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Thread: Eastman 300 series mandolins

  1. #1
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    Default Eastman 300 series mandolins

    I just got 4 of the Eastman 300 series mandolins. Matt finish, nice wood, pressed tailpiece, something cheaper than Shaller tuners (but they work fine), and a gig bag. I'm very pleased with these. Anyone else had a chance to try them? I haven't gone through and set them up yet, but they seem fine out of the box. Bet they're really nice with a Cumberland Acoustics bridge.

    The A model 305 lists at $495. The F model 315 lists for $895. So they're hitting an affordable price point.
    Stephen Perry
    www.giannaviolins.com - Primarily violin family
    mandovoodoo.com - Acoustic blueprinting - email steve@giannaviolins.com
    Fairfax Co., Virginia (DC Metro)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    shouldn't this be in the classifieds?

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    the little guy DerTiefster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Bill, I read the text with a different emphasis, I guess. Stephen asked about whether anyone else had handled them and provided list prices (not his asking prices). This is as close to saying "would you like to buy these from me" as any luthier showing us his most recent workbench output. He has not given his asking prices, and is prompting a discussion of the 300 series rather than focusing on an item he has on sale. I am interested in what information anyone else chooses to provide. The Eastmans are, from all reports, high-quality imports. I'm curious about quality and pricing trends.

    And please don't take offense from my comments or wording. None is intended. I've wondered about the "offers for sale go to the classifieds only" issues many time before, and have concluded that show-n-tell as well as "whaddya think?" can be reasonable topics.
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    fair enough - it's none of my business - apologies for butting in.

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    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    How to they compare against something like the 505?

    I was impressed by those this summer having played both the A + F style at that level. Good workmanship, well built instruments with a pretty nice tone [blew anything lower priced out of the water, though outclassed by $1K+ instruments].

    This would be cheaper tuners ... but how do they sound and play?
    Is playability the same, or do these require a lot more setup work?

    For a `beater' mandolin that I can haul on family trips - this is a tempting option as it might yield a fine little instrument. $500+ level for a beater is too much for me.

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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    They seem identical to the 505 in woodwork. The cost cutting seems to be in the case, tailpiece, finish, tuners.

    The MD505 I had was perhaps a little different in sound (I packed it up for shipment now) but certainly the 305 was rather close. I have only seen the 4 in hand, so I don't have a broad sample. Thus my inquiry. If they're all like the ones I got, then they'll be a contender. I always wonder whether I get sent better stock. I don't think so, but it's something I consider as perhaps the first Eastman mandolin dealer.

    George, who has a great ear, agreed. He's currently working for a competitor of Eastman. Doesn't seem biased, thought this was a good move.

    I just want to make sure they're a consistent product before I really decide they're a great thing to have. So far I'm very pleased.
    Stephen Perry
    www.giannaviolins.com - Primarily violin family
    mandovoodoo.com - Acoustic blueprinting - email steve@giannaviolins.com
    Fairfax Co., Virginia (DC Metro)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Hi Stephen,

    I just received mine yesterday. Same situation... I haven't set it up yet, but I am very impressed. I love the look. This one has nice flaming (more than the average 505). The tuners and tailpiece are not too bad.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

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    Registered User Fstpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    Hi Stephen,

    I just received mine yesterday. Same situation... I haven't set it up yet, but I am very impressed. I love the look. This one has nice flaming (more than the average 505). The tuners and tailpiece are not too bad.
    Robert, I sent you a PM.

    It is good to hear these positive reports from everyone. I think that this mando is on the top of my list for future acquisitions.

    Jeff

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    Registered User Jim DeSalvio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    I have the MD 305 (F hole A model), which just arrived yesterday. I have to save it for a holiday gift, but here are a few observations. I love the matte finish. As Robert mentioned above, the flaming on the back is almost up to 800 series standards. The fretboard material (ebony I believe) seems nicer than any other Eastman I have. The headstock shape is very cool, the tuners work well, and the stamped tailpiece will bo OK for now. Not sure if it will be a direct swap-out for the standard Eastman cast piece, but I will check that out later. It rings out nicely. I'm a happy guy.

    This one will live at work, and hopefully allow me to work on some new stuff as time permits.
    Jim D

  10. #10

    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    As an enthusiast whose enthusiasm way outstrips his finances, I am excited about these new affordable quality instruments. How about some photos for us to savour, Stephen and others?

    ron

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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    The Mandolin Store has photos of the A and F models. Based on the look and description they are built with the same degree of craftsmanship as their other lines but with economy TP, tuners, and finish along with a gig bag or a different case (not the Eastman oblong or shaped). They are about $200 less than the 500 series. You guys know my bias for the Eastman product (since I've owned more of them than other brands) so know my enthusiasm comes from there. It would be fun to test drive one or hear from others how these compare with the rest of the line.

