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Thread: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

  1. #1

    Default Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    WARNING: The following post and photograph may be disturbing to mandolin connoisseurs and the faint of heart everywhere. If you or a loved one have ever experienced hyperventilation, seizures, regurgitation, coma and or death due to blatant obnoxious UMB (Ugly Mandolin Back), you may need to see a lawyer. The following fact and fiction is one man’s series of unfortunate events.

    After much labor-intensive searching for the right mandolin at the right price, I was delighted when I came across the Eastman MD-515. Every photograph from every dealer and customer I came across, all had mandolins with beautiful backsides and we all know it’s the appearance that we cherish and are most concerned about as mano players. I mean, we already have to put up with the ever so frequent monotonous jokes about “maybe one day we’ll grow up and get us a regular sized guitar”, yada, yada, yada… so we want our instrument’s appearance to make everyone drool.

    After ordering my Eastman MD-515 online from one of most reputable dealers found on all the mando-forums I eagerly waited for that magical day. When that day came, it instead was filled with mixed emotions. The long-awaited case opening was indeed delightful. She was beautiful beyond compare and she was mine, mine, all mine. But when removing her from her case to peek at the backside, I was horrified! I didn’t want to show my obvious displeasure so I just bit my lip and attempted to force my stone face to smile or at least not be rude to the petite instrument. But it was useless, I couldn’t help myself, I went into instant UMBS (Ugly Mandolin Back Syndrome).

    Fortunately, I had loved ones, medical staff and other mandolin and fiddle players close by to bring me back from the depths of despair. Thank you, yes, all the first responders, you! After a brief recovery, I wanted to tell this one man’s story in effort to save others from the unnecessary shock and sadness of how cruel this world can be.

    Buyer Beware… I should have asked to see a photo of the actual mandolin since no one wants to be stuck with an ugly mandolin. Don’t forget appearance is 95% of the playing experience! Sure, both Eastman and the Reputable Dealer in question shouldn’t have sent out something that looked like that. Knowing the Everyone wants a desirable appearance, the Reputable Dealer should have just asked the customer if it would be a problem. They had to know it was a “lemon” from the bottom of the barrel and unfit to be seen in any rural jam session. By just sending the “thing” out anyway, that let me know that they really don’t care about my future as a mandolin master want-ta-be. (do you suppose, this would influence future customers or not?)

    It is hard to tell from the photo, but one side has a stain several shades darker than the other side and the grain patterns appear to run in different directions on both sided, one horizontal and the other vertical. I know, I know, I may be being a little harsh on the ole gal… I mean, “beauty is only skin deep”. But that is something you say to other folks to make them feel better because we all know that “ugly goes all way down to the bone”! OK, Ok, she has got a wonderful personality… yea, that’s it, she has got a wonderful personality. She sounds great, but when folks ask to see my new mandolin, I either turn off the lights or ask them to squint their eyes. What do you think? Have you ever seen an Ugly Back before? If so, how did you cope with your series of unfortunate events?

    Thanks for listening,
    FlyBye
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  3. #2
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Welcome to Mandolin Cafe, FlyBye!

    Can't say that I have ever had much thought about the appearance of my mandolins' backsides. Now I am a bit trepidatious. I am struggling to resist the sudden need to check them out.

    In any case, congratulations on your new mandolin. I am sure it sounds just fine.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Could always get yourself one of these Tone Guards. Maybe cover up some of the ol' gals flaws. Just tell her it's so she'll be heard over the banjos. Just don't let her in on the "real" reason you put it on. In my experience mandolins are pretty naive, probably from being so small. It isn't until they grow up and become a guitar that they wise up.

  5. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Spray-paint it green. Tell everyone it's an environmental statement.

    Or, say that Eastman's reducing their harvesting of endangered figured maple, and making all future "500" series instruments out of recycled industrial pallets.

