The MD515-CS is identical to the MD515 except for the "Classic Sunburst" finish.
About the 500 Series
Eastman's 500 Series are the next step up from their popular 300 Series. Available in the F-style MD515 and the A-style MD505, these mandolins have the same great build quality and tone as the 300s with a few notable upgrades:
Full gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish
Cast, nickel-plated tailpiece
Back and sides with more flame and figure
Like most other Eastman mandolins, the MD515 and MD505 have a Sitka spruce top, maple back and sides, and ebony fingerboard and bridge. All tone woods are hand carved to ensure a consistently light, open build with great tone.
Eastman's build quality and attention to detail are excellent, especially compared to similarly priced mandolins.
By using high quality materials and employing a level of hand craftsmanship not normally found on mandolins in this price range, Eastman consistently produces instruments that sound amazing and are a pleasure to play.
Eastman mandolins have a big, woody tone with lots of volume and projection.
Many beginner and mid-level mandolins are heavy and overbuilt with thick, plasticky finishes. This makes for a cheaper instrument but tends to result in a thin, tinny sound with little character or resonance.
In contrast, Eastman's 500 Series mandolins have a light, open build and thin nitrocellulose finish. These qualities, combined with the hand-carved woods and skilled craftsmanship, give Eastman instruments a warm, gutsy tone that you can feel as well as hear.
A radiused ebony fingerboard and careful fretwork make for a mandolin that has better playability than anything else we've seen at this price point.
The out-of-the-box setup is excellent, but we're always happy to adjust the mandolin to your preferences.
F-Style or A-Style?
F-style mandolins are more popular with country and bluegrass players, while A-style mandolins are preferred for Celtic and classical music.
A-style mandolin are less expensive than equivilant F-style mandolins because they require significantly less labor to build.
Tonally, we don't think there's a big difference between the two body styles. The points and scrollwork of an F-style mandolin are mostly solid wood and (in our opinion) have little to no effect on sound.