I had a chance to play one of those flattop Northfields on Saturday at Fiddler's Green. My Octave is a Pona with a 23-inch scale that sounds terrific, but the scale length definitely throws me. It's a very guitar-like mandolin, with wide neck a guitar like sustain and depth. The Northfield was a real treat--smaller overall, with a crisper attack, narrow and more "mandoliny" neck and fretboard, and a noticeably quicker decay. I wish there was room in the budget for both.

Pona's making their octaves with a 21-inch scale length as well. FG had a couple on the wall but I didn't have time to play them. I'm sure they're sweet.