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Thread: Northfield love

  1. #1
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    Default Northfield love

    I have to stop taking trips to Nashville and trips to Carter’s - it is getting dangerous and expensive. Yesterday’s visit resulted in me taking home a brand new Northfield F5S. I was sitting up in their “high end” room and comparing it to just about everything in its price range and to Mandolins costing more than twice as much.

    I was really amazed how this Mandolin held its own against much more expensive Mandolins. I then asked the salesman to play the Northfield and a more expensive Collings MF2. Both he and and I felt the Northfield had better base, better high end and it just sounded louder and more beautiful.

    The workmanship, the varnish and the setup were flawless. It does not have the gorgeous figuring of some of the more high end instruments, but the sound is impeccable. I can’t speak highly enough of the folks at Carter’s and of the Northfield line.
    Collings MT (Torrefied Gloss top)
    Northfield F5S
    Breedlove Legacy Concertino
    PRS Hollowbody ii
    B&G Little Sister
    Martin Custom O
    Emerald X7 (X2)

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  3. #2
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    Congrats on your new mandolin! I’m pretty sure I want an NF5S or a Big Mon but am hoping to get in a trip to Carters to compare other mandolins before deciding.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, 2019 Silverangel Econo A
    Pisgah Wonder, cheap old German fiddle, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

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  5. #3
    Registered User Mike Scaggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    I work 2 blocks from Carter so I have to be careful myself

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    I have an F5S on the way from TME, due to arrive on Tuesday. Just hoping it is as good as the reviews and consensus seems to be since I bought without playing it. 48hrs to check it out. One thing though, I think all the F5S mandolins are lacquer, not varnish. I had them send me some pics of the actual mando, and the maple figure is not as "flamey" as some others, but I don't believe that affects the sound in any way.

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  9. #5
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    Congrats on the new mando! Do please post some pics and vids? I really want to play a northfield sometime, should get the chance next year
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Northfield love

    There is nothing close to the value of an F5S. Nothing close. Yes, the wood figuring leaves something to be desired, ranging from slight figuring to nonexistent, but the tone and playability are outstanding, and they manage a tasty look for little expense. The one thing I’ve noticed is Collings must have an insane stock of maple. All their instruments have outstanding wood, but there is that pesky two grand extra.

    The Big mon is another bang for buck champ. I know a few pros who have bought F5S mandolins just to gig with.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Northfield love

    Congrats! I’ve been playing my new Northfield Model M for a week now, and I’m loving it more every day. Hats off to Northfield. The build quality is outstanding, and it’s just a delight to play.

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  14. #8

    Default Re: Northfield love

    Ah, how jaded I've become to call $3k a little expense. I've been looking at and playing far too many $6k mandolins lately.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  16. #9

    Default Re: Northfield love

    I have a deal with myself, when I can learn the mandolin well enough that I can gig it and not sound like a guitar player who plays the mando, I'm rewarding myself with a Northfield or a Collings. Haven't decided which yet. But based on my buddy Matt who dropped by today with his Northfield, it may not be a Collings I'll purchase :D

  17. #10
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    I did the same thing at Fiddler's Green last spring - played everything on the wall(s) and just kept coming back to the F5S. Should have bought that one right there, but at the time I was set on getting an A. Changed my plan a few weeks later and got one from Morgan Music (see my avatar). Have been so happy with it ever since. I just played it at a rather large jam tonight with several banjos and it cut right through. Try some Monel strings on it.

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  19. #11

    Default Re: Northfield love

    Quote Originally Posted by mojocaster View Post
    I have a deal with myself, when I can learn the mandolin well enough that I can gig it and not sound like a guitar player who plays the mando, I'm rewarding myself with a Northfield or a Collings. Haven't decided which yet. But based on my buddy Matt who dropped by today with his Northfield, it may not be a Collings I'll purchase :D
    You’ve got things ass backwards. An F5S will greatly improve your playing, because you will play twice as much. It may even eat into your Cafe time. We’ll understand.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  20. #12
    Registered User Darren Bailey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    Good choice, I hope it brings lots of pleasure.
    I was at a festival where I got to play a number of well known brands. The Northfield models stood out in every way, and were I not saving up for early retirement at the time I would have had little choice but to figure out how to explain the new arrival to my wife.

  21. #13
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    Congrats on the Northfield! I just received my NF5S last week. What a joy it is to play. It's so responsive and full of life. I can't believe it is brand new, typically I hate brand new instruments and new strings, but out of the box it just sings. Can't wait 'til it opens up. After burning through a few rather nice and sweet sounding upper end Eastman's, I knew I wasn't going to be satisfied until I bumped myself up to a price point I couldn't afford. Now I'm satisfied and have added another family heirloom to the quiver - let's hope my kids play some day. I'd hate to see that Martin and Northfield go to waste...

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  23. #14
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    My new F5S arrived yesterday. I have literally not been able to put it down, it's that good. I'm going to give myself some time to get a good feel for it and will likely comment some more. But so far, what other folks have said about these mandolins matches what I am experiencing in terms of sound quality and play-ability.
    Northfield F5S
    Home built F5 (1995)

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  25. #15
    Registered User Kevin K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    Congrats on your Northfield, I love mine.
    "Can I have a little more talent in the monitors please?"

  26. #16
    Registered User archerscreek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    Congrats on the new mandolin.

    How are Northfield necks compared to Collings, Gibson, Eastman and any of the others? I know they have a 1 1/8" nut, so wider than Gibson and Eastman, which are 1 1/16", but the same as a Collings MF. I've heard/read their necks are shallower with much less of a V shape than Collings and Gibson. Is that the case? I imagine a Northfield neck feeling like a slightly wider Eastman neck. Any accuracy to that? Haha

  27. #17
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    Default Re: Northfield love

    I would describe the F5S neck profile as roundish, more like a U shape. The neck is on the thin (shallow) side. But, the important thing for me is that it is very comfortable. The whole package seems to be well thought out and executed. One other thing for me is that this is my first mando with a radiused fret board. Honestly, the difference is very subtle. I think I could be happy with or without that feature.
    Northfield F5S
    Home built F5 (1995)

  28. #18

    Default Re: Northfield love

    Going from Colling to Northfield is insignificant to me. Both are playable, neither stands out one way or the other. It’s not at all, I like this neck better that that.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  29. #19

    Default Re: Northfield love

    Northfield still making the 4.0 models? Don't recall hearing about any owners talking about them.

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