Northfield NF-F5N Big Mon Carved Top Mandolin (2012)

Northfield  NF-F5N Big Mon Carved Top Mandolin  (2012)
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Item # 11819
Prices subject to change without notice.
Northfield NF-F5N Big Mon Model Carved Top Mandolin (2012), made in China/US, serial # 120165, sunburst finish, maple back and sides, spruce top; maple neck with ebony fingerboard, molded fiberglass road case.

The Northfield "Big Mon" F style mandolin was introduced in 2009 and has been growing in popularity among professionals and mandolin enthusiasts since. This model was created in Northfield's shop as a slightly enlarged variant of the standard F5 pattern, specially tuned to offer a little more midrange and bass response with a nice airy sound.

Compared to the traditional F-5 the Big Mon has the body width slightly increased (just 5mm) with the depth of the sides adjusted in a few places. This is fairly subtle aesthetically, as everything is adjusted in proportion creating a slightly larger body overall. The top re-curve is slightly extended and the top edges thinned a bit. These subtle changes help the mandolin create a very throaty and growly midrange compared to most F-5 style instruments. The Big Mon also produces considerable volume without too much effort, and lately has been featured by premier players for both recording and touring.

This Big Mon was built in 2012, a few years after the model's inception. It features a figured maple back, sides and neck with a spruce top and ebony fingerboard. The finish is what they call Hybrid varnish. Northfield mandolins are a collaborative effort, built with materials from North America, seasoned and matched in their Marshall, MI shop. The instruments are assembled and varnished in Qingdao, China then sent back to the Us for set up and final inspection back Michigan. This bi-continental approach has enabled Northfield to create high quality instruments without the price tag of similar instruments hand assembled in the US. The Big Mon may be their best offering so far, a truly unique and delightful variation on the classic F-5 theme.
Overall length is 27 3/4 in. (70.5 cm.), 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm.) across at the widest point, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 9/16 in. (40 mm.).

This 10-year-old Big Mon shows some general play wear but no structural damage or major repair. The finish has minor dings, dents and scuffs overall and one noticeable spot of pick wear to the top above the ball of the lower F-hole. It looks someone probably picked this one at festivals, as there is some moisture wear to the upper back as well as plating damage to the tailpiece. Oddly enough the finish on the back of the neck remains quite clean.

The piece of heavy binding material on the lower body point has some glue marks, it likely came loose at some point. Now well played and feeling broken in, this evolved F-5 has a very powerful and pleasing sound, and with the original frets just polished out plays excellently as well. It is ready for more hard-strumming adventures, housed in a road-worthy fiberglass case with some sticker decoration. Overall Excellent - Condition.