Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 43

Thread: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

  1. #1

    Default Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    I played some Eastman's today. First time I've ever seen or touched one. The 500 and above models played and sounded very nice.

    Here's some photos from the F body. All were priced over $1000. I think these photos came mostly from the 800 series F style... $1300+.

    At first glance they look very nice. Upon closer inspection I noticed this...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	4-FullSizeRender(2).jpg 
Views:	437 
Size:	64.6 KB 
ID:	161517 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	3-FullSizeRender(1).jpg 
Views:	405 
Size:	41.5 KB 
ID:	161518Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2-FullSizeRender.jpg 
Views:	408 
Size:	107.4 KB 
ID:	161519Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1-FullSizeRender(3).jpg 
Views:	367 
Size:	36.5 KB 
ID:	161520

    I wish I'd seen this during my research. So I'm sharing just to provide information.

    Does it affect sound? Nope. Does it hint at other places corners were cut (out of sight, out of mind), possibly. At this price point, is it acceptable? I don't know. Still deciding myself. Is it worth hundreds or thousands more for attention to detail? Are domestic mandos better? I honestly don't know... nobody locally carries them.

    I've seen countless discussions about these instruments, countless opinions, so I thought I've just offer some evidence. I didn't include flattering photos because you can easily find those on any of the retailers' websites.

  2. The following members say thank you to Brian Harris for this post:


  3. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Palmer, Texas
    Posts
    3,335

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    In the $1,300 range, I'd expect a better 'fit & finish' than that - but might overlook it if I fell in love with the sounds. To me cosmetics are secondary to the sound and the feel of the neck.

    Others may differ in opinion about expecting a much better fit & finish for $1,300, and bear in mind I am no expert, just a newbie, but for me it's a matter of value. For not much more money I could buy a used Collings MT and be way happier with it.
    Last edited by Mark Gunter; Oct-14-2017 at 8:52pm.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
    ------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
    The Woodshed Study Group | Collings Mandolins | MandoCymru
    - Advice For Mandolin Beginners
    - YouTube Stuff

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,092

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    I too might let it slide if I loved the sound, but also I have better fit and finish on my old $200 the Loar!

  5. The following members say thank you to LadysSolo for this post:


  6. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Boulder, CO & Chesterfield, MO
    Posts
    2,564

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    I play A style mandolins so mine don't have that problem

  7. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to colorado_al For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,752

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    My 315 is finished better than those...
    Chuck

  9. The following members say thank you to CES for this post:


  10. #6
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Palmer, Texas
    Posts
    3,335

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    My 315 is finished better than those...
    Good point, Chuck, I agree my own 315 (sold last month) had a much better finish (see pics)
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
    ------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
    The Woodshed Study Group | Collings Mandolins | MandoCymru
    - Advice For Mandolin Beginners
    - YouTube Stuff

  11. #7
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,441
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Pretty 'rustic' looking. Most of the Eastman's I've seen have been better than that. You are not going to get clinically clean perfection on a (relatively) lower cost F-style mandolin, but If I had ordered that sight-unseen I would not be too happy upon opening the box....
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  12. #8
    Registered User jdchapman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Roanoke
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    I've owned a 515 and played a dozen. All were well finished. I'd say that's an exception.

  13. #9

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Ok. I was surprised too. Guitars in this price range don't look like this.

    One photo was an A style. Of the 5 in stock they all looked this rough, especially at the end of the fingerboard.

  14. #10
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,441
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    There is not a direct price-quality equivalence between guitars and carved top mandolins. The exact ratio varies, but most would agree that you need to spend anything from two times to four times the amount to get roughly the same 'class' of instrument. In other words, a $300 mandolin might be equivalent to a $75 guitar.... there are some exceptions, but that's the general position. So, a $1K mandolin might approximate a $300 acoustic guitar. Many reasons for this, scale of production, materials, fixtures and fittings, but mainly there is a heck of a lot more work in a mandolin, and especially so in an F-style.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  15. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    4,881

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Some of the imported mandolins are originally sold as "second" and this appears to in that class, and usually they are discounted quite a bit...I also go for sound above looks but this one would not float my boat even if it sounded good, IF I was to see it close up and in my hands I might feel differently...Some things can be buffed out to look OK...

    Willie

  16. #12
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    15,847

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    One of my Friends who worked in a music store went to the Eastman Importing Distributors Ware house, (because he could)

    and played a few dozen Identical looking F-5 style mandolins , then he picked the one that sounded best..

    there is going to be a variation due to wood being a natural material, and being made by imperfect humans..




    ,,/''
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  17. #13
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Capitol of MI
    Posts
    2,704

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    I would expect variation in wood grain and figure, tone and volume. I wouldn't expect that kind of variation in fit and finish. I've owned three Eastmans--two md615s and a md805--and all had better fit and finish than that. It was a few years ago, though.
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

  18. #14
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    1,544
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    I'm not particularly fond of the tone of my 415-GD, but it certainly looks a whole lot better than that one. Obviously, the quality control guy was either sick or on vacation, the day that those mandolins got out of the factory . . . .

