Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Eastman 805 Review

  1. #1
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    2,432
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Eastman 805 Review

    Heya, Folks!

    Good news.... I recently acquired an Eastman 805, and let me say, Iím very impressed with the value of this mandolin. Although I expected it to be a good mandolin in terms of action and playability, Iím quite happy with the tone as well.

    It is a ďblemĒ from the mandolin store, so I got it for under $1k. Itís a good price considering itís Eastmanís priciest A style. Iíll say, Eastman really delivered on the fit and finish. Itís not flawless, but nearly so, and Iím not sure what is blemished about it is really, really clean.

    The tone is bright as heck, and is perhaps one of the loudest mandolins Iíve owned. If I raise the action a bit it the sound remains loud and bright, and gets a bit of him going. Very nice. Itís been a bit of a revelation, because Iíve monkeyed around with dozens of mandolins over the years looking for something I sweat exists, paying thousands of dollars. But, this 805 is teaching me a bit about the market. There is a tonal drop off from some other instruments Iíve owned, sure. But, not a 5 thousand dollar drop off.

    I would highly recommend this mandolin who is looking for a good instrument without getting into the $3k range. Iíll also say that, for my preferences, I donít see why Iíd get another production-line mandolin. The only next step I see is a custom build, which is of course another world altogether.

    Hereís a quick video capturing the tone and playability. :-)


  2. The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Kevin Briggs For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    1,487

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Great review!... Also watched your YT review and love your story behind the purchase of this instrument!... You play it really well!
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype
    Soliver #001 Flattop Pancake style

    Soliver Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.Ē -anonymous

  4. #3
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    2,432
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    Great review!... Also watched your YT review and love your story behind the purchase of this instrument!... You play it really well!
    Thanks so much, man! Yes, it’s meaningful on many levels. I’m grateful for the mandolin community for all of the options for us players. :-)

  5. #4

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    I've played several mandolins in my limited time with the instrument. The 805 is my favorite acoustic. Such a nice sound.
    --
    2020 Eastman MD805/V
    2020 Eastman ER-M
    2004 Subaru Forester motorized transport

  6. #5
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    2,432
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by randybrown View Post
    I've played several mandolins in my limited time with the instrument. The 805 is my favorite acoustic. Such a nice sound.
    Yeah, man! Itís a jive mandolin for sure. So sparkly sounding when I put on new strings. It plays great too. Iím really happy with it, and only wish I had purchased one years ago. It might have saved me some money!

  7. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,963

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Kevin,

    Sorry you had to part ways with your most recent “baby,” but glad you found this one! Take heart that it sounds amazing in your hands. The wood and wire do matter, but the real magic is in your fingers!! Thanks for the review here and the YouTube review, and keep picking, brother!

    Peace,

    Chuck
    Chuck

  8. #7

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    I have a 604 (oval hole version), love that thing, it's still my main player. After I got it the 305 sits on the shelf. It's had some work done too, refretting to taller frets and a custom nut (made it myself) to change string spacing to improve playability (those two make it feel fantastic to my aging hands). And I added a pickup.
    Davey Stuart tenor guitar (based on his mandola design), TC octave mandolin.
    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.

  9. #8
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,303

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Bright tone can be good in some contexts. It all depends in what context one wants to play a mandolin. I have watched some amazing YouTube videos recently where the mandolin is part of a one person band. The cheaply made Gretch mandolin was fine in that instance.
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
    Breedlove Quartz FF Mandolin

  10. #9
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,303

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Is this the end of the road?
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
    Breedlove Quartz FF Mandolin

  11. #10
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    2,432
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Gellie View Post
    Is this the end of the road?
    Haha. Not a chance, Nick! I do have something exciting brewing, but want to hold off on sharing my giddyness until it's a definite. For now, I'll say it's very exciting.

    I've hopped mandolins quite a bit over the past two years and while I have some regrets, I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned. First, I've learned that there are good mandolins and there are special mandolins. I've owned lots of good mandolins from reputable builders like Collings (2), Weber (2), Breedlove (2), Rigel (1), Morris (1), Pomeroy (1), Eastman (2), and Kentucky (2). In that way, I've run the table on bigger name builders, with a few independent builders in the mix. They've all been at least good, but only the Weber Fern (08') was special. I sold it for the money and justified it by focusing on some perceived defects. But. those defects were in my mind, and likely in my hands.

    I wish I could have that mandolin back but I can't get in touch with the fellow ho bought it. I think I've been searching for its equivalent or something even nicer since then, but nothing has fit the bill. The lesson is, keep what you like. Keep searching, sure, but the grass is not always greener. It's more likely a different shade of green.

  12. #11
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,303

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    I thought so that something was brewing and this may be just a step towards what you are seeking. Maybe it is a Weber Fern mandolin.

    I have decided to take a step back from expensive mandolins and focus on making them. Here is Europe there is a particular price range which people expect to pay for a mandolin. There are plenty of good mandolins out there particularly from the Czech makers but they are hard to come by. Bluegrass is quite popular here in Europe so one has to make mainly F5s because of the look. I prefer making an A-5 because of its simplicity.

    That is why I have taken a step back and invested in a 2005 Breedlove KO mandolin. I have decided that the search for tone volume and projection can a Holy Grail and just want something that I don't have much invested in. I have someone interested in the F5 mandolin I made from the Ukraine. We will see how that goes. If I sell it I will have mandolins in Brazil, Galicia, and Ukraine. I have an A5 nearly ready which is probably the best I have made. Lots and lots of care has gone into it and the next one I make hopefully will be even better.

    So I look forward to the next instalment in your search. BTW what happened to the Northfield N5S? Or would you prefer not to talk about it.
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
    Breedlove Quartz FF Mandolin

  13. #12
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    DFW, America
    Posts
    3,349

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    It’s always fun watching this mandolin journey continue. I liked the Collings a lot but this Eastman seems nice too. Best wishes in your search, Kevin!
    ...

  14. #13
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States
    Posts
    13,946
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Variety is the spice of life. But a good solid reproducible cuppa Joe is a delight. I have a mandolin I think I will keep forever while I could let any of the others go. I wish I could say the same for digital cameras but they are still making quantum leaps in technology every few years. Thankfully, you could (almost) easily get a 100 year old mandolin that meets your needs totally.

    I do like getting my hands on different mandolins. If for no other reason than to know how happy I am with what I have. Other folks really enjoy mixing it up. That's great, too.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  15. #14
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,303

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    I was thinking just then of some of Jethro Burns mandolin recordings. Tonally they are a bit scratchy although they are spot on rhythmically. Most people today would find it hard to perform with the mandolins he had. We are very blessed really.
    Nic Gellie

    Breedlove Quartz KO Mandolin
    Breedlove Quartz FF Mandolin

  16. #15
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Chesterfield, VA
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Eastman 805 Review

    Good choice! Enjoy. I love my Eastman.
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

    Eastman MD615SB
    Martin D35
    Gibson SG

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •