The mandolin as we now recognize it came about as the result of the convergence of two forces in the late nineteenth century – the influx of Italian immigrants to the United States and the formation of the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company.
The instrument in its more European form was brought to the United States with the wave of Italian immigrants in the 1880’s and 1890’s. The Neapolitan bowlback mandolins made in Italy first gained popularity in the vibrant “Little Italies” that sprang up in American cities.
As the demand for these instruments spread out of the cities and into the countryside, Orville Gibson’s newly formed company seized on the opportunity and began producing mandolins with carved tops and backs rather than the multiple stave Neapolitan designs. With the help of Lloyd Loar, Gibson’s company perfected the archetypes of mandolin design. The F5 and A5 f-hole and F4 and A4 oval hole mandolins became the model upon which most instruments are still designed.
In the 1930’s Bill Monroe’s “Blue Grass Boys” introduced an entire genre of music that derives its name from his group. The F5 mandolin has remained the iconic symbol of Bluegrass music to this day. Eastman mandolins are accurate reproductions of these early instruments. Slight alterations to the original designs have come as a result to listening to the input of professional musicians, expert luthiers and knowledgeable independent retailers. Eastman mandolins have earned the respect of the most discerning musicians in the world and are considered among the world’s best.