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Thread: Are Eastmans a keeper?

  1. #26
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    If you cannot hear the difference between a higher end mandolin and the one you own consider that a blessing. There's a whole lot to be said about being satisfied with an instrument you own.
    If you can't be with the one you love ....

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    I'm at least the 3rd caretaker of a 2004 Eastman 615. It has served me well as I've honed my modest skills. After a recent refret and installation of a CA bridge, it exhibits significantly improved sound and playability. It remains a favored 2nd instrument.

    Recent acquisition of a previously-played Silverangel has reduced my playing time on the Eastman because I've been adapting to the radiused fingerboard on the SA. Plus its sound is amazing.

    I don't anticipate ditching the Eastman anytime soon.
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  4. #28
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    I don't think there is anything low end about Eastman oval hole mandolins. No one else is producing the volume of quality new, short necked, non-elevated fingerboard oval hole mandolins they are at anywhere near their prices. I was not really a big fan of the tone of their earlier f hole mandolins but haven't played a new one in years, so I'm no expert there. I think there is something tonally distinct about short neck oval hole mandolins with non-elevated fingerboards that is missing in a hybrid like a Collings or a Weber. I own an early (1997?) Breedlove oval hole hybrid, too, an Olympic. I really like the sweetness of its tone, the bigger frets, etc., but it hasn't been getting much playing time since my Eastman 504 arrived a little over a year ago. I don't really have much need for 2 oval hole mandolins since I almost always play my f hole mandolins in group settings, but I haven't been able to bring myself to sell the Breedlove yet.
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  6. #29

    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    I bought the 199.00 MK solid wood mando blowout what, 2-3 years ago now? I worked on it a lot. Fret level, new nut, fit the saddle properly, did a speed neck. It is what it is, and when camping I play it all day. Glad to have it. When I got it, it gave KM150s and MD 315s a run for their money, nowadays, not so much as the imports keep getting better. I'd give or lend it to a beginner that wanted to learn. But I'd miss it for sure.
    Silverangel A
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  8. #30
    Registered User GrooverMcTube's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Mine (MD315) ain't going nowhere.

    If there is a shortcoming with this instrument it's the fool who's playing it. I firmly disagree with the 'you need to spend at least $2000 to have a decent mandolin crowd'. Mine has a wonderful voice. It's my job to learn how to evoke it.

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  10. #31
    Registered User lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Just to add, the Howard Morris A4's are quite nice, sound Gibson-ish and are built with beautiful tonewoods. Those two-- Eastman and Morris-- are making the best ovals in that price range.

  11. #32

    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Hmmm - would love to try the Morris oval- are any of the carved topped?
    Anyway, I love my Eastman - especially with my new cumberland bridge.
    And I was in a guitar start several months ago - and I heard this really fantastic sounding guitar - it was an Eastman.
    Eastman is getting better and better. Someone is giving them good advice.

  12. #33
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    What makes a keeper is owner dependent. If you enjoy it and get satisfaction from how it and you perform together, then it's a keeper.

    Jamie

    See my signature....
    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

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  14. #34
    Registered User Joey Anchors's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    What makes a keeper is owner dependent. If you enjoy it and get satisfaction from how it and you perform together, then it's a keeper.

    Jamie

    See my signature....

    Jamie,
    Very well put and great Smith quote!
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  16. #35

    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    [QUOTE=JEStanek;1718172]What makes a keeper is owner dependent. If you enjoy it and get satisfaction from how it and you perform together, then it's a keeper.

    Jamie

    See my signature....[/QUOT

    Yep. Eastman has forged a nice place in the market, vastly better than the cranked out low end imports, not as good as the small shop makers. I, with very modest skill level, exceeded any Eastman I have played, with a very high quality kit. I could have bought a nice used MD 515 instead. This is in no way touting my abilities, nor disparaging Eastmans. What I have not heard in any Eastman or Kentucky is a truly satisfying G string. When you pick up a Northfield F 5S you get this....and you pay a huge price for it. Believe me, I am impressed every time I pick up an MD 315. I want to find one that matches a Collings. It would be a dream not to have to pay $4000 more for the Collings tone. And no, a Collings is not five times better, and no, I would not buy one if I could live with an Eastman. I would drive a great distance to play one of those "special" ones.