  19. #15
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,260
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Gotta ask, were these distressed models?
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  20. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    California
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    Some of the imported mandolins are originally sold as "second" and this appears to in that class, and usually they are discounted quite a bit...I also go for sound above looks but this one would not float my boat even if it sounded good, IF I was to see it close up and in my hands I might feel differently...Some things can be buffed out to look OK...

    Willie
    Yep, I wanted a blue mandolin so I got a 615 that was listed as a “demo” for a lot less money than a new one. Dealer disclosed finish issues around the scroll and there definitely are. It doesn’t look as bad as the pictures in the original post though!

  21. #17
    Registered User Kalasinar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Kent, England
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Seems to me, as someone else suggested, the Eastman factory QC missed these. Sound and playability always comes first but if I received this sight unseen I would be very unhappy. Especially a higher-end model in their line. To be honest though, if I had £1000s to spend on a mandolin, I'd get a Shippey or something, not an Eastman.

    I've seen owner photos of Eastman F-styles that don't look this bad. And I'm glad to say my 504's fit and finish is really good. It's a 2016 model. I wonder when the mandolins pictured were made?

  22. #18
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Orcas Island, Washington
    Posts
    6,172

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Quote Originally Posted by LadysSolo View Post
    I too might let it slide if I loved the sound, but also I have better fit and finish on my old $200 the Loar!
    Well, some of those $200 Loars can be pretty funky too...


  23. The following members say thank you to Spruce for this post:


  24. #19
    Registered User Chris Bowsman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    I own an MD315 and AC120 dread. Neither have any sort of issues like in those pics.

    If you look hard enough, you'll find issues like this periodically with lots of companies. Gibson has let some legendary goofs out in their electric guitars. One local shop owner told me he quit carrying them after a Les Paul or SG showed up with saw dust strewn about inside the case. He showed me a photo of a semi-hollow (maybe a 335) with an obvious pencil mark on the top, under the clear coat.

    When these issues become consistent rather than the exception, that's when it's time to worry.
    "There ain't too many folks, who can play too many notes... on the mandolin"

  25. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Marcellus, NY
    Posts
    230

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    My Eastman 615 looks a little like your picture. My 815 Mandocello has a better finish.

  26. #21

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Interesting. So maybe this was just a questionable lot and my local retailer put them out anyway.

    I play an instrument... I don't stare at it. But I guess we all have limits and I think cosmetic issues should be minor above $1000. That's pretty arbitrary on my part and as I learn more I might change my mind.

    What this has done is caused me to start looking at my next/final mando coming from one of the big USA makers. I guess if they're going to play it at my funeral in 30 years (I hope!) it should look nice.

  27. #22
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States
    Posts
    13,851
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Those look a little rough. My 814 circa 2004 wasn't perfectly finished (and I kind of liked that.)

    I'll just leave this discussion on another all handmade group of mandolins here.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  28. #23
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    1,544
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    If I didn't know better, I might think that it was a counterfeit . . . but, I can't imagine that there is a huge market for fake Eastman's . . .

  29. The following members say thank you to MikeZito for this post:


  30. #24
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,016

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Own only one "standard" F-model Eastman, an MDA-615 mandola, and it's over 10 years old; I pulled it out to inspect, and the finish work around the scroll's immaculate. The other Eastmans I own, a DGM-1 Giacomel clone, a DGM-2 Bacon re-creation, and a MDC-805 mandocello, don't have standard scrolls, and don't have apparent finish issues either.

    I've seen a fair number of "B stock" Eastmans sold, especially since John Bernunzio locally has a special "in" with Eastman, and has had the Eastman rep's traveling show stop here two or three times. The finish flaws that classified the mandolins as "B stock" weren't as apparent as the ones documented here.

    Finish work around the scroll and the fretboard extension is quite painstaking, and I could understand how under production pressures some haphazard work could slip through. But Eastman partially builds its reputation on above-average production values, and this kind of slop undercuts that claim. Eastman does differ from some other manufacturers, in selling its "seconds" through dealers at discounted prices, so you'll likely see some less-than-perfect Eastman instruments if you look at enough of them.

    This is not a good sign, if the expanded Eastman operation, reportedly increasingly emphasizing guitars rather than mandolins, is letting evident production flaws slip through their quality control, to be sold as "A stock" unblemished instruments. I may drop down to John's shop and check out all the MD-315's he has in stock...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  31. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  32. #25

    Default Re: Eastman Quality: You Be the Judge [pics]

    Quote Originally Posted by SixPants View Post
    Interesting. So maybe this was just a questionable lot and my local retailer put them out anyway.

    I play an instrument... I don't stare at it. But I guess we all have limits and I think cosmetic issues should be minor above $1000. That's pretty arbitrary on my part and as I learn more I might change my mind.

    What this has done is caused me to start looking at my next/final mando coming from one of the big USA makers. I guess if they're going to play it at my funeral in 30 years (I hope!) it should look nice.
    The pictures look like crap compared to the ones I’ve owned/seen/played.

    If I were a dealer I would have sent it back to Eastman and not tried to sell it. That’s not typical for Eastman even though they’re not normally the same fit/finish as higher end mandos, they’re supposed to be a lot better than that.

  33. The following members say thank you to Sothoth for this post:


Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •