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Thread: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

  1. #1
    Registered User Twistofer56's Avatar
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    Smile Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    I'm hoping that the advice - set your price limit and buy what you can afford - is good.

    I'm a newbie and decided to upgrade from my Troublesome Creek HoneyBee to the Northfield A5 Special. I took a leap of faith from the retailer (over the phone discussion) but since he was 1300 mi away, I couldn't play it.

    Well, my new Mandolin came today, ice cold from shipping and is gently warming up in its case. (I confess, I did take it out for about 5 min to strum it.). Hopefully I'll get to play it later tonight or early tomorrow morning. The suspense is killing me.

    I pray that I made a good choice (any feedback is definitely welcome) and will "grow into the instrument."

    Wish me luck

    PS: Now to learn how to play

  2. #2
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    I have said this before in the forum. A few years back I visited Elderly Instruments while traveling through Michigan. I played every mandolin hanging on the walls including several Northfields and many much higher $ mandos. All the Northfields sounded very good. One F style Northfield, to my ear, stood out above every mandolin in the store. Had it not been an F style it would have been going home with me. Even over the next few days I kept contemplating whether or not I could live with an F style and whether or not to call Elderly to buy it.
    I'm reasonably certain you will enjoy your new mandolin. Happy Picking!
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    I got an entry level The Loar LM-110 during the Covid lockdowns and its gotten me started, but Im also eyeing the A-5 Special now. Let me know what you think of it once it warms up!

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  6. #4
    Registered User Twistofer56's Avatar
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Quote Originally Posted by jmackbnd View Post
    I got an entry level The Loar LM-110 during the Covid lockdowns and it’s gotten me started, but I’m also eyeing the A-5 Special now. Let me know what you think of it once it warms up!
    I'm probably the last person to make a critical judgement, but here goes...
    My A5-S rings and has a great sound to my ear. Fuller and rounder tone. It's extremely playable, though remember as a beginner, I still get quite a few thunks and dull notes. I definitely love the slightly wider neck. Definitely cannot complain about the fit and finish. It's gorgeous. I will admit it did push my budget, but as I said...I'm hoping to grow with and into this mandolin.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    I think you made a great choice. While I moved on from my Northfield, I could have easily kept it as my main instrument. It's not that anything I have is "better". Instead they are just "different."

    Congrats on getting that one.

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  9. #6
    Registered User Mando Esq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Those A5 Specials are beautiful mandolins!

    Congratulations and enjoy!
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  11. #7

    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Good choice. You can probably accomplish anything you need to on that mandolin!
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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    I think you did the right thing - play the best mandolin you can afford. I don't think this mandolin will ever hold you back - enjoy, and play it in good health!

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  15. #9
    Registered User Twistofer56's Avatar
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Just did a string change to Ernie Ball Earthwood Mediums -- 20/80's. My mandolin was originally strung with the D'Addario 074's. My Mandolin was a demo and I'm not sure that it was setup before shipping. The strings, as expected were a bit smudgy. So I thought, I wipe my mandolin down with a good cleaner, change the strings and oil the ebony fret board. The fret board really needed the oiling. It soaked up the oil like crazy. (Yes, I wiped it down very well.) Now to let my baby to settle in overnight.

  16. #10

    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Quote Originally Posted by Twistofer56 View Post
    Just did a string change to Ernie Ball Earthwood Mediums -- 20/80's. My mandolin was originally strung with the D'Addario 074's. My Mandolin was a demo and I'm not sure that it was setup before shipping. The strings, as expected were a bit smudgy. So I thought, I wipe my mandolin down with a good cleaner, change the strings and oil the ebony fret board. The fret board really needed the oiling. It soaked up the oil like crazy. (Yes, I wiped it down very well.) Now to let my baby to settle in overnight.
    Howd the string change and oiling affect things? What did you use to oil it?

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  18. #11
    Registered User Twistofer56's Avatar
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Quote Originally Posted by jmackbnd View Post
    Howd the string change and oiling affect things? What did you use to oil it?
    I really like the EB Earthwood mediums. They are very responsive and sensitive with a great woody, meaty sound. By sensitive, I can really alter the tone from brassy & tinny to very mellow & warm depending on the type of pick I use. D'Addario strings were a bit more piercing and probably better with groups. I was able to cut through my teacher's guitar when he accompanied me at my last lesson. (but then, who knows, he's the teacher and knows the tricks to encourage his students). My main goal right now is Medieval, Renaissance and Early Appalachian music, maybe seasoned with some Irish/Scottish Ballads.

    I used Jim Dunlop products...their 65 Lemon Oil on the fret board.

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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Quote Originally Posted by Twistofer56 View Post
    I used Jim Dunlop products...their 65 Lemon Oil on the fret board.

    Don't oil the fret board often, not more than once a year and with very little oil.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  21. #13
    Registered User Twistofer56's Avatar
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Don't oil the fret board often, not more than once a year and with very little oil.
    Agreed...I put the Oil on the cloth and rubbed the fret board. Once the board stopped absorbing oil, I took a clean dry cloth and wiped the fret board down.

  22. #14
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    Default Re: Took a huge leap and upgraded to a Northfield A5 Special

    Quote Originally Posted by Twistofer56 View Post

    I'm a newbie and decided to upgrade from my Troublesome Creek HoneyBee to the Northfield A5 Special. I took a leap of faith from the retailer (over the phone discussion) but since he was 1300 mi away, I couldn't play it.

    I pray that I made a good choice
    About 3 yrs ago, I bought an NF A5 Special. It was so good to my ears, that since then when I saw an MC ad for a used one at 2500, I couldn't resist, so I had 2, then later on, I saw another one on MC for 2500, so for the last long while, I have had 3, and I guess that makes me a hoarder, but I think of it, as a science experiment, because I've enjoyed getting to know the nuances between these particular 3, and I can deploy them far and wide.

    At one point, I did post one on MC for sale, but no takers, and I'm glad because now I regard that one, as the best one. I'll still probably scale back to just 2, but why make haste, when they are all so appealing?

    So, I think you made an excellent decision, Twistofer56! You'll be fine with just the one I expect....

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