    Alas, I'll probably never buy an Ellis. I can't hear a justification to pay another $4k over a Collings. I most certainly could hear the difference if $20,000 worth of disposable income landed in my lap. LOL. Those early bluesmen played cheap guitars because they had to, not because they thought that was the holy grail of tone.

    Anyone with an Eastman is way ahead of the game than what we had 30 years ago.
    Silverangel A
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  18. #36
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    I was thinking about this thread and wanted to share an experience I recently had regarding the old Takamine referenced in my previous comment.

    I've been wanting to learn some Rockabilly on guitar. Been listening to it a lot over the last few years and figured it was time to dip a toe in the pool. Being a gear-geek, I naturally started looking at big hollow-body guitars and pricey reverb/echo pedals. My Strat has some very heavy strings on it, and the bends in the Rockabilly stuff I started learning were tough. So I put some very light strings on my old Takamine and was off and running.

    Then it dawned on me: I don't need a big Gretsch and a 100-year-old amp to learn Rockabilly, I just need to PLAY Rockabilly on the guitar I already own. An obvious thing but so often missed with all the choices we have for gear. And as it turns out, the old Tak has a great dry sound for that style of music. It kind of sounds like an old dry Gibson in some ways.

    This applies to our mandolins so many times. If you have something hard to play or that won't hold tune, then by all means, get something better. But otherwise just make music.
    "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." -Longfellow

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  20. #37
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    See my tagline...we apparently think alike. Good luck on the new adventure.
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

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  22. #38
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    We have members with the means to cycle through some really high end mandolins and they quite publicly share their quests. I'm not a performer, I don't even earn fun money playing mandolin. I have a small shop flat top oval that is my main mandolin and an Eastman 2 point with f holes. I love them both. I could say they are irreplaceable but that's not true. Jack Spira is still building and I could likely find another Eastman that makes me just as happy. The main thing is both are set up comfortably and I get pleasure and satisfaction when I play them. At my personal skill and practice level, any deficiency is mine not the instruments (unless I need to change manky old strings).

    Don't let your mind or perceived notions steal your fun is my point. Find your joy and hold on to it. Make some more.

    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 +

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  24. #39
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by ABmando View Post
    Hmmm - would love to try the Morris oval- are any of the carved topped?
    Anyway, I love my Eastman - especially with my new cumberland bridge.
    And I was in a guitar start several months ago - and I heard this really fantastic sounding guitar - it was an Eastman.
    Eastman is getting better and better. Someone is giving them good advice.
    Yes Howard makes carved top instruments. They are great.

  25. #40

    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I bought the 199.00 MK solid wood mando blowout what, 2-3 years ago now?
    Having briefly participated in that thread as a possible buyer for an MKLSFTB, I couldn't believe your timeframe was accurate. And then I checked. Mike posted the original FYI in September 2016. Ye gods, does time fly by!

    To be relevant to the topic at hand, I've played a few Eastmans and always found them easily the best mandos in their price range. I can see the right one certainly being a lifetime instrument.

    C. ~/:/~
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  26. #41

    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    Good to know! Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willem View Post
    Yes Howard makes carved top instruments. They are great.

  27. #42
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    I have an Eastman and a Collings. They are both keepers for different reasons. Almost all of what I hear is the player not the mandolin. With eyes closed, I can tell this is Sam Bush playing, I doubt if anyone can tell he is playing an Eastman.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_DugNWf_Dc

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  29. #43
    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Eastmans a keeper?

    I suspect Sam Bush could play a barbed wire fence if he could tune it!

    I started with an Eastman. They are good value for the money.
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