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  1. #51

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    One of the main reasons we have a love/hate relationship with Gibson is because so many of our favorite musicians used them. We want to emulate or come close to that sound that we associate with jazz and other music. I don't think that Gibson wants to change a successful formula like the ES-175 too much, it will become something else.

    I wonder if the greats would have played Eastmans if they had been available at the same quality they are now. That would be telling. What are today's greats playing, that's what will be really popular down the road.

    As far as cost, you can buy a good used car for what a Gibson costs new, same as in the 50's.

    This argument is really based on what we perceive a jazz instrument should be, not really based on empirical formula.
    Your mileage may vary.

    I think if the new Ibanez had been available in the 1950s at the quality and price-points they are now, we wouldn't even discuss Gibson or Eastman, except as oddities. That's my perception.

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  3. #52

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    I had the chance to play the new laminate John Pisano model and was impressed. I'm pretty sure the new Pisano is the same guitar with fancier appointments. You should try the AR371-2CE (or AR372CE, which is the same). I've been playing it a lot in the last couple of weeks, and am happier every time I pick it up.
    Just so you know at what level I play, I'm a semi-pro Swing, Blues, Rockabilly, Jump Blues, etc... player and I teach Swing Guitar Workshops. I have had L-5's, Super 400's, New York Epi Zephyr Deluxe Regent, New York Epi Triumph Regent, several Kalamazoo Epi's (Casino, Riviera, Broadway Deluxe), Tele's, ES335's, Les Pauls, Goodall & Martin Flattops, Westerly Guild X160, Etc...Etc...
    Additionally, I have several Eastmans which are all my go-to guitars (except the Guild and the Teles for Rockabilly & Blues) My current lineup is an AR805CE for Swing, a T186MX Semi-hollowbody for Blues, and the AR372CE for Jazzier stuff. I love my Eastmans!

  4. #53

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    I don't think the subject has been beaten into the ground as long as newbies ask the question.

    That said, I have 175 copies, and they're well... copies. If you get a 175 you like, I doubt you'll get the same playing experience a 175 will give you.

    In addition to a 175 I have a 575, and other copies and enjoy them all especially my Korean D'Angelico guitars but the 175 stands apart. Players complain about the price of a Gibson, but the "good" ones are worth every cent, if you don't think the one in your hands is a "good" one it's simple don't buy it?

    Let's see how many clone manufacturers copies being made today:

    1. Are still in business
    2. Have guitars are being sold on EBAY.
    3. Are still in production 60 years from now like Gibsons have been since the 50's.

    I won't be alive in 60 years but maybe archived pages like this one may prove that the heirs of today's 175 owners think we made a good choice today.
    Last edited by GNAPPI; 11-09-2013 at 10:38 AM.

  5. #54

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    To each his or her own. If you love your 175, keep playing it, but just so you know where this is coming from, I have been playing professionally and semi- pro for over 50 years. I have owned and/or own a very large cross section of professional quality archtops, semi hollow bodies, and Tele's, and hi level flattops. Included are Gibson Super 400's, L-5's, New York (1950-53) made Epiphone Zephyr Deluxe Regent, Truimph Regent, Kalamazoo made Broadway DeLuxe, Riviera, and Casino's etc. (the Riviera, made by Gibson in Kalamazoo, had the bridge permanently mounted so far back that it could not be intonated), several Gretsch guitars including a 50's (real American) Electromatic, 50's Country Club, etc., Guild X160 'Rockabilly' Model Martin 0028 EC (Eric Clapton Signature model), D-18, Goodall Concert Jumbo Cutaway, and, well, I'm sure you get the idea. I have played in pro Blues, Americana, Swing, Western Swing, Honkey-Tonk, Bluegrass, Irish, Appalachian Old Time Bands to name a few I have not owned a 175, but have had many occasions to play them. I was taught to close my eyes when choosing a new guitar, and, if it's electric, to play it unplugged first. If a guitar (even a solid body) doesn't sound good unplugged, no amount of fancy electronics can fix it. These are the reasons I play Eastman guitars. NOT because of the lower cost.Eastman guitars are made in the Eastman factory in China. They do not make instruments for any other brand. Their instruments are all handmade by very skilled luthiers. The hand carved models have EXACTLY that; hand carved, solid backs and tops. They are the only factory in China to build like this. I hate to break this to you, but Eastman guitars are superior to most recent Gibsons. I play Eastmans almost exclusively, except for a Westerly, R.I. Guild X-160 for Rockabilly & Honkey-tonk type stuff. My recent acquisition of the AR372CE has perfectly filled the gap I had for a newer top mounted humbucker (ES175) laminated 16 " guitar. It is in no way inferior to the ES175. Do yourself a favor and play a few Eastmans before you start bad-mouthing them or putting them in a category with overseas made budget guitars. AND get someone to hand you guitars so that you can play them with your eyes closed. The name on the peghead doesn't mean much any more.You will be surprised what you wind up choosing when you're not looking!Sadly, Gibson guitars have gone vastly downhill in recent years.

