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Thread: Weber vs. Eastman

  1. #1
    Registered User jetsedgwick's Avatar
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    Default Weber vs. Eastman

    Anyone have or play both and have an opinion as to how they differ (I'm not able to demo)?

    I'm just wondering what you get in the Weber for the price premium.

    (I'm speaking in general not about specific instruments or models within the brands)
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  2. #2
    Runnin' Free Theo W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I've owned an Eastman 815 and I currently own a Weber Buffalo (Yellowstone-like). Every Weber I've ever played has a similar tone which I tend to love with a lot of lows and a good balance. The Eastman, which I had to sell sadly, had a quieter sweet tone with an emphasis on the highs.

    You really can't go wrong with either brand. The Eastman's fit and finish is just as good as Weber. I'd lean on the side that Weber is a bit of a step-up though.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I currently own a Weber Gallatin and have only played a few other webers, but I've also played a tone of Eastmans over the last few years. My general thoughts are that the Webers consistantly sounded better than the Eastmans, although sound is very subjective... they just seemed louder and more complex, not as tinny. I also feel that the Webers are generally built better than the Eastmans, which is why you get a plain jane Gallatin A for a similar price to the Eastman 815V. You have to know if you want a certain look vs sound. Also, the necks are quite different... the Weber has more of a slight v shape.

    I think that the cheaper Eastmans are generally a good value, but the more expensive ones I've played just have more bling and didn't necessarily sound any better.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Also, in that price range you really start to open up a few decent options.

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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    [QUOTE=You really can't go wrong with either brand. The Eastman's fit and finish is just as good as Weber. I'd lean on the side that Weber is a bit of a step-up though.[/QUOTE]

    I have to strongly disagree with this statement. In no way is Eastman's fit and finish anywhere near that of the Weber. You would be better off with a Weber. Every Eastman I have played was on the tinny side and had little volume.

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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    The necks are very different. The Webers I played had a more substantial C shaved neck while the Eastmans I have played have a more pronounced V shape. I would say the Webers had a nicer fit and finish than the Eastmans. That makes sense considering Weber has a smaller output and maybe just one or two people who do their finishes and really are expert at it.

    Tonewise, the Weber may have a deeper tone. I should expect at the price difference you pay for the two, the Weber should sound better to your ears. I'll say you have to judge that for yourself. If you don't hear a difference, go with the Eastman and save some money. That's what I would do. If you can hear a difference, the playability works for your hands, go with the Weber and be happy with it.

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  11. #7
    Registered User jetsedgwick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Great, thought through responses. Thanks guys.
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  12. #8

    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    A Hyalite has been on my wish list for a while. That's about the only Weber I could afford, and it's a stretch. Lowest I've seen used is about $1K. (I want one with the upgraded Weber tailpiece, not the standard style.)

  13. #9
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I really think a better comparison is Weber vs Collings. The chinese made Eastman line does not come up to either of them.
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  14. #10

    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I owned an Eastman 315 for a short while. Sold it and now have a Weber Bitterroot. A world of difference, tone wise and build wise. The more expensive models still sound like the cheaper models to my ear. My Weber has an even, complex tone, and feels so much more substantial than the Eastman did. And with the Weber, you get one of the best warranties in the business, backed by great customer service.
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  16. #11

    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Weber, no contest, Eastmans are great instruments but contrary to what Theo W. said the fit and finish of Eastmans is a million miles away from Webers. I've got Eastmans top model the 915V it sounds great but the more you look at it the more finish faults and just plain rough finish you find.

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  18. #12
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Never played a Weber . But I owned and have played MANY Eastmans . And I agree with most comments here . The Eastmans are generally thin sounding overall although highly playable , in my opinion . Also I have noticed a sloppiness in their finish of late . I am wondering if others are finding the same as I seem to be seeing a lot of Used Eastmans for sale in the past couple of years.

  19. #13
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I have not been impressed by Eastman's at all. The best one I heard was actually one of their cheaper A-styles. The two 'higher end' F-styles I've tried were really, seriously underwhelming, both in terms of tone/volume and fit/finish. The Kentucky equivalents left them in the dust on both counts. I'd look at Kentucky very closely in the price range.
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  21. #14
    Registered User Flame Maple's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I have the Eastman MD 315 ,the cheaper /starter model and it sounds ok to me ,when the new Kentucky KM 1OOO B arrives next week I will be able to compare between the 2 but I am 100% certain that Almeria is correct .

  22. #15
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    I have not been impressed by Eastman's at all. The best one I heard was actually one of their cheaper A-styles. The two 'higher end' F-styles I've tried were really, seriously underwhelming, both in terms of tone/volume and fit/finish. The Kentucky equivalents left them in the dust on both counts. I'd look at Kentucky very closely in the price range.
    I agree. With a few exceptions (mainly the low end models) Kentucky mandolins beat out Eastman model to model. If you've got the money, get a Weber. My favorite of all time is my 2010 "Bighorn".
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  24. #16

    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    I have to strongly disagree with this statement. In no way is Eastman's fit and finish anywhere near that of the Weber. You would be better off with a Weber. Every Eastman I have played was on the tinny side and had little volume.
    Fully concur. Really, not a fair comparison though - unless you're talking about two instruments in the same price range. There's a reason why the Weber costs more..

  25. #17

    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I can't comment on an Eastman, but I will say the Weber Gallatin owned by a bandmate that I borrowed for a while has a deeper more rounded tone than any other mandolin I've played. My Loar 520 plays nicely (feel of strings, tunability, weight/balance, action etc), but is certainly nowhere nearly as warm sounding. Volume is about the same.

    Because I'm not the star of the show when I play my mando I don't really stress about it - I'm just background accompaniment for our uber-Celtic songs, and I play through the PA so EQ can help a lot. But I can certainly hear the difference, and I assume so can the audience.

    So when I step up to the next level via MAS, Weber will be at or near the top of the list of brands to investigate.

  26. #18
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

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  27. #19
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Weber. I currently have an Eastman 515 that I've had for about 5 years, and own a Weber Yellowstone that I've had for about a year, and was used from 2012. I use the Eastman, which has a DeArmond pickup on it, for gigs where I'm focused more on volume than the tone of the instrument, and the Yellowstone for anything acoustic, or a quieter situation where I have to plug in (LR Baggs Radius is installed) but still need to sound acoustic. The 515 is a bit brighter, but the Yellowstone's tone is by far more complex and interesting. Very nice mids with a nice low-end and a great bark, but still nice highs. the finish is unbelievably beautiful. I work at a shop that is an Eastman dealer and the 815s don't feel like that much of an improvement from the 515s, at least compared to the step up that I got from the Weber. Weber's lower end models, like the Gallatins and the Bitterroots, are very nice as well, and still feel like a leg up on the Eastmans.
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I have an Eastman DGM1, at the time is was listing for around the same as my Weber. To replace my Weber (it was a special wide nut edition from The Mandolin Store) would be around $4K. I hate to say it (since I love the Dawg!) but the Weber is hands down a better instrument, from neck profile (interestingly enough it is the opposite of Jamie Stanek experience above) the DGM1 is more D and chunky, the Weber is a pronounced v. Radius is about the same, but the neck angle of the Weber is just superb for me: straight! The action on the Weber just doesn't seem possible.

    I had bought and returned a Northfield A unfortunately, I really loved everything about that mandolin, Elderly, Adrian Bagale, all great, except the neck angle was such that the action couldn't be lowered enough to match any of my other mandolins, ranging from $500.00 to $5K dollars, so I had to send it back...hated it, wanted that mandolin so badly, I am sure it was a fluke, maybe one day the new Artist line or the M model may come my way? Sorry to stray off topic, but thought I would share that info as well since Northfield could fit in this price range. But don't take my experience as be all end all regarding Northfield. I have seen too many of them that were incredible, Don Julin's Northfield was a monster and the ones I have been seeing and hearing Mr. Marshall play are completely drool worthy in looks and sound.

    I wouldn't really hesitate purchasing another Eastman, but I really think for the most part this is an Apples vs. Oranges comparison.

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  30. #21
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    For further reading if anyone is so inclined: Weber vs Eastman Mandolin Cafe
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  31. #22
    Runnin' Free Theo W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Huh. I must've had a nice 815.
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  32. #23
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    Quote Originally Posted by Theo W. View Post
    Huh. I must've had a nice 815.
    Okay, I'll kick in with:
    a) While not a huge fan of Eastman, I do appreciate their value for $. But moreover ...
    b) The first truly impressive mandolin that I played early on was an Eastman 915, at Rudy's Music Stop in NYC. A bit over $2K, IIRC, in '08 (NFI).

    At this point (and given my, or anyone's, questionable recollection), I'd still rate that as one of the top 10 that I've played so far, including several at 10X that price.

    So I'm thinking that "inconsistent" quality control isn't necessarily always a bad thing!
    Last edited by EdHanrahan; Sep-25-2015 at 1:37pm.
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  33. #24

    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I have played a number of Eastman mandolins and found them to represent a very good value in the lower end of their price range. The necks are a little narrower than my preference. Folks rave about the 305/315 and 505/515 models in particular. David Mold/Old Sausage sure sounded great on his 515.. I have not played many of the higher end Eastmans. The high end Kentucky mandolins (900/1000, 950/1050) are great for the price. On the other hand, every single Weber instrument that I have ever tried felt in the hands like a truly professional quality instrument and had the extra tone to set it apart from brands more often sought by players seeking a entry level or modest step up mandolin. When I was ready to upgrade, my tonal preferences led me to considering several others in addition to Weber. I chose a Pava A style for the rich dark tone, but my needs for a pro level instrument could have been easily been met with just about any of the current crop of Weber mandolins. Pretty much the same for Collings, Breedlove, and several other pro makes.

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  35. #25
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    Default Re: Weber vs. Eastman

    I owned an Eastman 815 for a couple of years, and it was nice for the money (I paid $800 used). It did have a thin sound, and really not enough volume and bark for bluegrass. The neck had a pronounced V-shape. With a proper setup, it did play well. But the overall tone just didn't hold up to what I wanted. I sold it and bought a clean used Bitteroot-A with maple back and satin finish. This is actually my second Bitteroot, as I had owned an F-style years ago with mahogany back. Both of my Bitteroots played great. I prefer the Weber rounded neck profile, radius fretboard, and larger frets. Webers play really nice. I particularly love the sound of my Bitteroot-A with the maple back. It's got a warmer sound than the Eastman, is louder, and has plenty of bark for bluegrass. Even though I went from an F-style Eastman to an A-style Weber, it was a definite step up in tone and build quality. Those folks at Weber really know how to make a fine mandolin.

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