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Thread: Got me an Eastman MD315...

  1. #1

    Default Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Greetings,

    Very preliminary random thoughts. Newbie mando player here, like real new. Not new to playing guitar for many years and once in a while having some type of chops on itÖdepending on the day. 😊

    Anyway, bought a Kentucky KM-855 a couple of weeks ago, not set up well which is a no no of course. It felt a little like a toy, not sure why, I mean it was pretty and all. It sounded okay but the bridge was all the way down, truss rod very little relief and the strings were pretty high off the fretboard. Even if the nut slots were to be filed down, mando tech that Iím notÖI didnít see how the action would get to where I wanted it to be without having to do something to the bridge so it went back,

    Fast forward, found a 2020 Eastman MD315, basically unplayed. Pretty cool, itís punchy, the neck has more of a V to it. Tuners are decent, intonation is pretty on, the woods are pretty. I like the tailpiece. Itís set up pretty well. I can see why thereís love for these and also why some donít care for it. I donít know, I certainly would not mind a wider nut but this forces me to place the fingers a little more precisely. Itís pretty tight sounding, will it open up, thereís thatÖI think it will. Would a good player sound good on this as is, yeah they would. Would I mind an instrument with a wider nut that I think sounds a little more open from the get go, no I wouldnít. This is why there's a lot to be said for actually playing the instrument first before buying. It's a nice instrument though. To be continued!

    Thanks for listening.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Put a fresh set of strings on and wail on it. I agree that it’ll sound better with play. Whether that’s because it “opens up” or your fretting and picking hands adjust to the string spacing and neck geometry and you play more cleanly, who cares?

    I prefer 1 3/16 nut widths but my current “best” mando is 1 1/8. I used to own a 315 that was my camping/travel
    /beater mando. Despite my preferences, after a couple days playing only the 315 I adjusted without issue, so give it some time. Congrats!
    Chuck

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  5. #3
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Congrats!

    Your last paragraph has MAS written all over it..
    Chris Cravens

    Girouard A5
    Montana Flatiron A-Jr.
    Passernig Mandola
    Leo Posch D-18

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  7. #4
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Sounds like you have the bug for sure! Enjoy it.
    -Dave
    Flatiron A
    Way too many other instruments

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  9. #5

    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    Put a fresh set of strings on and wail on it. I agree that it’ll sound better with play. Whether that’s because it “opens up” or your fretting and picking hands adjust to the string spacing and neck geometry and you play more cleanly, who cares?

    I prefer 1 3/16 nut widths but my current “best” mando is 1 1/8. I used to own a 315 that was my camping/travel
    /beater mando. Despite my preferences, after a couple days playing only the 315 I adjusted without issue, so give it some time. Congrats!
    Hey CES…thanks for checking in, sound advice! I’m adjusting!


    Quote Originally Posted by ccravens View Post
    Congrats!

    Your last paragraph has MAS written all over it..
    Hahahah, ccravens. Indeed, I’m pitiful. Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sheets View Post
    Sounds like you have the bug for sure! Enjoy it.
    Hi Dave Sheets, thanks. Yeah…it just happened. I’ve tried a few times but always bail. This is the farthest I’ve gotten on the thing, gonna stay with it.

  10. #6
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Congrats! I (and many on this board) came from the guitar/bass world and started with a 315. They are solid entry instruments, and a gateway drug...

    Be sure to experiment with different strings and picks. It's amazing how much of an effect on tone can happen with just using a different pick.
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Eastmans are a great value in general, but the 315 is hard to beat for a first "serious" mandolin. Great choice for a step up. That mandolin should serve you well!

    Congratulations, and happy picking!

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  14. #8
    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Welcome! I've got the scroll-free sister to your 315, the A-style 305, and an MDO 305, which is the octave mandolin. They're both serving me well as I learn. I come from a violin background, so it's the frets, not the skinny fingerboard, that's new to me, but I'm getting it. I'm taking an online group class with Don Julin, who wrote Mandolins for Dummies--he's an amazing teacher. Lots of free material is available online, too. And the good people here will answer most any question you can dream up.

