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Thread: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

  1. #1

    Default Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    Hello all, new to the forum and this is my first post here.

    I've been playing for about 2 years now and I currently own an Eastman MD 305 that's about 3 years old. I've had this mandolin for a year now and have been really happy with its playability and sound.

    However, I was curious about whether an upgraded bridge, tailpiece or maybe adding a pickguard would be worth it. I got the MD 305 for an absolute steal ($375 barely used), so I wouldn't mind spending a little to spruce it up.

    I was wondering if anyone with experience upgrading parts on this model has any advice or recommendations? Would an upgraded bridge make any meaningful difference?

    Any input is greatly appreciated!

    -Jeff

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    tonewise imo I don't think it would make a meaningful difference

  3. #3

    Default Re: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    Upgrade to a higher caliber instrument. Keep the 305 for a beater. Then do like so many do and buy every good deal that comes your way.

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    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    Have you invested in a good setup? Does the current bridge fit well? Some people report that their mandolins sound better after fitting a Cumberland Acoustic bridge. Others report no changes. It's highly unlikely that anything is going to dramatically change the sound of your mandolin if there is nothing wrong with it now (for example, the bridge is poorly fit to the top, leaving lots of daylight). If your think you are pushing the limits of your mandolin's tone after two years, the best thing to do would be to save for a new instrument if you can.

    Oh, and welcome to the Cafe.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    As others have said, other than a good set up, the only thing that may upgrade the instrument is the bridge. You may also consider switching up strings and picks to see what sounds the best on there. Upgrading the tailpiece may just make string changes easier (some claim a heavier tailpiece increases sustain but, I don't believe there's tons of data to back that up).

    If the instruments intonates well and holds tune, you don't really need to upgrade it. You can of course but you may need to spend over $1000 more than what you've already spent to get a noticeable upgrade (your mileage may vary).

    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

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    Default Re: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    Yeah various picks/size, strings will make most tonal difference as in mellower, darker, brighter etc and adjusting action. Hardware meh

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    Default Re: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    How are your tuning machines? If they're stiff like new ones, maybe a better set of those? Also, new 305s now have the same cast alloy tailpiece as some more expensive Eastmans. Don't know know if these are available as a spare, or what difference they make to sound.
    Eastman MD305 mandolin...

    2 x Fiddles, 1 x 5 string viola, 1 x 5 string octave viola, 2 X nyckelharpas
    2 X 12 string guitars, 3 x 6 string guitars, 1 x Cuatro de Puerto Rico
    5 x recorders - descant, alto, tenor
    1 X Highland bagpipes
    1 x Garvie 'Session' pipes

    Which is why I won't be upgrading the mandolin anytime soon.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    Thank you all for the input, I really appreciate it. Was more or less curious about how much of an effect the bridge can have and it sounds like it's minimal at best.

    I did have a local luthier set it up properly recently and that definitely made a difference.

    I sorely wish I could upgrade! Unfortunately not in the cards at the moment.

    Until then I'll keep trying new strings and picks (really liking Wegen picks right now)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Eastman MD 305 Upgrades?

    Quote Originally Posted by ffej View Post
    Was more or less curious about how much of an effect the bridge can have and it sounds like it's minimal at best.
    I had a look at some bridge replacement posts here when I bought mine. Some posters reckoned replacing Eastman bridges (various models) had a really noticeable effect, some said they found it minimal. It occurred to me that if you replace the bridge you'll probably make sure the new one is a good fit - so I wonder how much improvement was the bridge, and how much the fit?

    I suspect my recent 305 has settled in some and may need its first post delivery setup. Does anyone know of a luthier who does really good mandolin setups within say an hour of Guildford UK (but not in London)?

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