Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

  1. #1
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    71

    Default Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    The last Mando I had (10 years ago) was a 515 that I bought from The Mandolin Store, and had a setup done on it by someone local, and it played nice, but I wasn't playing it at all, so I moved it On. This time I decided to try it again with a 305, and bought it from the same place, with their "pro setup", but it seems to me to be a bit hard to play close to the nut.

    When I put a capo on the first fret it seems to play easier with action being closer to the fret board. Also, I've been mostly playing a 12 string guitar, but It's been more than a few years since I've actually played a Mando, so I'm wondering if the difficulty is simply my lack of playing a Mando at fault here. Thoughts?
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  2. #2

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    Check out Rod Meldrum’s e-book and measure the string height.
    My setup from TMS was super playable right out of the box.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    String height at the nut is something that affects the feel a lot, but it's also something that's can be a lot harder to undo, once cut too deep. I know factory instruments tend to be universally high, and I'd guess even a "pro setup" can be a little on the conservative side, since they don't really know how *you* are going to play the instrument.

    The suggested setup book is quite good, but you need to go slow, or just take it somewhere to have it really personalized.
    2009 Eastman MD815/V
    some home music videos

  4. #4
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    I borrowed some nut files and did my MD515V recently.

    It was extremely stressful, even though I'm happy with most sort of guitar setup work.

    You're playing with double slots here, where pairs of strings have to have exactly the same slot depth.

    I thought I was clever by butting some feeler gauges up against the nut so I wouldn't cut too deep. But I still did on a couple and had to fill and refile the slots.

    It turned out fine in the end and is MUCH easier to play. But I'd get a pro to set it up next time

  5. #5
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    I think my last Mando'a (515) action was set too low and that's what I'm comparing my new 305 to. The setup guy that did my 515 in the past set the 7th strings so low (on two Mandos) that both buzzed. So you are right Bazz Jass, it is a tricky process. It played very easy but was not right. I will simply have to get used to the 305's action.

    Dennis at The Mandolin store told me that his guy sets the action at a set depth, and It's probably fine. Too bad I got spoiled with the 515. He did tell me to possibly adjust the truss rod because it sometimes moves in shipment. Also, very happy with the looks of this 305! It looks better than all the photos I've seen of them on line. Very even staining with no splotchiness.
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    3,311

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    A trick for nut slots that are too low? A, now retired, luthier friend if mine made a new bridge and nut for a ‘14 A of mine but, played hard, it always seemed to buzz. At first I thought it was the bridge but shimming it made no difference so I eventually decided it was the nut. Drifted it off and shimmed it with two layers of paper stickers. Glued it back on (n.b. to the end of the fretboard not the nut slot) and its been fine ever since.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    I've seen guitar nuts that used a fret rather than slotted material, I suppose there's probably somebody has done that with the mandolin. Why not just use a fret? Why is there a slotted nut at all? A fret wears. A nut must wear too but it's something I never think about.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    3,311

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    Many, largely European, mandolins use a “zero fret” but they also need a nut to keep the strings in place and in pairs.

    I should have said in my previous post that, if all your strings are equally too high at the nut, it might be simpler to shave some off the bottom.

  9. #9
    Old Guy Mike Scott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    716

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    A couple of non intelligent observations. 1) 12 string guitar vs mandolin string tension is way different with the mando being higher (tension) so harder to fret until you get used to it. 2) I got my KM 950 from Dennis a short while back. The set up was great - Dennis told me he did it himself which is as I understood him is unusual these days. 3) I had a 305 and found it one of the easiest mandolins to play ever.

    Like I said - non intelligent. Good luck with it!
    Thanks

    Kentucky Km-950
    Big Muddy M-2
    Big Muddy MW0-Primative - the traveler

  10. #10
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    String height at the nut is something that affects the feel a lot, but it's also something that's can be a lot harder to undo, once cut too deep. I know factory instruments tend to be universally high, and I'd guess even a "pro setup" can be a little on the conservative side, since they don't really know how *you* are going to play the instrument.

    The suggested setup book is quite good, but you need to go slow, or just take it somewhere to have it really personalized.
    Very good advice Keith, but finding someone good around La Mesa Ca. might be a bit tricky.
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  11. #11
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Playability of a new Eastman 305 question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Scott View Post
    A couple of non intelligent observations. 1) 12 string guitar vs mandolin string tension is way different with the mando being higher (tension) so harder to fret until you get used to it. 2) I got my KM 950 from Dennis a short while back. The set up was great - Dennis told me he did it himself which is as I understood him is unusual these days. 3) I had a 305 and found it one of the easiest mandolins to play ever.

    Like I said - non intelligent. Good luck with it!
    You're right on the money Mike. Somebody shared that guitar calluses do nothing for mando playing, and the mando shreds guitar calluses like a cheese grader. Ha
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

Posting Permissions

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