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Thread: Northfield mandolins

  1. #951

    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Every now and then, someone will post something negative about a vendor or music shop. That info can be a valuable warning (if it's true and not tainted by someone with an 'axe to grind'). It's also true that positive info about a business can be valuable to us 'mandolin consumers'.
    I just wanted to take the time to say that I think the folks at Northfield are top notch! Recently I was unable to find the specific product info/pricing I was looking for on the Northfield website. I contacted them through their published email address and the folks there were very helpful. They went above and beyond the usual customer service one might normally expect.
    The folks at Northfield not only build some very fine mandolins, but seem to genuinely care about their customers.

  2. #952
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Every now and then, someone will post something negative about a vendor or music shop. That info can be a valuable warning (if it's true and not tainted by someone with an 'axe to grind'). It's also true that positive info about a business can be valuable to us 'mandolin consumers'.
    I just wanted to take the time to say that I think the folks at Northfield are top notch! Recently I was unable to find the specific product info/pricing I was looking for on the Northfield website. I contacted them through their published email address and the folks there were very helpful. They went above and beyond the usual customer service one might normally expect.
    The folks at Northfield not only build some very fine mandolins, but seem to genuinely care about their customers.
    Thank you for sharing such a positive experience. Good customer service is a hallmark of a well run business. Continued success for the folks at Northfield!

  3. #953

    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    I went to see Mountain Heart here at the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, TN last night. What a great show! Aaron Ramsey was absolutely amazing... and his Northfield was every bit as stunning as he was. It had this larger than life tone. Clear as a bell and so WOODY! It was a great night in spite of the driving rain!

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  5. #954
    Registered User nickster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandosummers View Post
    I went to see Mountain Heart here at the Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, TN last night. What a great show! Aaron Ramsey was absolutely amazing... and his Northfield was every bit as stunning as he was. It had this larger than life tone. Clear as a bell and so WOODY! It was a great night in spite of the driving rain!
    I would have liked to seen that show. Aaron is a great picker.

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  7. #955

    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    For those who may be thinking about pulling the trigger on a Northfield, you have my vote of confidence. These are great instruments and more than worth the money. As many have already said, the Northfield Guys are a pleasure to deal with and are stand-up fellows. In short, Northfield is what most companies who make mandolins wish they could be. That's just my unsolicited testimonial, as Red Foxx would say...

    You talk about a bunch who not only know how to build mandolins, they also know how to set them up. As many of us know that's a quality which can be lacking in some instruments these days. When you get a Northfield it is just right. You may want to raise the bridge up or lower it, after all, that's your preference, but you'll find it to be more than playable out of the box. The intonation is spot on and it just feels good in your hand.

    The sound is big and powerful, and is hard to beat. I won't go into describing sound as we know how that can be. Just trust me when I say that these mandos bring it all to the table. And if you don't like your Northfield, PM me and lay a price on it. I'll do business with ya by golly...

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  9. #956
    Registered User CollingsFever101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Glassweb View Post
    Well I am certainly impressed with everything else about these mandolins. They can still leave some little inlay in that corner and center the name. Maybe they could post a computerized image of a centered logo next to the current and let the mandophiles decide...
    Hey Glassweb, you have a good point. I wonder if Northfield would allow a more centered inlay logo as a custom option. I know in later comments it was pointed out that the tone/sound of the instrument is what really matters and that the off-center logo wasn't a big issue for most owners and potential customers. I completely agree with those observations, however, for those of us who raised the question I thought I would post a few pictures to visualize the topic.

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    Original diagonal centered

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    Centered level

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  10. #957

    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Seriously? I guess I just never thought about it. I will say though that inlay placement may be the easiest part in building a good mandolin, and it seems if they didn't like it, they would change it. Its an odd question to ponder, but I'll leave that to you visual experts as I'm gladly lacking in that department. I just play the mandolin. The good thing about being blind is that you just worry about how it sounds and plays and don't get caught up on the visual elements. If I had that to worry about, I would probably have MAS as bad as most others do.

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  12. #958
    Registered User David Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Recently purchased a Northfield F5s at Lynchburg Music Center in Lynchburg, Va. The people in Lynchburg were every bit as helpful and accommodating as the staff at Northfield. I am very pleased with the instrument and look forward to playing it for years to come. It continues to open up a little bit every day. While I don't play aggressively, the F5s will certainly go there for those who do. Yet for those of us with a lighter hand, the tone and volume do not go wanting. I have never owned a mando with a radiused fretboard and slimmer neck profile and appreciate how these design elements facilitate smother more accurate play. Count me in as another happy Northfield owner jumping in before the price point rises.

