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Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?

Rog Peek 30 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM
Mavis Enderby 30 Oct 09 - 02:23 PM
mandotim 30 Oct 09 - 03:10 PM
Willie-O 30 Oct 09 - 10:43 PM
iancarterb 31 Oct 09 - 07:41 PM
Rog Peek 01 Nov 09 - 09:05 AM
Dave Hanson 01 Nov 09 - 09:45 AM
PHJim 01 Nov 09 - 02:37 PM
MickyMan 01 Nov 09 - 04:25 PM
mandotim 02 Nov 09 - 03:03 AM
Brother Crow 02 Nov 09 - 06:09 AM
Mark Clark 02 Nov 09 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,Ray 02 Nov 09 - 12:11 PM
Mark Ross 02 Nov 09 - 12:50 PM
Rog Peek 18 Jan 10 - 05:12 PM
DonMeixner 18 Jan 10 - 05:16 PM
Spot 18 Jan 10 - 06:26 PM
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Subject: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Rog Peek
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 02:18 PM

I'm after an A style oval hole mandolin, don't want dirt cheap, but neither can I afford to go into the thousands. I spotted these on The Acoustic Music Co. web site and they look pretty good value for money, but what do they sound like? Has anyone here tried one?

Thanks Rog


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 02:23 PM

I have an Eastman 504 and have found it to be an excellent instrument. It has great "tubby" tone that fits what I play (mostly blues) to a tee.

It's a little odd though in that it seems to sulk if it's not played for a while - it sometimes needs half an hour or so of playing before it 'loosens up'. Difficult to describe in words!

Cheers,

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: mandotim
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 03:10 PM

I've played about half a dozen, ranging from a low end A style to a high end F. Without exception they were easy to play, loud and sweet toned. They seem to develop as they get older; they lack a bit of bass at first, but age well into serious players instruments. In my opimion, nothing comes close in their price range. Experimenting with string gauges and pick types allows you to draw a good range of tones from them too, from a ringing 'celtic' sound right through to a woody bluegrass bark. The A models are fantastic value for money.
I don't have shares in the company, but I wish I did.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Willie-O
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 10:43 PM

I tried a couple in the 12fth Fret recently and am seriously considering one--probably the lowest-end A505, because I actually liked that the best! That's an F-hole style A. It had a very lively top, I would say it was graduated and tuned. I am currently playing a handmade roundhole A, but find it doesn't suit my playing style as well as I'd hoped--I like to rip tunes out pretty fast and aggressively sometimes and the Eastman is much more responsive for that.

They are made in China. I think what we are seeing is the next generation of Chinese (and Asian) luthiery--not just competing in the low end, but using high quality materials to produce high-quality instruments, mostly in the $500-$1000 dollar range.   Aside from mandos they are producing a dreadnought guitar, with--get this--Indian Rosewood body and allegedly ADIRONDACK spruce top--for just under $1000 US!!!! If that's true, how in hell did they get their hands on Adirondack spruce? Even American builders, and I'm thinking of a company that starts with M, are pretty damn stingy with that stuff.

I hope they are a good employer to work for, because I just may give in to this spending urge soon and I don't want to support a sweatshop. I have to think that in order to keep the obviously highly-skilled workers they need, they must be doing relatively right by them.

w-o


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: iancarterb
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 07:41 PM

I play an Eastman 2-point (model 805), the compromise between the A shape and F shape, that I went out of my way buy just before retirement from my day job in '07. I am constantly glad of it. I played all the A and F mandolins they make, and liked all of them, loved the 805. Eastman has made cellos and basses for decades, and you'll hear some at any symphony orchestra performace. They have therefore been making carved top intruments from good wood for low world $ cost for decades. When the Chinese let their currency float they will cost more. I think the ratio of price to Gibson or Collings or the like is 3 or 4 to 1 for similar quality. Lifetime warranty on workmanship - you won't get burned.
Carter


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Rog Peek
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 09:05 AM

Thanks for your comments folks, I,d say i'll be making a trip to The Acoustic Music Co. in the very near future.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 09:45 AM

I've got an Eastman 615 it's LOUD, I love it.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: PHJim
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 02:37 PM

A few years ago, knowing that I was looking for a new mandolin, my friend Al told me about a used Gibson A for $1200 at the Twelfth Fret in Toronto. I took my Washburn and went down the next day. I had never heard of Eastmans (Eastmen?), but when I saw them I took a 605(A style f hole) and my Washburn and the Gibson into one of the back rooms and played the same passages on each mandolin. The Eastman blew the Gibson away and it was $300 less expensive. I've been playing it for three or four years now and I love it. My only complaint is the reverse tuners. I always wind up loosening the strings when I'm trying to tighten it. A very minor complaint.


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: MickyMan
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 04:25 PM

I'm a school orchestra director who has had very good luck with Eastman cellos, so that probably speaks well for your mandolin venture. The company is quite well established now, so I doubt it would have sweatshop conditions, although nobody can be sure these days.


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: mandotim
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 03:03 AM

They make fantastic archtop jazz guitars as well.


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Brother Crow
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 06:09 AM

Eastman mandos are excellent value for money, try a few though, as they all have different tone...and they usually could do with a set up, but nothing to worry about...

The only negative for me (and this is a purely personal thing) is that I find the neck a touch narrow...it's 28mm at the nut, and I prefer a 30mm...

Oh, and the Acoustic Music Company is excellent...Trevor will see you right....

Good mando hunting,
Graeme,
Brother Crow.


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 10:01 AM

I have an Eastman 815, a higher end F-5 style model. Mine is X-braced though they are/were available both with X bracing and the parallel tone bars favored by most bluegrass players. I've had mine for nearly four years and it just keeps sounding better as it ages. It's loud and sweet with plenty of woody tone, not thin sounding like so many of the inexpensive Pac-rim mandolins.

As mandotim said, “Experimenting with string gauges and pick types allows you to draw a good range of tones from them too...” I started out using D'Addario J-75 strings but now have moved to the Gibson Sam Bush monel set for a darker tone.

Most Pac-rim instruments on the market come from a few large factories. There are far more brands than there are makers. But Eastman instruments are made in a single shop where only Eastman instruments are made. Their original products were hand-made violins. At some point they realized that their craftsmen were skilled at making carved top instruments and decided to add mandolins to their output. Now they've added archtop guitars as well. All tops are hand carved and I think all their instruments are of solid tone woods, not laminates.

There is a fellow in Friendsville, TN, Steve Perry, who has made quite a business of improving the tone of Eastman mandolins. As Gianna Violins, he's also a large Eastman dealer with great prices if you call him. I always intended to have Steve "MandoVoodoo" my 815 but I'm a procrastinator and haven't done it yet. But in the time since I got the idea, my mandolin has improved so much that I may forego the process. I'm still on the fence with that.

For the serious player, I'd really recommend spending the extra money and popping for a model 805. You'll want the longer neck joined at the 15th fret and the better grade tone woods. Also the boxed ivoroid binding and Ebony veneer on the back of the headstock are very attractive.

I replaced the tailpiece on my 815 with a James Tailpiece. They are cast as well but they have a more traditional look and, most importantly, make changing strings soooo much easier. If you're a serious player, you'll want one of these sooner or later. I also added a King Brown mandolin arm rest to my 815 to protect the finish and to keep my arm from muting the top of the mandolin while playing.

Good luck and let us know how yours works out.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 12:11 PM

You won't go far wrong at TAMCO. I my experience, the sound of the Eastmans doesn't necessarily improve the higher specs/price you go for. You simply get a fancier instrument. Many of the lower end models sound just as good.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 12:50 PM

I have played a couple of Eastmans at MacKenzie Music here in Eugene, and I must say I have been impressed by their tone and playability. I'm not so sure about the look of their sunburst finish, it doesn't look quite right, but on the whole, if I had the dough, I would definitely buy one. Their archtop guitars are also impressive, and lately I got to play some of their flattops, and I must say I was blown away by the sound, not to mention the price.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Rog Peek
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 05:12 PM

Thanks for all the advice. Purchased an 804 A style Oval hole from The Acoustic music Co. I've had it for a couple of months now, love it, so pleased I got it.


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 05:16 PM

My nephew has an F Model which he likes.

Don


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Subject: RE: Eastman mandolins, anyone tried one?
From: Spot
Date: 18 Jan 10 - 06:26 PM

Hallo everybody..

I have a 515 bought maybe 2 years ago for around 500 English pounds.. Good value for money I thought , at the time... Sounded ok, felt good and satisfied my F-style cravings. BUT... the finish quality really let it down - it would literally fall off in lumps, making it look really tatty far to quickly. I say tatty and not "age distressed" for a good reason... There is a huge difference!! ;-) It got to the point where it looked so bad I took blades and things to the wood and 'properly distressed' it in a couple of days.. ;-) It now looks so much better but the process has taken away some of it's mellowness.. I'm a bit sick about that but, there you go.. I should have had it professionally refinished ... The best of it is, my son's nicked it off me and I haven't seen it for a year.. bugger!!

Regards to all, as always.... Spot :-)


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