Adding to their line-up of archtop, thinline electric and acoustic guitars, Eastman also keep other members of the string department happy by pumping out quite a few models of ukuleles, banjos and mandolins. With the country and bluegrass scenes still thriving, the mandolin has also had somewhat of resurgence.
WHAT THE F?
An F Style Mandolin, the MD515 features a carved solid spruce top and carved maple back and sides with a maple neck and ebony fingerboard. In a ‘classic’ finish, this little beauty has a deep dark stain that exposes the grain nicely. An extra mention also for the ‘Ivoroid’ body and neck binding, which does a tasteful job of giving that Ivory look (but of course is an artificial celluloid material), adding some classic old school vibe without any of the issues involved with Ivory. The body shape and build seem clean and well finished, and the whole package comes in a hard-shell styled gig bag/soft case.
Tonally the MD515 has plenty of spark and is fundamentally bright and snappy. Great for cutting through a band mix or edging into bigger ensembles. This mandolin projects quite well but isn’t overly loud. Straight out of the case the 515 felt comfortable to play and the intonation and tuning seemed quite good. Bluegrass and country players will like the punch and resonance, and the carved top and f holes make for some nice sustain with both chords and single note runs.
Whilst there is much debate as to the pros and cons of ‘F’ styled and ‘A’ styled Mandolins, for me there’s no denying the look of an ‘F’ Style with its scroll edges and fl owing body shape and headstock. Eastman has continued to push their affordable quality angle and really hit the mark with the MD515 for a punchy, bright live mandolin.
Hits and Misses
Bright and punchy
Not super woody and warm
• Body Dimensions: 26-11/16” x 10” x 1 7/8”
• Top Wood: Carved Solid Spruce
• Back/Sides Wood: Carved Solid Maple
• Neck Woods: Maple
• Neck Length: 6 15/16”
• Fingerboard: 12” radius ebony
• Frets: 23 Jescar FW37053
• Inlays: White mother-of-pearl
• Case: Hardshell vinyl case