the flat top Octave at Bibey camp last week courtesy of Emory Lester. It was fantastic!!!! Very fun and easy playing and a really great full sound considering it has a pretty thin body. Enough volume to play acoustic in small settings and his had a pickup as well for the stage.
    Drew
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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    There are some videos on the Northfield website of The Calhoun and the Flat Top Octave. None of the F5 yet -- although I expect some good sleuthing might uncover a recent YouTube video of Mike Marshall with the prototype (not that the audio quality would do it any justice).

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Quote Originally Posted by W. James Johnson View Post
    Videos of these being played, please!
    Hi! Lots of vids of the new octave and The Calhoun on our site on the product pages. Here’s a page of videos featuring Mike/Darol and Vasen with the new F5 from back in Feb.
    https://www.northfieldinstruments.com/video/ We’ve made a few of these new instruments and of course each now have their own recordings. Much more to show you in the coming week. Thanks to everyone for all the feedback and questions, emails and phone calls. -Adrian

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    I have played one of the new Marshal built F-5’s a few months ago at Northfield’s shop, and it was absolutely amazing. Hands down one of the most Loarish sounding mandolins I have ever played. It cut like crazy with Mids that rang like a bell. It had the same Overtones after each played note that added an immense amount of Tone Color. What surprised me was that it had a much more powerful low end then my Derrington Master Model, without being”woofy”. I see this model making it to the top of the list of sought after mandolins.

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Hi Northfield, is the new F5 discussed above the same as the 4th Generation F5 on your website? Do my eyes deceive me or is the neck shaped a little bit rounder on the 4th Gen rather than the V of some other Northfields? Are neck shapes a custom option on Northfields? Thanks.
    Last edited by rnjl; Aug-28-2018 at 4:37pm. Reason: edited for grammatical clarity

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    Hi everyone.....on the road in Wasilla Alaska this week at the Acoustic Alaska Guitar Camp, with the new flat top octave and a new 5 bar artist model mandolin.....I just received this octave a few days ago while in Myrtle Beach SC at the Alan Bibey Mandolin Camp, and what a neat instrument this is.....small and light, simple and elegant, it has a big sound that was surprising the first time I struck a chord on it.....very thin body depth and super comfortable to play.....the guys at Northfield mounted a pickup system in it for me, and sounds very warm and wonderful both acoustically and plugged in.....students and players at both of these camps have been playing and trying this one out, and I've heard quite a few say that MAS has struck again.....thank you so much Adrian, Kosuke, Peter and Derek, and all the great folks at Northfield for yet again producing a first class instrument that is exciting and makes the player want to never put it down.....

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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Emory so great seeing you at Bibey camp! Hope that your trip to Alaska goes well.
    I am definitely on that list of students ready to buy one as soon as I can spare the funds. What a cool instrument!

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Quote Originally Posted by Northfield mando View Post
    Hi! Lots of vids of the new octave and The Calhoun on our site on the product pages. Here’s a page of videos featuring Mike/Darol and Vasen with the new F5 from back in Feb.
    https://www.northfieldinstruments.com/video/ We’ve made a few of these new instruments and of course each now have their own recordings. Much more to show you in the coming week. Thanks to everyone for all the feedback and questions, emails and phone calls. -Adrian
    I'm curious how the new F5 differs in construction from the 2 bar red spruce Artist model.

    -Bill

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Quote Originally Posted by Northfield mando View Post
    Here’s a page of videos featuring Mike/Darol and Vasen with the new F5 from back in Feb.
    https://www.northfieldinstruments.com/video/ -Adrian
    *Loved* those videos with Mike/Darol & Vasen, who are just about my favorite band! We hosted Vasen a year ago at the Prism Coffeehouse in Charlottesville VA & made the evening extra special by having the new Vasen Brewing Company from Richmond come & present some of their beers at the show..neat because the band’s latest Cd is called ‘Brewed’.
    The Prism was where I got inspired to get a Northfield octave mando as we also hosted Joe Walsh (with Danny Barnes & Grant Gordy) & I got to check his Northfield octave out there.

    Pete Marshall

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Quote Originally Posted by Northfield mando View Post
    Hi! Lots of vids of the new octave and The Calhoun on our site on the product pages. Here’s a page of videos featuring Mike/Darol and Vasen with the new F5 from back in Feb.
    https://www.northfieldinstruments.com/video/ We’ve made a few of these new instruments and of course each now have their own recordings. Much more to show you in the coming week. Thanks to everyone for all the feedback and questions, emails and phone calls. -Adrian
    Hey Adrian - do you guys offer left handed versions of the archtop or flattop octaves? I can't find anything on your site specifying if that option is available. Tried reaching out through the contact us link but didn't get a response.

