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Thread: Eastman MD515 F Style

  1. #1
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    Default Eastman MD515 F Style

    Any thoughts or opinions on an Eastman MD515 F style Mandolin. I am highly thinking of buying this Mandolin. Just wanted to see what people on this forum feel about this Mandolin before I pull the trigger to buy it.

    Thanks in Advance
    GuitarDogs62

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I'm a fan of the Eastman 5 series. I think they are the best mandolins you can buy for under $1000. I actually like the MD505, A style, better. But if you're in need of the F, go for it. If you buy from a shop that will set it up properly for you, you will not be disappointed.
    Stretch your budget by $100 and buy the Eastman MD815 used here:
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/87467
    Best price I've seen on that model, and a big step up!

  4. #3
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    GuitarDogs62,

    The kind of music you play might factor in to your purchase decision. I used to own an Eastman MD515 made in Dec 2010, and it (with my JBovier) was the loudest mandolin I've owned. Tone is subjective and my thoughts are:
    Better than a lot of sub $2K mandos I've played, but when you go to the next level (Collings, Weber, Gibson, multiple small shop builders, etc) the tone is lacking as your ear gets more and more discriminate. If you haven't played much mando, it's a great starter-intermed. axe that works well in multiple genres.

    If bluegrass is your main style, the MD515 works, however I think in that range JBovier is better and if you can deal with no-scroll, there's a ton of used A5 type models out there that will actually get you to that next level for about the same price (A9, Flatiron Performer, etc) There are also some fairly unkown small shop mandos that seem to be at least at that level that are F models and they pop up on the classifieds from time to time./

    Happy Hunting!
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    DataNick, well said. My 515 is super loud and very clear. But my Gibson F5-G offers a much richer sound as well as a pure tone.I have heard people who either love or hate the Eastman. Mine's a 2014, and I can't stop playing it.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I can't help you out with your decision but after asking a lot of questions and reading/viewing reviews, I decided to buy a used 515 for my "starter" instrument. It hasn't arrived yet though.

    Many of the folks here suggested I search out "used". I was reluctant but according to my luthier (to whom I had the instrument sent for a set up) I got a really nice instrument for a really good price. I may have just "lucked out" but I now am much more willing to suggest "go used".

    I got my used 515 (it's only a year and a half old) for what I would have paid for a new 315. You could get a used 815 for what you'd pay for a new 515.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I've played lots of quieter Eastmans. But they all had a very sweet soft sound. They're really nice for classical with nickel/monel strings.
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  8. #7

    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Its my next purchase.

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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Quote Originally Posted by Theo W. View Post
    I've played lots of quieter Eastmans. But they all had a very sweet soft sound. They're really nice for classical with nickel/monel strings.
    My experience with Eastmans also . Comparatively quiet , not much " meat " but a lovely character otherwise and highly playable , I found . With the exception of one killer 505 I came across in a shop . It was like a mutant Eastman in sound quality , tone and it was LOUD . It was a stock instrument and hadn't even been set up . I was tempted , I can tell you ....but I'd settled in nicely with my Kentucky 150 and I love the volume and tone I get from it ...especially recording .

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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Here's another Eastman 815 with a nitro finish. Also $1100.
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/87174

    Were it me, I'd go for the first one I mentioned, with the varnish finish, but some people like the nitro finish better.

  11. #10
    Registered User haggardphunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I like them a lot. I dont plan to get a better one unless I hit the lotto or something.
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Here's a great deal on a B stock MD515 from a great shop:
    https://themandolinstore.com/product/md515-blem/
    Save $250 for a finish blemish. Worth it to me.

  13. #12

    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I've never played an Eastman I liked. Save up a bit more and perhaps get a Weber gallatin A.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    I'm a fan of the Eastman 5 series. I think they are the best mandolins you can buy for under $1000. I actually like the MD505, A style, better. But if you're in need of the F, go for it. If you buy from a shop that will set it up properly for you, you will not be disappointed.
    Stretch your budget by $100 and buy the Eastman MD815 used here:
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/87467

    Best price I've seen on that model, and a big step up!
    I tend to agree, the Eastman MD815 in MC classifieds looks pretty good deal at 1100.
    I has Adirondack top, (deeper tone) aka "RedSpruce" and it's $1739 NEW w case at FolkMusician (MSRP is 2100+)
    http://www.folkmusician.com/Eastman-...tinfo/MD815-V/

    For 1100, it has some minor finish touchups - ad says more pix available.
    That's bang for the buck. for 1100.

    The 515 is 999 new. I think it's a good mando - but the top o the line Eastman for another $101 ? Tempting....

