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Thread: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

  1. #26

    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    one thing is for sure. you will not be disappointed if you buy from the mandolin store.

  2. #27
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Exclamation Fwiw

    A friend got to try a room full of lookalikes @ Eastman's Import warehouse,
    they sounded different from each other..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  3. #28
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    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    Even though the odds are way way against it, on the off chance you are not pleased by The Mandolin Store, they will bend over backwards to make sure you are a happy customer. Customer satisfaction is their number one priority. I can attest to that from personal experience, as can many others here. No financial interest just a fan.

    Since you gave a more thorough explanation, I totally understand your attitude towards the store. But it seems like you are going there biased against them. Is there no possibility whatsoever that they might surprise you in a good way? Wouldn’t that be nice? But you are correct in your thinking that if they sell mandolins, they should be knowledgeable about them.

    I did read your posts and I realize you are a first time mandolin buyer. I get it. But you also do not consider yourself a beginning player, because you have played guitar and banjo. How do you know those instruments are set up right. Is it just because they feel right, or do you actually bother measuring them? Even a person who doesn’t play a particular instrument can learn to measure specs. What does Eastman say the string height at the nut should be? How much relief at the seventh fret? What about string action at the twelfth fret? Like I said in an earlier post, less than 15 bucks will get you the precision steel ruler and feeler gauges you need to measure those things. A little research, which would be free, plus the tools will give you what you need to find out if those items are right. There is more to a set up than that, but if those numbers were spot on I would expect the rest of the set up to be pretty good too.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  4. #29

    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    You can save yourself a lot of trouble by calling the mom and pop. Ask them who sets up their instruments. If you can talk to someone about a setup, and they don't go out of their way to tell you abot fitting the bridge to the top, you have just saved a trip.

    But your point about not knowing what a good setup is, leads me to suggest you go the cafe sponsor route. We forget newbies have no frame of reference. I have played mandolins from what I feel are great shops for guitar and going away thinking what poor beginner would have to struggle with them. Truth is a 315 is a fine first instrument, and getting one well set up from the get go is necessary for making progress. My first mandolin was a 305. After three months with it I knew way more that when I started.

    You can then play a mandolin and think, wow it sounds better, but I like my Eastman neck, or this is dandy, but not for three times the price. When you have a fiddle tune or two and some chords down, it empowers your ability to make your own decision.

    In three months time you might very well walk into a store, play a Kentucky and like it better. You can sell a 315 in a heartbeat on the classifieds here, then buy a Kentucky from someone who has decided they like Eastmans better. That is just how this mando madness goes.
    Last edited by Br1ck; Jul-30-2019 at 6:59pm.
    Silverangel A
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  5. #30

    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    I really appreciate everyone's input. Y'all have given me some great suggestions on what to ask and what to look for. Without your help I would be buying blind, so thanks for the suggestions.

    You might think I have some obsession with Eastman. Well, it is really the only brand available around here in my price range. Even if I travel 4 hours south I am still stuck with looking at Eastman's, since the brands they carry other than Eastman are well above my price.

    I will let you know how it goes.

  6. #31
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    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    If it makes you feel any better regarding your choice being limited to Eastman, that is without a doubt the most commonly recommended quality beginners instrument here. You just won’t find better build quality in that price range. That being said, there are considerations regarding playability. Eastman mandolins have a narrow nut, radius fretboard, and narrow frets. Many players who come to mandolin via guitar find a wide nut and wider frets more to their liking. And the traditional mandolin fretboard is flat, as almost all Gibsons are. But as a beginner, you don’t really know what you like yet. If you decide to sell it to finance something different down the road, you will find it easy to move along because they’re so popular. Good luck in your quest, and do keep up posted.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  7. #32

    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    Well, I came home with an Eastman MD-315. The luthier at the store was also the owner and he had quite a selection of Eastmans. I had him play a couple for me. He played the MD915 and then the MD315 for comparison. I was really impressed with the 915, but the 915 is $2400. The MD315 sounded real good to me.

    I did spend more at his shop than I would have online, but I believe it was worth it to be able get to know this guy.

    Time to play!

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  9. #33
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    Quote Originally Posted by BG_Dana View Post
    Well, I came home with an Eastman MD-315. The luthier at the store was also the owner and he had quite a selection of Eastmans. I had him play a couple for me. He played the MD915 and then the MD315 for comparison. I was really impressed with the 915, but the 915 is $2400. The MD315 sounded real good to me.
    Something about the MD315! When I bought mine I was fully prepared to buy a more expensive Eastman MD515 to get the nicer finish and better hardware, but the MD315's I tried just sounded better. I did finally get my hands on an MD915 which was gorgeous, but it had a very small quiet voice! Maybe it would have sounded better with playing, but the less-expensive MD815V on the wall next to the MD915 sounded big, strong and loud. If the MD915 had sounded that good while still looking so pretty, I probably would have bought it.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  10. #34
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    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    Congratulations! Now play the frets off it and enjoy the obsession!!
    Chuck

  11. #35

    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    Something about the MD315! When I bought mine I was fully prepared to buy a more expensive Eastman MD515 to get the nicer finish and better hardware, but the MD315's I tried just sounded better. I did finally get my hands on an MD915 which was gorgeous, but it had a very small quiet voice! Maybe it would have sounded better with playing, but the less-expensive MD815V on the wall next to the MD915 sounded big, strong and loud. If the MD915 had sounded that good while still looking so pretty, I probably would have bought it.
    If I had the money I would have bought the 915. I was impressed. But I am really happy with my purchase.

    The best thing is my wife loves it too.

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  13. #36

    Default Re: New Eastman MD-315 or used Kentucky KM-855

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    Congratulations! Now play the frets off it and enjoy the obsession!!
    Thanks. That is the plan.

    There is a monthly bluegrass jam not far from me. After I have a little experience I will take the 315 there.

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