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Thread: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

  1. #1
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Many of you know that, until recently, I was saving all my money for an Eastman 815/v. Some days ago a forum brother PM'ed me a link to the web site of Strings & Things in Concord, NH where there was an Eastman 815/v on consignment. Today was the first day I had to myself since then, so I hopped in the car and made the trek north to Strings & Things in downtown Concord.

    I knew from the pictures that this was an old style 815/v from before Eastman started having their violin department apply the violin oil varnish to their /v guitars & mandolins. And since the violin department "distresses" the finish on their oil varnish violins, the new Eastman varnish finish mandolins & guitars also get a "road worn" treatment. This 815/v had the classic burst finish & gold tone tuners, with no artificial distressing. There were a couple of very minor dings as you would expect in a used instrument, all well documented in the pictures on the Strings & Things web site.

    I fully expected that there was a good chance the mandolin would be gone, as it was priced at only $1400. This is well under market value even for a used 815/v, as those mandolins new sell for $2250. According to my research there are only four NIB Eastman 815/v mandolins currently for sale IN THE WORLD, with only two of those in the United States.

    I arrived at Strings & Things and went to their back acoustic room. There, on very prominent display, was the 815/v. One of the sales people took it down and let me use one of the practice rooms so I could play it undisturbed.

    The mandolin was even more beautiful in hand than the pictures had let on. The flame maple tiger stripe on the back was gorgeous. The fretboard seemed flatter than I was accustom to, the nut a bit narrower, and the neck profile was a more prominent V than I was used to. All these differences just vanished as I began to play.

    The playability was excellent. As I was playing, it felt like the clean tone "sweet spot" for each course on each fret was somehow BIGGER, like I just couldn't finger a sour tone. The chords & scales were warm, the tone was just beautiful. And all very different from my Kentucky KM-250 or my new Eastman MD-514. I wondered if that had to do with the mandolin being used and well "played in."

    The 815/v has an Adirondack soundboard. When I posted previously about wanting an 815/v for myself one forum brother cautioned me, saying that he tried a mandolin with an Adirondack soundboard and he didn't like it. I had never played anything with an Adirondack soundboard before, but from my reading I knew that Adirondack soundboards were suppose to have more "head room," that is to say they are suppose to be able to be played more aggressively while still maintaining good tone.

    I tested this with a few good, strong, Bill Monroe chop chords, giving the strings everything my Primetone 1.5 Large Triangle could give them. The mandolin responded beautifully, rewarding me with the clear, bright "bark" each time.

    This is a beautiful mandolin, with great tone and great playability. And it is priced at a very attractive price, literally "priced to move."

    I was with a very heavy heart that I put the mandolin back in the wall at Strings & Things, where it still hangs waiting for one of you guys to buy it.

    Like I said, most of you know I've been saving my nickels & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for an Eastman 815/v. And just this last Black Friday my wife gave me the go-ahead to buy myself a new mandolin using my savings and she'd make up the rest out of house funds as an early Christmas present. I bought my new Eastman 514 on Black Friday, and I got the PM telling me about the 815/v on consignment at Strings & Things the very next day. If I hadn't bought the 514 that Friday, then I have no doubt that I would have bought this 815/v that Sunday.

    Oh, how life conspires against us sometimes.

    Check out this awesome mandolin in person if you happen to live in New England, and if not then check out the Strings & Things website.
    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.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Since the 815/v was such a good deal maybe you could trade your 514 for the 815. It will cost you some extra, but you may come out paying what you thought you would have to pay. Seems like you really like the 815, I would at least make the call and see about the possibilities. Good luck and if not, love the one you're with.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    I bought the 514 because I wanted one. And now that Iíve played one I want an 815/v all the more.

    I said before that I was going to make an 815/v a 60th birthday present to myself when I turn 60 in August of Ď25. So I still have plenty of time to save up, and in the meantime I plan on starting lessons in January.

  6. #4
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    And I started this thread because this is a dream come true deal on a totally awesome mandolin, and I want it to go to a forum member who will appreciate it.

    Seriously, there really is something to these $2k+ mandolins. They really are different from the sub-$1k mandolins. This was like a ďso smooth itís like itís playing itselfď mandolin. Tone, action, playability, just a different level.

    If I wasnít jonesing for an Eastman 815/v then it would probably be an Acoustic Shoppe Exclusive Custom Gibson F9. But one is $2250 and the other is $5800.