  6. #55

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    Swingcat, I didn't see anyone bad mouthing Eastmans or any other guitar for that matter or being critical of you. I agree with you 100% about playing unplugged, and most of what you said above.

    And you are completely correct about the peghead, I have far more off brands than Gibsons, lets face it we're talking 60+ year old technology that has only gotten better.

    One thing I stand by that I said, let history see what is what 60 years from now. You never know, my Korean D'Angelicos could buy a Ferrari !!!

  7. #56

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    Hi Gary,
    I guess I was a bit harsh about the "bad mouthing" thing. You are likely correct about which guitars will be worth a lot in 60 years. However, don't we actually want to be happy with what we're playing through those years?
    I'm not one to buy a guitar just because it will be worth more some day. I want my reward NOW!!
    I was actually trying to make the point that Eastmans should not be lumped in the category with most other Asian guitars. Made in their own factory, they are far superior to most of the other Chinese and Asian made guitars.
    BTW, I had a (I think Korean) D'Angelico Les Paul style guitar, and it felt definitely very high-classed in comparison to other similar guitars. I don't know and couldn't tell you why, but it definitely felt super deluxe. Unfortunately, I just don't seem to get along with LP style guitars.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul J Edwards
    I have never played a Gibson that sucked as bad as what some guys describe here.
    Not that it's not true just have not seen it.
    When I am ready to spend the cash I will definately check it out closely.
    I agree. I too have been very disappointed in some new (not used) guitars I've handled from Gibson but I vote with my money. If more people did that there would be a change of pace over at the assembly lines, likely along with a rise in price :-)

    Often a simple setup will cure most issues I've found on new Gibsons, but should a setup be required on a premium brand? I don't think so.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swingcat
    Hi Gary,
    However, don't we actually want to be happy with what we're playing through those years?
    Yes, definitely. My son will have to deal with the value of my stuff someday :-)

  10. #59
    I have a Eastman Mosrite copy it's awesome The sound, finish, good low action design is right up there with the best, I'd by another Eastman with no regrets would like to get a es175 copy. Gibson's are WAY over priced, the quality been gone sense the late 70's I am 70 years old been playing sense I was 15 ( 1962 ) I know the guitars that's came and gone.

  11. #60

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    I have an Eastman 371CE and a lovely 90s ES-175. I can compare them for the sake of this thread, but let's start with the price. $625 for the Eastman and around $2300 for the ES175. That in itself should bring the conversation down to what are you looking for and what you want to spend.

    Certainly there is no way to quantify that the ES-175 is almost 4X better then than the 371CE.

    I really love both. The Eastman has a great feel, craftsmanship is fine, it is really light and responsive. The original hardware is more than adequate, I've had no desire to change anything.

    The ES-175 is really beautiful, aesthetically the wood and work is wonderful. Acoustically it is less responsive and weighs much more then the 371CE. The neck and fret work on the ES-175 is far better then the 371CE stock. A light touch on the ES-175 is all that is needed. In all fairness I have not had any fret work done on the 371CE other then a basic setup.