    As for MAS, I have a GBORM (Guitar Bodied Octave Resonator Mandolin) on order and should have it in two weeks or so. And I do find myself scanning the classifieds here. . . .
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

    Phoebe, my 2021 Collings MT mandolin
    Dolly, my 2021 Ibanez M522 mandolin
    Louise, my 193x SS Maxwell mandolin
    Fiona, My 2021 GSM guitar-bodied octave resonator mandolin
    Charlotte, my 2016 Eastman MDO 305 octave mandolin
    Giuliana, my 2002 Hans Schuster 505 violin
    Sally, my 2021 Jasmine S35 guitar
    Nehenehe, my 2021 Aklot concert ukulele

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  16. #9

    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Winn View Post
    Congrats! I (and many on this board) came from the guitar/bass world and started with a 315. They are solid entry instruments, and a gateway drug...
    Be sure to experiment with different strings and picks. It's amazing how much of an effect on tone can happen with just using a different pick.
    Thanks much Kevin, doing so! Iíve been pick crazy way before I got here. I have a bunch of the favorites, right now a BC 60 sumthin sumthin with rounded corner is winning. 😊
    Quote Originally Posted by JFMando View Post
    Eastmans are a great value in general, but the 315 is hard to beat for a first "serious" mandolin. Great choice for a step up. That mandolin should serve you well!
    Congratulations, and happy picking!
    Thanks JFMando! Iím happy with itÖcan keep looking though! 😊
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Lagrand View Post
    Welcome! I've got the scroll-free sister to your 315, the A-style 305, and an MDO 305, which is the octave mandolin. They're both serving me well as I learn. I come from a violin background, so it's the frets, not the skinny fingerboard, that's new to me, but I'm getting it. I'm taking an online group class with Don Julin, who wrote Mandolins for Dummies--he's an amazing teacher. Lots of free material is available online, too. And the good people here will answer most any question you can dream up.
    As for MAS, I have a GBORM (Guitar Bodied Octave Resonator Mandolin) on order and should have it in two weeks or so. And I do find myself scanning the classifieds here. . . .
    Hi Sheila, nice! I considered the 305, just kind of had an F style in mind. Very nice on the Octaves!
    Octave resonatorÖman! One of the sisters in a band that I play with, Sisters Wade Revival just recently got a Northfield Maple Archtop OctaveÖitís a stunning instrument. It might have helped push me back into trying to learn mando again.

    Yes, great site here. Lots of great info. Thanks!

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  18. #10
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    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    Put a fresh set of strings on and wail on it.
    That certainly works on my 615. I was at a camp a few years ago and got a big surprise when it woke up.
    Girouard A
    Silverangel A
    Eastman 615

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  20. #11

    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Quote Originally Posted by A-board View Post
    That certainly works on my 615. I was at a camp a few years ago and got a big surprise when it woke up.
    Doing so! Thanks A-board.

  21. #12

    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    I’m back! ��

    Well, I’m about a week in with the 315, hardly at all I know. Lowered the bridge a hair on the bass side, tried some lights to get it out of my system then combined Medium trebles, Light basses then went back to all Mediums. Currently EJ74s but I’m going to try a few others, might try a 41 on the G string & I've narrowed it down to a few different picks I like more than others. Nicely made, easy to play, neck & frets are smooth all the way around, bridge & tailpiece are great, the tuners are as advertised - they work but I wouldn’t brag on them.

    I’m inspired because I’ve got a mando finally & everything is new, learning my way around, transcribing a few little things however I’m not inspired by the tone of the thing. It could be a case of spending this amount, buy an A style and don’t pay for the scroll but I don’t want an A style, not yet.…so I’ve got to find a better(to me) sounding instrument. I dunno, I’m not necessarily looking for more bass but there’s just not much resonance or something happening, a little too two dimensional, looking for a little rounder tone…in an F style.

    Decaff!