  7. #5

    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    I agree you should trade the 514 for the 81. You may eventually find an 815 which may not be as good and then you will no doubt move on your 514 at a loss so when you find one you love, make the move or regret.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    As one of the top mandolin accumulators I agree with the above opinions. In fact on the other thread someone advised to take your Kentucky and Eastman there and work out a deal with the store. In fact I would call them and ask them. I don’t know what yours are worth but even if they offer you a bit less for the 514 you will have a dream fulfilled, especially as you had played and loved the tone and playability.

    Interesting about your comment about Eastman finishing it in their violin department. I am surprised that Eastman hasn’t yet made a violin-style mandolin with perfling and overhang top and finished like a mandolin, like Campanella or others out there.
    Jim

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    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I am surprised that Eastman hasn’t yet made a violin-style mandolin with perfling and overhang top and finished like a mandolin, like Campanella or others out there.
    The Eastman company comes from a literal family of Chinese woodworkers, but they are a fairly recent player in the musical instrument world. They started by reverse-engineering western violins, moved on to violas & cellos, and then got into guitars by reverse engineering Martins & Taylors. So they don't really innovate, they copy.

    Kinda like Jerry Rosa. He had an uncle with a Loar-era Gibson mandolin that he had always admired, but it had had a bad neck reset done on it, not properly glued. Jerry was an experienced woodworker, so his uncle ask him to redo the neck glue job. Jerry removed the back & neck from the mandolin, and while it was apart he took calipers and measured everything down to .001 of an inch. He then put his uncle's mandolin back together. Then he set about building himself an exact copy of the Loar-era Gibson mandolin that he had admired so much.
    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.

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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Oh, how life conspires against us sometimes.
    Sometimes it does seem that way, but try not to let it torture you too much. You have said you bought the 514 because you want it - so dive in and play the heck out of it. The Eastman 500 series is very nice and it will take you far. Keep saving for the next one, but if you can for now, try thinking less about the instrument and more about the playing.

    Have fun!
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  12. #9
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Yes, Rob, this exactly.

    The reason I started this thread was to tell the forum about this awesome deal so that one of you guys could snag this mandolin, not to lament that I canít.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    The Eastman company comes from a literal family of Chinese woodworkers, but they are a fairly recent player in the musical instrument world. They started by reverse-engineering western violins, moved on to violas & cellos, and then got into guitars by reverse engineering Martins & Taylors. So they don't really innovate, they copy.
    I was just curious about when the company came about. Violin website says 1992 and I found that they started mandolins and archtop guitars in 2002 and flattop guitars in 2008. BION I have never played any of their mandolins but did fool around with one of their mandocellos which had some problems since they just adapted an archtop guitar. Still they are among the best of contemporary companies making quality lower priced instruments.

    I don’t know about that comment about their not innovating. I think some of their guitars are not exact copies of anything and at least from looks their mandolins are no more exact copies than any other modern makers.
    Jim

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    Registered User Bob Buckingham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Having an instrument that makes you want to play is what you want. I have one that I just jones to play and my playing gets better for having it. We connect on a special level that is hard describe but a real nice place to be.

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    Khaaaan!! Captain Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    Having an instrument that makes you want to play is what you want. I have one that I just jones to play and my playing gets better for having it. We connect on a special level that is hard describe but a real nice place to be.
    +1
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    I do not see the advantage in having multiple instruments of a lower-end bracket (you have a Kentucky and the Eastman, correct?), when you could have ONE mandolin that is A) the one you have had designs on, B) is available to you at what you deem to be "a very attractive price", and C) inspired you when playing it...??? Take all the extraneous stuff (mandolins, ukeleles, etc) and put it in a pile at this music store and ask "What'll'ya give for alla this?", cough up the balance and be done with it. You'll have your (current) holy grail, you'll be practicing all the time and advancing because you can't put it down, and that will be the only mandolin you'll need (til the next one you want). I admire your confidence that you will come across another one down the road, but my experience is when opportunity knocks, answer the damn door! No one here wants to see your next post wherein you bemoan how this one got away! (it's still on their website)
    too many strings

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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Whatever the outcome of your journey Dan, thanks for sharing it.
    I will confess when reading it I was rooting for the new pet to follow you home and live happily ever after. It was a sad ending when you had to leave it behind with a wagging tail and sad puppy eyes.

