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Thread: Eastman MD-305

  1. #26
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickcity1474 View Post
    I am still a bit torn, but will stop procrastinating within a day or so and place an order. I just want to play. I may end up going with something closer to the $800-$1k range. I am not really a beginner, just been playing a beginner instrument, and have picked up quite a bit playing that cheap beater. Bottom line, I want something that will serve me for years to come. I'm in it for the long haul.
    If you’re willing to move up to the $800-$1K range, the 900 series level Kentucky’s have a lot of fans. Or, if you’re comfortable with a player’s grade used instrument, you can occasionally find something like this one:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/141726#141726
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
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  2. #27

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    That 1k range is kind of problematic for be. The above Kentucky 900 is the only mandolin I've played in that price range I could recommend. And that becomes tantalizing close to a Silverangel, especially a used one.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  3. #28
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickcity1474 View Post
    I am still a bit torn, but will stop procrastinating within a day or so and place an order. I just want to play. I may end up going with something closer to the $800-$1k range. I am not really a beginner, just been playing a beginner instrument, and have picked up quite a bit playing that cheap beater. Bottom line, I want something that will serve me for years to come. I'm in it for the long haul. I am not one who suffers from MAS. LOL...I suffered from GAS when I was younger, but eventually learned what was most important. My skill level will not be solely dependent on a particular instrument, though I do believe a certain level of quality helps to inspire.

    I will be sure to post my final decision once it is made, and my thoughts once the new fiddle arrives!
    Your previous experience playing guitar will make your ear much more attuned to the tone improvements over your beater mando. That A9 linked above is a really sweet deal, if the instrument is in as good of shape as it looks. Willingness to go up to $1K will open up a whole world of used mandolins that even a couple hundred $ less won't allow.

    As has been mentioned here a lot, buy the best mandolin you can afford, ideally after playing a bunch and getting a sense of what each brand will bring in terms of tone and feel. I think many here would say they got their first good mandolin with the intent of not upgrading. Our bank accounts prove otherwise...

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  5. #29
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    If I wanted to play bluegrass and had $1k to spend, I would jump all over that Gibson A9 (NFI). I have played a couple of A9s, they were all great mandolins, not just great for the price. One of the best pure bluegrass mandolins I have ever played was an early F9. That thing roared.
    Mandolins: Dudenbostel A1 #74 (2014)
    Guitar: Bourgeois Custom Vintage Aged Tone Dreadnought

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  7. #30

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    PM sent

  8. #31
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    That 1k range is kind of problematic for be. The above Kentucky 900 is the only mandolin I've played in that price range I could recommend.
    This one just hit the classifieds: https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/141976#141976
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  9. #32

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by prairieschooner View Post
    PM sent
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    Ok, I placed an order for...drumroll...The MD-305. I spoke with the guys at Banjo Ben's and they are guys who I trust very much. Anyway, they told me they have a particularly wonderful Md-105 in stock right now that they recommended. The price difference between the Eastman and Kentucky was negligible, since the Kentucky does not come with a case and the Eastman does include a case. They also do a complete pro set up, which is something I completely trust these guys to do. It really came down to the recommendation, and the radiused fretboard. The looks are good, and so is the case, so those are added bonuses.

    If I had seen the Gibson sooner I may have jumped on it. Repaired, used, etc doesn't scare me at all. Plus I am a lifelong fan of Gibson products. I don't care what anyone says about them. I have always had excellent experiences with their products. I love my J-15 acoustic guitar.

    I will be sure to give my thoughts about the md-305 after it arrives. I was told it should be here by late next week. They said of all the 305's they had ever come in their store, the one I bought is the best sounding example, in their opinion. I hope so!

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  11. #33
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Well congrats! I bought my Kentucky from Banjo Ben's, and they set it up great. The delivery time was very short.
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

  12. #34

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Well congrats! I bought my Kentucky from Banjo Ben's, and they set it up great. The delivery time was very short.
    Thanks! That is promising to hear. It is no rush, even though I am very eager to play it. As long as the set up is well done, I can wait a few days. I am confident all will be well dealing with BB. They are great guys.

  13. #35

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Well, the md-305 arrived today. It is set up wonderfully (no surprise there), and was packed very securely for shipping. Kudos to Banjo Ben.

    First impressions...Fit and finish are superb. The action is just about perfect, really, with perfect intonation. Not a hint of buzzing. Neck is super straight. String spacing could not be better. The nut is cut well. Again, no surprise. It plays like butter. The neck shape is a bit odd, though, with....a kind of rounded V shape...? It is kind of hard to describe and the jury is still out on whether or not I really like it...Sound? It is good, not great. I admit, I am a bit underwhelmed by the sound. Don't get me wrong, for the money this is a good mandolin. Probably about as good as it gets at the very reasonable price. It really plays excellent. Everything about it wreaks of good quality, but I was wishful thinking, I suppose, when I thought it would produce the sound that will be good enough for a lifetime instrument...Like I said, it is a great value and the overall quality is a bit shocking for the price. I do like it, but I must admit that I should have listened to some of you, and myself, and stepped up to the $1k range.

