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  #1  
Old 12-12-2017, 03:44 PM
Cameleye Cameleye is offline
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Default Eastman archtops anyone?

I'm wondering how our jazz guitar playing members feel about this company's archtops. Do those of you who have them find them equal to the task? How do Eastmans compare to other similarly built models? Are these guitars a "best buy"?
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:15 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Most of their models are "budget Benedettos." If you like that sound, they're great. Noce, high quality instruments.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:17 PM
Big Band Guitar Big Band Guitar is offline
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Default Good value

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Originally Posted by Cameleye View Post
I'm wondering how our jazz guitar playing members feel about this company's archtops. Do those of you who have them find them equal to the task? How do Eastmans compare to other similarly built models? Are these guitars a "best buy"?
I use a AR610 17 inch acoustic with a clip on microphone. I play with a couple of 16+ piece swing bands. I like it far better than my 1968 Gibson ES175.

It gives me that pre-bop swing band sound.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:28 PM
Mark L Mark L is offline
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They vary from good to excellent. Try to find something in the 800 or 900 series. very well built by hand from good woods.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:17 AM
Wengr Wengr is offline
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I have a John Pisano AR880. I like it. Frets and some of the finish work I find cheesy.
However, no structural or geometry issues like I have experienced with numerous gibson archtops.
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Old 12-14-2017, 01:01 PM
Cameleye Cameleye is offline
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Thanks for the replies. Been practicing jazz on my Martin flattops and was thinking its time to consider an archtop. There's an 800 series Eastman available locally that's caught my interest, is why I was asking.
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Old 12-14-2017, 01:29 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameleye View Post
Thanks for the replies. Been practicing jazz on my Martin flattops and was thinking its time to consider an archtop. There's an 800 series Eastman available locally that's caught my interest, is why I was asking.
Those 8-900 series are really nice.

Acoustic archtops are quite a different beast...people associate the plugged in, magnetic pickup archtop sound with those classic, wrm, jazz tones...but the acoustic tone of an archtop is anything but dark!
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Old 12-16-2017, 09:19 AM
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Livingston Livingston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
Most of their models are "budget Benedettos." If you like that sound, they're great. Noce, high quality instruments.
Agree with Mr. Beaumont's comment.

I have an AR503CE. I think it it has a wonderful tone and I love the fit and finish. Love the shape and playability of the neck.

I would say Eastmans are a great value.
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Old 12-18-2017, 08:03 PM
Cameleye Cameleye is offline
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Livingston, how do you find the acoustic tone of your 503?
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:53 PM
Backcountry Backcountry is offline
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I have a scratch-n-dent sale AR371CE ($500) that I immediately removed all the electronics from, down to the jack, and replaced with high quality components and a Benedetto B6 pickup. The guitar plays and sounds fantastic.
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:18 PM
amyFB amyFB is offline
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I've got the AR605C and am quite pleased with it. Sure I"ve played way nicer ones, but, I didn't find my self compromising very much on tone and the price was friendly (compared to the way nicer ones!). here's a link to my NGD post ....http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...ighlight=amyfb
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Old 12-20-2017, 02:08 PM
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Livingston Livingston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameleye View Post
Livingston, how do you find the acoustic tone of your 503?
Great question. Really had to give this some thought. When I think of acoustic tone, I don't really think about electric archtops in the same way as I think about acoustic flattops; and I'm not very experienced with acoustic archtops.

The "unplugged" tone of the AR503CE is bright, punchy, lacking in a complex resonant bass and in volume. This combined with no real acoustic overtones creates a sort of thin acoustic tone. I'm sure the parallel bracing contributes to this as well as the laminated maple back and sides...not to mention the PAF pickup directly mounted to the surface of the solid spruce top.

I personally would never perform with the guitar unamplified; I don't think I would even perform with it mic'd although I have never tried that. I do play it unplugged all the time, when I am practicing at home. But, even in the smallest setting, I will always play through an amp relying on the top mounted PAF pick up to achieve what I think is its tone by design.

In other words, I think the AR503CE was designed to be played as an electric archtop and not as a purely acoustic guitar, in my opinion.

I do love it's amplified tone. Very warm, full, complex tones. I use fairly sturdy gauge (.014, .018, .021, .028, .039, .053) Thomastik flat wounds to drive the top. I think it sounds wonderfully, through the right amp.

I sure hope this answers your question. If you are in search of your next guitar, best wishes in your quest!
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Old 12-20-2017, 04:00 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livingston View Post
...The "unplugged" tone of the AR503CE is bright, punchy, lacking in a complex resonant bass and in volume. This combined with no real acoustic overtones creates a sort of thin acoustic tone...I use fairly sturdy gauge (.014, .018, .021, .028, .039, .053) Thomastik flat wounds to drive the top...
A couple thoughts:
  • The middle three strings in your set are about what you'd expect to find on a Gypsy guitar, and IME that .053 low-E is borderline except with the most lightly-constructed archtops - try a more traditional 13-56 set (Martin Retro MM13 Monels might be a good choice - "slinkier" playing than other mediums, but paradoxically with higher tension to drive the top harder) and see if the acoustic tone improves;
  • Make sure the bridge base is making full contact with the top (if you can get a piece of paper more than about 1/32" under the base at any point you need to have it fitted) - a poorly-fitted bridge base is one of the biggest tone-suckers in the archtop world, and most makers at this end of the market don't take the time to perform this critical step;
Hope this helps...
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Old 12-23-2017, 10:41 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Until recently I owned an Eastman AR805e. I also own a 1934 Gibson L-4.

The Eastman is, of course based on Gibson archtops, but the tone is very different. The '34 L-4 was designed as a hard hitting rhythm box for dance bands. It responds less well to a gentle touch. The Eastman is more lightly built, more responsive and can be played "hard" or gently - it is a more "musical" tone. In many ways I wish I still had it.
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  #15  
Old 12-23-2017, 02:42 PM
icuker icuker is offline
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I am using Retro Monels on my Eastman 810 and really like them. I wasn't as happy with it when I used other types of strings. Now I'm playing it all the time. I also think it has great action, plays real smooth.
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