    Anyway, the back's going to spend most of its life pressed against your stomach, so what can we expect?
    Allen Hopkins
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    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    You could always return it. If the dealer is good, they'll replace it. You'll probably be out the cost of shipping. Your reminder is a good one though. If looks are important to you, ask for photos of the actual instrument.

  7. #6
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Well, on the plus side, you have a unique instrument that will not get mistaken for someone else's instrument (except for the one that has the reverse wood on its back). And if the tone is good, you can always say you chose it because it sounded beautifully and darn the consequences.

    On the other hand, if it bothers you in any serious way, you can probably exchange it or sell it and buy a new one. There is a bit of pain in your exaggerations that makes me think it really does bother you ... the only downside is if the replacement doesn't sound as good. but you have to look at the instrument, it's your choice. I owned a perfectly fine Kentucky mandolin that had a sunburst I just didn't care for and eventually was happy to let it go. i was surprised the looks bothered me, but they did. you feel what you feel.
    --------------------------------
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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    I thinking the Reputable Dealer would rather have you as a Satisfied Customer, rather than an UMB Afflicted Person. See if they will exchange it for a different mando. Life is too short to be unhappy about something like this.
    -Dave
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Just return it and tell the vendor to send you another one. Pictures first.

    I have this problem with some of the F 5S Northfields. I mean, it is a very good deal for a great sounding mandolin, but once you have seen a pretty decent flame on one it is hard to accept one with hardly any.

    I have seen nothing like yours on any Eastman I've seen. I had a dealer once show me a Les Paul with AAA grade maple cap. Asked me if I thought it was AAA. I told him no, I wouldn't buy it for the uber premium price they were asking. It was returned to Gibson.

    It's not like they can't come up with a "Black Beauty" 515.
    Silverangel A
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  11. #9

    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    I feel so bad about all the complaining and all… after all, I may have exaggerated a wee bit about the Ole Gal being Bowlegged and Buck-tooth, but what’s a story without a little dancing around the facts… I mean who wants to read about a full-grown newbie adult mandolin player pouting and sulking about something as superficial as the backside of a piece of timber! So please forgive me…

    After all, I may just be getting a call from “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” or maybe from the folks at “Guinness World Records” at any moment now!

    Jaybp30, I saw the "Tone Guards". It's like Braces for the mandolin!
    allenhopkins, I like the "Green Spray Paint" route... If I could only keep the paint from staining my belly!

    Reality Check:
    The “Story Time” has been enjoyable for me to write and I hope as enjoyable for you to read. But the situation isn’t as gloom as it may appear :-)
    1) I was disappointed that the mandolin back didn’t look like all the ones seen online
    2) Lesson learned regarding purchasing online subjective items such as musical instruments
    3) I’m sure that the reputable dealer would take back the mandolin to please the customer, but I have no intention of going that route.
    4) I am extremely pleased with the front and sides of the mandolin and as insignificant as the sound is (I’m joking), I’m very pleased with how she sounds.
    5) The mandolin is a “keeper” regardless of “warts and all”. Let’s just say that “she is one of a kind”, “one in a million” or maybe, “like no other”.
    6) So everyone on this side of the creek is a happy camper!

    As a side note: I've enjoyed reading all the posts for some time and now glad to have joined the forum as a member!

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Yeah, that's not exactly book-matched quilted maple you have there! Although you sound like you are coming to terms with it, and are growing to love her, quirks and all. A good life lesson.
    1988 Reno mandolin, Trinity College mandola, Kentucky KM 272 oval hole mandolin, a few bowed string instruments and some stray woodwinds

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    I think Allen is on to something. I remember having seen that spot on one side on a pallet in the container port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan in the late 90s. So that's what became of it.

    I see it as a sign of down-to-earth no-nonsense no-frills professionality focusing on what matters.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyBye View Post
    I mean who wants to read about a full-grown newbie adult mandolin player pouting and sulking about something as superficial as the backside of a piece of timber! So please forgive me…
    OK, now I don't believe you when you say you've been reading this forum for some time. I'm sure we've spent more time on less.

