READ WHAT THE PRESS IS SAYING ABOUT EASTMAN GUITARS & MANDOLINS
JOHN PISANOS GUITAR NIGHT – “THE HANG”
Among musicians there is an informal gathering known as “A Hang.” It could be as simple as a couple of musicians getting together to play, talk, or have a bite to eat. Or, it could be a place where a great many musicisians congregate, and this place becomes known as, “The Hang”.
MMR OCTOBER 2013
Though they’ve been an industry leader in violins and band instruments for decades, the Eastman Music Company has quietly built a reputation for dependable archtop guitars and mandolins. Recently, the company has doubled down on efforts for its guitar segment, introducing a new line of flattop guitars. The move is setting the company up for a breakout year as it evolves into a manufacturer of six-stringed sleeper hits.
Musical Merchandise Review
MMR MARCH 2013
NAMM Foundation’s SupportMusic Coalition marked 10 years of music advocacy with a live webcast form the convention. The event featured performances by Latin Grammy nominated jazz guitarist, music education advocate and former N.Y. Yankee Bernie Williams and the a cappella vocal group Take6.
Musical Merchandise Review
A DECADE OF MUSIC
Eastman Guitars celebrated 10 years of guitar-making at this year’s NAMM Show, and the company’s booth was buzzing. Qian Ni, president of the Eastman Music Co., was encouraged by his conversations with the retailers, distributors, media and even other manufacturers who stopped by. “I think people are noticing our commitment to build something special,” Ni said. “And with dealers taking full notice of that confident shift, everyone’s energy, excitement and belief in the brand is rising.”
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A DECADE OF EXQUISITE ARCHTOPS
The guitar division of Eastman Music Company celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2014. Until 2004 a guitarist searching for an archtop guitar like those played by the jazz legends had to be rich, take out a loan, or settle for an inferior copy. That dilemma ended a decade ago when Eastman began selling high-quality archtops for a fraction of the price of the period’s competition. “A new day has dawned on the world of carved-top jazz guitars,” declared Guitar Player magazine, and other reviews followed suit. Writing about the Eastman AR371CE, Premier Guitar raved: “…plays like a dream, and has a rich, complex sound that will satisfy the staunchest jazz purist and the most adven-turous rocker alike.”
When players think of premium, steel-string, acoustic guitars, a few American builders names frequently top the list, followed by a number of builders from Europe and to a lesser extent, Japan. But China? We’ve seen the world of electric guitar manufacturing transformed in this nation, but there’s rarely been a conversation about acoustic guitars coming from China. Eastman Guitars will definitely force you to have that conversation, as the AC708CE instrument reviewed here rivals anything you’d find coming from the big American names.
AR810CE & AR805CE
It should be obvious to anyone reading this review that a new day has dawned on the world of carved-top jazz guitars. Despite whatever minor cosmetic flaws may dog some Eastman guitars, the fact remains that these instruments look, play, and sound more or less like guitars costing up to ten times as much, and that is no doubt leading to more than a few high-end manufacturers casting wary glances over their shoulders. Whatever the outcome of that soul searching may be, one thing is for sure: If you have longed for a professional quality carved-top jazz guitar, but lamented the prohibitive prices, your day is finally here.
AR371CE – PREMIER GUITAR “PREMIER GEAR” AWARD WINNER!
Happy in a wide range of jazz approaches, the AR371CESB lends an authentic voice to everything from Freddie Green-style strumming to Jim Hall legato lines and Derek Bailey-inspired free improv. Naturally, selections from the classic Yes catalog also sound great on the guitar. And no matter the technical demands, the guitar is uncommonly play-able and truly a joy to handle…The Eastman AR371CESB might look like a Gibson ES-175 clone, but it’s a great guitar in its own right. It’s lighter and louder than the average hollowbody electric, plays like a dream, and has a rich, complex sound that will satisfy the staunchest jazz purist and the most adventurous rocker alike. Best of all, with a price tag under $700, it’s a value that’s nearly impossible to beat.
