Eastman's 300 Series includes the MD315 (F-style) and the MD305 (A-style). These are the most affordable mandolins in Eastman's lineup thanks to their basic appointments and satin finish, but they still offer the same excellent craftsmanship and tone as Eastman's higher end mandolins.
All 300 Series mandolins have the following features:
Hand-carved, solid wood construction
Sitka spruce top with maple back and sides
Radiused ebony fingerboard
Heavy duty padded gig bag
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's 300 Series mandolins have a big, woody tone with lots of volume and projection.
Many entry 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 mandolins have a light, open build and minimal 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.
While there are certainly less expensive mandolins on the market, it's tough to beat the MD315 and MD305 when it comes to overall value.
If you're looking for an instrument that will grow with you and won't need to be replaced as you get better, the 300 Series is for you.
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.
The Next Step Up
For players seeking the optimal balance between quality and affordability, it's hard to go wrong with the 300 Series.
If you're looking for something a little more dressed up then you should check out Eastman's 500 Series. These mandolins feature the same tonewoods and build quality as the 300 Series but with upgraded appointments, a full gloss finish, Schaller tuners, and a hardshell case.