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Thread: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

  1. #1

    Default ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Since I have to go by Seattle Goodwill tomorrow and pick up a couple of purchases I was looking for anything they had for sale which might be of interest and which I could pick up at the same time. This violin attracted my attention because I think it is misidentified as a Samuel Eastman, which are the starter models, but I think it is in fact an Andreas Eastman VL305. My main piece of evidence is that it has flamed sides and back and I don't think there is any model under the VL305 that has that. Other details seem to match but might not mean anything. It has two bows and one of them is a Samuel Eastman model. I think they got the name from the bow because if they got it from inside the f hole they should have also got the model number. There is no model number in the listing.

    So I'll report back tomorrow to reveal if my $132 investment pays off.

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  3. #2
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    That's quite a steal if indeed it's a VL305. Do let us know!
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  4. #3

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Good luck, Greg! I hope it is the good one!

  5. #4

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    I think I found what this is. Eastman made an "Upgraded VL-100", solid spruce and flame maple back and sides. I've found three used "Upgraded VL-100" violins which sold on ebay for $456 each. I'd settle for that.
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  6. #5
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    I'm going with the VL305 because of the boxwood fittings. The lower-end Eastmans usually have ebony.

    The price you named is good for ANY Eastman, unless someone sat in it. This one looks pretty beat up, and some moron seems to have put a sticker on the belly, but the cosmetic damage can be repaired as long as the violin is structurally sound.

    Good find!

  7. #6

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Yeah, the tuning pegs and chin rest look like boxwood, which I've seen on VL305s.

    The other clue is a photo of an inside label which states that it was made for Eastman by Molin in Beijing. I can find only two references to Molin made Eastmans and the only one with a photo has a one piece back. The other is a model 300.

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    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  8. #7
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    I've got a few good purchases from them, and some electronics I returned but got refunds no questions asked as long as ou meet their timeline. Combine that w/ a good meal in I District and you have a good day, just make sure you avoid ballpark traffic
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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    The one- or two-piece back seems to be a function of which chunk of wood they pull out of the pile.

  10. #9

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    As for lunch, Fremont or U District is where I tend to go. Kingston - Edmonds will be the ferry I take and then I work my way south and come home over the Tacoma Narrows bridge in late afternoon. I'll be hitting the 99 cent CDs and Dusty Strings in Fremont, Trading Musician and the University of Washington Surplus Store before heading south to the Seattle Goodwill.

    I've purchased a number of things from Seattle Goodwill and I've come to trust their conservative assessment and condition description. Despite some wear they rate this as very good condition, a phrase they very seldom use.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Samuel-East...p2047675.l2557
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
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  11. #10

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Last guess before I take off for Seattle. Boxwood parts seems to prove it is not a Samuel Eastman. The lowest possible model is the Andrea Eastman V?200 (I see VA, VC, VL and don't know the difference) with the boxwood tailpiece replaced with the optional Wittner composite with four microtuners.

    So my guess is the 200 with my fingers crossed that I really luck out and it is a higher model.
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
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  12. #11
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    VA is viola, VC cello, that leaves VL for violin!

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    We're all on pins and needles, Greg.
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  14. #13

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Well, I have it and am still not sure what model it is. I'm going to call Eastman tomorrow. It has a less expensive 3990 Howard Core case but it is really nice. I wish I could find one like this for my mandolin. The small bow is an S Eastman octagonal Brazilwood, $60 new. The larger one is an Eric Steiner Brazilwood, saw it new for $225.

    I couldn't figure out why Goodwill said it was from 2005, I couldn't find a date and there isn't an Eastman model 200S that I can find.

    So, I'm still stumped and hope to have more info tomorrow.
    Last edited by Greg P. Stone; Jul-17-2019 at 12:15am.
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  15. #14

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    OK, I think I have it. I'm waiting for an email from Eastman to confirm. This is an Eastman ML-300. The fittings are rosewood, not boxwood. The clincher is that Guitar Center and others sold the ML-300 kit for $1380 and it was in a similar Core case. They may have gone back to ebony later and sold this institutionally as the Strobel ML-300.

    One custom violin maker stated that the Eastman Otto Benjamin ML-300 is a VL-305 repackaged for mass market sales.
    Last edited by Greg P. Stone; Jul-17-2019 at 9:19am.
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  16. #15

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Now for the bad news. This is not a full sized violin as the listing stated. The scale is 12" and the overall length is 22 1/2".
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  17. #16
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Some kid is gonna love it!
    That seems to be a 7/8 size, not common
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  18. #17

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    After looking up the proper way to do it, I measured the body at 13" so that and the scale would make it a 3/4. Not sure if the overall length is just unusually long or if I didn't know the right way to measure. I'll get the stickers off and put it on Craigslist.
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  19. #18
    Registered User John Van Zandt's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Interesting find, and school will be in session, soon.
    Kentucky KM-380

  20. #19
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Well, how does it play?

    I bought a cello they stated to be 4/4, it was 3/4, they seem to have such a volume of stuff that details get missed.
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, looking for next one
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  21. #20

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    I've never played violin before, so I don't want any violin which has a scale different from my mandolins. Also, never having played one I don't think I could assess the tone in any meaningful way.

    Eastman did get back to me requesting a photo. Still waiting for their verdict but I'm convinced it is the ML-300 version of the VL-305.
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  22. #21
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Greg, the standard "scale length" for a full size violin is 13". Although we do see some minor variation in this length, it is seldom more than a few millimeters.

    It is highly unlikely that you will find a violin with a "scale length" of 13 7/8", a spec that was established by Gibson 100 years ago, and is the spec most commonly used by makers of carved top mandolins.

    There is a legend that Orville Gibson added 7/8" to the distance from nut to bridge "to account for the width of the frets."

    In the violin world, the distance from nut to bridge is usually referred to as the "stop" rather than the "scale".

    If you are interested in the violin, you will have to get used to a stop of approximately 13". I have never seen or heard of a violin with a stop of ~13 7/8". Such an instrument would be a rare anomaly.

  23. #22
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    ". I have never seen or heard of a violin with a stop of ~13 7/8". Such an instrument would be a rare anomaly.
    I would call such an instrument..... a viola (ba dumm tsh)
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  24. #23

    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    My mandolins are around 14" and 14" is listed as the American standard for a 4/4 violin in several online guides. If the information I read is wrong I wouldn't know as my experience is now up to a single 3/4 violin.

    If I can't get a 14" scale violin I guess I might as well try the 12" scale that I have.

    EDIT - i must have seen 14" as the body length for a 4/4
    1989/2019 Ike Bacon/Barry Kratzer F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  25. #24
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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    If you think about it, the position of your fingers on a violin with a 13" stop will be very close to what you are used to on a mandolin with 13 7/8" scale. That is because we place our fingers behind the frets on a mandolin, while we place our fingers directly over where the frets would be on a violin [if a violin had frets].

    My 15 1/2" viola indeed does have a stop of just under 14", but most people would find that to play it in tune, they would have to stretch out a good deal more than the position they are used to on a mandolin.

    A full size violin is an easy thing to find. If you know what to look for and poke around the right music stores, you can often find quite a good sounding instrument for between $600 and $1000.
    If you don't know how to play one well, take along a friend that does.

    By the way, it is often misleading to judge a violin by its looks. I've seen many violins with fancy wood and appointments that didn't sound any good, and I've seen some very plain violins that are great instruments.

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    Default Re: ebay Eastman violin, place your bets

    If you want a mandolin and a violin to match up in scale length, that’s easy. Just get a bowlback mandolin, or a Martin can’t top flat back. Both will have 13” scales just like a full size violin.

    Greg, I recommend against playing the 3/4 size. Those are meant for children and an average size adult trying to play it invites all sorts of painful left hand issues. I am a retired teacher of string instruments and school orchestra director. My beginners were in the 6th grades and,depending on their stage of growth, most either played 1/2 or 3/4. Occasionally a few would be grown enough for full size, but not often. I would sell it and use the money to buy a proper full size.
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