I went over to Dr. Sound yesterday in the Ochanomizu district of Tokyo and purchased a 915 Eastman. It is a beauty, plays nice and sounds pretty good for a new instrument.
But when I got home and changed the strings, I noticed I could not center the bridge and get the strings to line up along the fretboard.
Then I noticed the tailpiece was cocked way to the right. It is clearly visible. Way off... So I took it back this morning. Guy didn't want to believe it at first, actually tried to strighten the piece with his thumb. Trouble is, the tailpiece is cast, so it is clearly in the wrong place on the rim. Now he says they will return it to Eastman's distributor in Tokyo for repair, including finish touch-up -- could take months.
Dr. Sound is part o the Kurosawa chain -- they aren't nearly as nice to deal with as Ishibashi or Shimokura. Don't know if I'll get my $$$ back -- 250,000 yen. I don't want a jimmied mandolin when it should be perfect as a new instrument. They don't have any other 915s in town.
Guess I shoulda bought something else, but the mandolin pickings are slim in Tokyo, and I had heard so much good stuff about Eastmanss stuff... go figure.