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  #16  
Old 06-08-2019, 01:53 PM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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Bluemonk, I understand your point. Ah, unfortuntaley I have no way to play the Eastman and the Loar before buying! Maybe, I will buy the Loar and, if my interest on archtop guitars will grow instead of fading, I will sell the Loar and upgrade to an Eastman....
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  #17  
Old 06-08-2019, 03:47 PM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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Originally Posted by gerardo1000 View Post
Bluemonk, I understand your point. Ah, unfortuntaley I have no way to play the Eastman and the Loar before buying! Maybe, I will buy the Loar and, if my interest on archtop guitars will grow instead of fading, I will sell the Loar and upgrade to an Eastman....
Sounds like a good plan. Best of luck.
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  #18  
Old 06-08-2019, 07:29 PM
Mark L Mark L is offline
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I would buy the Eastman, and I would look for a used one in the 800 series.
Check Reverb.com and Guitar Center used.

GC has a 45 day no questions asked return period, and I’ve used it a couple of times with zero negativity coming from the GC staff.

Reverb has more stuff coming through from a wide variety of sources, from private to huge retailers. Some have return policies.

Used Eastman archtops are among the best buys in guitars, period. For that matter, so are the E series of flattops. You have to be diligent in your inquiry and ask the right questions, of course. As with any maker, there are better and worse examples of a style.

As for Loar, their higher end stuff is, well, just ok, imo. I ordered a low/mid end from GC, in “new” condition, to be picked up at the local GC. I opened it there as I usually do upon receipt, and it took me well under 5 minutes to hand it back to the counter guy and get my full refund, no questions. They even refunded the shipping, based on the poor build quality. It was a Loar in the $350 range, but still, the build and qa/qc was just shy of appalling.

Sum: I’d go used Eastman 805, with or without cutaway/electric.

Fyi, I play fingerstyle 60-70%, flatpick 30-40%. If you’re going to play an archtop unamplified, I suggest a flatpick, or use a lighter gauge for finger style. If you’re going to plug in, heavier gauge (12’s or up) can work really well for fingerstyle too.

Good luck Gerardo!
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  #19  
Old 11-05-2021, 03:38 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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What's the news here?

I'm debating the same question; spring for an LH-650 or something like an AR805CE if I see an affordable used one. Me too I plan to fingerpick mostly acoustically, I'll take the pickup along with the cut-away and maybe use it if I decide to join the local school jazz/blues class.

Note that the later AR805CEs have a fixed instead of a floating pickup, and 2 controls fixed in the top rather than to the fingerrest. That's bound to affect their acoustic voice!

EDIT: is the AR805CE X-braced? Interestingly I heard a comparison video the other day of 2 luthier-build L5 copies by Cranmer Guitars, one X-braced, one parallel braced. I think I prefer the sound of the parallel braced one...
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  #20  
Old 11-05-2021, 06:18 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJVB View Post
What's the news here?

I'm debating the same question; spring for an LH-650 or something like an AR805CE if I see an affordable used one. Me too I plan to fingerpick mostly acoustically, I'll take the pickup along with the cut-away and maybe use it if I decide to join the local school jazz/blues class.

Note that the later AR805CEs have a fixed instead of a floating pickup, and 2 controls fixed in the top rather than to the fingerrest. That's bound to affect their acoustic voice!

EDIT: is the AR805CE X-braced? Interestingly I heard a comparison video the other day of 2 luthier-build L5 copies by Cranmer Guitars, one X-braced, one parallel braced. I think I prefer the sound of the parallel braced one...
Hi, just looked at both of their websites. On "The Loar" I can't see the LH650.

On the Eastman site the AR805 and AR610 are listed under carved "electrincs.

Essentially, if you want 'lectrics, then have a floating p/up on an acoustic , carved top,
If yuo have a p/up screwed to the top, it is NOT an acoustic guitar.

Remember that Gibsons built to take screwed on p/ups had something resembling a fence post glued inside to kill the acoustic resonance and reduce feedback issues.
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  #21  
Old 11-05-2021, 06:49 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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Good distinction (I suppose).