    Jamie

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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    I'm right there with you, Jamie. I am thrilled to see these mandolins being offered. I think the new headstock design in a serious improvement, and the possibility of getting a quality instrument at this price will open doors for starters like never before.

    My 505 is basically the same as one of these (plus nice hardware) since I stripped off the finish:
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    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    These do look great. I would say the back wood is not quite up to the 800 level (or the 600-level instrument I own), but for the money they are hard to beat (imho).
    Eastman 605, Strad-o-lin, and Kentucky 300e mandolins.

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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    This morning I ordered a 305 from Stephen at Gianna. It's supposed to be my Christmas present, but hopefully my wife will let me play it a little beforehand. I'll post and let you know my thoughts. Oh boy! I can't wait!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Perry View Post
    I just got 4 of the Eastman 300 ... The F model 315 lists for $895. So they're hitting an affordable price point.
    Eastmans are a great deal! I have an Eastman MD515 that I love.

    But, What I don't get....$895 for the 315?...when you can get the MD515 for $999.

    Only a hundred bucks more get's you a better case, cast tailpiece, better finish, etc.

    I mean, don't get me wrong..the 315 is probably easily worth the 895. I'm just saying, might as well spend an extra hundred bucks at that point. JMO.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by MOJOHAND40 View Post
    Eastmans are a great deal! I have an Eastman MD515 that I love.

    But, What I don't get....$895 for the 315?...when you can get the MD515 for $999.

    Only a hundred bucks more get's you a better case, cast tailpiece, better finish, etc.

    I mean, don't get me wrong..the 315 is probably easily worth the 895. I'm just saying, might as well spend an extra hundred bucks at that point. JMO.
    The 515 lists for 1250, and the 315 appears to eb selling for quite a bit less than 895...so street-price wise there's a good 300ish dollars difference between the two.

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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    shouldn't this be in the classifieds?
    Looks like advertisement to me.

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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    I simply wanted to make sure I hadn't gotten "special" ones as a friend of Eastman. I got that answer from Robert. Posting in the classifieds wouldn't have gotten that information. If that's advertising, then most of the posts here are advertising. They concern instruments that one can buy from somewhere or another. I suppose all retailers, builders, private resellers, and potential retailers, potential builders, and potential private resellers could be barred, but I don't think anyone would be left. Rather a sterile, although pure, forum after that purge!!! Chuck, you're advertising yourself and Horner's instruments in your post, in every one of your posts.

    As to the instruments, looks like they're all of the same quality. Eastman QA is really doing well these days. I'm quite impressed with these. When I started this thread I saw them nowhere else, and now they're already a known item. Nice!

    By way of comparison, since there's a mild amount of confusion:

    MD515 $1250 Schaller, cast tailpiece, gloss nitro, wood shell case

    MD315 $895 not Schaller, stamped tailpiece, matt finish, gig bag

    $355 difference.

    MD505 $750

    MD305 $495

    $255 difference

    I think they hit a good solid spot in the market.

    Have a great Christmas!
    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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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Those are MSRP prices not street prices, by the way.
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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    Registered User Dave Schimming's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    I've been looking for a relatively inexpensive decent A model mandolin. The 305 might just be it. Are there any Eastman dealers in Wichita, KS where a person might go to check one out?
    Dave

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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Best to call Eastman and ask. 800 624 0270

    Most dealers will ship. Eastman is clearly a strong contender. Loar not doing badly either, different take on the inexpensive mandolin.
    Stephen Perry
    www.giannaviolins.com - Primarily violin family
    mandovoodoo.com - Acoustic blueprinting - email steve@giannaviolins.com
    Fairfax Co., Virginia (DC Metro)

  22. #22
    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    Those are MSRP prices not street prices, by the way.
    No doubt. Nearly bought a new 815v this summer for $1400, set up.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Generally figure MSRP x some multiplier for a minimum advertised price (Eastman it's .8) and street price to generally be some other, lower multiplier (such as .75 or whatever). With some of the variability coming from the amount of work done at the selling shop.

    Thus a dealer really can't post their actual price.
    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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    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    If these had been around when I was looking to upgrade from my beginner Kentucky 150, about two years ago, I probably would have bought one of these new, rather than the MD515 I ended up buying used. Just the right price range, and I had already settled on Eastman based on the discussions I perused on this site. (Loar was a close second.) That said, I love my 515, so all's well that ends well!

  25. #25

    Default Re: Eastman 300 series mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Perry View Post
    Eastman is clearly a strong contender. Loar not doing badly either, different take on the inexpensive mandolin.
    How would you describe the differences between these two, Stephen?

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