    I will certainly keep the md-305. It is just fine for many things and I will find plenty of use for it, but eventually I will be on the market yet again for an upgrade. I won't purchase another unless I can play it first, and hear it in person.

    Thanks for reading this far.

  14. #36

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    And I am having difficulty describing the sound, exactly. Not as loud as I had hoped, and not enough of a "woody" sound that I have heard many times, and is stuck in my head. I am not the most experienced player here, but am experienced enough to know what my ears want out of the instrument. This one is missing a little something for me.

    I hope I don't sound too disappointed, because I am not. Only slightly disappointed...It still sounds good. Just not really what I wanted.

    I may try some heavier gauge strings and see how they do.

  15. #37
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Try lots of different strings. My MD 315 sounded much better with some Straight Up strings, while nickel strings make my Northfield F5S really sing. Try different picks, too. Those will have a surprising effect on the tone. Congrats on the new mando!

  16. #38

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    When you are ready, get ahold of Ken Ratcliff. He really understands having to play an instrument and has faith that if you try a Silverangel you will buy it. He's been known to just send you one to try. Remarkable mandolins considering how affordable they are. I've played mine side by side with the known brands. Equal but different.

    I started on a 505. I still play Eastmans when I go into stores and more often than not like the 300s. They are very good at their price point.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  17. #39
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    I like my 305, but then I use my snakehead for my main instrument because it gets me the sound I was looking for. Now i use the 305 for when i'm plugged in because it's a perfectly fine acoustic instrument if the power goes out or the gig suddenly goes acoustic. It took me a while to know what i wanted and more time to find the right mandolin, but it did eventually work out.

    I didn't see someone mention this advice when i looked back at the beginning of the string -- especially for a guitar player looking to move into mandolin. A mandolin will cost about double what a comparable guitar will. It's not a hard and fast rule, but it does help out with comparisons. A $1,000 mandolin is comparable to a $500 guitar. Just in case you want to resume your search with different criteria.
    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
    1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

  18. #40

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    value per dollar you can't beat a 305. plus in the hands of a good player which I am not they can make a ply wood mandolin sound good. someone here I believe said just put heavier strings on the 305 & that gives it a different voice. so you be the judge.

  19. #41
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    I really like D'Addario EXP74CM strings on my MD315. That set has the heavier E and A strings.
    Doug Brock
    Silverangel Econo A #446, Eastman MD315, MD505
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  20. #42

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    value per dollar you can't beat a 305. plus in the hands of a good player which I am not they can make a ply wood mandolin sound good. someone here I believe said just put heavier strings on the 305 & that gives it a different voice. so you be the judge.
    The 305 are made from solid wood.

  21. #43

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    I know that, what I said is a good player can make a $50.00 mandolin sound great. I think there great, I have one. Eastman or Kentucky you can't go wrong.

  22. #44

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    I know that, what I said is a good player can make a $50.00 mandolin sound great. I think there great, I have one. Eastman or Kentucky you can't go wrong.
    Sorry, I misunderstood.

  23. #45
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    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    I really like D'Addario EXP74CM strings on my MD315. That set has the heavier E and A strings.
    Based on your recommendation of the EXP74CMs I just strung my MD305 up with the G and D strings from a pack of EJ74s and the A and E strings from a pack of EJ75s last night so that I'd have the same string gauges but no coating. The heavier A and E stings make a world of difference - I no longer have to strike the unwound strings harder than the wound strings to achieve balanced volume between the two.

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  25. #46

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Thanks for all the recommendations! I changed out the strings to medium D'Addario medium phosphor bronze EJ74's and so far, I really like them. Really nice bass and mids response, producing more of the dry, woody sound that I am looking for...I also picked up a pack of GHS bronze mediums last week and will give them a try next go around. I always liked GHS acoustic guitar strings, so maybe I will like their mando strings as well.

    I have to say, I am really warming up to this Eastman. It is an absolute joy to play, and it is sounding better everyday. So, I will have to retract some of my earlier, first impressions. I am thinking I made a really good choice, especially for the price. I like simple player's instruments, and this one is exactly that, and the playability and sounds I am getting out of it are very pleasing. For taking my playing to the next level, I think it is just about perfect, and I could not be happier!

  26. #47

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    There is a rather huge bonus that maybe won't come to light for a while, but it will make a dandy beater when you upgrade.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  27. #48

    Default Re: Eastman MD-305

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    There is a rather huge bonus that maybe won't come to light for a while, but it will make a dandy beater when you upgrade.
    It's a dandy beater now! Lol

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