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Thread: Eastman 515 vs J Bovier F5t

  1. #1
    Registered User mandoleeland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Default Eastman 515 vs J Bovier F5t

    I live in a rural area that doesn't offer a lot of selection in person to test mandolins. I understand that I can get more bang for my buck going with an A style but lord that scroll envy has fully taken over. I have an opportunity for both an Eastman 515 and a J Bovier F5T at the same price point under a $1k budget. Which one(s) do you have experience with? Which would you choose and why?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Maryville, TN

    Default Re: Eastman 515 vs J Bovier F5t

    515 is usually a clear winner. The later JBoviers were really nice, with those coming before being decent-to-nice.

  3. #3
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    So Cal
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    Default Re: Eastman 515 vs J Bovier F5t

    I would definitely trust the Eastman as a high-quality, factory build. Playing each and considering the action, tone, fit and finish would be a good idea. The J Bovier F5T is a really nicely made instrument. Jeff Cowherd puts a lot into the assembly after the body and neck are hand-carved and put together in a small shop and shipped to him. He then installs the hardware, sets it up with much care, and works on giving the mandolin a unique voice. You didn't say if the one you are considering is new or used? I have owned two and they both were outstanding in tone and playability. Check the nut width on each and the neck profile to see what fits your hand best. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Playing on the porch
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    A Hilltop in Central Texas

    Default Re: Eastman 515 vs J Bovier F5t

    I can only speak for the Eastman 515. I've been playing mine for more than four years and have been very happy with it. Really nice sound, projection and sustain. I have TI M154 strings on it and love the voice. Worth the price.

    Best of luck with whatever choice you make.
    2021 Ellis F5 Special #564 mandolin
    1928 Roth violin
    2016 Eastman MD515 mandolin
    1907 Foltz violin

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  6. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Chicagoland north

    Default Re: Eastman 515 vs J Bovier F5t

    I can also speak favorably for the Eastman 515. I've played a couple of them at a local store that sounded and played really well. There was a 515V they had a couple of years ago that was so great I went in a couple of times a week to play it over a period of several weeks while it was there. I didn't have a reason to buy it, but I really wanted to enjoy playing it while I could. More recently they had another 515 (not a varnish) that was also quite nice, and wasn't there for long. Both of those instruments stayed sold once they went out the door.

    One of the things I really liked about that 515V was that the varnish finish was a red/orange sunburst like some of the old Gibson's. It was odd because from several feet away it looked fantastic, but when examined closely there were areas where the coloring was allowed to bleed over the ivoroid bindings, and there were actual drips across the back of the headstock. I was really surprised because I've never seen such sloppy work on an Eastman. Can't imagine how they let it out that way, unless someone said "hey this sounds and plays great - don't mess with it!".

    I cannot comment on the J Bovier because I've not seen one in person, but certainly I've seen comments from folks on the cafe who thought they had good ones.

    Best of luck with your search!

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Eastman 515 vs J Bovier F5t

    Heck, let me know where the Bovier is! Iíll buy it! Jan

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