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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    The used Eastman MD815V I mentioned earlier has dropped to $1000.
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/87750
    That is a great price on that mando. If you are still thinking of buying the Eastman MD515 new, I would buy the used MD815V instead. Way better mandolin for the same money. You'll be hard presses to find the MD515 used for less than $750. Whoever buys that 815 is getting a great deal.
    I'd jump on it myself if I had $1000 to spend.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    The used Eastman MD815V I mentioned earlier has dropped to $1000.
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/87750
    That is a great price on that mando. If you are still thinking of buying the Eastman MD515 new, I would buy the used MD815V instead. Way better mandolin for the same money. You'll be hard presses to find the MD515 used for less than $750. Whoever buys that 815 is getting a great deal.
    I'd jump on it myself if I had $1000 to spend.
    Some great advise. I own an Eastman 815V and it is superb. The 815V advertised on the café is a true find. I wish I could have bought mine for $1k.

    Randy
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I've bought an MD 515 about a year ago, and I have never regretted buying it. It was a huge improvement over the Kentucky KM 250 that I've owned before. I've also tried an MD 315, which I didn't like at all. I've played several entry-level mandolins in stores (Kentuckies and other brands I can't remember) and none of them came close to my MD 515 (although no direct comparison). I haven't had a chance to play a JBovier or The Loar yet, so I can't compare...

    Of course, I am aware that there are better mandolins out there than the MD 515. E.g., the shop where I bought mine had a Prucha F style that was two steps up in every aspect (including price), but unfortunately not within my budget.

    Peter

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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I have a 2006 MD515 ser. Number 450. Would put it up against most Gibsons I've heard. Always get comments on its sound at jam sessions

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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDogs62 View Post
    Any thoughts or opinions on an Eastman MD515 F style Mandolin. I am highly thinking of buying this Mandolin. Just wanted to see what people on this forum feel about this Mandolin before I pull the trigger to buy it.

    Thanks in Advance
    GuitarDogs62
    I just purchased my first mando. It is the Eastman MD515 . Very amazing mandolin!! Beautiful tone. Well built. I bought it thru the Mandolin Store and got a great deal. It was sold to me with a "blem" but honestly, I have be unable to locate this blem anywhere on the body. This does not effect the sound of the mando what-so-ever. But with or without this cosmetic defect, I would have purchased the MD515 anyway. Contact Brian there at the Mandolin Store. He is very helpful and very knowledgeable. I had a very great experience at the Mandolin Store and cannot say enough positive things about the good folks there!!!

  22. #19
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    IMO, the 3 and 5 series eastman's are excellent starter to intermediate mandos, with impressive build quality for that price point. I used to not be a huge fan, but since they've shifted to their more recent fret board (all are now radiused), I haven't played a bad one. That said, they do sometimes hit a home run. I played a 3 series over hole a couple of weeks ago that was spectacular! If it's still in the store the next time I'm there, I'm a goner. Fortunately, the store is in another state...

    I will agree, though, that, except for those home runs, you can get more depth/complexity of tone with independent builder A styles, like my Silverangel or the Girouard that hit the classifieds for about 10 seconds yesterday. If ya gotta have a scroll (and there's nothing wrong with that), the 515 (or a used 815 or used KM1000 or Bovier) is an excellent place to start. Good luck!!
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I'll also second that buying from a store like TMS, Elderly, Folkmusician, Janet Davis, etc, increases your chances of getting a great mando. They know their stuff, and are willing to play a few to compare for you, typically...
    Chuck

  24. #21
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I have an Eastman 504, purchased from the Mandolin Store a few years ago. I haven't been able to compare with other Eastman 500s, but I think it sounds great. It arrived with a very nice setup and has continued to sound better and better.

    An Eastman is a bright and chiming kind of mandolin tone. I don't play bluegrass, but in my experience, they're very playable, plenty loud, and sit in a folk band mix very nicely.

  25. #22

    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I play an Eastman MD-515. It's pretty nice--certainly good enough for me with my not-professional skills. It's not the mandolin I've always dreamed of--it's a bit more bright and brash than I would prefer. When I bought it, I went to the mando shop with the best selection near me and played everything in the shop. It was the second best overall (the best was a Weber well out of my price range), so I went with it.

    You can hear it here:


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    But I think it might be a little more aggressive sounding than the model usually is.
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  27. #23
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Hi everyone:

    I did make the decision and bought the Eastman MD515. After playing it this past week and weekend I am glad I did. The mandolin sounds great and looks great. I feel I made a very good purchase and completely satisfied.

  28. #24

    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    Congrats!!

    I bought a 515 three weeks ago as well. It's a nice mandolin! The radius'ed keyboard seems to be a little easier to play. For the price you cannot beat it! I got the 515 Blem which is just a couple of pits on the paint which you have to feel. I took it to Romp in Owensboro Kentucky and a few way better mandolin players played a few numbers and all had great comments. It's a nice addition to my Kentucky KM-150 which I still play.. Totally different sound.. Great purchase! Thanks to Dennis and Brian at The Mandolin Store for advice and setup!!

  29. #25
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    Default Re: Eastman MD515 F Style

    I have always wondered how a MD905 compares to a KM900/905.
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