We love K&K pickups for their rich, natural acoustic tone and minimal design. The Mandolin Twin is passive, so you'll never have to worry about batteries dying or needing to be changed.
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.