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Thread: Eastman 515 V - wow

  1. #1

    Default Eastman 515 V - wow

    I just got a cumberland bridge put on my Eastman 515 Varnish.
    I have some Collling mandos, and I tested a very expensive Gibson.
    I have also tried many in shops.
    I am scratching my head - this Eastman has the best tone!
    Was I lucky with the wood choices? The varnish? The Cumberland bridge?

    The only thing I do not like is that it is intentionally distressed. Such a nice finish - why put in imperfections?

    If anyone has experience a 515 V with an incredible sound, please advise!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    Quote Originally Posted by ABmando View Post
    The only thing I do not like is that it is intentionally distressed. Such a nice finish - why put in imperfections?
    It's their violin aging process. A lot of people would argue that violins don't look right until they've got a bit of a patina, and a lot of people would argue the same for mandolins, guitars, etc. So that's why they do it.

    A bridge can't add something which is not already there to be brought out of the instrument. Any factory instrument made of high quality wood and built reasonably has a good chance of sounding amazing. What you pay the big bucks for is consistency and that last 5% of fit and finish (which takes 200% longer to achieve).

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Marty Jacobson For This Useful Post:


  4. #3

    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    So Marty - if I am understanding you properly - I really got lucky - because the consistency is not there for this price. THANKS! AB

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    It's their violin aging process. A lot of people would argue that violins don't look right until they've got a bit of a patina, and a lot of people would argue the same for mandolins, guitars, etc. So that's why they do it.

    A bridge can't add something which is not already there to be brought out of the instrument. Any factory instrument made of high quality wood and built reasonably has a good chance of sounding amazing. What you pay the big bucks for is consistency and that last 5% of fit and finish (which takes 200% longer to achieve).

  5. #4
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    It's their violin aging process. A lot of people would argue that violins don't look right until they've got a bit of a patina, and a lot of people would argue the same for mandolins, guitars, etc. So that's why they do it.

    A bridge can't add something which is not already there to be brought out of the instrument. Any factory instrument made of high quality wood and built reasonably has a good chance of sounding amazing. What you pay the big bucks for is consistency and that last 5% of fit and finish (which takes 200% longer to achieve).
    I appreciate your post Marty as I know you build some great mandolins. But if you were to have my Eastman MD604 in hand I believe you'd be pretty impressed with the fit and finish... not to mention the tone and playability...

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    This is why I keep trying Eastmans when I go into shops. So far no luck. Of all of them, the lowly 315 gets my vote.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  8. #6
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    I picked up a 515 from TMS in the last year or so. Incredible sound. I swear that out of the box it sounded least as good as my buddy's 915 did brand new a decade ago.
    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Andrew Jerman Irwin-style 5 string electric "Stealie", Eastman 515, Shiro F-5, Crafter M85E, Dillion 335 style, Grandmom's solid-mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
    Boards: Acoustic Electric
    Amps: Fishman Loudbox 100; Rivera Clubster Royale Recording Head; Laney Cub 10 & Cab, Peavey Studio Pro

  9. #7
    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    Hopefully not highjacking the thread.
    I also had a similar experience. I bought a used Pango/Afanti on eBay. SUPER cheap price. Thinking I could turn it around to someone else for the same price if it wasn’t so good.
    I had Tyler White put a full contact bridge on it, dress the frets, and do a basic tune-up.
    WOW!! Awesome tone and playability.

    Happy for you that you were able to find an instrument that brings you such wonderful joy!
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08 - Sold to the next Conservator of this great mandolin!
    The search has ceased! (At least for now)
    Collings A-Style

  10. #8
    Registered User lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    ABmando, I am glad you have "your" mandolin! The Cumberland Acoustic bridge is a great addition as is the expert set up. I recently had a professional luthier fit one on my F5 and it really adds resonance and the intonation is spot on. Enjoy your wonderful mandolin!

  11. #9

    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    If I had an Eastman that sounded better than my Collings, I would not change a thing on it. I have a special 1965 Epiphone with the much maligned adjustable bridge. Replacing it with a regular bridge is supposed to be a huge improvement. Two luthiers have told me not to mess with a guitar that sounds glorious. Just be happy with your Eastman.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  12. #10

    Default Re: Eastman 515 V - wow

    I would not say that the Eastman sounds better than the Collings. It sounds different - more of a Gibson sound - and changing the bridge -well, I could always change it back.
    But the Cumberland took to it nicely. Best, AB

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    If I had an Eastman that sounded better than my Collings, I would not change a thing on it. I have a special 1965 Epiphone with the much maligned adjustable bridge. Replacing it with a regular bridge is supposed to be a huge improvement. Two luthiers have told me not to mess with a guitar that sounds glorious. Just be happy with your Eastman.

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