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Thread: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

  1. #1
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    Default Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    I received an new Northfield with an Airloom case. The fit inside is too big by 1/2Ē. So, it moves side to side and a bit head to tail piece, though the point cutout holds it fairly in place. The bottom of the case is flat so the mando rocks inside. There is not sufficient padding on the top and bottom so if you put it in the case and shake it you can hear it thudding. Any guitar case Iíve ever had you have to press them in. I donít have mando case experience but I expected more. Am I just being too fussy?
    Is it possible I have been given the wrong case? What is yours like?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Mine is not loose. There's a bit of space around it, so when I have the Tone-Gard on it it still fits easily, but with the padding over the tailpiece and neck there is absolutely no "thudding" if I shake it, even with the Tone-Gard off. (I just tested with it off - and the fit is shown in the attached pic.)

    Maybe you got a case for a Big Mon?

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    p.s. (edit) David, obviously, my Airloom is the Recurve model (from the year of the mandolin, I presume). They also have a Deluxe and new Tūra model, so if you have either of those, clarify! (My oblong, "Hill style" case for my Eastman, which I guess is like the Deluxe, does have more "slop" in it, but the mandolin is still quite secure for any use save dropping from an airplane cargo door. I know it's been through a lot!
    Last edited by keith.rogers; Aug-06-2022 at 12:27pm.
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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    It the standard F5S case. I’m wondering if it is a big Mon case, too.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    David, aside from the case, how are you liking the Northfield?
    Charley

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    I have an Airloom and the F5-S did not slide or bounce around inside. FWIW, my Brentrup also does not slide or bounce around in that Airloom when I've used it.

    Like Keith above, Tone-Gards were on each instrument. That may well have an effect on the lack of movement.

    Maybe send an email to Northfield with some photos and they can tell you whether there is an issue with that case or not.
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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Hi Charley,
    It took me a bit to like it. I think it has more mid-range than the Bitterroot did, if I am recalling correctly. It’s not as mellow as the cedar was but it’s not jangley, so that’s good. I think this will cut through better than the cedar would have in ensembles. I keep wanting to play it so that tells me I like it. That puppy is LOUD! I have a finishing disappointment. Where the neck joins the body is sloppily done. The ebony was not sanded sufficiently and the glue shows some. The tuners are not very good. They supposedly are
    Gotoh. I have Gotohs on 3 guitars. Granted the guitar tuners are sealed and top of the line, but they typically are known for making very good tuners. I’ve released the set screws on them and there are a few that are hard to turn. It doesn’t stay in tune all that well as a result. The strings sound good. Itt got to TMS end of June or so, so they shouldn’t need changing. The bridge is ok, but the thumb screws are impossible to turn under tension. The Weber bridge with the hex nut adjustment rules. I’ll keep it and hope they change the case. I will definitely change the tuners. Maybe I should contact Northfield about the tuners? Your Thoughts on all of this?
    The nut is apparently not bone or I think they’d say it. On a guitar, a bone nut makes a big difference in clarity. Any idea about making that change on a mando? Would it become brighter or just clearer?
    Last edited by David Bellino; Aug-07-2022 at 7:59pm.

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    David, sorry to hear that you are experiencing such a difficult journey into your mandolin ownership. I would be surprised that the Northfield did not come with a bone nut given the price point. As for tuners, I would recommend Rubners. They get a great review and cost much less than Waverley's. I wish I had them on my Girouard (with ebony buttons).
    As for the bridge, all traditional bridges with thumb screws are impossible to adjust under tension. In my experience, the Breke traditional bridge from Weber is the only bridge that offers that option.

    I hope for the best as your mandolin journey continues!
    Charley

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    David,

    I'm no expert on any of this. I'm thinking they could have shipped the incorrect case, but never even seeing a Northfield what do I know. I have never been able to turn the bridge thumb wheels while under tension. I've always had to loosen up the strings quite a bit in order to adjust it. I've had mandolins where the tuners are almost impossible to turn-not supposed to be that way. If it were me I'd contact TMS with your issues. I have always found them to be really helpful when I've had any issues with product I've purchased there. I'd contact Northfield too - doesn't hurt to get all the help you can. Good Luck and enjoy the Northfield.
    Thanks

    Several mandolins of varying quality-any one of which deserves a better player than I am.......

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  13. #9

    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Maybe you could post some pictures of the case and neck joint. (You'll want to take them to show to the vendor, in any case.)

    I only have the '19 model I got used, so don't know what differences there might be, but I can't find anything to fault on this one. The nut does not look to be bone, but it sounds fine. I've attached a couple of quick shots of the neck joint. I have removed the pickguard, which you should *not* do if you are having issues with a newly purchased instrument, BTW! And, the tuners work just fine (for me). In fact, this thing stays in tune extremely well. Now, it does "move" with the weather, but it's pretty consistent in staying in tune - and it's only when I need to be certain of A440, or the occasional time I notice a pair is starting to "beat" a little that I have to fiddle with them. (TBH, I rarely have tuning problems, so it's possible my ears are shot )

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    p.s. Yeah, I think you'd have to have thumb-wheels about an inch in diameter to hope to be able to turn those on a bridge under tension.
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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Keith, thanks for the pics. They were helpful. I’ve attached pics of the same
    Place and the way the pic guard support was finished. I can see from your pic that the dodad, I don’t know what it’s called in a mando- where the neck meets the body and there is the slopping piece with the line through it. That looks finished as yours. So, that’s just how they do it. To me, in my not so humble opinion, it’s sloppy because the finish matches neither the nice satinesque finish on the body not the hi glass of the binding that it abuts. Again, it’s just how they do it. You can see that glossy little line along the neck’s edge. Am I just expecting too much for a $3400? I know mandos are much more expensive than guitars which have a lot of experience with. At that price fit and finish are good.
    I’ll ask about the tuners and the case. Thanks, again.
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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    A brief explanation of what we are seeing in the picture above:

    The dark piece of wood between the fingerboard and the top is often called the riser block. In this case, it appears to be rosewood, which is an open-pored wood, and is an unusual choice for a riser block. To keep open-pored woods from looking like that, a grain filler needs to be applied before the finish is applied. That's an extra step which was not followed here. In addition, they could have done a better sanding job, and fixed that chip in the end of the thin black trim strip.

