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Thread: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

  1. #1

    Default Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    Hi all,

    I'm new. I've been reading lots of articles/threads trying to help me get into the mandolin world, and now have scraped together some money to actually get one.

    The Eastman 305 seems like the one, but I've read some mixed reviews on the durability of the matte finish. I have a custom ukulele whose upper bout I really trashed with my fingernails. I then had to put a clear plastic adhesive coating onto it to protect it, which naturally dampened the sound a bit.

    I'd like to not repeat that with a mandolin, particularly if the tone is my main reason for purchase. The Breedlove has a more standard gloss finish, and I imagine would be fine. I play a pretty broad variety of styles, so while I prefer the Eastman tone, I'm not overly put off by the Breedlove's brightness.

    As a ukulele player/guitarist, I'm also not sure whether to care about the Breedlove nut width. Ukulele finger spacings are fine for me.

    I could MAYBE stretch to the Eastman 505. It just seems to have a less open tone.

    Thanks in advance for the wisdom.

    John
    Coxheath, UK

  2. #2
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    I have owned both a 305 and 304 with no finish issues. Good bang for the buck.
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    I would avoid the Breedlove Crossover. They are made with pressed wood, not carved, and the finish is overly thick which dampens the sound even more. If you're concerned about the finish you can get a pick guard added, but frankly you should just let it be, in my opinion. In fact, I'm not sure why you'd put a plastic cover on your ukulele?

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    The 305 will take a fair amount of abuse to the finish, but if you play aggressively, expect some damage. As a general rule, the better the mandolin, the more fragile the finish.
    Robert Fear
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  8. #5

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    "In fact, I'm not sure why you'd put a plastic cover on your ukulele?"

    I was literally digging through the top. It's very thin Port Orford Cedar, and in a few months I was definitely going to have a hole.

    The cover is that plastic contact paper-ish stuff. Not sure what it's called.

  9. #6

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    Sounds like the 305 is a goer. The good thing about Eastmans is the place with the best prices in the UK also does setups on all their mandolins. I never appreciated setting up until I had my old Les Paul set up after about twenty years. Totally reinvented what it was to play the thing.

    Thanks for the advice. Al, I didn't realise that about the Breedloves. Thanks for the tip.

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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    I have a 315 (same finish as 305), play aggressively, and have not had issues in 2+ years, including a very hot/humid camping trip (100+ degrees F with 85+% humidity). Definitely go with the 305 between those two options...
    Chuck

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  13. #8

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    I bought the the 605 with a glossy finish (and a pickup), and the 305 as a backup, the 605 is more durable with the thicker finish, and my main player, but the sound is slightly muted vs the 305 and with less sustain, presumably at least partly because of the thicker finish. Since I perform plugged-in the slight volume drop isn't an issue for me, but for some it might be. I think about putting the same pickup in the 305 because it has a wonderful sound, amazing for what was a pretty cheap instrument at the time I bought it. And when I go to acoustic jams I take the 305.

    I practice a lot, and don't want to burn up a good instrument with bad playing, if I ever get good I may get a better instrument. But I notice the new MD605's aren't available in gloss finish any more. People prefer sound over looks I guess, no surprise there.

    One thing about Eastmans: I am refretting my Eastmans with taller frets, because I keep fretting over the tiny frets. I got a guy here who does a stellar job for $325 USD (In San Jose where everything costs more).
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

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  15. #9

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    I bought the the 605 with a glossy finish (and a pickup), and the 305 as a backup, the 605 is more durable with the thicker finish, and my main player, but the sound is slightly muted vs the 305 and with less sustain, presumably at least partly because of the thicker finish. Since I perform plugged-in the slight volume drop isn't an issue for me, but for some it might be. I think about putting the same pickup in the 305 because it has a wonderful sound, amazing for what was a pretty cheap instrument at the time I bought it. And when I go to acoustic jams I take the 305.

    I practice a lot, and don't want to burn up a good instrument with bad playing, if I ever get good I may get a better instrument. But I notice the new MD605's aren't available in gloss finish any more. People prefer sound over looks I guess, no surprise there.