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  14. #959

    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by bubbasmith View Post
    Recently purchased a Northfield F5s at Lynchburg Music Center in Lynchburg, Va. The people in Lynchburg were every bit as helpful and accommodating as the staff at Northfield. I am very pleased with the instrument and look forward to playing it for years to come. It continues to open up a little bit every day. While I don't play aggressively, the F5s will certainly go there for those who do. Yet for those of us with a lighter hand, the tone and volume do not go wanting. I have never owned a mando with a radiused fretboard and slimmer neck profile and appreciate how these design elements facilitate smother more accurate play. Count me in as another happy Northfield owner jumping in before the price point rises.
    O My

  15. #960
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    My friends at Fiddlers Green Music Shop here in Austin have three on the wall when I stopped by last week. Guess I need to go try them out again before they are gone. No big Mon's, but 3 nice F-5's.
    Jammin' south of the river
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  16. #961
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. E View Post
    My friends at Fiddlers Green Music Shop here in Austin have three on the wall when I stopped by last week. Guess I need to go try them out again before they are gone. No big Mon's, but 3 nice F-5's.
    I was just in Fiddler's Green playing those Northfields over the weekend. Very nice mandolins, I thought. Nicely made with a fine grain of detail. They sound quite good-very nice balance and a bit of ring in the tone. I've got kind of big hands and I thought the neck was a great feel and fit for them. Preferable to my grip than the Collings across the room. I honestly preferred the tone to that of the Collings, but I'm also not bluegrass-o-centric, so take that opinion for what it's worth. I'm not in the market for an F but it would be hard not to recommend them to others. I did contact their website about an A.....

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  17. #962

    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    It seems that the 'Big Mon' is the most desirable of the Northfields, at least the priciest. I'm curious about something though. The 'Big Mon' is slightly larger than Northfield's standard F5 MM. I would guess that the 'Big Mon' is called that in order to associate it with Bill Monroe, while not stepping on any copyright or trademark toes. But...wasn't Bill's Gibson LL pretty much the same dimensions as the standard F5s built today? Is a 'Big Mon' supposed to sound more like Bill or is 'Big Mon' just a name to indicate it is a bigger mandolin?
    I haven't had a chance to play a 'Big Mon' yet. Are they much different (sound-wise) from the MMs?
    Just wondering... not wondering bad enough to start a new thread...but wondering.

  18. #963

    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Hi Everyone. Had a couple minutes to sit down and thought I'd catch up with this thread. The "Big-Mon" name/style of our F5 appointed mandolins really refers to the size of the instrument--A Big Mando. I just couldn't resist the obvious connection to one of the great, most likely the greatest, influences/innovators of the mandolin world. The design approach in making a slightly larger mandolin was meant to do a few things to the sound, but it also represented taking a chance and trying something a little different ,to put our own fingerprint on things. Mr. Monroe certainly left his mark, and so the play on words just feels like an affiliation to pushing boundaries and interpreting things without being afraid of what someone might think. In that regard we might just have something in common with all of our "biggest" influences... and that one thing would be enough for me and all the gang in our little company.

    As far as sound goes, yes they are different and I'd be happy to explain our observations on the phone--I think it would be much easier that way. These models are available only directly from us--with a full range of customizable features that can be found on our website. As always, emails and phone calls to talk about the different possibilities are more than welcome. Oh, and for anyone heading to this years IBMA in NC, a live and in-person demonstration is always the best way to see/hear/feel the differences in the various models we make. Thanks for all the support everyone. -Adrian

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  20. #964
    Registered User Markelberry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Mark Crowder

    Just wanted to drop a line to let you know what I think of this beautiful instrument you made especially for me! When I opened the case ,I was flat out floored! It looks like a vintage mandolin from the 20s! The shading in the sunburst is to die for,the inlay delicate gorgeous but not in your face ,perfectly balanced in the overall beauty. The tuners perfect! The piece of Sugar Maple used in the back shimmers when you move it around looks like a beautiful cloud! This hoss traveled across the ocean got tossed around from truck to truck and when I played the first notes it sounded like it was already a month old, everytime I pick it up it seems to have aged another week! Bluegrass Monster it will be ,big open rings for days . The highs clear as a bell ,my wife said you could hear every single note perfectly. Unbelievably responsive top . How you guys are making mandolins out of the case first time that sound like this is heaven! I will never let this mandolin go!!! It is everything I love in sound. And looks . Adrian thank you so much for being so generous through this process, you really didnt have to ,but thank you so much. Your brother Peter ,I cannot even begin to tell you how fine he treated me and put up with all my harassing phone calls ,he is one fine dude to work with!! I wish you would put on your website how to pronounce the names of the guys who do the work there. I looked at their hands and faces and picks of the shop so much I felt like I was there some days and I cannot say their names and I would like to tell people who the guys were that built this fine instrument in my own tongue. Anyway I could go on and on and will every chance I get to tell about all the good things that happened with Northfield,I hope it stays the way it is now for a very long time to come ! thank you one happy picker Mark Crowder p.s. I will post a video ,when I get ti just right!

    double p.s. Derek set it up perfectly for me!!! wow, if I raised the E string 1/32 it might be to much!

