The Eastman MD815 is a high-end mandolin that combines an impressive sound with an astounding look and finish. The MD815 is simply brilliant in so many ways. This instrument is a long-term investment, as it will serve you and the next generation to come, growing in value each year.
Table of Contents
I’m a music composer and producer with several years of experience producing folk, rock, classical and soundtrack music. I’m a big fan of the mandolin, as this instrument always brings a unique and natural sound to any track or song.
Join me in this deep dive into the Eastman MD815 mandolin where we will explore every important aspect and feature of this mandolin.
About the Eastman MD815
The Eastman brand is very well known in the mandolin community, and the general consensus is that most Eastman mandolins are very well made with a great deal of care and attention to detail.
Most mandolins made by Eastman take inspiration from vintage mandolins from the 1920s. The design might remind you of The Loar mandolins, but much more glossy and spectacular. Eastman mandolins combine astounding looks with a great sound and years of dedication to finding the best tonality possible.
The Eastman MD815 is the Ferrari of mandolins. This model combines a vintage design with a high-gloss varnish and a beautiful flamed maple texture. The MD815 is a really a wonderful instrument when it comes to design.
But this model is not only looks, as the sound is also top-notch here. Most Eastman mandolins are handmade, which is apparent by their incredible sound quality.
The MD815 is a high-performance and fully professional instrument for a reasonable price. It might be tricky to maintain sometimes, but it’s certainly worth your money and time.
The Eastman MD815 has a very robust build. This model has carved solid Adirondack spruce for the top and carved solid highly-flamed maple back and sides. The mandolin is very well balanced, which makes it very comfortable to play.
The signature Eastman flamed maple back is always a good addition. This is probably my favorite feature of the MD815, as it really adds to the overall value of this model and makes it look really professional.
This mandolin also comes with gold or nickel plated hardware along with 3-ply binding on the headstock and body, which also has side binding. The nitrocellulose lacquer finish gives decent protection to the MD815 and also helps to show off those beautiful maple patterns.
The Eastman MD815 is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest instruments I’ve ever seen.
The MD815 has a high-gloss hand-applied oil varnish with a classic sunburst finish, which gives this mandolin a classic look and sound. The looks are inspired by vintage mandolins from the 1920s.
Some models might have a darker, almost satin finish. This might depend on the year of production.
I personally like the darker version much more, but it depends on the personal preference of the player.
The neck and fretboard is very responsive and comfortable. The MD815 comes with a two piece “V” shaped neck, which adds to the overall comfort of the instrument.
The Eastman MD815 comes with an adjustable compensated ebony bridge. Here it’s a little higher action than typical mid/high range mandolins. After some adjustments I worked out any problems, at least for my MD815.
As I mentioned before, the MD815 has an option to choose from silver or gold hardware. Here’s where the MD815 really shines in my opinion, as silver or gold hardware really adds to the “wow” factor of this mandolin.
See also: Best Mandolin Tuners
Pros & Cons
My Experience with the Eastman MD815
I got my Eastman only a few years ago, and I’m really enjoying it so far. I really think that the MD815 is a solid battle-proven instrument for professional or semi-professional players.
I used it mostly for some recording sessions but I also used it in live shows a couple of times. I think it performed very well in both, as the loud volume of this model can cut through any instrument or ensemble.
I must admit that what attracted me to this instrument is the design. I’m a huge fan of gloss/semi-gloss finishes with noticeable maple textures to them. This type of finish really feels like a precious gem compared to more classic mandolin designs.
But what sealed the deal for me is the sound. The Eastman MD815 is famous for its high-quality sound, and the MD815 is a descendant of many other Eastman mandolins that evolved through the years.
Eastman MD815 Review: The Sound
The sound is very bright and clear. This mandolin has one of the loudest and clearest projections I’ve ever heard.
Some of the things some mandolin players complained about is the thin chop of this instrument, which could be compensated for by adjusting the bridge or changing the strings.
Overall, the sound is what you’d expect from a high-end mandolin made for professional use, with that signature Eastman definition and brightness. The MD815 has quite a balanced tone, which makes this model very versatile. It could be used for folk, bluegrass, classical music and many other musical styles and genres.
However, to get the most out of the MD815, you might consider a proper setup. This might take some time, but it’ll certainly be worth it. As happens with most high-end mandolins, it requires a little maintenance at the start that will continue to be required all the way through its lifetime.
But in my personal experience I had little trouble with my MD815. Of course, this may vary depending on your playing style and routine.
Eastman MD815 Warranty
Most Eastman mandolins are covered by a lifetime warranty, which is also applied to the MD815. But this may vary according to the retailer, as some might have special deals with Eastman.
Where to Buy the Eastman MD815
Eastman mandolins are rather popular nowadays, but not all stores and websites have them in stock. Here we’ll explore some of the options we have.
Amazon is a world leader when it comes to online retail. This is probably because of the highly accessible nature of the website and the huge selection of any type of product. This includes acoustic instruments such as mandolins.
One of the most useful features on Amazon are the customer reviews. Here is where you’ll find real opinions from real people. If something is badly made, you’ll know it if you check down below the product page, where the customer reviews are located.
But Amazon is not the only online retailer on the market. Nowadays more niche retailers have appeared on the web. This is where Amazon can’t compete, as Amazon is a more general type of retailer.
When searching for a rarer instrument, such as a mandolin, it might be worth checking specialized websites that sell acoustic instruments like violins and violas. Some mandolin models could be found in smaller luthier shops and guitar stores that have their own websites.
If you’re looking for a good mandolin, I recommend checking websites like SweetWater.com and GuitarCenter.com, as these websites offer a decent selection of acoustic instruments from a variety of brands.
Your Local Store
It’s sometimes difficult to find a specific model in your local store, as the selection of instruments might be limited. To find a decent selection of mandolins you might try a very big music store or any store that specializes in mostly acoustic instruments like violins and contrabasses.
One of the advantages of going in person is that you can spend hours in the store, trying out different models. Playing the instrument yourself is always better than buying blindly online, as you’ll see all the pros and cons firsthand.
The Eastman MD815 is an easy choice if you’re looking for a high-end mandolin without spending too much. I personally think that MD815 stands in a perfect balance between quality and price. With some more expensive mandolins, you get more decoration and slightly better hardware without adding too much to the sound.
In the few years that I’ve owned my MD815, it has worked like a charm without much trouble. The Eastman brand has years of experience and it really shows in this model, which has earned the respect of most mandolin players I meet.
The Eastman MD815 is a very good investment, and I’m sure it’ll increase in value with the passage of time. Right now it’s sold for a very reasonable price and stands as one of the best mid/high range mandolins on the market.
Thank you for reading this review. If you have any doubts, feel free to drop a comment about your experience with the MD815 and Eastman mandolins in general. If you really liked this article, please share it on the social media of your choice.
Stay safe, and as always, good luck with your sonic adventures!