The LH650 has been discontinued, maybe all the x50 models in fact. The 650 is a 600 with cutaway, a floating Kent Armsttrong pickup and a C or D shaped neck.

As to the original question ... I've seen a couple of used Elferink archtops go for about 1800 euros on Reverb. Now that were real bargains; those guitars are in a completely different league... In other words, after having seen those I have a hard time accepting the idea that a used Chinese "factory" built instrument could cost a similar amount new and deprecate comparably as a luthier-built instrument...
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Last edited by RJVB; 11-05-2021 at 12:21 PM.
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  #22  
Old 12-10-2021, 11:45 AM
coder coder is offline
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Default Eastman AR503

Do not overlook the Ar-503. I consider it the sweet spot for an acoustic archtop, with its solid carved spruce top, lam sides and back, Ebony fingerboard, and its high quality, single floater pickup.
It is a bit longer scale than a Gibson, at 25", and the 1.75" nut is a nice touch.

I can't emphasize it enough how beneficial is to set up the intonation correctly. The floating bridge that it comes with, is compensated for non-wrapped G, so that not going to sound right with the 12Ga or heavier strings people are likely to put on it. One good solution is to put on a tune-o-matic style hybrid floater. You can buy a Graphtec or graphite or micarta ready made saddle, that fits onto the existing posts. I find these having superior note separation and clarity.

The hybrid bridge makes it easy to dial in the compensation precisely for the actual strings used. This is easier than carving/filing a new compensated saddle. Dialing in the intonation for the preferred strings makes a surprising difference IMO. Onnce set up, you can play any chord anywhere and they all sound good. This has a bonus "gestalt effect", that you will perceive the guitar overall as "much better". Btw my preferred string on this are either Thomastic 12Ga flats, or 12Ga Pyramid flats.

Swapping out the tuners to something better than the Chinese Kluson clones, or whatever Jinho tuners it comes with, and swapping out the volume and tone knobs to something understated, like simple ebony makes this an irresitable guitar. One thing I hate about Eastman's usual tuner setup is the way they are installed to follow the curve of the headstock, (they set the tuners "perpendicular" to the curve, resulting in the buttons beiing too close together). Swapping out the tuners is an opportunity to fix that as well. so that the tuners are perpendicular to the neck's centerline instead.

If there is interest I can post some pics, of how it looks with the above tweaks.

Last edited by coder; 12-10-2021 at 11:56 AM. Reason: typos
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  #23  
Old 12-10-2021, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coder View Post
One good solution is to put on a tune-o-matic style hybrid floater. You can buy a Graphtec or graphite or micarta ready made saddle, that fits onto the existing posts. I find these having superior note separation and clarity.
meaning you don't have to bother replacing the bridge itself and getting that to match the top's curvature exactly?
The OP mentioned a Loar LH-600 ... do these replacement saddles exist for that make and model? Are they good for purely acoustic playing too (= they're not a lot heavier than the original)?
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  #24  
Old 12-24-2021, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coder View Post
I can't emphasize it enough how beneficial is to set up the intonation correctly. The floating bridge that it comes with, is compensated for non-wrapped G, so that not going to sound right with the 12Ga or heavier strings people are likely to put on it. One good solution is to put on a tune-o-matic style hybrid floater. You can buy a Graphtec or graphite or micarta ready made saddle, that fits onto the existing posts. I find these having superior note separation and clarity.
I’m an archtop rookie. I’d appreciate some discussion on how to handle the floating bridge. The Eastmans I’ve seen has a straight saddle, but if the G string is plain, it should be compensated differently than the D. Anyway, not sure how to put a tunomatic on as a floating bridge
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  #25  
Old 12-25-2021, 03:14 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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You could start by tuning the guitar down enough that it becomes easy to move the bridge (take it between thumb and index, try to lift it with the other fingers and move it. You can also use those other fingers of one hand to anchor the left or right end in order to pivot it.

