Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

  1. #1
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    92

    Default Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    I haven't even learned much of anything other than my old songs, and already catching a bit of the "forum fever" looking around at other Mandos.

    My question is; would the sound of a higher end Mando be an earth shaking difference compared to my Eastman 305? I know that in guitars, I'm happy with what I have, but with Mandolins...?
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    5,443

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    Depends on the individual 305. I have played a couple of 305's that sounded great and some just OK. Same goes for some higher end mandolins. If you want to upgrade choose your price range and play as many as you can in person until one speaks to you. Happy hunting.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. #3
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,667

    Question Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    One of my friends who managed the local music store, took a trip to the Eastman warehouse,
    and tried out a bunch of the same model , they looked identical but each had an individual sound.

    Being a natural material, wood , and made by people producing large numbers to meet a target cost ..
    you are looking @ less fancy trim.. maybe a prettier figured wood on the back ..


    toss the dice,,
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    Depends entirely on your sensitivity to phenomena. Many people don't feel the earth shaking during earthquakes, much less more subtle vibrational effects. Commonly expressed by: mileage varies. The only way for you to discern is to experiment, and evaluate your experience.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    No. California
    Posts
    1,030

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    You can probably evaluate catmandu2's first point by thinking about how sensitive you are to the tonal differences in guitars. What level guitars do you have? Since you're happy with those, you could start by looking at comparable mandolins, keeping in mind that their price is generally double that of their equivalent guitar breathren.

    Since you asked about higher-end mandolins, rather than those just a step or two up from your 305, I'd venture that most players (and listeners) can hear "an earthshaking difference" --- just as their bank accounts will feel --- between an Eastman 305 and a Collings MF5V, for example --- and we're not even talking about the mandolin stratosphere here. In general, I'd say that every additional $1K brings better tone, but once you get much above $5K, it's often a matter of personal preference that separates magnificence from mere excellence in the ear of the beholder. So, I agree with catmandu2's praise of experimentation and evaluation.

    In your signature, you say that you have an Eastman 515. Most people hear a significant, though not earthshaking, difference between those two models. Do you?
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  6. #6
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    Marcus, I no longer have the 515 after deciding I would never play mando again, I sold it. I actually like the sound of the 305 better, and the guy I bought the 305 from (you all know him) felt the same.

    Yes, I have a very good ear for good tone. My Gibson J-30 sounds better (think 70's Hummingbird) than any guitar in all the stores I've been in for many years. It has a certain base tone (a Bracing thing) that was not on all the 70's Birds.

    If I picked up a great tone mando, I would instantly hear the difference. I wouldn't buy a mando that didn't sound better than the one I have as I don't really care about looks. For me it would be all about the tone.
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    4,214

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    I had an Eastman 315 that had 75-80% of the tone of a Collings MT I had at the same time. My 315 was a good one, one they got right. If it was all I could afford, I would have been happy with it. But, my Silverangel Econo was a definite step up in depth/complexity of tone; I chose to keep the SA over the MT but that was a personal preference thing, as they were in the same class, I just preferred the SA tone. The 315 was sold in a downsize move (I actually miss having a “beater” from time to time). My current mandos are a Skip Kelley A-5 and a Rigel CT-110, both of which are a cut above the SA, MT, and a couple of definite steps up from the 315. The Kelley is my baby and the one I’d choose if I could only have one, the CT-110 is my alternate voice and my easy plug and play amplification option. To beat the Kelley you’d have to get in the 4500+ range, IMO. The next real step up comes in the 13,000 range (Red Diamond, Duff, Kimble, Giacomel), though I’ll admit I haven’t played an A-style Ellis or Duff to date.

    If possible, take a trip to Nashville and spend time at Carter’s, Gruhn’s, Artisan Guitars, etc. You’ll figure out what you can’t live without…and with what you can live…

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Guildford + Falmouth England
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    One thing you'll probably notice on the 305 compared to more expensive instruments is, if it's anything like mine, the tuners are fairly nasty. That's fixable though. I really like the thin matt finish, I even like the way it polishes up where you contact it. Not so sure about the feel of the neck at the nut, but it's livable.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    No. California
    Posts
    1,030

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    My question is; would the sound of a higher end Mando be an earth shaking difference compared to my Eastman 305? I know that in guitars, I'm happy with what I have, but with Mandolins...?
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie D View Post
    If I picked up a great tone mando, I would instantly hear the difference.
    In that case, you have an answer to your original question!
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  10. #10
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,914
    Blog Entries
    55

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    Good tone / bad tone is of course not the only axis. You also want to consider the kind of tone you want. One of my mandolins has that creamy old Gibson type of tone, another has a really pronounced chop, another has a very clean bell like tone, another has a more scintillating sing song tone. They all have excellent tone.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  11. #11
    Registered User Frankie D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    So Cal.
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    One thing you'll probably notice on the 305 compared to more expensive instruments is, if it's anything like mine, the tuners are fairly nasty. That's fixable though. I really like the thin matt finish, I even like the way it polishes up where you contact it. Not so sure about the feel of the neck at the nut, but it's livable.
    Yep, the tuners are not great, but the funny thing is they are much better now. I did lube them, but haven't lubed the nut slots yet, so I'm wondering if the slots are loosening up.

    As far as the feel of the neck at the nut, I think a setup even though mine was setup at the dealer will change things just fine. When I had the 515 a second setup changed everything as in much better playing even though he cut the nut slot too far on the 7th string.
    Eastman 515 Mando
    Gibson J-30 Guitar
    RK-80 Banjo

  12. #12
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    5,443

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    Just a personal thought, I owned an Eastman 315 and a 314 at the same time, did tuner and tailpiece upgrades to the 315 and was happy. However when a slightly used Giouard F-5 came up for sale near me, I sold both and never looked back. The Girouard is a life time mandolin.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Guildford + Falmouth England
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    Yeah, I think mandolins are a bit like fiddles, in that you can now buy a quality affordable workshop instrument like an Eastman (or other makes) that's tremendous value and does the job, or you can buy a quality single luthier handmade one for 10 times the price that plays and sounds at a much higher level than 'pretty good'. If I had unlimited funds I'd probably buy a better example of both - but I'd still need my Luis & Clarke carbon fiddle and Eastman 305 mandolin, because I'm not going to be comfortable leaving a $15K + instrument on a bar table.

  14. #14
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Augusta, Maine, USA
    Posts
    1,154

    Default Re: Sound difference between a 305 and a higher end Mandolin?

    It sounds like you have a reliable player and you like it. So instead of rushing into anything, it makes sense to wait until you find something that really seems like a big improvement.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

Posting Permissions

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