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    Registered User Marcus CA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by musicofanatic View Post
    Take all the extraneous stuff (mandolins, ukeleles, etc) and put it in a pile at this music store and ask "What'll'ya give for alla this?", cough up the balance and be done with it.
    Not everybody can always just cough up the balance.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

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    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus CA View Post
    Not everybody can always just cough up the balance.
    No kidding.

    I bought a new mandolin, one that I specifically wanted to own, ELEVEN DAYS AGO. I spend all my private savings, with the rest made up from house funds. At Christmas time. For my wife & I that represented a significant expenditure.

    As far as house money goes, my wife & I have a property tax bill and a home owner's insurance premium both coming due in January that together come to what is, for us, a considerable amount of money. There is simply no more money for toys in Dan's house.

    I am glad that all the rest of you have ample savings & disposable income to fund your hobbies. I'm sure that it's wonderful to experience the world in such a way. Please also understand that not everyone else has the same experience. Neither do we enjoy being reminded of it, or made to apologize for it.
    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.

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    No kidding.

    I bought a new mandolin, one that I specifically wanted to own, ELEVEN DAYS AGO. I spend all my private savings, with the rest made up from house funds. At Christmas time. For my wife & I that represented a significant expenditure.

    As far as house money goes, my wife & I have a property tax bill and a home owner's insurance premium both coming due in January that together come to what is, for us, a considerable amount of money. There is simply no more money for toys in Dan's house.

    I am glad that all the rest of you have ample savings & disposable income to fund your hobbies. I'm sure that it's wonderful to experience the world in such a way. Please also understand that not everyone else has the same experience. Neither do we enjoy being reminded of it, or made to apologize for it.
    Not everyone here with a nice instrument has ample savings and disposable income, some of us have similar to yourself had to scrimp and save to move up the mandolin (or guitar or banjo etc.) ladder. Or have finally gotten our hands on a "dream" instrument and then had to sell it when in dire financial circumstances. For every instrument I've had to reluctantly sell to pay the bills, or dream instrument I've missed out on because there's been no way I could get the funds for it, there's always been something else that's eventually come along and been in the right place at the right time for me. I've no doubts that'll happen for you too, whether it's the 815/v in a couple years time or maybe even something completely different if your tastes change between now and then - in the meantime you have that lovely 514 to get acquainted with, so enjoy!
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    " my wife & I have a property tax bill and a home owner's insurance premium both coming due in January"
    As a fellow NH homeowner...well, you need say no more...
    too many strings

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    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by musicofanatic View Post
    " my wife & I have a property tax bill and a home owner's insurance premium both coming due in January"
    As a fellow NH homeowner...well, you need say no more...
    A couple of months ago we got a letter from the City Assessorís Office saying that they believe our home is worth 50% more than last year.

    Thank you, inflation. Letís lock in that taxable value before the housing bubble bursts. Home resale values might plummet in the coming months, but home owners tax sure wonít.

    My wife still doesnít believe me when I tell her our tax bill in January will be 50% more than last year.

    Thatís the definition of a pessimist - Someone who is always right but doesnít get to enjoy it.

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    We've gotten that letter before. Hits you hard without time to save up for it.

    We have a woodshed that consists of metal roofing over a wooden frame sitting on the ground in front of a retaining wall (no foundation) and the town insists on taxing us for *that* as well.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Sure, paint your house and it's worth more, so you pay more taxes, because you wanted to keep your house looking good and from falling apart.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post

    I bought a new mandolin, one that I specifically wanted to own, ELEVEN DAYS AGO. I
    It's only been 11 days. Any chance to return the 514?

    Isn't fun to have everyone suggest things that may not be feasible?

  28. #23

    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    You know, you can appeal those increases. Have a calm word with the assessor.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

  29. #24
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    You know, you can appeal those increases. Have a calm word with the assessor.
    Yes, we did have a small amount of success with the approach Mandobar suggests. Every little bit helps.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Default Re: Road Trip III - classic Eastman 815/v

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Seriously, there really is something to these $2k+ mandolins. They really are different from the sub-$1k mandolins. This was like a ďso smooth itís like itís playing itselfď mandolin. Tone, action, playability, just a different level.
    I agree there is a significant difference to sub 1K and most 2.5K and up instruments.

    Do not- I repeat Do not go to the Music Emporium and start playing Collings and Kimble and Ellis......

    Well I hope you get the 815, but you may just encounter something you like even more in the mean time.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
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