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Old 10-05-2018, 02:52 PM
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Livingston Livingston is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Parker, CO
Posts: 4,131

Hi GM,

I recently purchased an Eastman AR603CE-15. I've had it for a couple of months. I realize that my guitar is different than the guitar you are looking for in that it has only one pickup and the xCED has two pickups. Also, mine has a 15 inch lower bout...not sure if the xCED is 15 inches or 16 inches. Mine has a rosewood fretboard; the xCED has an ebony fretboard. I believe all else is the same...solid woods; spruce top, mahogany back and sides.

I really love my AR603CE. This is my second Eastman archtop (I also have a AR503CE). The spruce top and mahogany body along with the Kent Armstrong top mounted PAF produces a very warm amplified tone. The 15 inch lower bout and 2-3/4 inch depth make the guitar very comfortable to hold when standing. I find Eastman necks to be relatively slender and very easy to play, even with my small hands and I love the 1-3/4 inch nut width.

I've owned my AR503CE for maybe about 3 or 4 years now. My main criticism is that I find I have to adjust the bridge height from season to season, more so than my other guitars. Having said that, now that I've gone through 3 or more years of season changes, the neck seems to be stabilizing, so maybe this is a none issue.

I do like that Eastman uses a lacquer finish instead of a polyurethane finish. While I like the durability of PU, lacquer seems to let the solid woods resonate more freely.

I find that the top on the AR603CE is sensitive enough to use light gauge strings. I've been using Thomastik Infeld .013, .017, .020, .027, .037, .050 with wound G string. Acoustically, the sound is louder than other small body archtops I have played, but the shallow depth probably contributes to a brighter, more brittle acoustic sound than a full sized acoustic archtop. Plugged in it has a very warm, clear, jazz guitar tone.

Overall, I'm very pleased with both Eastman guitars and feel like you get a lot of guitar for the money. The hardshell case that is included in the price is very nice also.

Good luck in your search and let us know if you end up buying an AR603CED.

Best regards,
“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself”
— Miles Davis.
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