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Thread: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

  1. #1

    Default F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Hi, So I feel like pulling the trigger on an F5 and my budget is b/w $3000-5000.
    I would like a radiused fretboard and maybe... if possible a varnish (or shellac for the Pava) finish.

    Looking for great tone and volume only... not trim or bling bling.

    As far as what I see that's available right now online... any of these look good?

    Pava F5 Satin
    Northfield Big Mon
    Poe F5 mandolin 2007 Sunburst
    Pomeroy F5 Mandolin 2016 Sunburst
    BRW F5

    Other recommendations in that budget? Thanks folks.
    Last edited by lespaul_79; Sep-04-2019 at 9:25pm.

  2. #2
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    you really narrow the field with varnish only. Go lacquer and you got more choices. Used Gibsons in the $5K are out there. And don't overlook the F5G, all the sound with decent bling. At 5K and lacquer you got a lot to choose from in USA independent builds too.

  3. #3

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Ah okay. Thanks f5loar. 10-4 on the lacquer.

    Gibson F5G sounds great if.. it had the radiused fretboard.

  4. #4
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    NFI - I vote for this BRW: https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/143134

    Maybe it’s a tie for a Big Mon

  5. #5

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    I'd go for the Ruhland F5X at Carters.

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    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Oooh, yeah. I like this game.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Well F5-G Gibson's are great! But lacquer, But it was my first really great mandolin I wish I had back-I heard its in Europe! You'll have to go used-nothing wrong with that as they can be had for a bargin and I'd go with 2000 up thru David Harvey's!
    But there are a load of independent makers that are tops that will do something varnish finished? It all depends, if you want that dry sound that Gibson has go for a Gibson! As I've had many from all makers and all are different-for your price range I wouldn't discount an F5-L again from Derrington era thru Harvey!
    If you can find one I had an 04 Varnished Danny Roberts signed Fern F-5 Gibson "V-Fern" that was a really great sounding mandolin and in the Derrington years I believe they made less than 25 as the Varnish is a long expensive process! I've seen these for 6G and under actually there was one here in the classifieds awhile back, from 04 I believe? Just patience is the game! If you go for something like that you will have the Gibson sound and a rarer Gibson than most so yeah man a V-Fern would be what I'd get and it would have the resale/trade up value more so than an independent maker! Just my opinion as everyone has them! Happy Hunting!

    V-Ferns were bling! But flat boards-I can play flat or a radius just fine!

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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    I would check out a Girouard ! Fantastic builder and tone !
    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------supposedly !

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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Even though they come up used rather infrequently, I would definitely consider a Stiver worthy of inclusion in this group.
    Don

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  12. #10
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    You could stay under budget with this pomeroy https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/143906

  13. #11

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    The Buckeye built by Pete Hart. He will customize according to your requests. Usually builds about 5 per year, over the winter. Consistently great mandolins for the price.

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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Check out Skip Kelley’s builds. He sells on consignment through Mandomutt.com. New F5s are a little over budget, but used you’d should be good. My recent A5 has a varnish finish, so I’m sure that you can find an F5 with that finish. He may also be able to build you a custom build with all your desires at budget if you cut down on some of the bling, which sounds like you’re willing to do. NFI with respect to either Skip’s operation or Mandomutt, and I certainly don’t mean to speak for Skip regarding his willlingness (or lack thereof) to do such a build...

    I played a Pava satin and a Northfield NFS at The Music Emporium Saturday. Both were excellent mandolins I’d be proud to own, but neither made me want to trade my Kelley.

    Played a Pomeroy at Lowe Vintage last summer that was excellent as well.

    I love my Silverangel as well, but they do kind of have their own sound. Mine falls into the “traditional” rather than the “modern” (ie, Collings) camp, but has more bass response than most Gibson’s I’ve played.

    So, totally confused yet? The good news is that you’re likely to be happy with whatever you choose out of this bunch. If you can get somewhere to compare a few it’ll make it easier to narrow down. Feeling and hearing them in person can be a real education. Happy hunting!
    Chuck

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Even though they come up used rather infrequently, I would definitely consider a Stiver worthy of inclusion in this group.
    Right on, I seen where your from, I've played down there on the lake, right by that neat old Hotel, also played in the Hotel before at the winter Jams, and all through that area in the past-we've maybe met? Anyway in our area Lou's Stiver mandolins are mighty popular "I have 2 friends, one from Warren PA, the other from Lakewood-by Jamestown NY that have them" and for good reason, they are bluegrass cannon's! Great tone and Volume, Lou told me he won't do Varnish finishes on his mandolins, he said he would build them and "one" could send to someone else to get the Varnish applied-this was about 10 years ago so maybe he does them now but there is nothing wrong with a Lacquer finished instrument, as long as it isn't too heavy!

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    Registered User lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    I would say that Poe and BRW are great targets. I would love to have the chance to own the Pava and Northfield as well, but the first two are highly regarded based on knowledgeable mandolin folks in the Cafe. YMMV-- Dan
    2017 Collings MT (Gloss Top, Wide Nut)
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  19. #15

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Thanks folks! The Pomeroy and Poe are very interesting.
    The Pava F5 Satin is super interesting but the Pomeroy and Poe seem like a good value until I wanna spend more.

  20. #16

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Silverangel would be a great mandolin. I believe $4k new F 5s and used ones come up every once in a while. You can get a masterfully distressed one too, either light or heavy on the relicing.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  21. #17
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    I like my F Lebeda, ir falls in a $4k range Model Jazzica does not go with F scroll headstock more Monte there , in Cognac color
    with tortiseoid brown binding, getting to a sell or refret age.. Me more than it..

    issues with several mandolins in the house..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  22. #18

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    The Northfield F5S and Big Mon have quite different voices. Need to play them to see which you'd prefer. They really need an F5S dolled up like a Big Mon. Both are great sounding though, the F5S is brighter for sure.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  23. #19
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    First of all what tonal type of mandolin you are looking for? This is a very important criterion. Mandolins in that price range should have sll of the attributes ticked off suchas build quality, fit and finish, looks, fingerboard radius, etc. ticked off. Make a list of these tonal attributes and listen to high quality videos if you don't have access to a nusic stire with a range of high quality instruments.
    Nic Gellie

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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    I'll second both the Skip Kelley or any of the Northfield models. Definitely agree with Br1ck that they have very different voices, try them out!
    Drew
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  25. #21

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    I liked that Poe as well. I inquired earlier and they do not think it has a varnish finish. They were going to check with Andy. There is also a Bruce Clark varnish listed at just under 3k. I've always read good things about his mandolins as well....

    I do agree though, that Poe sounds pretty good in the video!

  26. #22

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    I think that if you can't get to a major dealer in Pheonix, Nashville, or Lansing, among others, you have to adopt a catch and release mindset. Every video you watch uses different recording setups in different rooms, and there is no way to feel a neck via Internet. I myself can be very good at the catch aspect, not so good at release.

    A big advantage goes to Collings for being available. I've played enough of them to know what to expect, but the individual luthier builds would be a leap of faith. I did luck out with my Silverangel though. But I've yet to see another.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  27. #23
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    I’m gonna’ be that guy. A style....

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  29. #24

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    The Ruhland at Carter's should be on the list. They're pretty powerful instruments. NFI.
    Play it like you mean it.

  30. #25

    Default Re: F5's from $3000-5000 worth considering - Sept '19

    Great suggestions on the thread...what fun. I wanted to mention I was over at Matt R's shop yesterday and did ask about the Carter's F5. It's a varnished instrument. Often times(sometimes) you can purchase upon approval with out of state stores. Just a thought no matter which direction you go. Pretty sure with the list that's been generated here you can't go wrong. Good luck....have fun.

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