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Thread: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

  1. #1
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    Default which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Yes I know they are not the best choice but budget is a factor here. If anyone has experience with these two companies and the instruments they produce..Id appreciate hearing from you. Thanks

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Eastman, hands down. I have never played a The Loar that I liked. I have played and owned several Eastmans and was happy to have them.
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Thanks Charley.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    I'd vote "Eastman" as well, but you have a huge generalization factor here. Is every Eastman mandolin better than any Loar mandolin? No, of course not. Both companies make good-quality mandolins. Your individual tastes and preferences determine which one you'll like.

    I'd play at least a couple of each brand, if you can visit dealers that stock them. Remember, there are a number of other factors that influence sound and playability as well: set-up, strings, pick, room environment, etc.

    We can compare companies overall, but most people acquire one individual mandolin at a time. Each one's a bit different, even the same make and model.
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    setup is super important in this price point, so I'd avoid used and non-reputable sellers that don't set them up before shipping. talk to some of the companies that advertise here and sell the models you're interested in, and just look at the a models.

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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    I know you only asked between the two brands, which I prefer Eastman although I own a The Loar currently, but I'd also like to mention that I think Kentucky is on par with Eastman.

    I wish The Loar was still producing more A shapes. The LM220 and LM400 boasted all soild wood tops, backs and sides were better quality instruments and closer to Eastman's offerings.

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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Depending on the individual mandolins and the setup I would generally say Eastman.

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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Eastman has a more modern, think Collings and Weber, tone. Kentucky has a more Gibson like tone. IMO .... Either is a better instrument than any The Loar mandolin I have played. Don't even ask about Michael Kelly. The above statement needs the addendum , mass produced instruments can be very good... but the other end of the curve is also part of the process. Play mandolins until you find one that speaks to you.... be patient , it will come......
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    +1 for Eastman. I've played one The Loar instrument that really got my attention, and a couple that seemed pretty good, but most I've picked up were somewhere in between Mandolin Shaped Objects and Meh. They have some nice instruments but are very inconsistent. The Eastmans are much more consistently good instruments with a few that didn't excite me, most of them quite good (especially for the money), and several that were really great. There was a 515V in particular ...

    As said by others, you gotta play it, because you never know when that surprise gem while land in your hands.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Saying which is a "better" brand is, I think, misleading. There are many individual The Loar mandolins that are "better" than individual Eastman mandolins. I don't have enough experience with either brand to have information about who's builds are more consistently better. Both make many levels of instrument so what is the comparison, high end to high end, economy to economy?

    But if you told me you have a The Loar over here and an Eastman over there, and no other information, nothing about which models, which years, how appointed, etc., I think that assuming the Eastman is the better mandolin would be wrong as many times as it would be right.

    More importantly, if someone ignored The Loar brand because they read somewhere that Eastman is better, they may very well be overlooking an excellent mandolin that could make them happy for ever.
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    Registered User mcgroup53's Avatar
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Of for god's sake! Loar's are stamped out like washing machines on an Asian assembly line by people who have no idea what a mandolin is or what it should sound like. All Eastmans are beautifully crafted stringed instruments made mostly by hand in a factory like looks pretty much like the Loyd Loar Gibson production department in Kalamazoo in the 20s and 30s

    This comparison is like asking if a Yugo is as well made as a Honda.

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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    I've had a dozen or more mandolins over 20+ years, one luthier built, a top of the line Breedlove, and a Collings MT. Have also owned a top of the line F style and A style by Loar. Also have owned three Kentucky's - a mid priced F style, and two A styles, a 505 and a 250. Over the last couple of years I've been selling off my more expensive guitars and mandolins because of age related hand and shoulder problems. After much research I've replaced them with much lower priced choices.

    I'm really happy with the Kentucky KM-250 that I got from The Mandolin Store. They were great to deal with and do a really good setup. The KM-505 is a really good choice for a few $$ more. Worth considering.
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    When I went to buy my first mandolin I did a lot of basic research, then asked the guys at The Mandolin Store what they recommended, Eastman, The Loar, or Kentucky. The immediate answer was Eastman. I purchased an M305 and a year later could not be happier with it and TMS.
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by mcgroup53 View Post
    Of for god's sake! Loar's are stamped out like washing machines on an Asian assembly line by people who have no idea what a mandolin is or what it should sound like. All Eastmans are beautifully crafted stringed instruments made mostly by hand in a factory like looks pretty much like the Loyd Loar Gibson production department in Kalamazoo in the 20s and 30s

    This comparison is like asking if a Yugo is as well made as a Honda.


