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Thread: Eastman 515 or 515cc?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2021

    Default Eastman 515 or 515cc?

    Hey all! I'm looking into purchasing my first mandolin and I've got about $1000 in my budget and I was looking at Eastman's 500 series. (I was originally looking at the 300 series, but realized I liked the glossy finish a bit better. I'm used to it on my guitar anyways.) I heard about the cc model and it looks beautiful, kinda a mix between the 300 and 500 series in terms of finish and tuners. But I like the original 515 too so I don't know which one would be better.

    If I got the 515, would I need/want an armrest eventually? Are there armrests that wouldn't hurt the finish on the back? (I saw from TMS that cork can be damaging if used long term.)

    Anyone played both models? What's the difference in sound?

    All things considered (finish, tuners, binding vs softer edges etc), which model would be the better bang for your buck?

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Default Re: Eastman 515 or 515cc?

    I have not played either of these but they both look like great instruments.

    I'll try to give some help to your question about the armrest and say that the contoured comfort edge of the Eastman 515cc may not necessarily solve the need/want for an armrest down the road. From reading some of the multitude of threads that pop up here on MC about armrests it is apparent that some players will employ an armrest for comfort avoiding the hard edge, some players use them to protect finish from arm sweat or friction, some use armrests for a wrist/arm angle that is different than without, some players like how they look, some consider all of these reasons advantages, and some players are just not into armrests.

    Cork can harm finish if used long term without removal and cleaning. However, mandolin players can also harm finishes over the long term too. Care and maintenance is up to each person/player.

    I hope this is somewhat helpful. Good Luck!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Eastman 515 or 515cc?

    I was looking at the 315 and 515 until I fell into a used 815. The thing I preferred about the 515 (vs. 515cc) is the bound fingerboard, which the CC models seem to lack. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong and they're doing a black binding or notched slot like some guitars these days.)

    Nothing wrong with an unbound fingerboard - I've owned guitars with both types, but bound can be less maintenance if you have humidity swings.

    I haven't been playing [mando] long enough to think about the body binding issue, though I might get an armrest someday to try out. Besides, the body binding does protect the endgrain of the top and back - depends on how much you bang your stuff around. I'm careful, but stuff still happens, and a little dent in the binding with finish knocked off seems like better than something that hits the tone wood directly.
    2009 Eastman MD815/V
    some home music videos (no mando yet!)

  4. #4
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    St. Paul, MN

    Default Re: Eastman 515 or 515cc?

    Have played 2 515cc models and I think they are comfortable without an armrest.

    However, between that and the 515/v (varnish finish) I would pick the varnish model. The one I played sounded a bit more lively. Although that could maybe be attributed to differences between individual instruments.

    FWIW, I use armrests to raise my arm to get it in a better plane with the strings and have one on my old Weber Gallatin which has curved edges and no binding. McClung armrests use leather instead of cork and don't seem to damage the finish.
    2017 Northfield F5SA, Strad-O-Lin, 2008 Weber Gallatin F, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 2018 Eastman MDO-305

  5. #5

    Default Re: Eastman 515 or 515cc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    However, between that and the 515/v (varnish finish) I would pick the varnish model. The one I played sounded a bit more lively. Although that could maybe be attributed to differences between individual instruments.
    I'm really blown away by my 515/v. I haven't tried the cc or the straight 515 though. One thing with the "v" - they all seem to come with the slightly "distressed" finish. That's not everybody's cup of tea.

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