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  #1  
Old 11-20-2018, 03:05 PM
colder colder is offline
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Default Eastman Archtops

Anyone have experience with the Eastman jazz boxes? I'm interested in anything that any of you might share about the whole range - laminate, solid wood, etc. How you like them, how the build quality is, how they compare to the competition in general, particularly the higher end ones.

Thanks! Only one place to try them out locally, and their selection is decent but only a few hollow bodies.
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Old 11-20-2018, 04:22 PM
drive-south drive-south is offline
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Check out the archtop subforum. Lots of love for Eastman archtops there.
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Old 11-20-2018, 07:32 PM
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I think Eastman makes some really great products. I currently own 2 x Eastman archtops - an AR503CE and an AR603CE-15.

First off, I think you will find that Eastman makes a nice selection of archtops and semi hollow guitars, ranging from laminated tops and backs to fully carved instruments. They also seem to be fitting the guitars with nice quality hardware including Kent Armstrong pickups. In all, they put together very nice instruments at a very reasonable price, making pro level guitars attainable to even the novice player.

I also like that Eastman uses a nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Definitely requires more care and is a little less durable than polyurethane but it really allows the guitar to resonate more naturally.

I've heard some negative comments about Eastman's cases. I bought my AR503CE in 2015 (only 3 years ago) and I will say that the case is not as sturdy as the cases that have come on my Taylor guitars. In contrast, I purchased my AR603CE-15 earlier this year and the case that it came with is fantastic. So, I'm not sure if Eastman have upgraded their cases across the board, or if the cases vary depending on the price point of the guitar.

One negative I experienced with the AR503CE is that the first couple of years the neck seemed to be a little unstable. I found from season to season, I had to adjust the saddle height and truss rod more than any other guitar that I own. Having said that, it seems to have finally stabilized in that I have not had to adjust the neck or saddle height for more than a year.

Over all, I am very please with my 2 x Eastman archtops. Really a great value for the money in my opinion.
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Last edited by Livingston; 11-20-2018 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:03 PM
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I recently got a cherry condition used AR810ce and I am so happy with it. The unplugged tone is quite good but plugged in the tone is heavenly. The build and finish quality are very good and the case is good/adequate. Eastman seems to have their act together with archtops.
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:50 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Hi, I bought an Eastman AR805 (e) in 2007 when I was a a year or so into my arch top "journey". If I remember correctly, I had to wait a year or so for it.

I really wanted a fully acoustic version, but was advised to get one with built in elecs and for some reason I opted for the classic finish rather than sunburst.

When it finally arrived the finish was far more red than anticipated, and to my acoustic brain, it really looked like an electric.

Needed some minor set up work, but sounded great acoustically and plugged in.

The glass fibre (?) case is very profound but heavy and just loves to break kneecaps.

My intentions of learning Western swing and American songbook material didn't ... materialise so it didn't get used much and I traded it for a Waterloo in November 2016 thinking, why am I trading a perfectly well built arch top for a basic Kalamazoo copy?

So, I missed it immediately.

2017 was a horror year for me, so no action on guitars, but this year, I saw an AR805 on eBay - all acoustic and sunburst! I made an enquiry.

It had been in storage probably since about 2008/9 and had suffered extremes of heat etc., giving it a weathered look not dissimilar to my '34 Gibson, but it sounds great.

Of course, it came with that case which is in the attic now and the guitar lives in a case intended for one of those new Epiphone arcbtops.

Soundwise it is far "rounder" tonally than my Gibson which is a real percussive rhythm box.

Here it is compared to my Gibson and my Harmony

[YOUTUBE]rmABigrIqVY[YOUTUBE]


For some reason embedding a yt video won't work on my Mac Pro, so please see this :https://youtu.be/rmABigrIqVY
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:56 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:58 PM
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:26 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Thanks John, still trying to make my mac book work!(It's weird!)
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:54 PM
MCDEMO1 MCDEMO1 is offline
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I was able to get a B-stock 880 Pisano from Bernunzio a couple of years ago.
The back woods are not a perfect match and there is what looks like hardened maple syrup for finish on the F-holes, but the setup and fretwork is spot on and it sounds great. Nice pickup and hardware too.