  22. #13
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    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Keep playing it, mondoslug, these things seem to take a while to open up! I've had a 305 (which is basically the same thing without the curly bits) for maybe 9-10 weeks now and it's still getting better, or I'm getting to make a better sound on it. I found picks made a big difference. I'm now using Dunlop Ultex 1.14 or Dunlop Prime Tone 1.4 or 1.5, all Large Triangle. The Ultex are really bright, the Prime Tones have more middle, and one or the other suits most of my house rooms. The Large Triangle shape seems to make them noticeably stiffer than regular teardrop shape picks of the same material and thickness, and they're not too expensive.

  23. #14

    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    What you hear and what your audience hears can be really different with f holes, primarily because they project outward. I recommend getting some decent audio of yourself playing or have somebody with skill play your mando in front of you. It'll give you a better sense of tone.

    I've chased that MAS dragon for years trying to find good tone, so I feel you. It's a very costly habit. And tonality is entirely subjective.

  24. #15

    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Quote Originally Posted by Em Tee View Post
    What you hear and what your audience hears can be really different with f holes, primarily because they project outward. I recommend getting some decent audio of yourself playing or have somebody with skill play your mando in front of you. It'll give you a better sense of tone.

    I've chased that MAS dragon for years trying to find good tone, so I feel you. It's a very costly habit. And tonality is entirely subjective.
    Hey there thanks for checking in,

    All valid points. I did record myself with a few different picks. I have a decent recording rig & yeah, it sounded okay despite my playing. I also had a friend play it and I was pleasantly surprised, up high on the E string got a bit buried but yeah good points.
    Still as subjective as it is...I want to find something that sounds "better."

  25. #16
    Registered User Bron S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Hi. I bought a 315 last October as an alternate to my restored German mandolin. I had all sorts of trouble playing it so took it for a proper setup... I couldn't believe the difference. Everything about it is so much better. But the best thing is that, a couple of months down the track, it's really starting to mellow in its sound and I now love playing it (way more than the other one). I'm a rank learner (16 mths, never picked up an instrument before... Should've done it 40 years ago... Horse has almost bolted, but the bug has struck and I just want to learn as much as possible ) ...so, to make a short story very long, if you're 315 is anything like mine, it'll sound better and better and you'll love it.

  26. #17

    Default Re: Got me an Eastman MD315...

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Keep playing it, mondoslug, these things seem to take a while to open up! I've had a 305 (which is basically the same thing without the curly bits) for maybe 9-10 weeks now and it's still getting better, or I'm getting to make a better sound on it. I found picks made a big difference. I'm now using Dunlop Ultex 1.14 or Dunlop Prime Tone 1.4 or 1.5, all Large Triangle. The Ultex are really bright, the Prime Tones have more middle, and one or the other suits most of my house rooms. The Large Triangle shape seems to make them noticeably stiffer than regular teardrop shape picks of the same material and thickness, and they're not too expensive.
    Hey maxr, thanks - shall do! My reaction is a bit uhh premature no doubt but I'm hangin' on to it. I put some GHS A270s on, the wound strings do seem a bit brighter than EJ74s but they're new. I'm just trying stuff. Thanks for the picks heads up. I have some large Prime Tones here. I jumped on the Blue Chip bandwagon about a year ago for guitar & have a few of them. I do like them though. Really surprised I haven't lost 'em. I like the 1Rs that give you one rounded edge, also like Pro Plecs...they will take the high end off of anything though. Thanks for the reply!


    Quote Originally Posted by Bron S View Post
    Hi. I bought a 315 last October as an alternate to my restored German mandolin. I had all sorts of trouble playing it so took it for a proper setup... I couldn't believe the difference. Everything about it is so much better. But the best thing is that, a couple of months down the track, it's really starting to mellow in its sound and I now love playing it (way more than the other one). I'm a rank learner (16 mths, never picked up an instrument before... Should've done it 40 years ago... Horse has almost bolted, but the bug has struck and I just want to learn as much as possible ) ...so, to make a short story very long, if you're 315 is anything like mine, it'll sound better and better and you'll love it.
    Hey Bron S, 16 months...way to go. It's all new to you. Stay with it, glad to hear you're loving your instrument!

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