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Thread: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 905..?

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    Mando-afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Question A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 905..?

    I want to preface-- this is my chance to get back on the Café. I am just sharing, having been gone for 7-8 months, only lurking a bit. Promise to read my thoughts as "admissions" and take it all in the spirit of fun and the true enjoyment of playing the mandolin and enjoying their beautiful properties! I would appreciate some advice in selecting my next mandolin and I am going in a different direction than I have in the past. Let me explain.


    I have been playing for five years (having started again on an inherited Gibson A plain 1908 or 1909 I have had for over thirty years), and a year into my mandolin playing I joined the MC. I jumped into the mandolin as a lifelong guitarist and singer/songwriter, and eventually got into some entry/mid level mandolins from the top makers, such as Collings MT, Gibson F9, and National M-1. I then ventured back into an emphasis on my guitars and amplifiers.

    I have remained true to the mandolin as an instrument, but I have begun to focus more on quality and affordability, than impressing my fellow Café members (a characterization of only myself). This is a natural personality fault I have-- being very social, I developed MAS and enjoyed listing my ever growing mandolin collection, however modest. I realized after eventually purchasing a J Bovier F5 Tradition+ from Jeff Cowherd's custom shop that I had found the mandolin that matched my musical purposes. He voiced it for my use and set up the action for medium heavy strings, comfortably low. This mandolin rings and sustains, with a wonderful bark. When I play and sing with it, it carries in the rec rooms and dining rooms I play without amplification. It freed me to sell a great Gibson mandolin in order to buy a Martin 000 size guitar I needed for these same rest home gigs 4 times per month. I sing and play with my wife, who is an awesome percussionist.

    Now, I am beginning to look at an electric guitar and amp or two that are one too many of each. I am going to sell a very nice ax and an amp to put myself in position to purchase a high end Eastman, J Bovier or Kentucky in the $1000 range. I say that because, realistically, I would rather get the best instrument, likely "used" in 9/10 condition, top of the line and made in an Asian factory, rather than a lower end domestic. I enjoy Epiphone guitars because I appreciate the "every man" quality of them and believe blues players like Marquise Knox and Gary Clark, Jr. set an example of getting the most out of a guitar for the money.

    I have noticed some really beautiful Eastman 800 and 900 mandolins on the classifieds, and I am open to both A and F style, though since I have an F5, I prefer a highly flamed, great sounding and playing Eastman. I once had an Eastman MD605 that I regret selling-- it was superb in every way.

    Am I being realistic, considering I am older now (closing in on 63) and playing and singing is getting harder for me due to Parkinson's? I haven't given up by any means, but I am thinking of thinning out my guitar stuff a bit, and adding an A5 I can enjoy as much as my JB. Thanks for reading my story Café friends!
    2001 Flatiron Festival F5
    1909 Gibson A
    1912 Gibson A
    2017 Eastman MD805/V

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    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    If the Bovier matches your "musical purposes," why do you need another? If you want a "better" instrument, why not sell the Bovier and put that money and the grand that would go to a higher-end Eastman/Kentucky/Bovier into a used Weber or Collings MT?

    My dad had Parkinson's, and all I will say is that if another mandolin will make you happy, you should get one. Even if you don't follow my advice above!

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric F. View Post
    If the Bovier matches your "musical purposes," why do you need another? If you want a "better" instrument, why not sell the Bovier and put that money and the grand that would go to a higher-end Eastman/Kentucky/Bovier into a used Weber or Collings MT?

    My dad had Parkinson's, and all I will say is that if another mandolin will make you happy, you should get one. Even if you don't follow my advice above!
    Hi Eric! Long time no talk to! I like your ideas. I won't rule them out. It is definitely MAS, admittedly, which is ironic given my diatribe! Thanks for the feedback. It is just nice to have the camaraderie. What is your go to mando?
    2001 Flatiron Festival F5
    1909 Gibson A
    1912 Gibson A
    2017 Eastman MD805/V

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Welcome back Dan! It's good to see that MAS, mandolins, and music are still keeping you up nights. Keep that fire going. Music is the force that binds us all

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Dan, I don't have any mandolin suggestions, other than to say I've always found the Eastman 800 series very classy with the varnish (or maybe that's only on the F-style, always looks like a violin finish to me), but just wanted to say hello. I have wondered about you and haven't seen you post in a while. Was hoping you were well. Happy picking.
    ...

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Dan, there's nothing wrong with the occasional MAS flare-up!

    To answer your question, I have mostly been playing octave mandolin over the past few months. My OM is a very inexpensive Portuguese brand, APC, which is kind of funny because here I am suggesting you get a high-end instrument. I might sell some stuff to replenish my instrument fund, though, and get a higher-end OM.

    I've had an Arches A for 13 years, a Brian Dean flat-top/modified bowl/genius creation for about 10 and a Weber oval for eight or nine. I occasionally fish in the shallow end for a mandolin to travel with, but I've been pretty constant with those three.

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Dan, good to hear from you again! My “go to” mandolin is a Silverangel Econo I picked up gently used for 900 bucks. It’s so much more mandolin than that price tag, has a very nice one piece flamed maple back, and plays oh so fine! It has staved off MAS for about 6 years and I’d have to jump into the 3000-5000 range to top it...

    My “beater” is an Eastman 315 that’s an amazing mandolin for the money as well. Paid $429.00 for a new but clearance mandolin. Wasn’t shopping, but picked it up while my wife was looking for books for her piano students, and had 3 random people in the store compliment me on how good it sounded. Walked away from it and went to the beach for a week, during which I played what was my beater at the time. Realized the Eastman was light years better than what I had, much more playable, and < 500 dollars. Thankfully, it was still there when I got back in town. I’ve played a couple of 600 series Eastmans and an 815 that I wouldn’t trade mine for. I do wish the nut was a little wider, but we make it work.

    I say all that to say, if you can, go to a store where you can play a few Eastmans and maybe a Kentucky KM 900, 950, 1000 or 1500. There are some exceptional instruments in those lineups. That said, if you’d like a little different voice, look at Flatiron 1N, Big Muddy, Eastman’s ‘04 series mandolins, and don’t discount domestic builders who are still working their way up the pecking order. My SA is immensely better than any Eastman, Kentucky, or The Loar I’ve played.

    Have fun shopping, man!
    Chuck

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Hey Dan, I will also jump in to say Hi. You may think of a Summit A, hand made, but used can be only slightly more than your $1k. I have one for jamming as it has a nice volume, but because of arthritis may end up selling a couple. I can only play one and these days I am keeping an old Martin for playing as the hands and wrists get worse. Enjoy while you can, that's my motto.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    I am perplexed by many of your stated views, as I have never yet found a Pac Rim instrument that I would be really pleased with, perhaps the exception being the 1000 and up Kentuckys. People seem pleased with their J Boviers though and there are plenty of folks that are enjoying their Eastmans, but the G string sound of virtually all of them leave me cold.

    Usually when someone says they are willing to part with a thousand dollars, I'd say spend another couple of hundred and get a nice used small shop instrument, and if I ever found a Silverangel for $900, I'd buy it regardless that I have one already. Ken has a screaming deal on an Econo right now in the classifieds at I believe $1200.

    The second suggestion would have been an old Gibson, but you have one, so do you just want another mandolin, just because, or are you looking for a particular tone. Wanting a mandolin just because, by the way, is as good a reason as any. Would you want a high end Kentucky because they look pretty? Once again, as good a reason as any. This just goes to show how subjective this stuff is.
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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    Now, I am beginning to look at an electric guitar and amp or two that are one too many of each. I am going to sell a very nice ax and an amp to put myself in position to purchase a high end Eastman, J Bovier or Kentucky in the $1000 range. I say that because, realistically, I would rather get the best instrument, likely "used" in 9/10 condition, top of the line and made in an Asian factory, rather than a lower end domestic. I enjoy Epiphone guitars because I appreciate the "every man" quality of them and believe blues players like Marquise Knox and Gary Clark, Jr. set an example of getting the most out of a guitar for the money. I have noticed some really beautiful Eastman 800 and 900 mandolins on the classifieds, and I am open to both A and F style, though since I have an F5, I prefer a highly flamed, great sounding and playing Eastman. I once had an Eastman MD605 that I regret selling-- it was superb in every way. Am I being realistic, considering I am older now (closing in on 63) and playing and singing is getting harder for me due to Parkinson's? I haven't given up by any means, but I am thinking of thinning out my guitar stuff a bit, and adding an A5 I can enjoy as much as my JB. Thanks for reading my story Café friends!
    It's great to see that the fire is still burning, Dan! As you already have an archtop with both f-holes and an oval, I'd like to see you add another voice to your repertoire. I know that you've had some flattops and a resonator pass through your hands. Since you're leaning towards an Eastman, what would you think about their new archtop octave?

    https://reverb.com/item/10414471-eastman-mdo305

    The 21" scale length might allow you to fuse your guitar past with your mandolin present into an octave future, making a nice vocal accompaniment and conversation point for the seniors you serve so generously. And though I may be violating the ham sandwich principle, my MAS enabling suggestion actually comes in under budget for a change!
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
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    2009 Passernig A5
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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    What an interesting, friendly and supportive thread! What with all the tension and unrest in our world, I am sincerely smiling and chuckling at the kindness and consideration our friends show one another in this forum.

    That said, I did gain some great insight and found your responses both perceptive and thought-provoking. I know I am perplexing and that there is a "nonsense" quality to my MAS. Thanks for that observation Br1ck! Yes, you nailed it-- for the gorgeous appearance of the instrument or just because or, oh, I don't know... I just love mandolins!!!

    Miss the MC! Pheffernan-- I looked up the Octave. Very interesting, and as you said, Underbudget?! Thanks all. We'll be talking soon, I am sure.
    2001 Flatiron Festival F5
    1909 Gibson A
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    2017 Eastman MD805/V

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    I sold some gear and gathered the resources together to buy a high end Eastman MD 805/V. I haven't been able to find out as much about the finish as I would like. Does anyone know what the "V" means-- vintage or varnish? I assumed varnish and liked the idea of the open sound that would possibly produce. I bought mine only slightly used and got a really good price with the case and certificate of authenticity. It seems to have very select woods and to be made well. Here is a link where you can look at the stock photos:
    https://www.sylvanmusic.com/store/p1...MD805%2FV.html
    Last edited by lflngpicker; Feb-25-2018 at 1:00pm. Reason: Eastman, MD805/V, Varnish Finish
    2001 Flatiron Festival F5
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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    V = varnish. I personally think it’s the classiest look Eastman does. Play it in good health!
    ...

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Nice. Congrats! I hope you love it.

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Thanks Caleb and Eric! Dan
    2001 Flatiron Festival F5
    1909 Gibson A
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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    I really like that Eastman vintage varnish finish. I hope you love it, Dan!

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    Default Re: A Companion for my J Bovier Custom Shop: used Eastman 805, 90

    Quote Originally Posted by Zissou Intern View Post
    I really like that Eastman vintage varnish finish. I hope you love it, Dan!
    Thank you, Keith! I hope you are pleased with your Eastman guitar coming soon! Let us all know.
    2001 Flatiron Festival F5
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