    If all I could afford or if all that was available to me was the Eastman it would be more than fine. It can be very musical and inspirational.

    For what it is worth, although they have similar shapes, the sound is different enough between the two that I cannot say a 371CE sounds anything like the Gibson.

    You could say the Eastman is a good value or you may say the Gibson is over valued. It is just nice to options.

  12. #61

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    Had a 371, a 165, and a 175,

    The Eastman was a nice guitar, but very different sound from the Gibsons. Not bad by any means, just different. Much lighter construction, brighter tone.

    for the price, it's a great deal. However, I have a peerless that is a better instrument. If I were looking for an affordable jazz box, I'd get a set humbucker peerless monarch.

  13. #62

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    Hi I picked up my Eastman AR372 CE yesterday and am very happy with it. A great sounding guitar!!!! I think the point is that if the quality of the guitar actially worth the money you paid for (obviously). If I'd found a nice Gibson ES175 (and had extra money) I would have been more than happy to purchase that guitar. I'd played couple of nice (and not so good) Gibsons before I've made up my mind and the question that I asked myself was that "does the quality difference btw an Eastman and Gibson guitar actually worth +$1000-2000 (or more) extra cash?" Please don't get me wrong, most Gibsons were very good in general, and maybe worth the pricetag, but I thought the price gap between the two guitars did not match the quality difference. I thought the guys here answered your question overall so I thought I would share my personal experience. Good luck with your journey

  14. #63

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    Hopefully Sphereacidburn's journey had a happy ending since it's been 7 years since he posted his query.

    For those who are still interested, I have a 2012 Custom Shop '59 VOS ES175. This guitar has settled the controversy for me, as I have owned a couple of Eastmans but didn't keep them for long. It's my opinion that Eastman's quality has improved over the past few years, as the two I had were made 12-15 years ago and left much to be desired. I also bought an '06 335 which was much better than the several others I had the opportunity to check out, since I was teaching at a great guitar shop at the time. The one I bought sounded and played great but had some cosmetic defects that annoyed me, and which I erroneously thought I could ignore. In the end I was still aghast at the lack of QC and ended up selling it to help raise funds for a Benedetto Bravo.

    Back to the VOS 175: 2 months after buying this instrument (found it at rainbowguitars.com), going through a couple of pup changes (finally landing on a Duncan Antiquity, thanks to Lawson Stone's recommendation), I find it to be one of the best guitars---in terms of tone, playability, and craftsmanship---I've ever owned. I once had a real, vintage '59 175 and the VOS even surpasses that one, the original PAFs excepted. From what I can tell, Gibson's reputation for their lack of QC has forced the prices of their superb VOS instruments to come down. The one I bought from Rainbow was NOS and they had dropped the price by $1000 by the time I got to it, which put it at $3495. Still pretty high but I seriously doubt I'll ever need to look elsewhere in the future for a laminate-top, single pickup jazz box that lives up to the Gibson legend that was forged during their golden years.

  15. #64

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    As I've previously stated in several similar threads, I have no interest in acquiring an overpriced, poorly crafted Gibson. IMO, they simply don't represent a good value.

    That being said, I have played an ES175 as well as an Eastman AR371 and a Peerless Gigmaster Jazz 175. Both the Peerless and Eastman 175 clones have a street price around $1000. Both are very well crafted. Both played and sounded great.

    It should be noted that each of the three instruments sounded unique and different from the other two.

    In addition, my Heritage H575 Custom (all solid wood) which is essentially an ES175 is absolutely perfect in every way and sells for around $3000 which is about $2000 less than an ES175!

  16. #65

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  17. #66

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  18. #67

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    +1 on the '59 VOS ES-175. I have other choices, and mine has become my main gigging axe.

  19. #68

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    I'm seriously shopping for a 175, did you VOS owners compare your guitars with anything from the early 70's? I think the switch to a 3 piece maple neck took place around '75 or '76, and I'm more interested in the mahogany neck. I'm looking at a few things on Reverb.com right now, there are some affordable early 60's guitars, some cheaper with a headstock repair, as well as some mid and early 70's models. I know that from the late 80's forward, the lams got thicker and heavier, and that the VOS is thinner and more true to the originals, but I wonder if that makes them more sensitive to feedback?

