We love this Northfield octave mandolin! With its carved-top and flat back, it looks a lot like a small Martin archtop guitar from the 1930s. (OK, the back is slightly arched by the braces, just as on flattop guitars) An added advantage to this guitar-like design is the playability, as unlike most octave mandolins this one sits comfortably in your lap without the neck-heavy imbalance that plagues most mandolin-shaped octave mandos. The 22 inch scale also makes this an easier transition to mandolin tuning for guitar players (but an octave lower of course) . Wonderful gutsy tone, and for any mandolin ensemble a welcome balance to those piercing trebles. And on top of everything else, it's beautifully made with a high level of "fit and finish", including a lovely sunburst and highly figured maple. And, we just got a new Northfield with a mahogany back.