1. #1

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    Hi all. I’ve been eyeing an Eastman ar503ce for a while. Seems like a great axe. However, I always love what I hear from folks who play a Comins gcs-16, single pickup model. Any reason why you’d say it’s definitely worth shelling out nearly double for the Comins?


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  3. #2
    They're both beautifully built guitars made by hand by skilled workmen. That being said, for that caliber of instrument and the reliability that both can be depended on for, you should try the both out. I know this isn't much help for the assurance you want but an instrument is something you'll have and grow into over time; both are worthy. But if you find something in either of them that makes you want to keep playing, play things you wouldn't play otherwise and bring out more of your musical self, then that's an instrument you really should have if you can afford it.
    There are some basic differences, design philosophy, possibly corners cut on electronics on a more affordable guitar, but those things can and ought to be replaced if you want, and it's easy.
    Find the one that speaks to you, not just the model but the individual instrument if you can. The more time you spend on an instrument, the less the original expenditure matters in the long run.
    To note, I've tried Eastmans that I've liked way more than much more expensive Gibsons, Guilds I've been wowed by more than Kalamazoo brethren, and the other way around too, an old L-7 that had magic that was priceless and worth every penny. And Campelliones that've had a better touch than an old Johnny Smith- who knows what makes a match with a player's hands and style?
    You're lucky to have the choice. The decision should be made by your hands. Price is not the best indicator.

  4. #3

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    For me, The Comins ticked all the boxes I was after, plus I really dig its curves. After several Eastman solid wood boxes, I decided that I really prefer laminated for an amplified instrument. YMMV.

  5. #4

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    I play a Comins GCS-1 which I like very much, although I have some tuning problems I have to solve. Feels good, sounds great.

    That said, I was quite happy with a D'Angelico EXDC at half the price (now a third) and a Gibson L5S at twice the price.

    I end up thinking "Can the the cheap one possibly be as good?" Am I alone in finding it hard to ignore price while evaluating an instrument?

  6. #5

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    I've owned quite a few Eastmans 810CE, 880JP, El Rey 2, 803CE,etc. I've only had the chance to play the semi hollow Comins not the full hollow body import.

    First as stated above it really is a person taste thing from bodysize, solid vs.laminate construction, floating pickup or built-in p/up, etc.
    That said my 2 cents if you go with a 16" laminate , Comins seems like the best bet
    17" solid top and back 810CE was Winner for me!

    No matter which way choose you'll have an excellent guitar, And at a reasonable price as well!

  7. #6

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    I played a Comins GCS-16 twice, but have yet to be able to try an ar503ce (but thinking about one ...). The Comins struck me as quite nice. The first time, I played it next to a 175 and an Eastman ar371, all through a Henriksen Bud.

    The Comins was markedly brighter than the 175, with a sound that struck me as more like a carved top tone than a typical laminate sound (even more so than the 371, which is how people often describe that guitar). It was also pretty loud acoustically. The recordings of it I've heard on youtube seem pretty similar to the ones I've heard of the ar503, but these recordings can be very deceptive. The second time was on its own, through a Princeton Reverb, and this confirmed my sense of it being pretty bright (though not in a bad way, just not a 175 kind of sound).

    Not sure which I'd recommend between the Comins and an ar503 (especially not having played the ar503), but they do strike me as similar takes on archtop tone (construction differences aside), and are the same size. Another that strikes me as being in the same neighborhood is the D'Aquisto Jazz Line (also 16" bout and 2.5"-ish rims), which can be found a little cheaper than the Comins. I tried on recently and liked it a lot (beautifully made, and played great).


  8. #7

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    i played a gcs-16 a few months ago at Rudy's Music, and wasn't into it at all, which I was surprised at, because I love the GCS-1, It just didn't feel great for my style and sounded dull... They also had a few Eastman jazz guitars, and they were much better to me...

  9. #8

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    I’ve been playing a GCS-16-1 for most of the year, and can only say great things about it. It’s light and very lively sounding, terrifically resonant. The neck is very comfortable, and the hand-wound KA humbucker can be bright or mellow, depending on how you set the tone. It’s one of those guitars that just ‘gets out of the way’ of you and the music you’re trying to make.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MHoranzy
    Hi all. I’ve been eyeing an Eastman ar503ce for a while. Seems like a great axe. However, I always love what I hear from folks who play a Comins gcs-16, single pickup model. Any reason why you’d say it’s definitely worth shelling out nearly double for the Comins?
    No way. Comins is a typical eye candy, mediocre wood suffering in poly armor. Even the Eastman were the pricier I would pick it whithout a blink. Btw I listened Tim Lerch demo on Comins, really not convinced. Even not in Tims hand, and I am sure he could make an average guitar guitar good sounding.

    I have practice to eval guitars via Youtube, being lefty I have no chance to try them... To be short: No mojo, no sing, no soul. One point Tim talks about expensive guitars, and saying "which this really is not".... What? For $2200-2400?

    Go for the Eastman, proven quality, nitro finish, for $1580.
    Last edited by Gabor; 11-28-2020 at 07:45 AM.