Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 43

Thread: Eastman md 304 vs 314

  1. #1

    Default Eastman md 304 vs 314

    I want an oval and have narrowed it down to the Eastman 304 and 314. I especially love the matte finish. Iím wondering if there is any tone or volume difference between the two. Also as far as comfort with a strap. The 314 hooks to the scroll and seems like it would be comfortable. The 304 doesnít have a strap button on the neck area and would have to tie it off at the headstock. Not sure how that would feel. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    (NFI) as much as I love my Eastmans, I would seriously look at one of the Morris oval mandolins in the Classifieds. There was a used A4 that I wanted to buy even though I have an almost identical one

  3. #3
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,810

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Limited practical experience here - have heard the 304 in person and liked it a lot. Haven't played a 314, but my band mate has a 514. Another good sounding instrument.

    Don't think there will be enough tone or volume differences between the two models to worry about. There might be more differences in individual instruments rather than the model. Pick whichever one appeals to you more and enjoy.

    Yes, the Morris instruments are great, and I would also recommend them, but the two newest ones are flat tops which have an entirely different sound.

  4. #4
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Nashua NH
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    I have never been able to detect any difference in tone between two similar A body and F body mandolins. Some people may say that they can, but I can't.

    Here's a video of Jeremy from The Acoustic Shoppe playing a 304 and a 314, same tunes back to back.

    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Kentucky KM-250 (A body, spruce & maple, f holes)

    And still saving my nickles & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Between a style and f style which are more comfortable to play sitting down without a strap? At this time I wonít be playing live so it will mostly be bedroom practice.

  6. #6
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Nashua NH
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    IMO always use a strap. A mandolin isnít a guitar. I play with a strap even when Iím sitting.

    As far as comfort, imo thereís no difference. Itís a really small instrument.

    You DO want to make sure that you are holding the mandolin away from your body so that your tummy doesnít touch the back of the body. A portion of your sound is going to come from your instrument back vibrating in resonance with your top. You donít want your tummy dampening the back.

    Or you could buy a Tone-Gard. IMO every mandolin needs an arm rest (that matches your bridge & fingerboard), a Tone-Gard, and a strap.

    In a very real way the only differences between an A body and an F body is the scroll, two points, and $200.

  7. The following members say thank you to Dan in NH for this post:


  8. #7
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Nashua NH
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    One more note - The lower point on the F body mandolin might make it easier to play the F body without a strap while seated. You would hold the mandolin in the middle of your lap, and the second point keeps the mandolin from rotating.

    You see people sometimes using at attachment on a classical guitar to play those, and classical guitars donít come with strap buttons.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Does the extra ornamentation add any appreciable amount of weight?

  10. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    ithaca new york
    Posts
    359

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Good observation

  11. #10

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    If you havenít played one or the other, I will offer my experience with Eastman ovals, I found the one I played to be very quiet compared to F hole version. I had one lined up to buy, all new and shiny, but passed due to lacklustre volume.

  12. #11

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    I was under the impression that oval hole mandolins were by nature quieter than f holes. Or is that not the case.

  13. #12

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    My use for the mandolin will be for old time, Folk, Irish tunes and basically just singing with it. My goal is not bluegrass.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by Jellwoo View Post
    If you havenít played one or the other, I will offer my experience with Eastman ovals, I found the one I played to be very quiet compared to F hole version. I had one lined up to buy, all new and shiny, but passed due to lacklustre volume.
    Thanks for the heads up. Arenít oval holes by nature quieter than f holes? I donít plan on playing bluegrass. More old time, Folk and Irish tunes.

  15. #14

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by astein2006 View Post
    Thanks for the heads up. Aren’t oval holes by nature quieter than f holes? I don’t plan on playing bluegrass. More old time, Folk and Irish tunes.
    Not necessarily. My Morris and BRW ovals are both louder than my f-hole Eastmans. For what it’s worth, my MD415 seems louder than my MD605.

    I do think you’ll be pleased with the sound of an oval for the music you describe. I really like the added sustain.

    Also recognize that the sound and volume you hear while playing isn’t necessarily the same your audience hears. To judge them you should record yourself or have a friend play them while listening, or at least you could sit facing a corner and play to hear the reflected sound.

  16. #15

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by astein2006 View Post
    Does the extra ornamentation add any appreciable amount of weight?
    An F will be noticeably heavier than an A but still not very heavy compared to, say, a guitar. I wouldn't worry about the extra weight.

    With respect to the Morris recommendations, I also have one (an F5) and like it a lot. I got to play one of his A4s (oval hole carved top A) and thought it sounded great. I haven't played a similar Eastman so I can't comment on how they compare though.
    I guess I'll just stay right here, pick and sing a while...
    2022 Morris F5 #482, 1995 Flatiron 2MB

  17. #16

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    I think this is the exact one I played:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/189481#189481

  18. #17

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by astein2006 View Post
    Thanks for the heads up. Aren’t oval holes by nature quieter than f holes? I don’t plan on playing bluegrass. More old time, Folk and Irish tunes.
    Probably, but this would have been a struggle to play with a dreadnaught guitar which was a no go for me. I actually entertained getting it for late night playing oval hole sweetness. It was the black one

    Normal conditions, I would have had to play too hard all the time: I much prefer the sound of a loud mandolin played softly which can bring wonderful tones.

