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Eastman make some excellent mandolins, but we're particularly partial to their Varnish series, which feature a lustrous varnish finish just like you'd see on an Eastman violin. Those finishes have been used for centuries on bowed instruments, since their minimal nature allows the tonewoods to sing out to their fullest, and the idea is the same on a mandolin, where the lighter varnish gives the instrument just a touch more pop than you might hear if it were to have a nitrocellulose finish instead. Eastman also relic their varnished mandolins, giving it a super cool, played-in look to accentuate some of the natural imperfections in the varnish. But beyond just the finish, the MD-515/V sports all the fantastic sound that bluegrass mandolinists yearn for, with a choppy, tight midrange and crisp highs thanks to some excellent hand-carved spruce and maple . Included in the price is an Eastman hard-shell case.