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Thread: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

  1. #1

    Default Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    Newbie here. Anyone with an opinion whether the 515 is worth the $300 difference? "A great new model from Eastman! Similar to the 515 but with a matte finish, stamped tailpiece, and less expensive tuners. It sounds and plays amazing! All-solid construction. Sitka Spruce top, flamed Maple back and sides, Mahogany neck, ebony radiused fingerboard, top bound, comes with a gig bag."

  2. #2
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    Not to me.

    Then again, I didnt think the 315 was worth the extra $ over the 305.

    All that matters is whether its worth it to you.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  3. #3
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    The only thing is, if you're going to get a 315 (or 305 even) and upgrade the tuners, tailpiece, and bridge, then go ahead and get the 515 (though even then many ppl upgrade the bridge to a CA, et al).
    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
    -C.S. Lewis, Learning in Wartime

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    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    I think the 305/315 sound great explicitly because they have an extremely thin finish- it almost looks like more of a 'stain' to me, but I am by no means an expert on that stuff. A lot of Asian-made mandolins suffer from a thick finish.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    I have and love a 515. But I've heard that the sound quality of Eastmans in particular don't necessarily correlate with the model number. That is, some 315s sound better than 515s, and even better than some 815s, etc. If possible, play a couple and choose the one that sounds best to you.

  6. #6
    Registered User TEvans's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    Would definitely agree with Jordan here. I play a 315, and have a 505. Big time difference in the amount of finish. The 315 seems to open up a bit more, and a lot quicker, at that.

    I would definitely attribute that to the thin finish, which I often prefer on my acoustic instruments. The 505 seems a lot thinner. I feel I really lucked out with my 315. It sounds and plays like a dream.

  7. #7
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    I've stated this a few times over the years but it's worth repeating since we're talking about Eastman finishes. I have a 505 and took most of the finish off my mandolin. I used green Scotchbrite pads to get off the clearcoat, and then I buffed it up to a satin finish with 0000 steel wool. I also roughed up the edges a bit around the sound holes (down to bare wood) and in other places all over the instrument. It gave it a somewhat distressed look. There were slight "lines" from the steel wool for a while but they've long since vanished. I also took the the back of the neck down to the bare wood. This isn't for everyone, but I love how it turned out.

    Here are some before and after pics. These pics are old, from back when I first did it about 5 or so years ago. The back of the neck is now darkened, and the cream binding has darkened up a bit from age. It looks really cool.
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    "The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly
    that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable.
    Favourable conditions never come."
    -C.S. Lewis, Learning in Wartime

  8. #8
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    MD315: rosewood finger board, rosewood bridge, stamped tailpiece, cheap tuners

    MD515: ebony finger board, ebony bridge, cast tailpiece, Schaller tuners

    Whatever's important to ya...btw: the MD515 I just let of in trade for my Gibson F5L, was a "beast". Nice tone, bark, and LOUD!
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


    "Mandolin brands are a guide, not gospel! I don't drink koolaid and that Emperor is naked!"
    "If you wanna get soul Baby, you gots to get the scroll..."
    "I would rather play music anyday for the beggar, the thief, and the fool!"
    "Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence" Vince Lombardi
    Playing Style: RockMonRoll Desperado Bluegrass Desperado YT Channel

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    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    In my experiences playing and owning Eastmans , without question the warmest, open and throaty tone is in the unfinished 305 and 315 models. To answer your question I'd say go for the 315 if you need an f style . Save the 300 dollars and upgrade the instrument as necessary . You will have a far better sounding and appointed instrument should you make custom upgrades than you would buying a 515 " off the rack " .

  10. #10

    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    Don't know about the 515 but I've had I've had a 315 for about a year now. It plays good, looks good, and sounds good, my only complaint is the tuners, they're not the greatest but they do work and mostly stay in tune.....

    The tailpiece on mine was super hard to get off and I recently took some sandpaper to the neck to speed it up but other than that it's a fine instrument.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  11. #11

    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    Cushingman ... how did this turn out for you? I'm thinking I will buy the Eastman 315 but found a 515 that has some scratches that I was considering.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    I realize this is an old thread, but I had previously read through the comments when I was going to buy my first mandolin and then saw a new inquiry come in.

    I went to the local shop fully intending to buy a MD315. I tried one or two 315 models, a 305, a 515, and an 815 varnish just for kicks. I liked the MD515 the best. In my then novice mandolin ears and fingers, the 300 series ones, as well as the 815, sounded closer to ukulele territory.

    My MD515 was a no-brainer. I'm glad I went to the shop and picked it out first hand because I know for me the extra $ was well worth it.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 315 vs Eastman MD 515

    As far as sound , a higher number Eastman doesn't translate into a better sounding instrument ! The worst Eastman I owned, as far as sound goes, was a 915 Eastman !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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