Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Mandolin Advice

Hi Ben
I’m shopping on eBay for a used mandolin. Looking at a 2016 Eastman md 605 (A style) with built in pick up and a 2017 Loar LM 500 VS (F style). They both look like new and are bidding at about the same price. Which way would you go? Thanks.
Larry Roland

I’m not Ben, but I’ll try to help you with my two cents.

I’ve never played either one, but if they are equal instruments in build and finish and the prices are nearly the same, I would most likely go with the Eastman. Since you’re buying online and don’t have a chance to play either one, I would feel safer with the Eastman. If you bought it and didn’t like it for some reason, I think it would be easier to re-sale and you wouldn’t be out as much. Also, all I ever hear about Eastman’s is good (not just from our little site here, but everywhere). On the other hand, I haven’t heard anything bad about the Loars, I just simply don’t hear much about them at all. They may be great instruments, but I think the Eastman would be a safer buy without physically seeing or playing either instrument.

As far as the pickup goes, that means absolutely nothing to me. In fact, I would rather not have a pickup in any instrument… but that’s just me. You buy whatever you think would make you the happiest and fulfill your needs in the best way.

Good Luck and let us all know what you decide!


Hey Larry! You’re going to get more for your money with an A style mandolin. The MD605 is a great mandolin and assuming there are no issues with it, it’s a better mandolin than the Loar (nothing wrong with the Loar). I guess you need to decide if you want the A or F look :wink:

Thanks for the info. I went with the Eastman and am very pleased.

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Just ordered Loar LM 310 F for my daughter from Ben’s factory! :slight_smile: