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Thread: Eastman OM - a one-month review

  1. #1
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Heck, what do I know? Not much. . .

    I've had my Eastman OM out twice. My playing is not too refined, but. . .

    Here are the comments. The body seems narrow at 12 inches. The body depth is shallow - more like a mandola. Hate to say it, I've also received the dreaded, "Nasal" comment.

    I am just putting it out there. I'm just not sure that the body size is properly suited to the scale length and string gauge. I may just take to driving it with a capo and heavier string.

    Not that I know what I'm doing that is. . .

    Anybody else have observations on the Eastman OM - observations on how this box relates to other boxes?

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  2. #2

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I am one day in but so far pleasantly surprised for the most part. My g course is where I notice most room for improvement tonally and in playabilty. might be setup or just my need to find some happy medium technique-wise between guitar and mandolin approach before really judging. Also muscle memory.

    I just ordered some ej72s given the shorter scale. Nut looks a little tight so might require some widening for the few extra mms, but I think it should have positive effect. Wrote to Eastman to see why they went with j80 set, but I think it's common for factory strings to go overly light.

    Overall though this will be a fun little player and no doubt an amazing value buy given what's out there. Wouldn't be surprised if Eastman makes the model in the 400 or 500 series specs to bump price to the $1,200 range since there's nothing there carved and solid. But the 300 series does make sense as it won't be main axe for most people. I think they are going to sell a ton of them.

    Picking with some others tomorrow (fiddle, banjo guitar, etc) so will have more feedback on how it works in group setting later.

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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Heavier strings make a huge difference in a short scale OM! J80s are designed for proper tension at 22-23 inches. J72s work a lot better for a short scale. Experiment with a string tension calculator and you will see. Yes, you do have to enlarge your bridge and nut slots, and possibly adjust action and relief as well. Totally worth the effort.
    Don

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Thanks on the feedback on strings! I was wondering about heavier strings?

    I'll give that a go. I don't like lights on my arch-top Mandolin's!

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    The body seems narrow at 12 inches. The body depth is shallow - more like a mandola.
    That body width doesn't sound out of line for an archtop OM based on a quasi-Gibson design. My Weber Yellowstone F OM has a body width of 12.25" at the widest point, so it's in the same general range. The body depth of my Weber is 2.5" at the sides. What's the depth measurement of your Eastman?

    Hate to say it, I've also received the dreaded, "Nasal" comment.
    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    A Gibson-ish OM isn't supposed to sound like a guitar, but instead have a more focused mid-range tone. Some might describe that as nasal, but I like it for what it is; a punchy, focused sound. Not a huge amount of bass, but that keeps it from sounding too muddy (one reason I don't like the larger GBOM body types). There is a limit to how much bass response you'll get anyway, with the pitch of that bottom G string pair.

    Try some heavier strings. I use J80's on my 22" scale Weber OM, and even there I've had to replace the stock .012 E pair with .013's because the stock E's sounded too wimpy. Your Eastman is an inch shorter in scale and should use something slightly heavier than J80's. You might need a full custom set to get the best performance.

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  7. #6

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I played one at an Eastman booth and thought the instrument felt unbalanced. The body seemed very light in comparison to the neck. It sounded pretty decent and I would expect thicker strings to help.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I've had mine a few weeks now, and am pretty happy with it so far, but I also think that a slightly deeper body would be better. The thinner body does lend itself to a brighter sound. I wouldn't describe it as nasally though. I also play tenor banjo and mandolin. After playing those instruments for a while and then picking up the OM, it doesn't sound thin at all. I use a 1.14 Dunlop max grip nylon pick and play a little further from the bridge which gives it a little bigger sound. It's all in the ear I guess. I've only compared it to my friends Weber Gallatin and it held up okay. More projection from the Eastman IMO, which is good for melody playing which is what I mostly do. I did change the wound strings to Elixir Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb guitar strings with the ball removed. The gauges I use are 013pl 022w 032w 045w. I may go up a notch on the gauges when I change next. (a year or so from now). To me they have a little more tension, plus they seem to last forever on my guitars, and my Collings mandolin. So far so good on the OM. I buy my single nanowebs mail order from Strings and Things. Good prices and extremely fast service. A little pricey for the singles but it's worth it to me.


    I guess the only other OM choice in the same price range is the Trinity College. The Eastman is much better in my opinion. I assume the next price up for an archtop is in the $3000 range? Way out of my league.

    Michael.

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I will mess about with strings and picks and technique and etcetera. . .

    Thanks for the encouraging words. I really have no other perspective and figure you all do!

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Ok- just replaced the G and D course on my new Eastman OM with the J72 Mandola set and I can already tell a big difference on the bottom end presence. Particularly on the G course. It was the only one which I felt I was overdriving when strumming or picking to the point where some tonal quality was noticeably lost. Now the tone is much fatter regardless of how much I am giving it.

    Took some advice from dan voight to run the new wound strings back and forth through the nut to widen them out a bit. Seems to have worked like a charm. Will get some graphite in their for lube later this week too.

    High recommendation to other mdo305 owners to check out the J72 set.

    And personally i like the nasal character of the OM if thatís what you call it. That quality is what attracted me and I while I think it will be generally versatile, thereís so many of those Tim O songs that are just dying to come out of the thing.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Quote Originally Posted by bradinbrooklyn View Post
    And personally i like the nasal character of the OM if thatís what you call it. That quality is what attracted me and I while I think it will be generally versatile, thereís so many of those Tim O songs that are just dying to come out of the thing.
    The traditional term for the sound of an OM or Zouk that gets tossed around here is "Chorrnngg." Not sure I spelled that right, but it's close. If you say that out loud, you'll hear the nasal part.

    So, embrace the Chorrnngg!

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  15. #11
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    fun perspectives!