    Over the years I have heard that at one time or another about Eastman and Kentucky too. I really don't know which models, of which manufacturers, over which years, are or have been made this way.

    But I have held and played (higher end??) examples of each that were pretty amazing, and for the price, real amazing. I would not turn away one of them based on the name alone.

    Of course I have also played disappointing examples of each brand. YMMV, and if you like the mandolin you acquired, then all is good, whatever the name.
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    I have played several Eastmans and The Loars and my impression from builder's view was that Eastmans were consistently solidly built while most The Loars had funky suspect neck joints (and I have also handled a few with actually failed neck joints) and some other IMO critical areas. Soundwise SOme of the Eastmans had very tinny sound (even in the higher models) while many The loars had a bit less thin tone but tose were mostly the models without tonebars that are quite "thuddy" and lack other character of tone. Most of these experiences were 5-10 yearas ego and I heard Easman improved a lot. ANother impression was that Easmans had generally quite thin necks while The Loars had necks on the thick side (somewhat clubby).
    Of course any two given mandolins of each brand could be just opposite from my experience as these companiec change specs all the time and produce large numbers of instruments.
    Adrian

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Between the two, my preference is Eastman. When I started playing again, my first decent mandolin was a Loar. While they are not bad, my preference now is for the construction quality and sound of the Eastman models.

    If we throw Kentucky into the mix, it's a little tougher, but I still like Eastman. Although the KM-150, KM-505 and KM-850 models that I've had a chance to play have all been fine instruments.
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    sample a few dozen, they vary individually ..

    One of the local guys, working at the music store, here , went to the importer's warehouse and tried a dozen.
    found one he preferred & said 'ship this one' ..
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by mcgroup53 View Post
    This comparison is like asking if a Yugo is as well made as a Honda.
    Wait, do you mean they're not? Why wasn't I informed?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  21. #19

    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    I can't answer the question because I have no experience with a Loar and have only ever had 2 mandolins, but I love my Eastman. I got a good deal from a classified here from the Mandolin Store.

  22. #20

    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Eastman, without a doubt.

  23. #21
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    This comparison is like asking if a Yugo is as well made as a Honda.
    Maybe compare a Yugo with a Lada or the Fiat they were made like.. ?
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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    I took a student to buy a guitar, and with her price range, 300-500 AUD very quickly settled on an Eastman. I can’t speak to Loar instruments at all, but I was highly impressed with the Eastman. If I had the spare cash I might’ve bought one for myself.
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Sorry, but I can hold myself back no longer ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Saying which is a "better" brand is ... misleading.
    So I ask instead, "Which brand's name is more offensive?". IMHO, calling yourself "The Loar", with no basis in Gibson or Loar family history, is like going into competition with Louisville Slugger and calling your product "The Babe", presuming that you're not a descendant of Mr. Ruth. While folks have trailed off complaining about that point over the past 6 or 8 years, I still find it somewhat offensive.

    I'll stop ranting now.
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    While youre at it, Add Saga's 'Kentucky' the Pageant contestants ?
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: which is better mass produced mando...Loar or Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    Sorry, but I can hold myself back no longer ...

    So I ask instead, "Which brand's name is more offensive?". IMHO, calling yourself "The Loar", with no basis in Gibson or Loar family history, is like going into competition with Louisville Slugger and calling your product "The Babe", presuming that you're not a descendant of Mr. Ruth. While folks have trailed off complaining about that point over the past 6 or 8 years, I still find it somewhat offensive.

    I'll stop ranting now.
    I agree 100%. And when they first came out I was really turned off to he brand because of this. But as more and more folks liked them it was impossible to keep the grudge.

    Yea I get it. But I think one who categorically stays away from The Loar for that reason could potentially miss out on a real nice mandolin.
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