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Thread: First Mando - Eastman 304

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Default First Mando - Eastman 304

    Hey Folks!

    Thanks a great deal for your advice! I went with an Eastman 304 that I purchased (also at the behest of many) from The Mandolin Store. Price was certainly right, and my first impression is that I got a great value for my money.

    I really like the satin finish, it seems durable and resists picking up fingerprints from my sweaty, sweaty hands. I was initially surprised by the string tension (coming from the guitar world) and thought I'd have to work on my finger strength a lot to even pull myself up to a 20 minute practice session, but I found that with such a nicely set action (thanks Mandolin Store!) I could use a pretty light touch right behind the frets and get a clear tone without any buzz all the way up and down the fingerboard.

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    Single-piece solid tail. The screws are in excellent condition with not even a hint of stripping. Looks to be pretty easy to restring, and there's felt on the bottom portion to protect the strings. The strings it came with sound just fine and look to be in great condition, so I'm not going to swap out for a little while. When the time comes, I have some Elixirs and some D'Addario EFW74's to get me started on the path to figuring out what suits me best.

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    It's not exactly high flames and tiger stripes at this price point, but feels very solid, plays easily, and though a little on the quiet side, out of the box it sustains longer than my Yamaha FG-JR. Looks like a have a new hiking companion.

    The saddle base seems well-fit and makes good contact. I can't slide a piece of paper under it anywhere. The intonation is dead-on and required no adjustment on my part.

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    The next step will probably include some kind of arm rest (mostly to keep me from sweating all over my mandolin). After that, if I can get some chords and scales under my belt, I may reward myself by upgrading the shoe lace to a strap of some kind. I can't place one under the fretboard above the sound hole, so I'll be looking for some above-the-nut solutions that won't get in the way. Maybe I'll try braiding some paracord.

    Overall, I'm impressed with the quality of the Eastman 304, and very impressed with The Mandolin Store for the sale and setup (I'm not affiliated in any way, just a happy customer). Tone-wise....well....ask me in a few weeks once it gets broken in a bit and I'm sure of the strings that are on it

    Thanks again folks, for all of your help!

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  3. #2
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    St. Paul, MN

    Default Re: First Mando - Eastman 304

    Congrats on your new mandolin. Am a big fan of oval hole mandolins. Those Eastman 304 models are really nice. Enjoy your journey with the new mandolin.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian

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  5. #3

    Default Re: First Mando - Eastman 304

    That's a nice looking instrument. I just ordered a new Eastman, the 305, and hope it will serve me well. They seem to be one of the best values on the market. I guess we'll see.


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  7. #4
    Registered User Joey Anchors's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: First Mando - Eastman 304

    Congrats on a great first mando and an oval-hole!
    2006 Draleon Royale - “Claudia”
    2019 Crystal Forest A/N - “Abby”
    Pyramid - flatwounds

    Blues Mando Social Group - member

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  9. #5

    Default Re: First Mando - Eastman 304

    wise choice grasshopper, I have a 305 & I am very happy with it. also welcome to the wonderful world of the mandolin & our small family.

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  11. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Chicagoland north

    Default Re: First Mando - Eastman 304

    Nice choice - I think you will really enjoy it. The Eastman 300 series are a really nice instrument for the money. A local dealer had a used 315 for a few weeks, which I played every time I was there - I liked it so much that I recommended it to a buddy at work. Really great sound, play-ability and price.

    When you thread new strings through that tailpiece, slide a piece of paper underneath it first to keep them from scratching the top of the mando as they go through. I would have to have a strap button put in the neck heel, which my local luthier would do for $10-15. (I can watch him drill a hole in there, but I haven't been able to convince myself to do it yet.) I used a bootlace for a while, but I do like a real strap much better. For A style mando, the Levy's MJ19 0.5" Henderson Series Uke straps are really nice - they're good looking, not to big or heavy, and have no metal parts to gouge your instrument.

  12. #7

    Default Re: First Mando - Eastman 304

    One of the neat things about a 304 is that while you treat it with care and respect, you can do little custom touches like a strap button install on the heel yourself without killing the value. You use a very fine bit (70-90% of the diameter of the screw shaft), and most importantly, use a small hand drill for better control. But the strap wrapped around peghead is fine too, it’s a matter of preference.

    Have fun with that 304 and play hard! Eastmans like that.

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