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Thread: Big Mon Engleman or Red Spruce?

  1. #1
    Registered User double E's Avatar
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    Default Big Mon Engleman or Red Spruce?

    Any one played both Engleman and Red Spruce in the Northfield Big Mons. Ive listened to a lot of you tube clips. Cant make my mind up. Any comment from the Cafe would be interesting. Thanks EE

  2. #2
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Mon Engleman or Red Spruce?

    My only comment would be to hear real instruments and then choose.
    Good luck in your search.
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    Default Re: Big Mon Engleman or Red Spruce?

    I haven't played both but I did just buy an Engleman topped Big Mon and I really like it. I also have an adirondack topped NF5S from Northfield, I guess comparing the two is like apples to oranges as the Big Mon has a slightly wider body and a tad deeper. But I really love the big and even tone I get from the Big Mon, I'd say the NF5S with the Adi top is a bit brighter but just doesn't have quite the full sound of the Big Mon. I would've liked to have been able to try the Big Mon with the Adi top but there's none around me so I just went for the one that sounded a bit fuller on the videos that I saw on youtube and I like it a lot as I said above. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Registered User Lane Pryce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Mon Engleman or Red Spruce?

    I prefer Engleman. Subtle difference but more pleasing to my ears.
    J.Lane Pryce

  5. #5
    Registered User double E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Mon Engleman or Red Spruce?

    I'm a little slow getting back to this thread. I sold my F9 Gibson and bought the Engleman top Big Mon. I was a little worried about buying and not being able to hear it first. Although I did hear it in a video. I was given a 72 hours trial period. After playing it only an hour I knew it wasn't going back, lol. Its a really great sounding and playing mandolin. I'm beyond happy with it! The Engleman top, at least on this Big Mon, is great too! I will have to add, Ben and Jake at Banjo Ben, went above and beyond with my request and information on this mandolin. I'm sure there are many good dealers out there. But they were really accommodating. EE

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  7. #6

    Default Re: Big Mon Engleman or Red Spruce?

    Having only recently acquired adirondack (red spruce instruments) in the oast ten years, and,
    Having the same models in spruce topped versions, guitar, archtop and flat top, and f mandos.

    I far prefer red spruce.
    I am a fingerstyle guitarist as well as flat picker and jazz gypsy player, rock and blues too.
    Why?

    I hear greater dynamic range and headroom. A liveliness compared to engleman or sitka. Simply stated, a red spruce top can handle heavy handed playing without getting “flubby” the way a spruce top will. I also hear greater treble definition compared to spruce. I hear more projection or “power”.

    The difference is small, but, imho, very real once you hear the general characteristics among several instruments.

    While i hear this in my Fs, i like both woods, but orefer the treble clarity i get from red spruce. ( this could be nothing more than a variation normal to any otherwise identical models, but i dont think it is.

    Red spruce does take longer to break in.

    Fwiw, there is nothing wrong with sitka. I have many sitka instruments and i still love them too.

    I would try to judge the individual build and how it strikes you.
    Otoh, if youre not too heavy handed, i think either will please you.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Big Mon Engleman or Red Spruce?

    My mandolin has an Italian spruce top and you can play soft, or hard. It will not get flubby, simply louder and stay clear. I think the luthier has more to do with it than the top, tho I think you are right that red spruce may take longer to break in.
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