    One thing about Eastmans: I am refretting my Eastmans with taller frets, because I keep fretting over the tiny frets. I got a guy here who does a stellar job for $325 USD (In San Jose where everything costs more).
    I looked a bit at the 605, but I think the only place I'd need to be louder is playing in church, and I can just use a mic for that. And it's just shy of twice the price, which seemed a bit much.

    I grew up in Pleasant Hill, just up 680 from San Jose. Pricey part of the world!

  16. #10
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    I would avoid the Breedlove Crossover. They are made with pressed wood, not carved, and the finish is overly thick which dampens the sound even more. If you're concerned about the finish you can get a pick guard added, but frankly you should just let it be, in my opinion. In fact, I'm not sure why you'd put a plastic cover on your ukulele?
    The newer generation Crossovers have carved wood tops. I have one of the first generation oval hole model and I think it sounds fine.I have it for sale in the CLASSIFIEDS only because I don't play it much.
    I'd say go for sound and playability over finish quality. A heavy player is probably going to muck up any finish unless they have a pick guard.
    In the final analysis, having the instrument in your hands is the best situation. If you can't find a shop that has the one you're interested in, buy it online only from a dealer with a good return/exchange policy.And a free setup.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
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  17. #11

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    305 should be here tomorrow. I found out just today that the newer version has a cast tailpiece. Added bonus.

    Also ordered some picks. Need a book of tunes to work through. Not sure what to get. Looking for fiddle tunes (Irish and/or bluegrass). I'm in that awkward position of being a beginner, but not a beginner.

    Really looking forward to developing my flatpicking chops. I've always been fairly fingerstyle-based on guitar and ukulele.

  18. #12
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    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Busman View Post
    The newer generation Crossovers have carved wood tops.
    This isn't correct. The current Breedlove models have solid wood top, back, and sides, but they are not carved, they are pressed.

  19. #13

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    It's here. I've not had much chance to play. But the finger spacing is fine. The strangest thing is that my wife is a violinist, and it's odd hearing those four notes, G-D-A-E, coming out of a guitarish instrument.

    I looked up some videos and that G chop chord: 7-5-2-3! I have big hands and long fingers and ouch! Getting my middle finger to sit easily on the third fret, first string, is really tricky.

    And of course, 27 years of guitar and 10 of ukulele have my fingers wanting to jump to all these incorrect shapes.

    I also have tendonitis in both elbows at the moment, which makes the whole thing painful. In spite of the fun.

    I shall persevere. Thought it would be a learning curve. I was right. Looks like LOADS of fun.

  20. #14
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    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    Sweet! Enjoy it!

    Tip on the 4 finger G chop chord, put your pinky in place first instead of last. Or turn it into a 3 finger chord leaving the pinky out.

  21. #15

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    Some of us want to keep the tops of our axes as mar-free and like-new as we can. A visual aesthetics preference.

    Remember, though, a used and abused top has served Willie Nelson remarkably well. Trigger's top, that is.

  22. #16
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    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    Eastman uses a nitro lacquer. Breedlove uses polyurethane. Overly thick polyurethane at that. The Eastman is so much a better instrument it’s difficult to know where to start. In fact it’s really not a choice, it’s a no brainer. Unfortunate what has happened to Breedlove. The American made mandolins could be quite nice. And they still used polyurethane but it matte and it was so super thin it had no effect on tone. Now, with the imports, they have apparently decided that people want shiny dipped in plastic finishes, and that’s more important than tone.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
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    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  23. #17

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    I need to retract my earlier post here. I originally thought the thicker finish was why my 605 was less powerful than my 305. As part of the refret it got a setup and it's sound was completely transformed, so it wasn't the finish. Still don't know exactly what got fixed.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  24. #18

    Default Re: Eastman 305 Finish Vs Breedlove Crossever

    If fiddle tunes is what you want to play, just log onto mandolessons.com. Free and very well done.
    Silverangel A
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