    And yes, while mandolins are more expensive to build than guitars, I feel that for $3k+, it would be nice to see cleaner workmanship on the riser block. But if the instrument sounds and plays well, I'd probably just say "oh well" and live with it, and remember that workmanship on the level of a Collings is going to cost at least twice as much as what the Northfield costs.

    Hopefully, they'll send you a new set of tuners.

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  17. #12

    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    FWIW, I have a F5-S and it is the loosest fit in the Airloom case of the 3 mandos that I own. My other 2 I have to carefully press the instrument into the case whereas the Northfield there is plenty of room to spare and I can just "drop" it into the case. I have never concerned myself too much with wiggle room because it never leaves my house but your situation sounds similar to mine. I wouldn't be surprised if you do indeed have the right case and it is just a looser fit than you're accustomed to.

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  19. #13

    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    I have a couple of Northfields, a F2S and a M+. Both fit into their respective Airloom cases like a glove - no wiggle room at all.

    FWIW

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Have you called TMS? I bet theyíd be happy to discuss your concerns.

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Yes, I did call. Just waiting for the call back. Im sure they will be responsive.

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Any further developments?
    Charley

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    TMS said sometimes they are tight fitting some to not. Iím waiting a reply from Northfield. They sent me 3 videos explaining the fit. I replied with a letter. Their position thus far is that thatís the case they use for 4 instruments. It was a long letter. My final question paragraph ended with, ďIs a $3500 instrument of so little value that someone shouldnít have the expectation of having a good fitting case?Ē I donít know, Charley. Do I expect too much? Iíve never seen a poor fitting guitar case at half the price. Weíll see what happens. Makes me feel Iím a complainer.
    Last edited by David Bellino; Aug-10-2022 at 8:25pm.

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    I must be in my old age mentally incompetent. First and foremost, I've owned a bunch of musical instruments. I can't remember any that came with a case where it was a loose fit. Shoot even my Yamaha NTX1 is a snug fit in its case (a $550 guitar including case). So, would not all airloom cases be basically the same (unless some have less padding-which is not logical)? Wouldn't all Northfield mandolins of the model you purchased be the same size? How then could some be loose and some snug. Makes no sense. Seems to me that you have a legitimate beef. Just my $.02. Good luck on this....
    Thanks

    Several mandolins of varying quality-any one of which deserves a better player than I am.......

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Thanks Mike. After reading Your response was the first time I felt all afternoon that I’m not crazy.
    Oh, I’ve got it now. It’s an AIR-loom. Plenty of air in there.
    Last edited by David Bellino; Aug-10-2022 at 9:03pm.

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    No issue with the fit of my F5S or 4th Gen in the Recurve, Airloom rectangular, or Tura Dlx.
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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Dave
    Thatís a great mandolin. Thereís nothing wrong with it or the case. Itís sounds amazing like all of the Northfield instruments. They represent a fantastic value in the mandolin world. To compare prices of guitars to mandolins you would need to look at Archtop guitars. Companies can build flat top acoustic guitars at a rate of 4-1 to mandolins. Cases are also made in much smaller quantities. All of this impacts the pricing of a mandolin as compared to an acoustic guitar. You are welcome to return it for a full refund if your not happy with it - Dennis

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Thank you, Dennis. I will take you up on that. I do agree it is a nice sounding and playing instrument. That was never a question.
    Cheers.

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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    The fit in old Gibson F5 cases that I have seen was loose. I traded for a Paganoni (Loar era copy) case at a guitar show once, and was surprised at how loose the fit was on any F5 I put in it.
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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    The only mandolin I've ever had with a loose fitting case is one of the old rectangular Fender cases that came with the vintage Fender Mandocasters. I had to add a couple of well placed hand towels to keep the mando from bouncing around.
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    Default Re: Who Has a Northfield F5-S with Airloom case?

    Reality check:

    F style mandolins require considerably more time and labor to build than flat top guitars. A highly discerning buyer should be prepared to spend $6000 at the very least, perhaps much more for an F-5 with very fine fit and finish. There are very good reasons why Gilchrist mandolins have earned price tags in the +/- $20K range. And for the record, the binding work around the scrolls of Lloyd Loar signed instruments is often sloppy.

    Right now, builders such as Collings and Pava are producing only a handful of instruments. Weber has completely suspended production. We do not know if or when they will starting building again. It has been said that Gibson has also suspended mandolin production, but I cannot confirm that. If they are producing, their instruments with better fit and finish start at $6400 if you can find one. Many modern era Gibson necks are quite narrow.

    A buyer with high standards would have an easier time by making a trip to Nashville, where he can look several instruments over before making a purchase.
    Right now, better grade used mandolins are available there in small numbers starting at $2500 for A models, and $6000 for F's.

    I've been using hand towels in cases for decades. It doesn't bother me one bit. I actually prefer a fit that's not too tight-- I don't like to have to wrestle an instrument into its case.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-12-2022 at 5:58pm.

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