    Thanks
    Jeff

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Quote Originally Posted by rnjl View Post
    Hi Northfield, is the new F5 discussed above the same as the 4th Generation F5 on your website? Do my eyes deceive me or is the neck shaped a little bit rounder on the 4th Gen rather than the V of some other Northfields? Are neck shapes a custom option on Northfields? Thanks.
    Hi. Yes, they are the same. Neck shapes are a custom option on this type of mandolin. If things need to be exactly the same as another instrument, the best way would be to get a template made of a neck you prefer and have experience with. I'd call our necks more a soft V - with a little more material on the shoulders than a typical vintage style V. Not a strong or pronounced ridge but a hybrid of a V and U shape. Maybe easier to talk on the phone about neck feel and shapes. It's really a combination of the neck grip, the board thickness, the arch of the board, the frets... and your hands and technique. Hard to articulate all the variables by text. Hope this helps.

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Slovin View Post
    I'm curious how the new F5 differs in construction from the 2 bar red spruce Artist model.

    -Bill
    Hi there. Quite a bit different actually - likely easier to talk about everything, or finish a video on our end (in the plan). I'll start with a few differences.

    For starters: This mandolin design was really based off of a few key examples. A beautiful and wonderful sounding 1922 F5, likely the best mandolin I've ever had the luck to hold and play extensively (one serial from DG's "Crusher"), an equally amazing bench copy of that mandolin made by Mike Kemnitzer in 2016 (you may have read about these projects in a FBJ article featuring Nugget - he captured THE character- I had never run across a sound like this in a brand new mandolin...which sent us deeper down the rabbit hole than we'd ever ventured. Thank you Nugget.) our current Artist Series 5 bar, and our approach to "tuning in" what we want to hear, and Mike Marshall's 1924 F5. Not to mention, this mandolin adventure was inspired by countless hours and concerts and feedback sessions with Mike Marshall and the current Artist Series mandolins (many, over the course of 3 solid and very event packed years). Critiquing, admiring, acknowledging, contemplating… and experimenting.

    -Body shape: Outline-It's a bit different. Different scroll, different waist. It's subtle but it's different.
    -Top and back thickness - thicker. Much more robustly built like the mandolins I mention above.
    -material qualities, cuts, species and combinations.
    -tone bar sizes, tapers, heights and placement.
    -arching for the top and back. recurve placement.
    -F hole size… and a little asymmetry

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Quote Originally Posted by jgarrow View Post
    Hey Adrian - do you guys offer left handed versions of the archtop or flattop octaves? I can't find anything on your site specifying if that option is available. Tried reaching out through the contact us link but didn't get a response.

    Thanks
    Jeff
    Hi there. Can do - just give us a call and we can talk about options on the 2 different instruments, variables and wait times etc.

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    It's been a really inspiration to work with Adrian and all the folks at Northfield to pursue these developments in their new mandolins. I'm really impressed with how open and willing they are to throw everything at the canvas. To understand and appreciate the tradition, but to not be held back by it as we discuss some of the wishes that I've had over the years. has been a fun ride and it represents a LOT of time, discussion, experimentation, food and wine and hard thinking to get to this point. I believe this is the 5th Artist Model that I have had from them and with each one they are capturing more of what I've needed. Very exciting stuff! I'm glad to see all the interest.

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    rock in rôle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Thanks for that, Mike. Seeing you and Adrian collaborating is almost like watching Rolls and Royce working through things!

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Does Northfield have a showroom in Marshall, MI where one can try these out? Or maybe Elderly will have some in stock? I'd love to be able to play these, especially the Octave and the Calhoun.

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Quote Originally Posted by Miltown View Post
    Does Northfield have a showroom in Marshall, MI where one can try these out? Or maybe Elderly will have some in stock? I'd love to be able to play these, especially the Octave and the Calhoun.
    Showroom: Absolutely - and both the Calhoun and Octaves are in stock and available. Give us a call at 877-367-7304 and make an appointment to come by and check them out.

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    Default Re: Article: Northfield Introduces Three New Michigan-Made Instru

    Thanks for reply, Northfield. I just signed up for your email newsletter so when the new F-5's are named/priced/in production then I can start the process of not being able to afford it. No rush, I'll be in that process for a while!

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