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Thread: Help deciding on a new mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Hi there. I've been reading this site for a while since I bought a Kentucky oval mandolin.
    I love playing it and I'm now looking for an F hole mandolin to play too. I'm looking to spend about $500 max.
    There was someone at this week's jam that said they would sell me their Eastman 305 for $400. Is that a good price?
    Just now I saw on this site an Eastman 505 for $500.
    Is it worth it to spend the extra $100?
    Thanks!
    Stevo

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    I think $500 is a great price for that 505. I had one and it was a very good mandolin. I think 305's are very good, but you can get them for ~$400 pretty regularly. I would jump on that 505.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Ok. Thanks! What are the main differences between the 2? I see in the Eastman website that one has a gloss finish and one has matte finish. Is that the only difference?
    Thanks!
    Stevo

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    505 has a nice cast tailpiece (I really like the Eastman tailpiece) vs the generic cheapo on the 305.
    slightly better tuners I believe on the 505. I think the rest is pretty much the same.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    One more cosmetic difference is the 505 has a bound fingerboard.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Ok thanks!
    I'll contact the seller of the 505.
    I appreciate your help!
    Stevo

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Good luck. I love the look of the finish on that 505.

    My 505 was the mandolin that made the phrase 'bell-like tones' make sense to me. A real instrument.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    I enjoyed my 505 until I started to go play mandolins at Gryphon. Just don't do that and you will be fine.
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  10. #9

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Thanks!
    There are 2 other mandolins that caught my eye.
    A Kentucky 505 for $495 and a Kentucky 250 for $250. How do they compare to the Eastman 505?
    I own a Kentucky 272 and like it quite a lot. I paid a lot more than $250 for it new, but I gather it is of similar quality to the Kentucky 250.
    Thanks again!
    Stevo

  11. #10

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Don't know about the Kentucky 505, but $250 is a good price for a KM-250. I love my KM-150, and those go for more than $250 used right now. Not sure what makes the KM-250 and upgrade (looks like a slightly more stylish fingerboard, little more inlay on the headstock).

  12. #11

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Here is the answer to the 150 vs 250 question: https://www.folkmusician.com/blogs/m...m-250-mandolin

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    I have a Kentucky KM -805 I paid $600 for (actually it was a trade, value of the traded instrument was $600,) if you can find one I would say it was worth the $600 (so if you could find one for $500, grab it!)

  14. #13

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Thanks for the help!
    Stevo

  15. #14
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    +1 for the km505. I owned one several years ago. It hit way above its weight class.
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

  16. #15
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    You cant go wrong with this used Eastman 315 in the classifieds......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/138400#138400

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  17. #16
    Dan Brooks lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    You cant go wrong with this used Eastman 315 in the classifieds......

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/138400#138400

    NFI
    +1 on Charley's recommendation!

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    FYI The Eastman 300 series mandolins come with a cast tailpiece now.

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  20. #18

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    I'd like to add that Eastmans in general seem to be getting better all the time. I try to play a 315 when I go into stores. Impressed more and more each time.
    Silverangel A
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  21. #19

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by RobBob View Post
    FYI The Eastman 300 series mandolins come with a cast tailpiece now.
    I saw that on a spec sheet but have not seen a photo of of a 300 with the cast tailpiece yet. That would be something.

  22. #20
    Registered User flatpicknut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    My MD315 bought in Dec has a cast tailpiece. I just checked and the picture of the MD315 on the Eastman site still doesn't show the cast tailpiece, lol. The Mandolin Store still shows the old pics and has the old description. Elderly now has pics with the cast tailpiece (but still calls out the stamped tailpiece in the details).

    Here's a picture I found with the cast tailpiece.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a screen shot from Elderly, with the pic of the tailpiece but the incorrect description in the details.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	MD315 tailpiece - Elderly site.JPG 
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    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD505, MD315
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  23. #21

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by vetus scotia View Post
    Don't know about the Kentucky 505, but $250 is a good price for a KM-250. I love my KM-150, and those go for more than $250 used right now. Not sure what makes the KM-250 and upgrade (looks like a slightly more stylish fingerboard, little more inlay on the headstock).
    Radius fretboard, fancier, the body is smaller than 150. I had one, always sounded flat and quiet, I sold it. My 150 is a beast in the sound department.
    One thing I've learned about mandolins is that they all respond differently to different picks so if you buy it and you don't like the tone, try a different pick.

    Kentucky KM-150
    Eastman MD-404
    Morgan Monroe MFM-300
    Rover RM-75

  24. #22
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    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    I got an Eastman 304 at The Mandolin Store earlier in April and it has the cast tailpiece. I love the mandolin, but everyone thinks the sound on my 1905 Washburn bowl back is better 😂

  25. #23
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Screenclassics View Post
    I got an Eastman 304 at The Mandolin Store earlier in April and it has the cast tailpiece. I love the mandolin, but everyone thinks the sound on my 1905 Washburn bowl back is better 😂
    Some of the bowl-backs, even more recent or low-end ones can sound pretty good indeed. But to my mind they are somewhat of a home or safe-environment instrument, not suitable for every occasion.

  26. #24

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Thanks for the advice! I was too slow to pull the trigger on any of those instruments and they sold to other people.
    I did, however, respond to a local ad and bought a used JBovier A5 that was in my budget. It is a great mando! Very different sounding than my Kentucky oval. I like the neck profile better too.
    Best, Stevo

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  28. #25

    Default Re: Help deciding on a new mandolin

    Kentucky ~~ Eastman is kinda a Chevy ~~ Ford thing. I like my Eastman 305 but then it is my campfire mandolin~~I LOVE my Collings MT2 but then there are other opinions!
    Best

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