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  22. #965
    Registered User Markelberry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

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  23. #966
    Registered User Markelberry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Sorry for all the pics ,but ya gotta love it! its the best F-5 Mandolin I have ever had the honor to strum,pick,chop,hold!!!!! hands down! I fell right into it and do not ever wanna leave and Ive never played one before! It is fine!

  24. #967
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  25. #968
    Registered User Markelberry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    oops missed a dandy!!

  26. #969
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Wow Mark, you've got a real beauty there. Makes ME smile to feel the joy in your posts. Happy for you, man. I've been nothing but impressed with what I've seen and heard from Northfield. I'm sure Adam Steffey could string rubber bands across a toilet seat and make it sound good, but I just fell in love with his sound on New Primitive. Seems these Northfield folks are doin' it right.
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

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  27. #970
    Registered User Markelberry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

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ID:	106095Dramatic post I know but hard not to ,it really is a fine instrument as are so many being built these days. I am really happy Northfield is still making it possible for a old Milkman like me to in his later years afford one!

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  29. #971
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    It's beautiful! That's some impressive work on the peghead inlay.

  30. #972
    perpetual beginner... jmagill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    In the thread, "Best F Style for $3,000 to $4,000" I wrote:

    "I've been trying out Emory Lester's Northfield on and off this week – a terrific instrument. I asked him if he got to pick it out of a group of Northfields, and he said when he went to their facility in Michigan they had 6 or 8 mandolins and the one he got was the only one that wasn't spoken for, so it was the luck of the draw. He said he struggled to get volume and projection out of it initially, but after a few months of playing it hard with Appaloosa it just blossomed.

    There was someone in his class that had a month-old Northfield, also an excellent instrument, and I had Emory play it and asked how it compared to what his sounded like when it was new. He played it for a few minutes then said, "this one sounds better than mine did when it was new.

    I went to their website and saw that Northfields are produced by a team of five workmen responsible for every instrument. The members are American, Japanese and Chinese, and you can see each one's photo, bio, years of experience and area of expertise. They're not just an anonymous group of Pac-rim factory workers. I like that.
    "

    I've been looking for a really nice F5 for a while, and I've had the opportunity to try out a number of fine instruments owned by those who attended Mando & Banjo Week at the Swannanoa Gathering these last two years. It's only a great-sounding instrument that will hold my interest because that's I'm used to: the mandolins I've owned have all been vintage Gibsons, a Sobell, and two Monteleones. The custom Holst F4 I recently received is all the oval-hole I would ever want, and now I'm turning my attention to a fine f-hole.

    I should say that it's the sound I hear in my head that drives my quest, not the brand or price point, and as long as it's a well-made instrument without any 'issues', I'll give any mandolin a try. So, I sampled a number of wonderful mandolins, including those made by Gilchrist, Nugget, Altman, Duff, Gibson, Northfield, Stanley, Heiden, Voight, Dudenbostel, Hester, Collings and more. All of them were excellent instruments.

    Last year, the one I sampled that was closest to the sound I was looking for was a Gilchrist that Lynn Dudenbostel was refretting. This year, I was mightily impressed by Dan Voight's work; he's one to watch. But the one I kept coming back to was Emory's Northfield, and the more I played it and listened to Emory play it, live and on his new recording, At Dusk, the more impressed I have become. I have no doubt Northfield is going to be a major player in the marketplace, especially at such an attractive price point. From what I've experienced, it's a lot of mandolin, at any price.
    Jim Magill, Director
    The Swannanoa Gathering
    Warren Wilson College
    PO Box 9000
    Asheville, NC 28815-9000
    828-298-3434
    jmagill@warren-wilson.edu
    www.swangathering.com

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  32. #973

    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Markelberry View Post
    Sorry for all the pics ,but ya gotta love it! its the best F-5 Mandolin I have ever had the honor to strum,pick,chop,hold!!!!! hands down! I fell right into it and do not ever wanna leave and Ive never played one before! It is fine!
    Congrats Mark, It's a beauty! You certainly don't have to apologize for "all the pics". I love seeing the detailed shots from all angles; the more the better (OMO anyway). Your shots really show the attention to detail that went in to building your new mandolin. More importantly, I'm glad to hear that it sounds as good as it looks.

    jmagill, I guess I'm taking your post somewhat out of context, but I doubt that this particular instrument, with all its special-order options would quite slip into the '$3000 to $4000' catagory.

  33. #974
    rock in rôle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Markelberry View Post
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    What a beauty! Thanks for all the photos of it (you know we can't get enough eye candy)..

  34. #975
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Northfield mandolins

    They really are extremely good. I have certainly played some $7.5K+ mandolins I liked a whole lot less. It is very hard to quantify exactly how good.... first, individual examples will vary. All builder's instruments do. Second, our preferences vary. I can only say that if the house was on fire, the Northfield, my Ellis and my favourite Gibson would be the ones I'd really like to get out of there first.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
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