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Thread: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

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    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
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    Default A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    What strings and finish are on the 2021 305? I'm seeing - Antique Varnish, and D'Addario XTPB 1140 strings. Assuming this is true, has anyone changed out the factory XTPB strings to EJ 74's, and did it improve the sound? Also, I'm wondering how 80/20's would sound?

    The reason for questions about factory strings are because I bought a Guild 1212, and the first thing I did was change out the coated factory strings not once, but twice, only to find out the original strings had the best sound. Go figure.
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    Every day is a gift. Sheila Lagrand's Avatar
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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    I looked at the specifications listed for the MD305 on the Eastman website. The strings you list match the website information. The finish is listed as "satin."
    Now, what was I after when I wandered in here?

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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    The sound of a set of strings is tied to personal tastes. Some of us just keep trying different strings til we get the sound we want.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    All you know about the factory strings is they will probably sound OK to a wide range of people. There's no reason to think they'll sound better to your particular ears than some other type of string. But they certain may do.
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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    What strings and finish are on the 2021 305? I'm seeing - Antique Varnish, and D'Addario XTPB 1140 strings. Assuming this is true, has anyone changed out the factory XTPB strings to EJ 74's, and did it improve the sound? Also, I'm wondering how 80/20's would sound?

    The reason for questions about factory strings are because I bought a Guild 1212, and the first thing I did was change out the coated factory strings not once, but twice, only to find out the original strings had the best sound. Go figure.
    I have an older 305. EJ74s are my mainstays. All the 300 series have a satin finish. I've read that Eastman no longer uses nitro; switching to a poly based "TrueTone". "Varnish" finishes are generally only offered on higher end models.

  6. #6

    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    What strings and finish are on the 2021 305? I'm seeing - Antique Varnish, and D'Addario XTPB 1140 strings. Assuming this is true, has anyone changed out the factory XTPB strings to EJ 74's, and did it improve the sound? Also, I'm wondering how 80/20's would sound?

    The reason for questions about factory strings are because I bought a Guild 1212, and the first thing I did was change out the coated factory strings not once, but twice, only to find out the original strings had the best sound. Go figure.
    As already mentioned, the Eastman site only describes the finish for the 305 as "satin finish" and the strings are the D'Addario XT medium set.

    Strings are a fairly personal choice, though the medium gauge is common. I think a lot of manufacturers, especially those dealing in volume, have gone to using coated strings on instruments they ship. It could be simply because they don't know how long an instrument might have the factory strings on it before it gets played/sold, and that gives them a better probability that the person trying the instrument won't find dead or false strings when they pick it up.

    I'm biased toward coated/treated sets because I'm pretty easy on strings, don't feel a difference that bothers me, and like the longevity. I use the discontinued (grr) EXPs on my guitar, and I think those might have been what was on Eastman mando's before - don't know really. I've tried the XTs and now trying the XS set. The nice thing about strings is they're easy to swap out. I don't think it's possible to generalize about what might sound better, because we all tend to have a sound in our head that we're trying for, and that's a combination of many things, of which strings are only a small part (IMO). You just have to try something else, if you've decided that it's the strings that are keeping you from getting that sound you want.

    The finish change was a topic elsewhere. I think it's a good move, purely IMO, given Eastman's reputation for creating good sounding and playing instruments. (I don't see it being anything to be concerned about - love the catalyzed finish on my guitar.) But, of course, it has to allow the buyer/you to feel like it's allowing you to get the sound being sought - it's their money!

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    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    The Eastman md 305 undated spec sheet I read today listed the finish as Antique Varnish. It's definitely satin, but just wanted to know what material they used for future upkeep. Thanks.
    Eastman 515 Mando
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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    The Eastman md 305 undated spec sheet I read today listed the finish as Antique Varnish. It's definitely satin, but just wanted to know what material they used for future upkeep. Thanks.
    Just curious where you got that “spec sheet?” Their site’s description (that I attached to my post) doesn’t have that. I believe the 500 series is the first model that has a varnish option.

    However, website information can always be out of sync with a specific instrument. So, if you have an Eastman MD305 it’s very easy to use their Contact page at the website, supply the model and serial number, and they will reply with the exact finish of your own mandolin. And, please telll us what their reply is.
    Last edited by keith.rogers; Sep-22-2021 at 8:23am.

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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    The 305 is a real workhorse and sounds good with a variety of strings. They actually sound as or better than the nitro finished mandos of higher numbers in the line. An Eastman rep told me once that the biggest difference is the satin finish and somewhat cheaper tuners. The tailpieces were not the same as all of the others until the last few years. If you are starting out they are a great mandolin for that.

  10. #10

    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    The 305 is a real workhorse and sounds good with a variety of strings. They actually sound as or better than the nitro finished mandos of higher numbers in the line. An Eastman rep told me once that the biggest difference is the satin finish and somewhat cheaper tuners. The tailpieces were not the same as all of the others until the last few years. If you are starting out they are a great mandolin for that.
    Do you know anything about their new Trutone finish?

  11. #11
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    Just curious where you got that “spec sheet?” Their site’s description (that I attached to my post) doesn’t have that. I believe the 500 series is the first model that has a varnish option.

    However, website information can always be out of sync with a specific instrument. So, if you have an Eastman MD305 it’s very easy to use their Contact page at the website, supply the model and serial number, and they will reply with the exact finish of your own mandolin. And, please telll us what their reply is.
    Naturally I can't find the spec sheet you were curious about. Different day, different Google. Going from site to site I'm seeing different finish materials listed from different people, so it sounds like a China thing to me. Thank's for the link that I will try in hopes it will be accurate. Looks like I'm making a project out of nothing.
    Eastman 515 Mando
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  12. #12

    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    The information on vendor sites, and even a couple [vendor] listings I've seen in the classifieds here, are usually copy-pasted over and over again, sometimes resulting in outdated information. I'd say it's not unusual that what a seller posts is not exactly what is on the manufacturer's site; and with some manufacturers, even their own site might not be current with what's coming off the assembly line. Then, add in the latency between manufacturing, shipping to a region, distribution to and "wall time" at a retailer, a buyer ending up with something that is exactly what's described *anywhere* on the internet is a game of chance.
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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305


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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    The 305 is a real workhorse .. They actually sound as or better than the nitro finished mandos of higher numbers in the line.
    I agree the 300 series (satin finish) sound better (woody, dry, open) than the nitro glossy models ... I own two MD305 and MD314..

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    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
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    Default Re: A few more questions about an Eastman 305

    Thanks to all who chimed in and posted links. One thing I noticed is that no one commented about 80/20 strings, so I'm guessing most here don't use them, and there must be a reason. My reasoning was that 80/20's might be a bit kinder on my finger tips getting used to playing the Mando, like 80/20's are with my 6 string Gibson with better sound, but only on that particular guitar. Maybe not so much with the Mando, or my other guitars for that matter.
    Eastman 515 Mando
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