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Thread: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

  1. #1

    Default eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    Folks,

    I'm purchasing one of these mandolins. They are the same price. I cut my teeth on a morgan monroe ad have always been a loar fan, but the eastman snuck up on me. Thoughts?

    Chaplain

  2. #2
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    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    I like my The Loar LM600, nice neck shape, sweet tone, not a lot of volume or bark but a very appealing sound for solo playing. My wife also likes the sound of it. If you're a bluegrass player then it may not be a good choice for that style, especially if there is a fiddle or banjo in the jam.

  3. #3

    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    I own a km1050 and played a well worn in 515 this week and it made me interested in eastman mandolins. It had a good sound but playability was nice. I did own a loar but not a 600. I think it was a 400 range? I dont remember but it was about $400 used. Sounded plastic to me vs the kentucky.

  4. #4

    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    I have the Eastman MD514. FWIW I really like it's neck shape. The neck seems to have a smaller neck profile. And although it's apples to oranges, I also like the tone.

  5. #5
    Registered User archerscreek's Avatar
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    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    I bought an Eastman MD515 new around 7 months ago and have played it hard since then. Based on the build date it was only a couple of weeks old. The owner of the shop I bought it from said I could bring it in after a few months if the action needed an adjustment. However, the action started off nice and low and stayed there.

    This MD515 sounds good with EJ74 strings but has more "woodiness" and bark with Monels. I play with a BlueChip TP1R 60 pick.

    I have heard and played other Eastman mandolins and to me some of those lacked girth, so to speak. So I would recommend trying individual ones out if you can and pick the best according to your tastes.

    Even to my biased ears, my MD515 doesn't sound better than the best Gibson or Ellis or Collings MF5 Varnish mandolins out there. I won't say that. But I think it sounds better than a tight and perhaps poor example of some mandolins in the $3000-$6000 range that I've heard.

    Apparently, the 500 series Eastmans have better tuners than the 300 series, but I think mine could be better yet.

  6. #6

    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    Iím a bluegrass guy by the way.

  7. #7
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    IME, thereís a lot of variance in both of those models. Iíve owned good examples of each. My md515 had a sweet but quiet sound. Fit and finish weíre nice. The Loar 600 I had was ugly but loud. A previous owner had sanded down the thick finish (not sure if that applies to current examples).

    If you can save up a little more for a used Kentucky master model, I recommend it. The ones Iíve owned (4; they have sound quality variance too) were noticeably better than the Eastman and the loars.

  8. #8

    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    To me there is not a whole lot of difference in the Eastmans from the 315 to the 815 or Kentuckys from the KM 150 to the lower than 900. Undoubtedly the higher numbers are nicer looking. But there is a noticeable jump up in the 900+ Kentuckys which of mandolins I've played are the only mandolins in the middle ground between lessor imports and the likes of Weber, Collings, Northfield, etc. The Eastman 505 I had was good enough that it did not hold my playing back.

    No telling what you would like better if you played them side by side. I don't think you'd get a decisive answer either way. Do you lust after a scroll? I understand, but a 900 would be a noticeably nicer sound. However, I have not played any Eastman or Kentucky that was not new.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    I love the 515 varnish (thought I prefer a wider nut).
    It has a great tone.
    I put a cumberland bridge on it and it made it even better!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    Quote Originally Posted by ABmando View Post
    I love the 515 varnish (thought I prefer a wider nut).
    It has a great tone.
    I put a cumberland bridge on it and it made it even better!
    That's the question: Is the finish on the 515 varnish or nitro? I really like the varnish finish and the sound it releases.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: eastman md515 vs loar lh600

    I had an Eastman 515. Very stable instrument with a good bluegrass chop. Great value for the money. I couldn't find any flies on it......
    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a vet.

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