    It was the 404bk which is painted black and has mahogany back and sides, that might be contributing to my issues….sweet looking though!

  19. #18

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    When looking to get my very first mandolin about 6 years ago, I wanted an oval hole as I was planning on playing primarily Irish and folk tunes. I auditioned 2 Eastmans- the MD 304 and the 404 (black). I thought the 404 sounded so much better than the 304, as did my mandolin-musician son-in-law. Now, 6 years later, figured I needed to get an A-style F-hole to be better heard when playing with my friends (a tin whistle 2 guitars, and a bodhran). Was again looking at some Eastmans, and the 515 was especially nice. But then I picked up a Northfield Calhoun (oval hole flattop) and wow, did it sound great, and louder than any of the F-hole Eastmans. Wound up getting it, and first time playing with my friends they all commented on how much louder it sounded. Was also smitten by the Northfield F-styles that I played at the store, but right now beyond my price range and playing ability, but maybe in a few years!

  20. #19

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by Jellwoo View Post
    Probably, but this would have been a struggle to play with a dreadnaught guitar which was a no go for me. I actually entertained getting it for late night playing oval hole sweetness. It was the black one

    Normal conditions, I would have had to play too hard all the time: I much prefer the sound of a loud mandolin played softly which can bring wonderful tones.

    It was the 404bk which is painted black and has mahogany back and sides, that might be contributing to my issues….sweet looking though!
    Iíve narrowed it down to the 304 and 404. A shop near me has the 304 in stock and I am planning on trying it out Saturday. But that black one is really piquing my interest. No where to try that one though.

  21. #20

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by Ihor View Post
    When looking to get my very first mandolin about 6 years ago, I wanted an oval hole as I was planning on playing primarily Irish and folk tunes. I auditioned 2 Eastmans- the MD 304 and the 404 (black). I thought the 404 sounded so much better than the 304, as did my mandolin-musician son-in-law. Now, 6 years later, figured I needed to get an A-style F-hole to be better heard when playing with my friends (a tin whistle 2 guitars, and a bodhran). Was again looking at some Eastmans, and the 515 was especially nice. But then I picked up a Northfield Calhoun (oval hole flattop) and wow, did it sound great, and louder than any of the F-hole Eastmans. Wound up getting it, and first time playing with my friends they all commented on how much louder it sounded. Was also smitten by the Northfield F-styles that I played at the store, but right now beyond my price range and playing ability, but maybe in a few years!
    Wow funny you should mention the 404bk. The last few days I have really thought about the 404. The looks especially have grown on me. Plus with the better tuners and hard case. Iíve narrowed it down to the 304 and 404. A shop near me has the 304 in stock and I am planning on trying it out Saturday. But that black one is really piquing my interest. No where to try that one though.

  22. #21

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Ihor: Just checked out the Northfield Calhoun oval
    Hole online. Looks beautiful. I love the understated beauty of it. How do you like it compare to your 404bk?

  23. #22

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    While I really like the 404, I don’t play it much anymore. It’s going to be my travel mandolin.

  24. #23
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Nashua NH
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by astein2006 View Post
    Iíve narrowed it down to the 304 and 404. A shop near me has the 304 in stock and I am planning on trying it out Saturday. But that black one is really piquing my interest. No where to try that one though.
    I played an Eastman 404 a couple of times. The first time I didnít really hear any difference between that and the 315 I was also playing. A few weeks later I played a 404 and a 305 and I could hear a difference. Not enough to lock me in to the 400 series.

  25. #24

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by astein2006 View Post
    Ihor: Just checked out the Northfield Calhoun oval
    Hole online. Looks beautiful. I love the understated beauty of it. How do you like it compare to your 404bk?
    If flat tops are on the table, you have plenty of options in the $1k and under range - Northfield Calhoun, Big Muddy, old Flatiron pancake models, and individual makers (Morris has a few of those for sale in the Classifieds too).
    I guess I'll just stay right here, pick and sing a while...
    2022 Morris F5 #482, 1995 Flatiron 2MB

  26. #25

    Default Re: Eastman md 304 vs 314

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    If flat tops are on the table, you have plenty of options in the $1k and under range - Northfield Calhoun, Big Muddy, old Flatiron pancake models, and individual makers (Morris has a few of those for sale in the Classifieds too).
    Sound samples are so hard to judge from video to video. What are some of the main differences between an ova hole arch top versus flat top? I have long looked at the Big Muddy M11 also. So now the Calhoun gets thrown in. I have No way to play either of the flattops. Right now the Eastman is a viable option since I can try one but I am open. Any advice is appreciated.

Posting Permissions

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