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Thread: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

  1. #1

    Default Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    Purely aesthetics? Or does the sound vary between the oval vs f holes?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    I know that there are differences on paper between identical mandos separated only by F-holes versus a single oval. But I feel that those differences are subtle at most.

    Don't think you can go wrong with either. Enjoying my new 515!

  3. #3
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    KC MO

    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    When I got into mandolins I was shocked at how much difference there was between f-hole and oval-hole versions. There’s a lot of discussion that you can easily find on the Internet on this topic, but you really need to hear the two styles for yourself to see significant the difference is to you and if you have a preference over either.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD505, MD315
    Martin HD-28, D-18GE
    CA Guitars "Bluegrass Performer" (carbon fiber)

  4. #4
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
    Oxfordshire, England

    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    I played them side by side a year or so ago. Even to my ears it was enough to convince me that I preferred the oval hole to f hole. But it’s a personal thing.

    I was also able to do an f body vs. oval comparison and couldn’t hear a difference.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Chicagoland, IL, Southside

    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    Attack especially is different. And the tonal consistency between lower and upper registers. Night and day to my ears.

    I have to say I like the F hole better by a goodly margin, although I would prefer it the other way. Simply more-even response and tonal quality. Much easier to work on because of that.
    Stephen Perry - Primarily violin family - Acoustic blueprinting
    South Side Chicagoland

  6. #6
    R-5, MT & A1 ('12. '13) lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    So Cal
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    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    I find the "presence" of the oval a very nice accompanying instrument, while the F style or A5 arch top provides a punch or crisp pop that I like for instrumental playing such as fiddle tunes or blue grass.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    I think you don't ever really hear what an f hole really sounds like while you are playing it. If you ever have the chance get someone to play your mandolin at a gig or a jam.

    It is really down to what you want to accomplish with a particular instrument. Have both.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  8. #8
    Dave Sheets
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Buffalo NY Area

    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    If you can't hear the difference between the f and oval, listen to someone else play them, the sound while playing the instrument is different from what is heard across the room.
    Flatiron A
    Way too many other instruments

  9. #9

    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    I own a 605 and a 604, similar but no scroll. Lot more low end on the oval. Both took getting used to, to where I could draw out the tone from them properly, I am still a newish player. As a mostly classical player I prefer the bassier and more sustained sound of the oval. But I'll take an f hole to a BG jam every time, and preferably something louder than the eastman. For home and plugged in, the eastmans have everything I need for now.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Eastman 514 vs Eastman 515

    Big dofference in tone. They both sound like mandolins, but that is about the only thing in common. For the record, I prefer the tone of Oval hole mandolins in a solo setting. Within a group, F-holes tend to work best.
    Robert Fear

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

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