This way, you can set up compensation yourself. Get a good tuner that shows you how many cents a string is off compared to whatever note it's closest to and then tune the low, then the high E. You want the harmonic at the 12th fret to be pure, and the note when stopping at the 12th fret to be to close to pure as possible (= within ±5 cents). If the stopped note is too low, move the saddle closer to the nut, move it further away if too high (keep the strings well centred on the fretboard!). If the low E is done, take care of the high E, anchoring the saddle on the bass side.
When both strings are intonated well enough you can check the others and again after tuning back up; if the saddle is correct every string should now be intonated properly.

My Loar 650 has a compensated saddle but I still find myself with the bridge at a small angle after doing the set-up this way.

The easiest way to replace the saddle would probably be to get one that fits on the height adjustment bolts in your bridge; I'm guessing that Eastmans are popular enough that someone makes replacement, compensated saddles for them. Adjusting a new bridge to the top is probably going to be a whole different story.
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  #26  
Old 12-25-2021, 06:47 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschultz View Post
I’m an archtop rookie. I’d appreciate some discussion on how to handle the floating bridge. The Eastmans I’ve seen has a straight saddle, but if the G string is plain, it should be compensated differently than the D. Anyway, not sure how to put a tunomatic on as a floating bridge
I put one of these bridges on my Eastman. The adjustable saddle did not fit the post spacing of the original Eastman bridge base. It's not hard to fit an arch top bridge base to the top.
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  #27  
Old 12-25-2021, 09:25 AM
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Ah I see. I feel like I’ve done that before, but all the hollow body Gretschs I’ve owned have been pinned. That Stewmac bridge would sound great, but no doubt loose some of that archtop character aesthetically.
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Last edited by rschultz; 12-28-2021 at 10:43 AM.
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  #28  
Old 12-26-2021, 05:04 PM
Big Band Guitar Big Band Guitar is offline
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I have the AR610.

Yes, save up and buy it.
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  #29  
Old 12-27-2021, 04:38 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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I considered a 2nd hand AR605ce (the 16", cut-away + pickup version of the AR610) for a while, but I'm glad I didn't shell out the extra money. I found a barely used Loar LH-650 that cost me less than half the price of that Eastman. It is so unused it apparently never had a set-up (but did a fugly custom fingerrest hiding some interesting scratching in the finish).

That Loar already doesn't scream "hey I'm an archtop and sound so very different" when I close my eyes and listen to myself playing, it simply sounds like I want a guitar to sound. But after all remarks about how bright Eastmans can sound, combined with the X-bracing I fear I might have been disappointed by a sound that's too close to that of my flattop. Esp. in an instrument that costs so much more.

YMMV of course, and I don't doubt that the workmanship is of higher standard than what you typically find in a Loar guitar. But if I was going to put down the price for a *new* Eastman I'd probably save up a bit more (*if* needed) while on the waiting list for an Elferink or Cranmer instrument.

For me, it's as with Chinese food. It can be very good, sometimes even beat local makes ... but it should be a lot cheaper
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  #30  
Old 04-11-2022, 11:23 AM
coder coder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJVB View Post
meaning you don't have to bother replacing the bridge itself and getting that to match the top's curvature exactly?
The OP mentioned a Loar LH-600 ... do these replacement saddles exist for that make and model? Are they good for purely acoustic playing too (= they're not a lot heavier than the original)?
Correct. As long as the post spacing is correct, the foot of the bridge can be left alone. Swapping the top of the bridge is possible on any guitar where the post spacing of the foot is a match.
I cannot hear any negatives playing unplugged. I think the tune-o-matic is a bit heavier than the original top of the bridge, but you will not hear a difference acoustically (unless you have an overactive imagination) .
One thing I forgot to mention: A smaller sized archtop is a lot easier to hold and play than a full size jazz box, like the uptown 900 series eastmans. I have actually sold an otherwise super nice 910 series Eastman, for this reason.
To me, it is eaither the 503 series, with a carved spruce top, or if I wanted an ES 175 style guitar, I would do the AR-371 ( fully laminated top, just like the Gibson). Both superior to the Loar imo.
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