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What's in a name? While this gorgeous eight-string from Northfield ostensibly gets its moniker from the legendary Bill Monroe, the Big Mon is also actually a little bigger than most F-styles you'll encounter, measuring just 5mm wider at the middle of the body. Whether those fractionally bigger dimensions contribute to the NFB-F5E's exceptional tone is anyone's guess, but its responsive lows and mids make it one of the most satisfying and best-sounding bluegrass mandolins you'll ever pick up, with an almost vintage-like growl perfect for cutting through the sound of a stringband. The NFB-F5E uses premium Engelmann spruce on top, lending it crisp highs and helping it retain its clarity at high volumes, and the hybrid varnish finish allows the spruce and highly figured maple to shine sonically. A sunburst finish and some classic appointments help the Big Mon stand out visually, too. Included in the price is an Airloom Recurve plexiglass hard-shell case.