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Thread: Eastman oval-hole vs f-hole: Difference in access to upper frets?

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    Default Eastman oval-hole vs f-hole: Difference in access to upper frets?

    I was looking at pictures of an MD304 and it seems like it has more restricted upper fret access compared to the MD305. Comparison photos (from Gryphon):

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    With the oval hole 304 it looks like the neck is joining around the 9th fret, but with the f-hole 305 it looks like the neck is joining around the 13th fret. I see a similar difference between the 314 and 315:

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    I didn't know that they differed in this way. I thought the only difference was the soundholes. Why do they design them differently in this respect?
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  2. #2
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman oval-hole vs f-hole: Difference in access to upper fr

    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Jersey View Post
    Why do they design them differently in this respect?
    The short answer is tradition. The oval with its 12th fret neck join pushes the bridge back to the tailpiece, kind of like the Gibson mandolins from the first two decades of the last century. The 15th fret join of the A5 with f-holes pulls the bridge up towards the headstock, similar to the Gibson F-5ís (and one A5) of the 1920ís. The changed geometries create different tones that players prefer for certain applications.
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    Default Re: Eastman oval-hole vs f-hole: Difference in access to upper fr

    You would also note the difference in fretboard, The models with F holes have elevated fret boards while the oval ones have them flush to the top. All of that goes into the tonal differences between them.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman oval-hole vs f-hole: Difference in access to upper fr

    A5 style had the 12th fret on the neck, there are builders making oval hole A's in the same format.. Just not Eastman I suppose..
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    Registered User gspiess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman oval-hole vs f-hole: Difference in access to upper fr

    Oval holes will also typically have a shorter scale neck than F's, unless otherwise stated.
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    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman oval-hole vs f-hole: Difference in access to upper fr

    The sale length of most ovals and Fs are actually the same. They are for Eastmans. As a result the bridge gets placed differently (as you can see), which also effects the tone.
    Cary Fagan

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