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  1. #1

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    Hi all, I was looking around for prices as I plan on purchasing a Eastman 503 archtop, after a bit of a disappointing experience with the Epi 175, pretty much come to the conclusion I like them much better in all respects. I had pretty much ruled out the 371 from Eastman because I like the smoother cut out and style of the 503 a bit more.

    Then last night I went to LA Guitar Sales and here pops up an AR380 Eastman, sure looks like a beautiful guitar! And the price is spot on for me.

    Only thing is it has two pickups but overall sure looks like a nice guitar in the photos. Never heard of this model and would like to know if anyone here has seen one?

    Or if anyone owns one? Any opinions or information sure is welcome, can't find to much on them so far...


    Eastman AR380CE John Pisano-eastman-ar380ce-john-pisano-jpg

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  3. #2

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    Ooglybong has one.

    What are you looking for? Those 3 Eastmans are all very different. The 503 and 371 are on pretty opposite spectrums.

    503 = 25" scale, carved top, 2.5" deep
    371 = 24.6" scale, laminate top, 3.25" deep
    380 = 25" scale, laminate top, 3.25" deep
    Last edited by spiral; 12-21-2014 at 05:26 PM.

  4. #3

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    According to postings I've seen, the 380 is all laminate maple 16 X 3 5/16, but every site seems to have a different scale length and nut width.

    The 580 is carved maple top, laminate back and sides 16" X 2 9/16", 25" scale and 1 3/4" nut. The 580 seems to have the same specs as the 503, but with slightly better looking wood. I have a 580 and agree with Jack that is sounds a tad wispy without much bite or thunk. It does have a nice acoustic tone, better I thought than the 503.

    I've changed out the pickup to a Gibson 57 without much improvement. So I think this one will turn into the "pickup experiment" model. Maybe a Charlie Christian design or a staple, just for grins but probably a KA hand-wound.

  5. #4

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    specs are all over the place on this. Mine has a 3pc mahogany(ish) neck and rosewood(ish) fingerboard. Neck heel is glued on. Pickups are extremely weak. Less than 1/2 the output of a traditional PAF. I found that the guitar doesn't have a huge amount of character. What I've noticed in my travels is that the older wood really does make a difference. This guitar sounds like a new guitar to me. It's a pretty sounding instrument but it doesn't speak to me. It appears to be slightly less than 3" thick , 16" wide and a 1 3/4 nut. I find the nut width to be too wide. I'm not sure why it became the rage to have the wider neck when the best jazz fingerpickers such as pasquale grasso, peter mazza, tuck andress handle 1 11/16 just fine. I feel that the width and neck depth on this guitar make it slightly uncomfortable to play if you have small hands. Scale length feels like 24.75" but I didn't measure.

  6. #5

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    Hi!
    Have been thinking about buying Easman guitar fo some time, but i live in a country with no official Eastman dealer so i only can buy used one. And one guy here is selling his Eastman AR380CE John Pisano signature (basically it is the only Eastman electric on sale in whole country right now lol) for like $1100 and i'm not able to play it before purchasing. Guitar is really beautiful from what i can see on the internet and it looks like a nice option to me (cosidering that i can't think of any other avaliable alternative besides Ibanez PM2) but i have some second thoughts.
    So my question is what do you think about that guitar? Been looking at ES-175 style guitar, love the sound and style of it, and this guitar happens to be very similar (its only thinner, i believe). I am more into bassy, mellow sound. My reference points in terms of sound are Jim Hall, Joe Diorio, Metheny, if talking about old school guys and Gilad Hekselman and Kreisberg if talking about new generation.
    I am assuming John Pisano is an old school guy, so how flexible is this guitar in terms of sound? How does it cope with more modern sound?
    Thanks!

  7. #6

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    It's well-made, comfortable and most I've played are easy to play, a good choice for the money. It's electric and hollow, so you should be able to get a nice warn sound out if it with a good amp.

  8. #7

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    Hi there,

    I own this model. It is a great guitar in my opinion. Very light weight and the pickups do provide some nice low end. It has a great neck and fretboard. Never tried a real Gibson ES-175 so I can’t compare for you. As for versatility I think it is only (or at least best) straight ahead clean old school jazz. Check out some videos of John Pisano as this guitar really can do this sound very well.

    Cosmetically it is wonderful but the color of mine is much redder than a friend of mine’s is but it plays so well and sounds great so it really doesn’t matter. Hope this helps!

  9. #8

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    extremely different guitars. The eastman has a very thin top and a response more like a hand carved archtop . It's a much lighter build than the 175 which is a thick top, very heavy build. The eastman will feedback more but will have a more delicate and complex sound where the 175 will have a more electric sound, more sustain, less feedback and that typical thunky midrange. You won't get thunk AT ALL from the eastman. I would say that in terms of consistency, the eastman would be your best best. Gibson 175s are one of the most inconsistent guitars.

  10. #9

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    The Eastman 380 is a great guitar. Good price too.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    extremely different guitars. The eastman has a very thin top and a response more like a hand carved archtop . It's a much lighter build than the 175 which is a thick top, very heavy build. The eastman will feedback more but will have a more delicate and complex sound where the 175 will have a more electric sound, more sustain, less feedback and that typical thunky midrange. You won't get thunk AT ALL from the eastman. I would say that in terms of consistency, the eastman would be your best best. Gibson 175s are one of the most inconsistent guitars.
    Thanks for the answer. English is not my native tongue, so i'm sorry, but what exactly do you mean by "thunky"? And how what would you say about getting the tones for players i described in the starting post?

  12. #11

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    john pisano replaced jim hall in hall's first band-the chico hamilton quintet...he also was joe pass' right hand man...great player...

    im not an eastman fan, but the pisano model is the exception...and 1100$ is great price!!!..almost too good...make sure seller is good and will accept return

    luck

    cheers

  13. #12

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    Jack Z nailed the description of these guitars. I used to own the JP880 model. Very nice light 16" archtop with a very thin top and back to produce an acoustic response.

    ES-175 depending on year or model can vary quite a bit in light build to very heavy laminate construction . I prefer the heavier builds of the late 1980s to more current models
    Although they do build a Historic lighter build that's quite nice in on way!

  14. #13

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    Thunk is the mid range honk you get out of a great 175. It's a term I've coined but it seems to have stuck and is now widely used to describe this kind of smokey, dark, mid-rangey tone that the 175 is famous for. You won't get this out of the eastman guitars. I've heard it from some older guilds and also the seventy seven guitars.



  15. #14

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    I played one once and thought it was a terrific guitar. Easy to play, nice and light. Very responsive, but not at all like a 175. Jack was right about that.

    The Eastman would make a great solo or duo guitar. You can milk a lot of nuance out of it. You might be able to use it with a rhythm section if you stuffed enough foam in it, but as it is I think it would be pretty feedback prone. That's what light, lively and responsive guitars do.

  16. #15

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    Guys, sorry for my questions, but this is the video that should have been added to the starting post. Peter Bernstein's sound (right audio channel) is exactly the tone i'm in the search for right now. Bassy, mellow, thick. Is eastman fine for that kind of tone?

  17. #16

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    From a practical point of view, if these guitars are hard to come by in the op’s area, and considering the price, there doesn’t seem to be much down side in trying one.

    I’m a fan of the brand and have bought three used Eastman acoustics. One day I hope to try one of their arch tops.

    Good luck to the OP.

  18. #17

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    Bernstein plays a boutique solid carved top model. The Eastman is about as close to that as you can get from a moderately priced factory guitar. Considering that there are few other options open to the OP, I would advise going for it. It's all well and good to recommend every make and model we know about, but if they aren't available to the OP, it's a waste of everyone's time.