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    Registered User Tim N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Is the term "flame" or "figuring" - I can't remember - for the horizontal pattern in the wood? It's certainly not horizontal grain.
    Anyway, hope you come fully to terms with your mandolin's uniqueness. She needs to be loved!
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

  19. #14
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    FlyBye- you are mistaken in your assessment that you have grain running two different ways. In the photo it is clear the grain runs up and down on both sides. I think you have grain confused with figure (sometimes called “flame”), which is actually a common mistake. What you have is a mismatched back set, one side practically devoid of figure, the other having some. Figured wood takes stain differently than plain wood, so that accounts for that.

    Most reputable dealers put a disclaimer on thread that says something like “pictures are file photos and not of the instrument you will receive”. I wish they would post photos of the actual instrument, but I suppose that is not practical.

    This is where a phone call to the dealer would be invaluable. There is nothing like personal contact. Make your wishes known. If there are several of the same model in stock you could ask the person to hand select the one the the most flame, or the best bookmatching. I’m sure they would be accommodating.

    If you choose to keep this one, it may make you feel better to know there are many examples of, believe it or not, Gibsons out there displaying similar backs. I even saw one once with bird’s eye on one side, flame on the other. At least they were the same species! Well, at least the same Genus.
    Don

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  20. #15

    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyBye View Post
    ...The “Story Time” has been enjoyable for me to write and I hope as enjoyable for you to read. But the situation isn’t as gloom as it may appear :-)
    1) I was disappointed that the mandolin back didn’t look like all the ones seen online
    2) Lesson learned regarding purchasing online subjective items such as musical instruments
    3) I’m sure that the reputable dealer would take back the mandolin to please the customer, but I have no intention of going that route.
    4) I am extremely pleased with the front and sides of the mandolin and as insignificant as the sound is (I’m joking), I’m very pleased with how she sounds.
    5) The mandolin is a “keeper” regardless of “warts and all”. Let’s just say that “she is one of a kind”, “one in a million” or maybe, “like no other”.
    6) So everyone on this side of the creek is a happy camper!
    Apparently somebody hasn't read or digested what I've already said regarding the mandolin. I'm content to keep what I was sent regardless of the disappointment. Regardless of dealership's intentions (past, present or future), I have no desire in dealing with this particular dealership anymore... period. That's why I haven't and will not identify the dealership. The "story time" was meant to both personally vent a bit, warn potential online orders of anything that is as subjective as sounds and appearance, plus it was just enjoyable for me to write. I don't personally believe that this or any forum is the place to settle disputes with venders, regardless of the transaction(s).

    But again, the issue is settled with me. Nothing but happy campers on this side of the creek! I have no intentions of doing anything else except try to play this rascal and wish everyone happy playing also!

  21. #16

    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    And furthermore... Have a Diet Mt. Dew on me!

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    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fiction and Fact from FlyBye's Almanac: MD-515

    This forum has clearly stated guidelines. This discussion has moved beyond where it should be. While your words say one thing, your communication to the retailer--as members they contacted us in regard to your statements made here and forwarded the original communication--do not reflect the same and tell a story missing critical details. I'll leave it at that. There is another side not being told, and you're the only one telling the story.

    - Grievances, personal and corporate: The Cafe discussion forum is intended to be a nurturing community. While it is fair game discussing vendor corporate policies, public malevolent harassment of individuals, including posting names, email address, or any other personal contact information will not be tolerated. For example, a concern about a manufacturer's warranty policy or a reseller's return policy is permissible. Using the forum to malign or leverage personal advantage in a conflict is strictly forbidden. Though intent or motivation are not always provable, the moderators reserve full right in deeming whether or not comments made are consistent with policy, and may take action to edit, delete, or when necessary, revoke posting privileges.

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