    Also, I hate to sound picky, but the vintage guitars from the 50's through to the early 80's have a rounder profile in the upper bout, that the VOS doesn't get quite right. If you look at pics of the VOS, there is more of a straight in junction of the upper bout to the neck than the vintage models, which somehow just bothers me. They can't have used the same exact forms as the older models, or even the 70's. I really like the curves from the earlier models.

    I don't get to play anything before buying, living too far from metropolitan areas, so I'm trying to maximize my chances for acquiring a great sounding, stable guitar that looks as great as it plays. The VOS is a consideration, and at a couple hundred less than a decent looking early 60's 175.

    Your experience is appreciated. And, I'm not interested in a heritage or eastman. I have an L5, GB10 and Sadowsky JH. I'm not looking to save money so much as get a great 175 without paying 50's prices.

  20. #69

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    The VOS 1959 ES 175 has a one-piece mahogany neck. Mine is really, really, really nice. My 1999 ES165 is also nice. I don't think many ES175/165s were made with the 3 piece neck. All the ones I've seen, including my own, are one-piece mahogany.

    Also, for fun... my Loar LH650... has solid, hand-carved top, back and sides and a solid, one-piece mahogany neck, ebony bridge and ebony fingerboard.. and I paid less than $1000 for it!

  21. #70

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    Hi, Lawson, do you think you could play the VOS at the volume that jonathan kreisberg plays? His is from the 70's, likely with a heavier lam construction, possibly a 3 piece mahogany neck, hard to nail down anything more specific than that. I love my sadowsky and my L5, but really want an archtop with a bridge pickup, plus have always loved the classic 175 tones, as varied as they can be. The bridge pickup on the GB10 is pretty worthless, as great a guitar as that is.

    I have a chance at a tele custom that I've been looking for as well, that is hard to pass up, as the black ones are hard to find! But I would probably play the 175 more.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by yebdox
    Hi, Lawson, do you think you could play the VOS at the volume that jonathan kreisberg plays? His is from the 70's, likely with a heavier lam construction, possibly a 3 piece mahogany neck, hard to nail down anything more specific than that. I love my sadowsky and my L5, but really want an archtop with a bridge pickup, plus have always loved the classic 175 tones, as varied as they can be. The bridge pickup on the GB10 is pretty worthless, as great a guitar as that is.

    I have a chance at a tele custom that I've been looking for as well, that is hard to pass up, as the black ones are hard to find! But I would probably play the 175 more.
    I have no idea. I have never heard Jonathan Kreisberg play. I have played mine through a Polytone Minibrute pretty loud. I also always, for every guitar, get a pair of "Doug's Plugs" which are hand-shaped f-hole plugs that to miraculous things for a guitar's tendency to feedback, and look great too. They indirectly improve tone because since I don't have to adjust my EQ to prevent feedback, i can actually find the best tone for the guitar without that factor playing a role.

    But to your question, I have no idea. I do love this guitar and have owned a previous ES175, a Heritage Golden Eagle, currently have ES165 and a Matsumoku-made Aria PE180 (L5ces clone) for comparison, for whatever that's worth.

  23. #72

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    Thanks, difficult question to answer, I haven't heard him live either, but I'm assuming it's fairly loud, if he's playing with Dr. Lonnie Smith. He (along with Gilad Hekselman, Rosenwinkel and a few other younger players) uses some processing and overdrive at times, something I never do on the neck pickup of an archtop, although I love playing blues and fusion on les pauls, strats and 335s. So, having an archtop with a bridge pickup is intriguing and the 175 is the best candidate.

    I'm leaning towards the VOS only because a newer guitar may be more reliable with fewer issues to sort out.

  24. #73

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    Set your price and then buy with your ear.

