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Northfield WaveLength
 
John Reischman demonstrates Northfield’s new compact octave mandolin.
October 4, 2023
 

In recent years, there has been a huge surge in popularity of the octave mandolin thanks to players like Tim O’Brien, Sarah Jarosz, and Peghead Nation instructor Joe K. Walsh (check out Joe’s Octave Mandolin course!). If there is one manufacturer that has been striving to meet the demand for octave mandolins, it’s Northfield Mandolins, and the company’s guitar-shaped Flattop and Archtop Octave Mandolins have been very popular. Recently, Northfield introduced a more compact octave mandolin built more like a standard mandolin. The new WaveLength has a short 19-inch scale (compared to the 22-inch scale of Northfield’s guitar-shaped octave mandolins) and a smaller A-style body, making it easier to play and travel with. We had the instrument in the Peghead Nation studio during a recent video shoot for John Reischman’s Old-Time Mandolin course, and John demoed the instrument for us.

The Northfield WaveLength is built in Norhthfield’s Marshall, Michigan, shop. It has a West Virginia red spruce top and figured Michigan maple back and sides as well as an ultrathin, satin, spirit-varnish finish. Our demo instrument has Northfield’s Dark Leatherburst finish, which gives it a rich, brown appearance, while still allowing the figure of the woods to show. Though relatively simple and streamlined in its overall design, the WaveLength has a great “working musician” vibe, and the quality of its materials and level of craftsmanship are excellent. 

John Reischman has owned several octave mandolins over the years, and he finds that, while longer scale lengths can sound great, they tend to be harder to play. “This 19-inch scale feels great, and it’s a nice, punchy tone,” he said, adding that it would cut through nicely in an ensemble. John starts the video by playing “Arkansas Traveler,” pointing out that the short scale allows him to use the same fingering he would use on a regular mandolin. “It feels closer to a mandolin than most octave mandolins that I’ve played.” 

Between the easy playability and relatively affordable price, the WaveLength is an attractive option for mandolinists who want to expand their tonal variety.

To learn mandolin from John Reischman, enroll in his Melodic Mandolin Tunes or his Old-Time Mandolin course. 

SPECS: A-Style body. West Virginia red spruce top. Figured Michigan maple back and sides. Michigan maple neck. Striped ebony fretboard and bridge. 19-inch scale. 1⅜-inch nut width. Nickel-plated, engraved Gilchrist/Northfield tailpiece. Gotoh tuners. Made in Michigan. Starting at $2,795. northfieldinstruments.com

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© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com