    Thanks!

    (strings are on order.)

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  16. #12

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Thatís a good word. I was thinking of trying ďbrongĒ before but didnít know if anyone would get it.

    Anyway, with the full j72 set on it now I give this a high recommendation. I think Eastman was airing on the side warranty claims when they went with j80 stock. E course is much stronger now too and the whole thing is more balanced.

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    Registered User lsu_gunny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I have one due to arrive in a few days. Probably a silly question, but using the J72 do you just string as you normally would and tune to GDAE? Thought J72 were mandola strings and tune to CGDA.
    Northfield NF5S

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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Yes, to be clear, the J72 set is a mandola set and tuned to CGDA when they are on a mandola. But tuning does change when you use the J 72s on an OM. It's just a convenient way to move up to heavier gauge strings without having to buy individual strings. You are still going to tune GDAE just like the stock strings, but the tension will be higher, improving both tone and feel. You see, there is no standard set for OM. The closest we have is the J80 set but they were designed for a 23 inch scale length. When they are on a short 20 or 21 inch scale, tension is lower and the tone is anemic and they feel floppy.

    Weber had John Pearse design a custom set specifically for their short scale OMs. Gauges are very very close to the J 72 gauges. So that set would work too. John Pearse Custom Octave Mandola set is what they are called I think.

    Truth be told, the factory set should be heavier on that Eastman. And, in case you were wondering, yes, they (J72s) are long enough to do the job, even those things they were designed for a smaller instrument.
    Don

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    Registered User lsu_gunny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Thanks for the info.
    Northfield NF5S

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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Have had it about three weeks and am loving this instrument. I pretty quickly switched to the J72 mandola set, though even the stock strings sounded very good to me. But the J72s did add a little dimension to the bottom end. I don't hear the nasal thing, but it definitely is not a deep-bodied sound. Still, it's really quite resonant and has great sustain.

  22. #17
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I'm also happier with the j72s.

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Iíve also recently bought the Eastman OM and, while no expert, must say absolutely loving it.

    A couple of beginners questions about changing strings to j72s please. I donít have very strong fingers and one of the things I like about the Eastman is how playable it is. It feels like my archtop guitar which almost plays itself! With higher tension of the J72s am I likely to find it noticeably harder to fret? Leading on from that, once youíve changed to the heavier strings, which from this thread seems to involve widening the nut and bridge slots, is it fine to revert to strings of the lighter, factory gauge or will they flop around in the widened slots?

    I did say these were beginners questions!

  24. #19

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Quote Originally Posted by Rbarcan View Post
    Once youíve changed to the heavier strings, which from this thread seems to involve widening the nut and bridge slots, is it fine to revert to strings of the lighter, factory gauge or will they flop around in the widened slots?
    I'm curious about this as well, as a fellow beginner.

    I am replacing the tuners on my MDO-305 with Rubner tuners this weekend, along with a set of Northfield Archtop OM strings (.052w / .034w / .022w / .014w); or at least that is the plan.

    If this would make factory gauge strings no longer viable, I might reconsider the string choice.

  25. #20

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Wondering if anyone who put the J72’s on their Eastman MDO-305 has had any issues with neck or action as a result of the higher tension. I have a used MDO on its way - very much looking forward to it (I played one at Gryphon pre-pandemic and was really tempted but had just bought an archtop and have been in a 6-string phase all through COVID). I’m planning to re-start my Peghead Nation subscription and take Joe Walsh’s octave mandolin class. There are only a handful of lessons so far but I expect he’ll continue adding to it over time.
    "Well, I don't know much about bands but I do know you can't make a living selling big trombones, no sir. Mandolin picks, perhaps..."

  26. #21
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I've been using them since this came up. No problems at all. Actually, during COVID, I'm having a blast on my OM. I really enjoy having it around!

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  27. #22

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    I've been using them since this came up. No problems at all. Actually, during COVID, I'm having a blast on my OM. I really enjoy having it around!

    f-d
    Thanks for the info, and glad you are enjoying your OM.
    "Well, I don't know much about bands but I do know you can't make a living selling big trombones, no sir. Mandolin picks, perhaps..."

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  29. #23

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I love my Eastman OM, I've got and had lots of instruments and I just think for what the price is, it's a very strong value and the sustain is amazing.
    Girouard A5
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  31. #24

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    I'm surprised Eastman doesn't do an Archtop OM like Northfield's. I mean they have the 805 Mando Cello which is perhaps the 805 Archtop Guitar Body maybe. I guess they're not tooled up for a smaller archtop body. They'd sell a bunch though I'm thinkin'.

  32. #25

    Default Re: Eastman OM - a one-month review

    Quote Originally Posted by mondoslug View Post
    I'm surprised Eastman doesn't do an Archtop OM like Northfield's. I mean they have the 805 Mando Cello which is perhaps the 805 Archtop Guitar Body maybe. I guess they're not tooled up for a smaller archtop body. They'd sell a bunch though I'm thinkin'.
    Octaves seem to be gaining a in popularity recently - Sarah Jarosz, Joe K. Walsh and Sierra Hull among the higher profile players. I wouldnít be surprised if Eastman adds one to their line, though Iíd be curious to know how big of a market exists for octaves. Iím sure it varies with price point, and Eastman would surely price an archtop octave in the $2000 range I would guess. I donít think I would have spent more than the $600 or so Iíve put in to the MDO at this point. Time will tell if I become a serious octave aficionado and start pining for something more than the MDO. Iím kinda thinking that the MDO is going to be my one and only octave for the long haul, but Iím sure youíre right that they would sell a good number. I have an Eastman archtop guitar. Itís an incredible instrument.
    "Well, I don't know much about bands but I do know you can't make a living selling big trombones, no sir. Mandolin picks, perhaps..."

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