The guitar broadcasts a rich jazz tone that’s a bit more complex than what you typically hear from a laminated thinline. …an attractive, alternative twist on the classic, laminated semi-hollow formula. The slender neck and slightly slimmer body make it fast and easy to play. And the all-solid-wood construction and Seymour Duncan pickups generate a deeply resonant voice that’s delightfully full of range and musical possibilities…the solid-wood construction—which adds to the price—does seem to pay sonic dividends. The refreshing design guarantees you’ll cut a unique profile on stage too. And given the plethora of tones lurking within the T185MX, this may be the only guitar you’ll ever need in a stage situation. That kind of versatility can be hard to sum up in dollars alone.
The E60M has “classic OM” written all over it…Tonally, the guitar had the brightness that can be expected from a mahogany OM, and it was matched with a lovely fullness, complexity, and elastic dynamic range. Like all good OMs, the guitar was equally at home with fingerpicking or flatpicking. Players looking for authentic OM sound and feel at a budget would do well to check this one out.
Jazz is this guitar’s nature. The sound is bread-and-butter hot-club tone—basically the acoustic sound of the guitar warmed over just a bit. A tube amp with even EQ settings revealed the transparent quality of the pickup. As when played unplugged, the amped guitar featured no stinging highs or harsh mids, just pleasant mellowness and low notes that ring deep with complex overtones. Exploring the upper reaches of the fretboard can be done without fear as the intonation is solid… Searching for something wrong with the guitar, I thought the list price might have been a mistake: it seems a little low for a guitar of this build and beauty.
THE EL REY
The El Rey exhibits thoughtfulness and inventiveness in design, and the builders in Eastman’s factory in China must execute construction with great care to produce a quality-crafted guitar that looks and feels quality-crafted. For the list price the El Rey offers ample bang for the buck, being a very playable, attractive guitar that can produce wonderful tone in numerous jazz contexts … long may it live.
Eastman certainly isn’t as well-known a name among guitar players as legends like Martin or Gibson, even though the company offers a pretty impressive line of both acoustic and electric guitars. We checked out one of the company’s E10D flattops and were pleasantly surprised, if not almost shocked… If you’re in the market for a new acoustic, the Eastman E10D is definitely a guitar worth checking out.
The Eastman MD915 is an F-style mandolin that has gained a reputation as a dependable top-of-the-line mando that isn’t a Gibson and, compared to many, is reasonably priced. We recently tried one out and were impressed with some of the instrument’s features…the company definitely makes formidable instruments and has a variety of mandos that might suit your taste and pocketbook if this one doesn’t. So check out the MD915 as well as its siblings.
This is an exceptionally well-balanced, lightweight instrument that really hits the mark in the slimline stakes…its solid wood construction and hand-carving, together with the classy Alnico Kent Armstrong pickups, give it a build quality that may cause some of the competition to take a deep breath and return to the drawing board.
AR905SCE UPTOWN DELUXE
One such builder that consistently proves its commitment to quality is Eastman Guitars, and a shining example is the AR905SCE Uptown Deluxe….As always, the proof is in the pudding, and this is where the pudding sometimes gets sticky for overseas manufacturers. With hollowbodies there is no place to skimp; for the Uptown Deluxe, skimping was never an option. From the moment the case is opened, the guitar’s quality is evident – the finish, the construction, and the playability are all exceptional. And the Uptown sounds as great as it looks and feels…Such versatility underscores the fact that the Eastman Uptown Deluxe is comparable to some of the best hand-built hollowbodies on the market.
Vintage Guitar (September 2013: Vol. 27 No. 11)
No sooner had I gotten it in tune than I found myself happily serving a two-hour sentence just having a heck of a great time playing guitar. It wasn’t even plugged in…This guitar has the kind of tension you want in a jazz box—tension that lets you dig in and make a chunky chord really pop or artfully articulate lead lines… This guitar rings loud and sounds good acoustically, and that tone translates nicely through an amplifier. Through a variety of amps the AR371CE delivered a controlled low-end and a cutting midrange that’s paradoxically still mellow—call it a soft punch… An affordable jazz box that’s hard to beat.
…the AC708CE instrument reviewed here rivals anything you’d find coming from the big American names…The Eastman Grand Concert Series Acoustic-Electric guitar is a great acoustic guitar, worthy of consideration by any serious musician in need of a premium acoustic electric instrument. It offers excellent playability with outstanding craftsmanship and cosmetic detail…Consider us impressed…From a workmanship, construction and materials standpoint, this guitar offers nothing short of a professional level instrument.
* * Coming soon MusicPlayers.com (AC722CE Grand Auditorium A/E)