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Thread: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

  1. #51
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    I have mentioned this in other threads, is my Eastman octave as good as a Flyde? No. Although a friend who has one was quite happy playing my Eastman at a jam. I'm not going to pretend it's the best out there. I'm sure there are other octave mandolins that blow mine out of the water.

    After many years of playing music, am happy with what I have. Spent more than a small fortune chasing a sound when in reality the sound is in my hands and not a piece of equipment.

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  3. #52

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Have a recent purchase - Eastman 515/V varnish - and to me - it is as great as some that cost thousands more. I think their quality control is going up. I was at a store and played some Eastmans and frankly, they all sounded good! I am not sure this is true years ago.

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  5. #53
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Here's my take on Eastman.

    1. Narrow nut width.. unplayable
    2. Some of the best I have seen have the "antiqued" finish that looks like a Jr. High School wood working project gone bad.
    3. Some of the best had abbreviated fingerboards.. no sale

    When EASTMAN makes special models they tend to be far superior to the standard line, here I am speaking of replicas of famed instruments such as the Washburn. One model I liked in its design and execution was the mandola, unfortunate about the nut width.

  6. #54
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    Here's my take on Eastman.

    1. Narrow nut width.. unplayable
    2. Some of the best I have seen have the "antiqued" finish that looks like a Jr. High School wood working project gone bad.
    3. Some of the best had abbreviated fingerboards.. no sale

    When EASTMAN makes special models they tend to be far superior to the standard line, here I am speaking of replicas of famed instruments such as the Washburn. One model I liked in its design and execution was the mandola, unfortunate about the nut width.
    I respect your opinion and I realize we don't all have the same needs as players. I am comfortable with a narrower nut width for certain kinds of playing that require more speed. Traditional blue grass mandolins, as you know, have a 1-1/16" nut and flat fingerboard, something that I think is quite fine. I realize everyone has a different approach that works for them. I do like the antiquing, somewhat like a road worn Strat, on some mandolins. The Eastman's actually have pretty high standards of fit and finish on this and more standard high gloss finish models. Agree to disagree?
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  8. #55
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    Here's my take on Eastman.

    1. Narrow nut width.. unplayable
    2. Some of the best I have seen have the "antiqued" finish that looks like a Jr. High School wood working project gone bad.
    3. Some of the best had abbreviated fingerboards.. no sale

    When EASTMAN makes special models they tend to be far superior to the standard line, here I am speaking of replicas of famed instruments such as the Washburn. One model I liked in its design and execution was the mandola, unfortunate about the nut width.
    To each their own. You find the nut width impossible to play, I find it easier to play than a wider nut.
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  10. #56
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
    To each their own. You find the nut width impossible to play, I find it easier to play than a wider nut.
    I couldn't agree more. I just picked up a Eastman MD 505 and it fits like a glove. It's funny how the whole nut width thing works. I prefer a 1 3/4" nut on guitars, But on mandolin the narrower the better. Another thing... I'm a contractor and got hands like a lumberjack, who knows.

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  12. #57
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    These are personal opinions... prompted by "Let's Talk EAstman Line"

    As I posted in the nut width thread...
    I prefer 33 mm (a scrid less than 1 5/16ths Inch)
    1 1/4 ok..
    Less is not ok for ME..

    You have your own preferences .

    Eastman with 1 1/16th is unplayable for me.

    If their narrow nuts are playable for you, and you like jr High woodworking failures for finishes.. by all means, buy them.

    PS I have spent the last 28 years making items which involve "antique" like finishes. Put simply I fake an old look and am still, after almost 3 decades doing this, still trying to achieve that which others seem to do much better than I.
    There are many luthiers who do a credible job in aged finishing; in my opinion, Eastman is not among them.

    All the above are personal opinions and I am in no way suggesting you adopt my position.

    But try something wider for yourself and see if you like it, it is the only way to know.

  13. #58
    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    The problem is, you never lead with "unplayable for me" -- it's always laid out as a fact until you're pressed on it. I can't tell you how many times I've seen you post that.

    It's your opinion, which is fine, but if you're not in the minority, at the very least there's a 50/50 split.

    Eastman mandolins are not Gibson, or Collings, or any other small-shop instrument. But they most definitely are:
    (1) playable -- or else nobody would be buying them
    (1b) accessible -- or else nobody would be buying them
    (2) attractive to many -- or else nobody would be buying them (or commenting on them, as I frequently experience)
    (3) following market demand regarding fingerboards -- have you ever seen anybody ADD the extension? Do you actually play notes on the extension? And if it's a visual thing, do you also demand that A-style mandolins have an extension? Or do you only play F-styles?

    (1b) is probably the most important point. Do you want people to have access to relatively affordable, better-than-average quality mandolins, or do you prefer a different entry point? Be honest. If you think that a $100 Rogue is superior in both absolute and relative value, that's a perfectly valid opinion.

    To the OP: If a person playing mandolin can't afford/doesn't want a boutique instrument, Eastman is, in my opinion, a fine choice. I play a 515, "antique" finish. I'm not a professional. The sound has evolved after 2 years of playing it, and it frequently gets compliments from seasoned listeners. And I'm quite sure that 99% of people who listen to my band wouldn't notice if I started playing an objectively "better" mandolin tomorrow.

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  15. #59
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Drew, That coming from you who performs with a nice Eastman instrument, and receives compliments, means a lot. I agree. A mandolin is something you want everyone who has a desire to play and own, to do so. A well made, good looking and sounding mandolin that is affordable for a working man, as I was, is an important issue of availability. Thank you for putting that so well. My Varnished Eastman does not look like a failed Jr. High woodshop project, but I have known some young people as an educator that had some serious talent in many areas, including wood working. Thanks for articulating this perspective.
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    These are personal opinions... prompted by "Let's Talk EAstman Line"

    As I posted in the nut width thread...
    I prefer 33 mm (a scrid less than 1 5/16ths Inch)
    1 1/4 ok..
    Less is not ok for ME..

    You have your own preferences .

    Eastman with 1 1/16th is unplayable for me.

    If their narrow nuts are playable for you, and you like jr High woodworking failures for finishes.. by all means, buy them.
    If you donít like Eastman, donít buy an Eastman. Fairly simple.

    Like the above poster said, if they were not well made and designed, no one would buy Eastman. Why would I, a musician of 45 years, pay a $1000 for my second mandolin, an Eastman if I did not perceive it as a very playable and well made instrument? Note my signature, I donít play low end stuff. My first, a The Loar 520, had a wider nut and a decent build, but was harder to play for ME. For ME! Get it?
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Koala Bear, I bought a 305 from the Gladesville Guitar Factory and I am very happy with it. The only problem was the tuners which were very tight and inconsistent. I replaced them with a set of Rubner tuners which cost about $65. The new tuners made a huge difference. I don't feel that this was an excessive outlay for a lower priced mandolin.
    I went through the Rob Meldrum set-up book, and the only thing I needed to adjust was the height of the bridge. It now plays beautifully. Mind you I believe the Gladesville people do a set-up prior to shipping.
    I love the tone of the mandolin and could not be happier. Good luck with your choice.

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  20. #62

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    I can't believe we have mandolin snobs here. I know we have old car snobs in the hobby that think there Corvette is the Best car out there because they have receipts to show how much they spent on getting it in A1 condition. meanwhile it has the wrong battery, hose clamps & type of tire. same thing with banjo hangout there are a lot of people there that only play a Gibson & if you have a Morgan Monroe they look down on you & never have a nice word. I was hoping this place was better, but I guess not. it's all about the name on the head stock instead about how it sounds & makes you feel on the inside. one last little thing. I own a Gibson RB-250 banjo that goes for over 3k. but guess what I like my ODE model C better &n I only paid $600.00 for it.

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  22. #63
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Iím a big fan of Eastman... I own a 305 which I scrimped and saved for and was so excited to get, because as Drew said, the alternative low ball instruments were not nearly as good (excluding Kentucky that is). I hear others talk about the tuners on their 300 models, but Iíve NEVER had issue with mine. I have been seeing and hearing some fret wear lately (after 2+ years), though that is all Iíve had issue with.

    Some people have just decided that sub $2000 is sub par, and that is unfortunately sub-cool.
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  24. #64

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    I’m a big fan of Eastman... I own a 305 which I scrimped and saved for and was so excited to get, because as Drew said, the alternative low ball instruments were not nearly as good (excluding Kentucky that is). I hear others talk about the tuners on their 300 models, but I’ve NEVER had issue with mine. I have been seeing and hearing some fret wear lately (after 2+ years), though that is all I’ve had issue with.

    Some people have just decided that sub $2000 is sub par, and that is unfortunately sub-cool.
    Yeah, pretty much. This has been an interesting topic. What really strikes me is how people have such strong opinions regarding Eastman mandolins. Why do you think that is?

    I feel that for a person coming here to the Cafe asking about Eastman mandolins, that there is a lot of experience. She or He can decide based on the comments if they want to pull the trigger on one. And if they do and don't like it, well....there is that classifieds section. It looks like Eastmans sell pretty darn quick.

    The most important thing is THE MUSIC. We love our gear too. Just don't let the details of your equipment take precedence over the music you make.

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  26. #65

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Kennedy View Post
    Koala Bear, I bought a 305 from the Gladesville Guitar Factory and I am very happy with it. The only problem was the tuners which were very tight and inconsistent. I replaced them with a set of Rubner tuners which cost about $65. The new tuners made a huge difference. I don't feel that this was an excessive outlay for a lower priced mandolin.
    I went through the Rob Meldrum set-up book, and the only thing I needed to adjust was the height of the bridge. It now plays beautifully. Mind you I believe the Gladesville people do a set-up prior to shipping.
    I love the tone of the mandolin and could not be happier. Good luck with your choice.

    Hi Dave,

    greetings from the Gondwana Coast (Lake Illawarra to Bateman`s Bay).

    Yes agree with you about the Eastman 305.The Gladesville gang do a good set up while in the store Paul got his hands on the MD 515 to tune it, and he plays music that blows the roof away with that thing, his playing is absolutely wonderful .Then he plays Carolan on the 305 that really entices the listener with the wonderful melodies.Am going back to the Store to see if there is a 505 and will possibly either buy the 305,505, or 515 from the Eastman line.

    Won`t knock Kentucky, have the Kentucky KM 150 on delivery from Zenith music in Western Australia.

    Yeah ` Laurentia in Gondwana`.

    Tani Eastman.

    P.S You mention Rob Meldrum set-up book.....where can one get this one?
    Last edited by KoalaBear; Apr-12-2018 at 10:21pm.

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  28. #66
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Svea View Post
    Yeah, pretty much. This has been an interesting topic. What really strikes me is how people have such strong opinions regarding Eastman mandolins. Why do you think that is?

    Svea
    I wonder how much of it comes from preconceived ideas about country of origin.

    My viola is Chinese-made, and I have been very happy with it. (It was not cheap.) Shortly after getting it, I was tuning and warming up at a rehearsal. The person sitting next to me, known to be a gear-junkie, commented on what a great tone the instrument had, and asked to see it. Played a little, nodded approvingly, then looked at the label. Instantly, the comments changed from positive to patronizingly negative.

    The Pac-rim instruments probably won't appreciate the way old Italian violins or Loar-era Gibson mandolins will. That's not my concern, though, as I buy instruments to play and not as investments. There are plenty of Stradivari violins that are not great, but are valuable because of the name. Plenty of no-name instruments that are fabulous but not highly valued. Eastman mandolins have a specific look, and are made on a particular pattern. You like it, or you don't.

    To my amusement, the same person who was dissing my viola ten years ago remarked last month about how beautiful the figure is in its wood. Short memory!

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  30. #67
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Love my Eastmans! ....I've had my 514 for 11 years now....It's a keeper
    Have had my bowlback for 2 1/2....It's been my daily player since I got it.
    Sound, ease of play, fit & finish are great on both.
    Would I like to have a nice old Gibson, SURE! , but until then I am more than satisfied with these
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  32. #68

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    I don't think country of origin is an issue for me. I bought my daughter a $5000 Chinese viola that had been reworked by a local violin shop. It was better than the other instruments we had on trial that cost up to $10,000. The Chinese builders are capable of building any quality you want to pay for. I think the Kentucky master series is pretty impressive, and Northfield make some of my favorites. When I had the chance to work my way up the import ladder at the Mandolin Store, every Eastman f hole mandolin sounded roughly the same, witch was really pretty good. Kentuckys did too, until you hit the 900 and above. But I left the store thinking I would have had to pay the extra grand and get the Northfield F5s. This would have bought me not so very much improvement.

    Then you get handed an MT or, God forbid, a Gibson F9.To my ears they are significantly better.

    If you are serious, or even curious, find a large dealer like TMS and work your way up the ladder, stop at the price that would be the most you are willing to spend, then go one step higher. You may or may not adjust your budget accordingly. If the Eastman 305 is where your budget stops, play a 505 and see for yourself if you might be willing to stretch for one.

    You will never like an Eastman if you don't like the neck, or a Kentucky if you don't like a flat board.

    It is my personal opinion based on my experience, for me to hear what I want to hear, $1200 for a used A style is the price I'd have to pay, for others it might be $2500, others might need $10,000. I'm not going to critisize someone who needs a $10,000 mandolin.
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  34. #69
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Guess I'm lucky that way. Don't like the sound of Collings mandolins or most Gibson F models. Yes, I like F2 and F4 models. Otherwise I'd probably save my money for a LaPlante F model if I wanted to go that route.

    I have no illusions that my Eastman octave mandolin. It was available. That made a difference to me. Would rather be playing an instrument than just saving money and thinking in a decade or so I'll actually buy something.
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  36. #70

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Those Eastman octaves really serve a purpose for those wanting a new flavor to play with but don't want to sink a ton of money into one.

    I have a parlor guitar and a 12 string made by Pono, Indonesian made instruments which I bought around $800 used. I knew neither would get much play time but didn't want to buy junk.

    The Eastman arch top guitars serve the same purpose.
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  38. #71
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by OneChordTrick View Post
    Sorry if this comes across as glib but choose the one that you like the sound of best!
    A friend, local retail music shop worker, went to the importer warehouse, and went thru a dozen lookalikes , and picked one like that,

    by what it sounded like...
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  39. #72
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    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    I have a narrow Eastman, a wide Collings, and a Washburn with a big ole neck. They all sound great in someone else's hands but I think they have a fine home where they are. Fit and finish is good on all three although I find myself doodling on the Washburn the most. Personal preference folks.

  40. #73

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    I am confused by all this talk about nut width. Many of the Eastman mandos have a 1 3/16 inch wide nut. What the heck is the issue here?

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  42. #74

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Just wanted to say, newer Eastman's have a slightly larger neck. I don't know the specific difference in specs, but it has changed. You can feel it if you compare something now with something several years back.
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  44. #75

    Default Re: Lets Talk Eastman Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    Just wanted to say, newer Eastman's have a slightly larger neck. I don't know the specific difference in specs, but it has changed. You can feel it if you compare something now with something several years back.
    Exact measurements , please.Thank you.

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