View Full Version : Oval Hole Eastmans - Anybody tried one?

Aug-12-2005, 5:11pm
I'm intrigued by the Eastman's. Like my first Toyota, it'll take some getting used too. But I'm thinking of purchasing an F style Oval hole mandolin from these folks.

Anybody played/liked one of these instruments? Comparisons?

John Flynn
Aug-12-2005, 6:15pm

I have played a couple of them, both A ovals, both brand new at the time I played them, each about a year apart in terms of date of manufacture. My impression is that they both had a good bit of the traditional, "teens" oval sound. They were both very heavy on the bass end, while perhaps a bit light in the treble end, which could definitely open up with some playing. Fit and finish were great on both. They were head and shoulders better than an MK oval I tried, but I have to say I would not trade my Old Wave oval for either of them. Also, I have on occasion seen used Gibson ovals that sold for less money than the Eastmans, but which were better instruments.

Jason Kessler
Aug-13-2005, 11:20am
I've had a 614 for about a month now, and am very happy with it. It has a rich bottom end and a nice, tubby midrange. The highs are a bit muted, but I expect that to open up a bit as time goes on. Plus, I'm still playing on the strings it came with.

Aug-13-2005, 6:52pm
Johnny and F4: Thanks for the feedback.

I've been also considering one of Bill Bussman's creations. I'd like to get my hands on one of each(an Eastman and OldWave) but....mandolins. I'm itching for an oval hole.

I find the "teens" Gibsons to be inconsistent and mostly troubled by age.

And I have no problem buying a Chinese instrument if it's high quality, heck, that's globaliztion and the pinnacle of our current Republican Administration. It's almost patriotic to buy offshores. GW would be proud of an Eastman purchase....

But I'd still rather buy American.

John Flynn
Aug-13-2005, 9:01pm

You might look for a Breedlove OO or Olympic. They are not a traditional oval sound, but a very good oval sound nonetheless. They are also American made and have a very playable neck and fingerboard configuration. There are often good used deals on them.

Aug-14-2005, 9:03am
I have an Eastman MD504 (A-4 style), and I think it's great, especially at the price. For price/performance, Eastman can be hard to beat.

As far as comparing them to Old Wave... well, that's apples and oranges. I've owned two Old Waves (used to have an F-5 style, currently have a C#), and they are remarkable well-made mandolins. If your budget supports an Old Wave (and Bill's prices are pretty reasonable compared to some other small builders), I'd go for it. If you have a steak appetite on a hamburger budget, Eastman will fit the bill quite nicely.

Aug-18-2005, 11:37am
Yup, on the Eastman oval hole. I have a 604 that I got from Gianna - great mando, and came with the kind of attention to setup that you usually only dream of. Verry tubby on the lower end, which I really enjoy - but nice mids also. My son (miles better player than me - and worked at Flatiron before Gibson) played it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was just wonderful. I think if you are looking for a more taditional sound you won't go wrong with a 604, and very pretty to boot. In some ways for Celtic music I prefer my well-played in Mid Mo M-3, but if I ws going to have just one it would be the oval hole Eastman.


Aug-19-2005, 3:41pm
I've been lucky, I've had some great but very different oval holes; Breedlove Quartz OO, a teens Gibson Army Navy, and a 50's Martin A, and now a wonderful Weber Y2K1.
All purchased used and in various conditions, the Quartz was about $675 down to $380 for the Weber.
I haven't played the Eastmans, but would point out that at this price point (and with luck/patience) there are some great used mandos.

Aug-20-2005, 3:42pm
I will second,third and fourth the motion for the Old Wave:)

Aug-20-2005, 7:33pm
I will second,third and fourth the motion for the Old Wave:)

I'll take the Fifth... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

But seriously, I love my OW.

John Millring
Aug-21-2005, 2:23pm
I played and inspected them at Elderly's earlier this summer. Their mids and lows are noticable only because they have no highs.

Their finish could have taken the grit off of sandpaper. You could use an Eastman as sandpaper to finish another mandolin. Handy though. If you ever found yourself with a nasty broken fingernail, you'd have that built-in emery board where the neck meets the body to sand your fingernail smooth again.