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Thread: Eastman 314 vs 514

  1. #1

    Default Eastman 314 vs 514

    I am looking to by my first Eastman mandolin. Iím looking at the F oval hole. My question is there a big or any difference between the 314 and the 514? Sound, playability , workmanship?
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    I have owned both at various times, with the 314 you will get a thin satin finish and plainer wood selection. But they can sound very good. With the 514 you get upgraded tuners (a big +) and better wood selection along with a gloss finish. Also they can sound very good. It all depends on what you want. If I ever had a hankering for another Eastman it would probably be for a 514.

    Here is a 514 listed in the classifieds at the moment...

    https://themandolinstore.com/product...-f-style-oval/

    I like the finish better than the sunburst and it sounds darn good.

    NFI
    Last edited by Charles E.; Sep-28-2021 at 10:06pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. #3

    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    Finish and tuners are basically the difference as I understand it. Sound, playability, and workmanship are consistent across all models according to most people.

    The most obvious difference is the finish, satin in the 314 vs some sort of nitrocellulose gloss in the 514. Some people think that the satin finish tends to result in a "drier" and more "woody" sound. I've never compared these models against each other so I can't vouch for that, but it seems plausible. I recently acquired a 314 from the Mandolin Store which I'm very happy with. I'm sure I'd probably be happy with anything Eastman makes.

    I heard that the 500's have slightly larger fretwire, but I haven't verified that (some people don't like thin fretwire).

    500's have better tuners which I believe is a major part of the price increase over the 300's. You will not go wrong with anything from Eastman.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    Everybody has their own thing, just wanted to point out mineÖ.
    I bought a 314 earlier this year, and I am thrilled with it.

    Honestly, if the 2 had the same tuners and hardware, costs the same, and the only difference was the finish, Iíd go with 314. Itís beautiful! If the 314 were the more expensive one, with all the same hardware, Iíd go with itÖ.

    I plan on upgrading the tuners on my 314, though I donít feel like I have any real issues with theseÖ

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    Reach out for me if you have any questionsÖ

  6. #6

    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    Oddly enough, I am looking at purchasing a 314 or 514 as well. Don't really have much to add, as the other replies are pretty much what I've found in my research. The tuners and finish are the immediate differences. And I've heard mixed opinions on the wood quality between to the two. Some say no difference at all, some the 514 is better, others say it's too close to call between individual instruments even with the same model #. But all say Eastman's build quality is top notch. Personally, I'm leaning toward the 514, as this will probably be my forever mandolin, and the tuner upgrade/gloss have a more refined look to me. Or at least until I'm seasoned enough in my trips around the sun to make mandolin a full time investment. I wouldn't turn away a 314 on a decent sale though. Just my two cents.

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  8. #7
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    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    The 514 comes with a hard case, while the 314 comes with a gig bag, if that matters. 3rd party hard cases for the shorter neck oval hole instruments aren't that easy to come by. If you wanted to get a hard case for the 314 you'll probably end up close to the out-the-door 514 price.
    --Milan

    "And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good--Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    Yes Tighthead, that is also true. Iíll just add that gig bags vary greatly, and Iíd say the one that comes with the 314 is above average- very, very nice, rigid, with very strong zippers, and a spacious pocket.

    Great to have optionsÖ

  10. #9

    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    Guys, thanks for your input, much appreciated, although Iím still not sure which to get. Seems as I canít go wrong with either. Iíve heard very good instruments come from the Mandolin Store so Iím thinking Iíll buy from them.
    Thank you

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    I have a preference for the satin/matte finish. I have a MD314 and a MD305 - to my ears they have a dryer, woodier tone than 500 series. I've never had an issue with the tuners on either instrument.

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    Default Re: Eastman 314 vs 514

    Quote Originally Posted by Donn1958 View Post
    I am looking to by my first Eastman mandolin. Iím looking at the F oval hole. My question is there a big or any difference between the 314 and the 514? Sound, playability , workmanship?
    Thank you
    Long ago, the differences in production were nicely explained to me:

    An experienced old guy loads up his cart with wood. He goes to the carving room. He distributes the prettiest wood to the most experienced carvers, and the least pretty to the least experienced.

    Under this model, if experience actually makes a difference, then the chance of getting better results rises with the price, which largely reflects the amount of pretty.

    For Eastman, two of the very best I've heard, one I should never have gotten rid of, were 900 series instruments.

    Trust this view is of some utility.

    Also, there's a good deal of personal taste, break-in, and both initial and subsequent setup. Quite small changes can make a distinct difference. Personally, I'm not fond of the 300 finish, my bias against chemically matt finishes. But I'm really bowed string guy!!
    Stephen Perry
    www.giannaviolins.com - Primarily violin family
    mandovoodoo.com - Acoustic blueprinting - email steve@giannaviolins.com
    Fairfax Co., Virginia (DC Metro)

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