This model is a thinner body, but it still projects nicely unamplified.

For the price I paid I'm very happy. The only other archtop I've had a chance to play was an old Vega and it was in sad shape.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:23 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I've been impressed by pretty much every Eastman I've ever had my hands on, except for their ES-175 copy, the 371, which I didn't like --bad pickup, bad setup, sharp frets, just felt "cheap," which is NOT how I've felt about other Eastman's I've played.

The general Eastman archtop aesthetic is the modern "Benedetto" style...I'm not as big of a fan of this style of archtop unplugged, they sound a bit nasal and stringy to me (I prefer the more vintage sound of the Loar archtops as far as modern, Chinese made budget minded archtops go) but plugged in they can be quite nice. Nice woods, well made, go check 'em out, I bet you'll like 'em.
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Old 12-20-2018, 01:01 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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I agree with Jeff Matz, above.

I have an Eastman 910CE. It's a beautiful guitar, and I feel guilty for not having spent enough time with it. But I really don't care for the unplugged sound; plugged into a really nice, clean tube amp it sounds heavenly. To me, this is as good an amplified sound from an archtop guitar as I have ever heard.

I should do more with mine because it's a wonderful jazz guitar. But playing jazz guitar for me is real work. I can do it, but I need to put the time in. Other kinds of pop and folk-rock types of things just fall into place so easily for me, that if I take the path of least resistance, I just don't take the time to do my homework on learning jazz oriented music. But I should.

Maybe that will be my new years resolution, to spend more time learning the American Songbook on my wonderful Eastman archtop.

- Glenn
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Old 12-20-2018, 07:31 AM
Wengr Wengr is offline
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I have a John Pisano 880. The fit and finish is good, not great, and I would say the same about the woods.
However for me personally it has a great feature set and great aesthetics.
Over all, especially at the used price points, I can't imagine more guitar for the money.
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Old 12-20-2018, 08:15 AM
nkatsonis nkatsonis is offline
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I have a 371. I agree with Jeff about the pickup. It's nothing special. I replaced it with a Fralin P90 in a humbucker housing. Wouldn't say that it's a Gibson killer, but, as modified, it's a nice guitar at a still reasonable price.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennwillow View Post
I agree with Jeff Matz, above.

I have an Eastman 910CE. It's a beautiful guitar, and I feel guilty for not having spent enough time with it. But I really don't care for the unplugged sound; plugged into a really nice, clean tube amp it sounds heavenly. To me, this is as good an amplified sound from an archtop guitar as I have ever heard.

I should do more with mine because it's a wonderful jazz guitar. But playing jazz guitar for me is real work. I can do it, but I need to put the time in. Other kinds of pop and folk-rock types of things just fall into place so easily for me, that if I take the path of least resistance, I just don't take the time to do my homework on learning jazz oriented music. But I should.

Maybe that will be my new years resolution, to spend more time learning the American Songbook on my wonderful Eastman archtop.

- Glenn
I signed up for the Martin Taylor Fingerstyle course on Artistworks and I’ve sent Martin my first video and working on learning about 10th intervals up and down (and across the neck). Should be fun because it’s jazz box material but applicable to any guitar.
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Last edited by SprintBob; 01-01-2019 at 10:29 AM.
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  #15  
Old 01-30-2019, 12:56 PM
Klatu Klatu is offline
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If you get one of the good ones, it's likely to be as good as anything out there but there are inconsistencies being that they are hand made guitars. I've played a number of Eastmans that have had issues with bad fretwork, neck humps, etc.

You may have to kiss some frogs before finding your prince.
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