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Thread: Northfield FS vs Artist series

  1. #1
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    Default Northfield FS vs Artist series

    I have gotten interested in buying a Northfield FS. Northfield describes the FS as a great instrument without a lot of fine finishing. Is that the difference between the FS and an Artist series or does the Artist have more to offer in terms of better materials and sound?

  2. #2
    Registered User Lane Pryce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    There’s more than just finishing wrapped up in that price. I had an FS, it was ok. I just couldn’t love it. Ive played a few Big Mon F5 mandolins and they were exceptional. Never seen an Artist before.
    J.Lane Pryce

  3. #3

    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    In addition to the cosmetics (binding/inlay/flame/etc) the Artist series comes with a varnish finish (which most would consider an upgrade) and the Gilchrist tailpiece (which most, I think, would consider a quality of life upgrade).

    I think the Artist series sounds amazing but I guess that's subjective. You should get in touch with Northfield. They're busy but they like talking mandolins and I'm sure would be happy to chat with a potential customer.
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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    I’ve never played an Artist model, and I haven’t played any Northfields in at least three years, so I’m probably a generation or two behind, but I agree with Lane that the Big Mon —- at least back then —- had significantly better tone than their standard F5 and was well worth the added price. The varnish finish on the Artist should give another step up in tone.
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  6. #5
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    I think the Artist series have different bracing patterns other than the standard "tone bars." Up to five braces if I am not mistaken. Also they are twice the cost of the regular Northfield F-5's.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    Yea so there are also several versions of the Artist series. 2 bars, 5 bars, 4th gen (which I have and absolutely love!).

    Best advice is to try and play a few different ones if you can
    Drew
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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Egerton View Post
    Yea so there are also several versions of the Artist series. 2 bars, 5 bars, 4th gen (which I have and absolutely love!).

    Best advice is to try and play a few different ones if you can
    Sadly their aren't any dealers nearby and if there were I would guess stock is limited. I think I talked my wife into a weekend trip to Nashville where I could fine a better selection than what I have nearby

  10. #8
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    A recent thread about the Northfield 4th Generation Artist series.....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...eld-4th-Gen-F5

    Good hunting!
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  11. #9
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    So, yesterday there was a 2-bar Northfield Artist series in the classifieds. It was perhaps the most stunning looking Northfields I have ever seen. Today it is gone. Anyone here get it?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    So, yesterday there was a 2-bar Northfield Artist series in the classifieds. It was perhaps the most stunning looking Northfields I have ever seen. Today it is gone. Anyone here get it?
    It wasn't me. After some thought I did pick up a FS5 last week

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  14. #11

    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    It was stunning, and I was very tempted, as the two bar Italian spruce top is my favorite Artist series configuration. It just seems to hit a great balance.

  15. #12

    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    Has anyone here gone to Northfieldís show room to try out instruments? Itís currently listed as temporarily closed but am a year or two away from being able to afford one anyway. Iím in Chicago and would be up to drive out there if they previously have had a nice selection of available instruments.

  16. #13

    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    I was in the area on a trip, and stopped in to play a few mandolins. If I was considering a Northfield and was in Chicago, no question I'd make that drive. Call ahead and make sure what your interested in is available to try. Being able to talk to them in person while comparing instruments in hand will be valuable in making a decision if a certain instrument is what your looking for. They build their different models with a different goals. There was an A5 special that was the winner for me when I was there, my wife liked the Big Mon a little better. I got to play one of their flat top octave prototypes. I'd recommend and if your there Elderly isn't too far away either.

  17. #14

    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    Quote Originally Posted by Milky2390 View Post
    I was in the area on a trip, and stopped in to play a few mandolins. If I was considering a Northfield and was in Chicago, no question I'd make that drive. Call ahead and make sure what your interested in is available to try. Being able to talk to them in person while comparing instruments in hand will be valuable in making a decision if a certain instrument is what your looking for. They build their different models with a different goals. There was an A5 special that was the winner for me when I was there, my wife liked the Big Mon a little better. I got to play one of their flat top octave prototypes. I'd recommend and if your there Elderly isn't too far away either.
    You've just described the Northfield section of my collection. LOL. It's a create trio. I owned an F5S for over ten years, along with an F2S. Great mandolins, but the newer models are a notch above. They have really hit their stride.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  18. #15
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield FS vs Artist series

    My Big Mon is the only Northfield I've played but both the tone & feel are perfect. I prefer more low end focus though so YMMV
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