    I have a 15 year old Gibson ES175 that is extremely well made and finished. I also have an Eastman 805CE that I bought new and has aged wonderfully (needed a Benedetto 6 to make it a keeper and not a POS). I also bought new an Eastman TM186 that was delivered in perfect condition. If someone asked me, considering price, sound and quality, which one was the "best" I would have no idea how to answer that question.

  25. #74

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    I noticed that when I played some Gibsons during the last few years- including a Bonamassa Studio LP I liked
    and an ES 137 that was too big but I liked it -
    HOWEVER - the fretwork on all these was not comparable to my Carvin- the Gibsons were ' over plekked'
    meaning they take a lot of fret off the top to achieve leveling...rather than near perfect leveling of the fretboard first and leaving a taller rounder fret.

    These are $1500 to $3500 Guitars...ironically the QC on the Bonamassa Studio was the best.

    So I can agree on technical precision being off on many from what we should expect on some Gibsons...

  26. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    i've played both. here's my opinion, and it's not as facetious as it sounds...

    if you want to impress someone, get the gibson.

    if you want to impress yourself, get the eastman.

    i really feel that the current eastmans are superior instruments, but the name will never carry the prestige of gibson.

    that said, if you can find an older 175, maybe with a P90 or a CC, which sometimes don't cost that much more than a new one, and those got vibe for days...

    i'm usually not a snob like that, but when it comes to gibsons, they really don't make 'em like they used to.
    I saved for another archtop after I blew a tube amp to the point of no return and sold my old one to replace the blown Twin Rev Silver.
    I played Vintage and New 175s and the thing was the feel is no good.
    In the End I bought an Eastman AR 372 and it’s a better guitar and I have played since 67.
    Its like why I stopped buying Levis. The denim is crap now and I barely get a season out them as a 60 year old man. I bought them for the tag and I’m too long in the tooth to keep being such a sucker. Bought a pair or Target jeans just on a whim for a lousy 15 bucks US and got 3 years and their still going.
    The same with Gibsons. I’ve never found I really liked bar the L-5 but even that I preferred Epiphone JP in the end.
    There are a few cons with Eastman.
    One unforgivable one is the D & G strings bind on the A & B posts respectively straight out of the box so badly that if you tune a hair past pitch you have to wind it down a major third before it even thinks of letting go of the post bind.
    Who makes guitars for their bread and butter then makes such an amateurs mistake?.
    However, I’d of stuck a String Butler on both of them for the way it perfects tuning glitches and reroutes dead straight over the nut. So though I found it a ridiculous and annoying error, the solution was a mandatory deal for any 3x3 and the rest of it is better than any of Gibsons I played and half the Vintage Gibsons were delaminating at the bridge pup like a ski jump.
    I actually prefer the sound of the Eastman, but the playability is the thing.
    I’ll be swapping out the tone pots at the very least as that is what lets their pups down with the cheap caps.
    I swapped the knobs for birds beaks because of the same reason Barney did. You can feel where the amplitude is without looking and that and ears are an asset.
    I honestly think the Eastman is a better box if you don’t get married to the myth of Gibsons that have reread necks I would definitely of had to shave. I also preferred my old Epiphone Emperor 2 the Joe pass one, over my old L-5 and sold the Gibson.
    The Eastman neck is a dream and has a real Ebony fingerboard with jumbos. ( On the blond ones at least, I think the sunburst has rosewood, but mine has a mad piece of ebony like onyx without a grain void anywhere. And then you can spend on the the thing that really makes the difference; a good Amp
    I’m also with the guy that claims Telecasters are out of sight.
    I have a 2012 American Standard Tele with the custom shop wiring and Tone pot and my goodness that’s a good guitar for anything. It’s the only big name guitar I’ve kept; and will die with it. The AS Teles are superlative axes. Forget reversing the control cover for manual volume pedal gimmicks like a rock God. If you must, buy a Morley and leave them alone or you’ll kill it’s soul. It literally talks it’s so expressive and hand sensitive. They’ve killed it with these, it’s best Tele I’ve had, out about 8 and they were all good.
    Your dead right Mr.B and said it better too.