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Thread: Road Trip Part II

  1. #1
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Road Trip Part II

    I was on the Strings and Things web site and I saw that they had an Eastman 404 Black Top in stock - A body, oval sound hole, sitka spruce top, and mahogany back & sides. That's the same mandolin that I drove an hour and a half to Johnson Strings to pay. I figured that since Concord NH was only a couple of town over then I owed it to myself to give the 404 another chance. And of course play the Eastman 315 and the Eastman 515 CS that they also had on the wall.

    I started by playing the oval hole mahogany back & sides Eastman 404. I have to say that this time I DID hear a slight difference in tone, not as bright as maple f-hole mandolins I'm accustom to playing. Not noticeably better, just very slightly different.

    I put the 404 back and I gave a go on the Eastman 315 - F body, f-hole, sitka spruce top, and maple back & sides. As usual I was deeply impressed by the 315s tone and playability. There is no doubt in my mind that anyone who buys an Eastman 315 mandolin will be happy with their purchase. Playability & tone were rock solid.

    I also took down the Eastman 515 CS - F body, f-hole, sitka spruce top, and maple back & sides in their glossy Classic Sunburst finish. I played it & played it, and I very much WANTED to say it sounded better than the Eastman 315. In the end I just couldn't. It sounded good, but not noticeably better. It looked good, with the bound neck and the glossy finish, but the matte finish on the 315 looked good, too.

    I talked for a while with the counter man, and he said he sells a lot of the Eastman 305 & 315 mandolins. I can see why.

    As much as the snob in me wants to spend a lot of money on a flashy instrument, I am sorely tempted to buy an Eastman 315. And I don't think it would be a mistake if I did. It feels, plays, and sounds good.

    This is exactly how I ended up taking home a Taylor GS Mini, which has become one of my favorite guitars.
    Last edited by Dan in NH; Oct-15-2022 at 10:53pm.
    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Kentucky KM-250 (A body, spruce & maple, f holes)

    And still saving my nickles & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    ... As much as the snob in me wants to spend a lot of money on a flashy instrument, I am sorely tempted to buy an Eastman 315. And I don't think it would be a mistake if I did. It feels, plays, and sounds good....
    Also, if it costs less, you can have it sooner
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  4. #3
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    I want that ďsnobĒ mandolin to be a 60th birthday present to myself. I have the meatiest part of three years before that day rolls around. And it will only take two years of saving nickels and dimes and bottle caps and breakfast cereal box tops in order to buy it.

    So I suppose I can treat myself to a 315 in the meantime.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    I want that ďsnobĒ mandolin to be a 60th birthday present to myself. I have the meatiest part of three years before that day rolls around. And it will only take two years of saving nickels and dimes and bottle caps and breakfast cereal box tops in order to buy it.

    So I suppose I can treat myself to a 315 in the meantime.
    Itís been said many times before but you really canít go wrong with an Eastman.

    Happy picking!
    ďMandolin brands are a guide, not Gospel ď
    - Data Nick

  7. #5

    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    I want that “snob” mandolin to be a 60th birthday present to myself. I have the meatiest part of three years before that day rolls around. And it will only take two years of saving nickels and dimes and bottle caps and breakfast cereal box tops in order to buy it.

    So I suppose I can treat myself to a 315 in the meantime.
    Make sure you save an extra 35 to 40 percent. I don't see prices going down any time soon.
    Last edited by Mandobar; Oct-16-2022 at 4:36pm.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

  8. #6
    Registered User Mando Esq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Great write up, Dan. Strings and Things is great.

    You certainly wouldn’t be making a mistake with a 315. They sound great.

    (I’m just a fancy shmancy fella, though. Hence my shiny sunburst 515)
    Eastman MD515 mandolin
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    Vega Little Wonder tenor banjo

  9. #7
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Naw, Iíve mulled it over some more. $900 for the 315 is nearly half way to an 815/v. And I donít hate my Kentucky $900 worth.

    Iím going to keep playing my Kentucky, keep saving, and buy the mandolin I actually want. It will probably take me two years to scrimp and save, but oh well. In that time Iíll take some lessons and keep practicing. Maybe Iíll play worth a hill of beans when I finally treat myself to a nice mandolin.

  10. #8
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Since you've got that long of a time frame window, you might want to think about keeping an eye out for an old Gibson A. They show up pretty often, and sometimes even in your price range, or close to it. Yes, I know I'm a Gibson guy but there are good reasons why. I gather you are happy with your choice for that Eastman, but think outside the box just a little, see what happens ...
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  11. #9
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    I fell in love with F body mandolins at jam camp. My next mandolin has to be an F body.

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  13. #10
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Naw, I’ve mulled it over some more. $900 for the 315 is nearly half way to an 815/v. And I don’t hate my Kentucky $900 worth.

    I’m going to keep playing my Kentucky, keep saving, and buy the mandolin I actually want. It will probably take me two years to scrimp and save, but oh well. In that time I’ll take some lessons and keep practicing. Maybe I’ll play worth a hill of beans when I finally treat myself to a nice mandolin.
    So, you have started this discussion years before you could actually afford the instrument you want. Um, prices will only rise by then and who knows what might be available in the future. Buy the 315 already.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  14. #11
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    I did not realize the price of the 315 had risen to $900.oo. This one just hit the classifieds at the old price...

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/194720#194720

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  15. #12
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    $879. At The Mandolin Store. I was rounding up.

  16. #13

    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    599 barely used at the Boston Guitar Center last week. Keep your eyes open.

  17. #14
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    I did not realize the price of the 315 had risen to $900.oo. This one just hit the classifieds at the old price...

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/194720#194720

    NFI
    I noticed that this sold quickly, Dan, did you get it?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  18. #15
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    I noticed that this sold quickly, Dan, did you get it?
    Not enough bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops saved up yet.

    I thought you guys had figured it out by now - Iím POOR. At $100 a month it will take me TWO YEARS to save for an 815/v.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Not enough bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops saved up yet.

    I thought you guys had figured it out by now - I’m POOR. At $100 a month it will take me TWO YEARS to save for an 815/v.
    That stated, conventional wisdom would urge you to reconsider your aversion to acquiring a used instrument
    too many strings

  20. #17
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    815/vís are rare, almost to the point of being mythical. To be honest, thatís part of the appeal for me. If I go to enough jams Iíll run across more that one person with a Big Mon. I doubt Iíd ever run across another guy with an 815/v.

    So not only do they not turn up NIB in stores that often, they donít turn up for sale used that often. I only know of one thatís currently for sale used, and itís one of Eastmanís ďold formulaď varnish finishes from before they started having their violin shop apply the varnish finish.

    Turns out my wife & I will be making a trip up to Concord this weekend, and Iíll probably poke my head in Strings & Things again.

    But Iím absolutely not doing anything until after I start up in person mandolin lessons after the first of the year.

    If Iím going to pay money for a really nice mandolin then I want to be able to play it half way decent.

  21. #18
    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    815/vís are rare, almost to the point of being mythical. To be honest, thatís part of the appeal for me. If I go to enough jams Iíll run across more that one person with a Big Mon. I doubt Iíd ever run across another guy with an 815/v.
    Wow! Really?
    I've got an 815v that I bought from Eagle Music in Huddersfield, UK in December 2020.
    They still offer them: https://www.eaglemusicshop.com/eastm...e-maple-829861

    Now, having said that, it seems to me that Eastman in the UK is kind of dominant in that price/quality range, compared to, say, Kentucky, which you don't see so much of here.

    My experience of it is that is has a lovely tone and volume, and fantastic playability (once I got used to the V-neck) but the e-string is a bit thin-sounding compared to my other mandolins.

    Also, I had the neck sanded a bit because I found the varnish very draggy on my hand, and now it's easier.
    Bren

  22. #19
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    I only know of one NIB Eastman 815/v ďin the wild,Ē in a shop in Utah. At least according to Reverb. And Iím suspicious as as anything about it.

    But two years of saving and I should be able to get my very own, just in time for my milestone birthday.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    Not every shop lists all their stock. Many have stopped using Reverb.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

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    Registered User David Rambo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    There was a 2017 MD814v in Kentucky up until last night. It should be here on the 25th. The wait for a new one is 6-8 months, or more. At a dealer here in MN I was told that they don't make the 814v's until they have enough orders to make it worthwhile. The wait could be even longer for a new one. I don't think any were shipped to the US in 2022. I didn't see that many 815v's so they may be doing the same with them.
    "Put your hands to the wood
    Touch the music put there by the summer sun and wind
    The rhythms of the rain, locked within the rings
    And let your fingers find The Music in the Wood."
    Joe Grant and Al Parrish (chorus from The Music in the Wood)

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  27. #22
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    I exchanged e-mails with The Mandolin Store and they told me they had 12 815/v on order. They ordered 4 at a time on three separate occasions in the last year, with no ETA for any of them.

    All this makes me want to grab one as soon as it comes in stock, because God only knows when they will come in again, or what the price will be when it does. But I can't just throw $2k on a credit card. It will take me forever to pay it off.

    I tells ya, this bein' a responsible adult thing is foí da birds. Foí da birds, I tells ya.
    Last edited by Dan in NH; Oct-21-2022 at 5:04pm.

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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    I havenít used or recently looked at the financing some shops offer with Affirm or other such lenders, but remember seeing some zero percent options from time to time in the past (assume thatís long gone now, but shrugging shoulders emoji).

    Youíre 100% correct to stay within your budget and Iím not at all trying to nudge you to buy on credit, just want to make sure you know of all possible options (that may offer much better rates than a CC).
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Road Trip Part II

    "But I’m absolutely not doing anything until after I start up in person mandolin lessons after the first of the year.

    If I’m going to pay money for a really nice mandolin then I want to be able to play it half way decent."

    Most reasonable statement I have seen you post!
    too many strings

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