Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

  1. #1
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    92

    Default Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

    Also, the 505 comes with a hard case, not a gig bag like the 305. I don't really care about the hard case as the mando just sits out on a stand like my guitars, but for only $244 more I could have had a 505 with possibly better sound? Thoughts?
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    17,058

    Default Re: Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

    Generalizations about mandolin "sound" are risky; much is dependent on the characteristics of individual instruments. When I had an Eastman mandola, I tried a 615 and an 815, and bought the the 615 because I liked the sound better, though the 815 had more figured wood and gold-plated hardware. Saved a couple hundred buxx, but woulda bought the 815 if I thought it sounded superior.

    Most Eastman owners who post here find the advantages of the higher-level mandolins to be better tuners, nicer-looking maple, and higher-end finishes. Not so much that the 500's sound better than the 300's.

    Can you play both, compare them side by side? Of course, there are also the questions of what strings are on each one, how each is set up, etc. Just remember each instrument's to some extent unique, even consecutive mandolins of the same make and model. Overall, we expect the higher models to be "better" in some ways, but their sound may not be one of those ways.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

    My first decent mandolin was an MD-505. I did visit a handful of stores in Indianapolis and played different models. I could tell a difference in sound between the 305 and 505, but not the 505 and 805. There are a couple uses 505's in the classified that might make the price difference even smaller.
    Fylde Single Malt Mandolin
    Fylde Touchstone Octave Mandolin
    Eastman MDA315 Mandola

  4. #4

    Default Re: Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

    The only thing I’m sure about is that the tuners on the 305/315 mandolins are not satisfactory to me. For 100.00 or less a set of grovers can be purchased and the problem is solved. I’d be interested to hear from others who have experience with this as to which tuners will fit without modification.

  5. The following members say thank you to Lbartosh for this post:


  6. #5
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

    I also would be interested in some drop in replacement tuners LB. Someone suggested Grover 309's, but from what I read they are for F's, not A's?

    I think you're right on the money Allen, and the same goes for guitars. Play a certain Gibson or martin acoustic at the big box store we all know and sometimes hate, then go to a better store, play the same model and the difference can be striking.

    I saw the two used 505's you're talking about Shawn, but they are priced too close to a new one for me.
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  7. The following members say thank you to Frankie D for this post:


  8. #6

    Default Re: Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

    I could swear that the 300 series used to have the same Pingwell tuners as the 500 and 600 series, but now the 300s have cheaper Prolines. In either case, you can swap in Grovers easily-no need to change the bushings even, there are a couple of holes you have to drill in the back to fit in the Grovers but the peghead spacing is perfectly identical. A worthwhile upgrade. I did switch in 309s but my 505 is an older one with paddle-style headstock that they used until about 2011, those take f-style tuners. If you are ordering replacement tuners be sure you have a clear understanding of “worm-over” or “worm-under” and which one you need.

    I am a longtime 505 owner and advocate for them as a truly superior instrument to the 305--if you get the right one. Their consistency is pretty good but there is still variation. I like the reddish “Classic” finish much better than the sunburst. The sound is chunky and clear, I always find a 305 a bit tinnier, although they are good value and fun to play. They have upgraded the 300s tailpiece to match the 500s and up.
    2009 Eastman 505
    2011 Collings MTO GT
    2008 Toyota Sienna
    Stihl MS261C

    Mandoline or Mandolin: Similar to the lute, but much less artistically valuable....for people who wish to play simple music without much trouble —The Oxford Companion to Music

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bill Cameron For This Useful Post:


  10. #7

    Default Re: Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    I also would be interested in some drop in replacement tuners LB. Someone suggested Grover 309's, but from what I read they are for F's, not A's?

    I think you're right on the money Allen, and the same goes for guitars. Play a certain Gibson or martin acoustic at the big box store we all know and sometimes hate, then go to a better store, play the same model and the difference can be striking.

    I saw the two used 505's you're talking about Shawn, but they are priced too close to a new one for me.
    Grover 309s are available for A models as well and they are incredibly smooth and easy to use. I worked on an Eastman 515. While the wood grain was not conventional at all, the sound was well balanced and very powerful. The tuners were an absolute beast to turn tho, even after lubing them. I would go ahead and spring for the 500 series as it's likely to keep you satisfied longer (but still plan on upgrading the machines).

  11. #8

    Default Re: Is the Eastman 505 all that much better than the 305?

    Thanks for the info on the Grover tuners. If I keep the mandolin I’ll definitely be making the change knowing it’s a simple switch. Having problems adjusting to the narrow neck width but otherwise a nice enough instrument.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •