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Thread: Eastman Mandolin Advice

  1. #1

    Default Eastman Mandolin Advice

    I currently have a Loar 310- f style and a Eastman 505md a style. I dont mean to offend anyone, but the Eastman sounds so much better than the Loar. I want to sell the Loar and upgrade to a better F-style. I am not good, I just started and I like stuff. What eastman f style would be comparable to the 505? Also is there another F-style any of you would suggest. In the price range of a nicer Eastman f-style?

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    I think a lot will depend on the individual mandolin. I am not sure how accurately one can generalize from the individual to the brand. If you try a bunch of Eastmans and the sound appeals to you more than the bunch of The Loar mandolins you have tried, well then it makes more sense.

    It would be a disappointment to get the make model right but that particular individual mandolin doesn't deliver the goods.

    My thinking would be to keep trying mandolins and paying attention to what you like.

    With the pestilence in the land most of the jams and festivals have been cancelled, so it is not as easy to try different instruments. But when the world opens up again...
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  4. #3
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    The equivalent to the Eastman 505 in an F style is the Eastman 515...

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/159614#159614

    The Ratliff Country Boy pointed out in your other thread would be hard to beat.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    I just bought a 2016 Eastman MD615 for $950. A step above your 505. But you may want to hang out with the 505 for awhile. Build up some chops and get a better idea what tone you are after.
    --
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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    I have been playing about a year, and have an Eastman 305 A style, which I like very much. However, the reason for my reply is to emphasize the value of actually playing any instrument that you want to buy. Some years ago I was looking for an inexpensive guitar ($300 -$400 range) . I was in and out of every guitar store within reasonable distance trying out all the usual suspects, Yamaha, low end Martins, etc. I wasn't finding anything that I thought sounded good at all. One day I was travelling in the Dallas area and went ti a Guitar Center. I looked at a few known brand names, and then just happened to pull a nice looking guitar down off the wall and gave it a shot. The brand was "Great Divide" Well, it sounded wonderful, and it was nice looking. All solid wood, spruce and mahogany. It was priced at $180 with a well padded gig-bag. Needless to say, it went home with me that day. I still have it, even-though I have subsequently purchased a Martin D16. People try to buy it from me all the time.

    The moral of this story is to point out that had I been intent on buying a specific make and model, I probably would have ended up with an instrument that didn't sound as nice, and it would have probably cost me a lot more. So try to play a lot of different mandolins, if you have the opportunity, and just see which one you like best.

    Good luck!
    Richard

    Eastman 305 mandolin
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    OME 11" banjo
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  9. #6

    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Thanks guys. My issue is there is one store around that carries mandolins, so its hard to play other instruments. I am in south alabama so im limited. I just played my loar and them my eastman and it is so incredibly different. This is all new to me and I am really learning and enjoying.

  10. #7

    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Hi zdub. If I were you, I would just play the Eastman you have for a while. You can always change to an F style whenever you want.

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  12. #8
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Put me in as a vote to play what you have. Then play it more and more.
    If you have a nice mandolin youíre in great shape.

    The mountain isnít the mandolin, the mountain is playing the mandolin.
    Billy Packard
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  14. #9
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    I would also stick with the 505 until you get more hours of practice under your belt ! In my experience with Eastman a higher number instrument does not always indicate a better sounding instrument ! I once owned a 505 and thereafter bought a 915 but the 505 sounded much better than the 915 . Try to locate a shop that sells Eastman and play as many as you can before purchasing .
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Another vote for waiting til you have more miles on your Eastman. I was 8 years in on a pre-owned Eastman before buying another instrument. And there are factors to consider beyond sound. Radius board vs flat; large frets vs small frets, neck size/shape. You could end up with a great sounding instrument that you find uncomfortable to play. Relax, practice and progress, and look for opportunities to play some instruments. I went to the old Mandolin Brothers (RIP Stan) and played a few mandos before I really knew what I was doing. It led me to conclude that I wasn’t ready to upgrade. Save up for a trip to Nashville and spend a day at Carter’s.
    Girouard A
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  16. #11
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    For what it is worth, I have the 615md and love it.
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

    Eastman MD615SB
    Martin D35
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  17. #12
    Registered User Tom Morse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Or.....put $10 a week in a jar (or $1.43 every day you practice) and in a year sell your two mandolins, add the $500 you've saved and upgrade to one, much better mandolin. And Mr. Packard is absolutely correct, the mountain is playing the mandolin. Chris Thile could make a Wal-mart Ktaxon ISIN A sound better than I could a Collings MF5-V.
    Jethro lives! (Tiny, too!)

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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Tom, agree totally, as evidenced by this week’s Mandolin Monday, played on a Eastman, and, some of Mandolin Orange’s earlier recordings as well...
    Chuck

  19. #14
    Down the road I go Trav'linmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Zdub, I am an Eastman fan, as you can tell by my sig. Lots of bang for your buck. The 515 is what you are looking for. Be aware that each of my Eastman's have a very different tone to them, plus 2 of them are oval hole mandolins. Try to play before you buy.
    Very few of us know, how much we have to know, in order to know, how little we know.
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  20. #15
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    I have an Eastman 305 that I like except for the tuners. This morning I decided to install the Grover tuners I purchased a couple of weeks ago, along with a set of Elixir lights. I have been using D'Addario lights, which I liked, but I use Elixir on my guitars and really love them, so I figured I would try them on my mando.

    My point in writing is to remark on how much changing to Elixir strings changed the feel of the instrument and the tone. Both for the better, I might add. I know strings are a very subjective topic, but my point is that a simple thing like changing strings can change the personality of an instrument dramatically.

    If I were you I would stick with what have and experiment with some simple changes, like strings, and setup, and see if you can narrow down what you are looking for in an instrument. If you can't find it with what you have, then go looking.
    Richard

    Eastman 305 mandolin
    Martin D16 guitar
    OME 11" banjo
    Pisgah 12" banjo

  21. #16
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Another opinion. I find no advantage in the F style tonally or otherwise. Gilchrist, himself, told me the very same thing back around 1990 in Carmel, Calif at his then US distributor's shop. He firmly stated he believed there was no difference and openly said he made F styles for greater profitability.

    You might consider a higher quality A style.

    After 50 plus mandolins, I prefer A styles over F.

  22. #17
    Registered User Gutbucket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    The equivalent to the Eastman 505 in an F style is the Eastman 515...

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/159614#159614

    The Ratliff Country Boy pointed out in your other thread would be hard to beat.
    I 2nd the Ratliff Country Boy mandolin choice. You'll have a mandolin made by some one with a name and face attached and not an anonymous person on a line. Audey selects the wood, carves, graduates, sands and applies the finish on each of his mandolins. From the start to finish it's a single maker. And the Country Boy line is a very nice "No Frills" mandolin that will hold it's value with a maker who will back up his product if a problem should ever occur.
    A couple of mandolins
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  24. #18
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    Default Re: Eastman Mandolin Advice

    I just got an MD505e this weekend. I haven't really it through the paces yet. My other is an MD415GD. I love the 415, which is why I stuck with Eastman, but the Eastman 305's and 315's I played before weren't sounding great to me. I asked the salesman to play each while I faced the other way and the 415 won hands down against the rest under $1000 in the store.

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