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Thread: What to expect, F5S?

  1. #1

    Default What to expect, F5S?

    I recently agreed to a transaction/trade that includes a Northfield F5S coming my way. I am a big fan of the Northfied company and their mandolins having owned several over the years. One of the models I have never seen or played is the F5S. Just curious what I can expect from this particular model? Thanks for any feedback folks might be willing to share.

  2. #2
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Portland, OR

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    Expect a d*mn fine mandolin.
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

  3. #3

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    If you have owned several Northfield over the years, do you think this one will be different ?

    Dave H
    Eastman 615 mandola
    2011 Weber Bitteroot A5
    2012 Weber Bitteroot F5
    Eastman MD 915V
    Gibson F9
    2016 Capek ' Bob ' standard scale tenor banjo
    Ibanez Artist 5 string
    2001 Paul Shippey oval hole

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    High Peak - UK

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    No, they’re all so good, they have to be sold again!

  5. #5

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    Expect a beautifully constructed mandolin with quality woods. Satin finish, which I think looks great - kind of like an old nitro instrument, but without all the lacquer cracks!

    A really rich tone, a good “thumpy” chop (if that’s your thing), and tons of sustain.

    I love mine!

  6. #6
    Registered User LastMohican's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Louisville, KY

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    Just sold an amber F5S solely for the purpose of putting some money back in the bank. It was an incredible instrument. I've conveyed this story on here before: there is a cat here in Louisville that is an accomplished professional musician and a damn fine mandolin player. Not too long after I made the Northfield purchase, we were at BG jam together and he sat and played my F5S for about an hour. He currently plays an F body from a one-off luthier (I can't remember the name) that is very expensive and a true monster (I was playing it while he played my Northfield!!), but before he bought his current mandolin, for years, he played a Collings. His verdict...the Northfield holds up in every way against the Collings. You guys may disagree...but in my opinion, that alone is one hell of an endorsement. I hold Collings in high regard and spent several hours in the Collings factory watching how they are made and talking to the guys that build them. Look, I was furloughed for 60 days and I needed to hoard cash. The good news is that I'm back at work on June 1st. I hope to right the ship financially over the next year or so and, Lord willing, I'll buy another Northfield!
    "I actually wanted to be a drummer, but I didn't have any drums." - Stevie Ray Vaughn

    Northfield F5S "Blacktop", K&K Pickup

  7. #7

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    Thanks for the comments, each of the Northfield models i've been around were all slightly different. All were very nice.

  8. #8
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    San Rafael, Ca

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    Love the F5s.
    I have played a lot of Northfields, and own an Artist 5bar.
    I owned an F5s for a short time and it might be the favorite mandolin I have played in terms of sound, but unfortunately that particular one had a thinner nut width than most Northfields. Most have 1 1/8" nut, but this one was something like 1 3/32" and was just too narrow for my fingers. I was heartbroken to send it on its way, but I needed a mandolin that was right for me. Unbelievable tone. When I played it in the store, I played it against every mandolin they had including several high end Collings, Labeda, Gibson, and others. The F5s beat them all in tone, for my personal taste. Loud, tight, dry, punchy, and just plain awesome.

    I have found the F5s to be a bit dryer in tone than the Big Mon.
    A great bluegrass mandolin.
    I actually liked that it was a simple design too.
    The woods were very nice, and the construction was excellent.
    You will love it.
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
    Fiddles: 1920s Strad copy, 1930s Strad copy, Liu Xi T20, Liu Xi T19+ Dark.
    Guitars: Taylor 514c (1995), Gibson Southern Jumbo (1940s), Gibson L-48 (1940s), Les Paul Custom (1978), Fender Strat (Black/RWFB) (1984), Fender Strat (Candy Apple Red/MFB) (1985).
    Sitars: Hiren Roy KP (1980s), Naskar (1970s), Naskar (1960s).
    Misc: 8 Course Lute (L.K.Brown)

  9. #9

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    Thanks for your assessment CWRoyds, that's exactly the information i was curious about. Much appreciated.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    Just to add my 2

    I bought a 2012 Big Mon in December, and to me it is the best sounding, and easiest playing mandolin I've owned. In fact, I liked it so much, I stumbled upon an amber F5S, and bought it too a few weeks later!

    I was of the thought that a Gibson was going to be the pinnacle mandolin purchase for me - and when I finally did buy one, although it sounds great, looks great, and plays great - it doesn't play as easily as my Northfields - nor does it sound as good. (in my humble opinion)

    The Northfields just put a big grin on my face whenever I pick them up. And to me, that's the best testament to a well made, great sounding and playing instrument.

  11. #11
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bellingham, WA

    Default Re: What to expect, F5S?

    The folks at Northfield are continually doing amazing things and have accomplished much in a relatively short period of time.

    They are to be applauded.

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