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  1. #1

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    Happy new year guys. I’m kind of a lurker on here and read lots of the great information that you guys post. My wife has given me the green light to upgrade my Ibanez AF 75, but I’m in a quandary trying to figure out the best one. I’ve narrowed it down to three guitars, and I’d love to hear your opinions.

    Option one is in Eastman AR372CE, which I think you guys will love… As everyone on here seems to be huge Eastman fans. Are you guys happy with the Kent Armstrong pickups? I’ve never had the opportunity to play one. On some of the videos I’ve seen online they sound great; on others they sound weak. I play through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV. I read somewhere on here that Eastman’s cases are crap… Is that true??

    My second choice is a Gretsch Electromatic G5420G-54 (KOREA). Gretsch seems to be kind of frowned upon in this forum, and I’m curious as to why. I’m at Chet Atkins fan, so I thought this new limited run might be a lot of fun. But I played one recently at guitar center and I don’t like the glossed neck, and I’m not sure if I can get that ultra-mellow tone that I like for jazz.

    My last choice is the old faithful LGB30. Beautiful guitar and it sounds great, but I hate the fact that it’s mass produced in China.

    Please let me know your thoughts… I value them immensely. I’m planning to buy this week and arm it with 12-gauge flatwounds.

    Thanks guys!


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    More thing. What’s the deal with Godin? How can they make North American guitars that cheap? I also heard that they lack body when played acoustically. I have two kids under two, so 99% of the time I’m playing my archtop acoustically. If they are the real deal, a Kingpin with humbuckers could also be a valid option.


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  4. #3

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    Buy all three from a store with a 30+ day return policy. Set them up with your strings, etc and play them through your amp. Keep the one you like best.

    I say this seriously. The feasibility of a long term relationship with a guitar can only be accurately assessed by living with the guitar for a while. Prejudices like country of origin aside that is.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    More thing. What’s the deal with Godin? How can they make North American guitars that cheap? I also heard that they lack body when played acoustically. I have two kids under two, so 99% of the time I’m playing my archtop acoustically. If they are the real deal, a Kingpin with humbuckers could also be a valid option.


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    I have a lot of experience with the whole family of Godin archtops. Some comments...

    First, they are able to keep their prices low for a few reasons: They use some unusual woods that are functionally very good but cost less (like cherry laminate). They do a lot of their manufacturing in Canada where they don't have to pay any health care costs for their employees and the Canadian dollar is weaker than the US dollar. And Robert Godin is a brilliant engineer who uses every industrial advance that they can, trading some cosmetics for reduced manufacturing cost. Matte finishes, automated manufacturing, and an open and obvious scarf joint in the neck. They are not a great marketing company but they are an outstanding manufacturing company.

    As for the acoustic voice, it's not loud but it is very pleasing. I played my P90 Kingpin II acoustically quite a bit and enjoyed it.

    Regarding the different models and configurations: they are definitely not all equal. I really enjoyed the P90 Kingpin II and the Composer. I didn't especially enjoy the humbucker Kingpin II. I owned one and I've played three others. They all lacked the sweet acoustic voice of the P90 version. They weighed about a pound more than the P90 version or the Composer and I suspect that they were beefed up to handles the size and weight of the two humbuckers. I tried the Jazz a couple times and I didn't care for it. The voice was both brighter and thinner than the Kingpin II and the Composer.

    If you're interested there are lots of my demos and songs on YouTube of both the Kingpin and the Composer.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    More thing. What’s the deal with Godin? How can they make North American guitars that cheap? I also heard that they lack body when played acoustically. I have two kids under two, so 99% of the time I’m playing my archtop acoustically. If they are the real deal, a Kingpin with humbuckers could also be a valid option.


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    All their archtops share the same basic body and neck (some cutaway, some not) made from locally-sourced woods. The Kingpin P90 models have minimal finishes, which is the main reason they're cheaper than the other models in the line (some of which are not so cheap, but still a good relative value). The necks all have spliced headstocks and heels (much more efficient use of wood than a single-piece neck). The necks are bolted and epoxied on (faster than other glue methods, and the fretboard extension is completely free of the body (simpler joint). I believe they also have a high degree of automation in their factories. All of this gives them relatively low production costs and a lot of economies of scale, and the simplicity of their designs lead to lower QA/QC costs. Also, yes they're North American, but Canadian labor is cheaper than US labor.

    As to the unplugged sound, the two P90 models are quite loud acoustically. I have the single pickup/no-cutaway model, and it's functional as a quiet "parlor" guitar, comparable to something like an old laminated Stella (and, truth be told, better sounding most of those). The trick with these is that the top is not actually routed. Rather, the pickup sits on a mounting ring above the top, with just a small hole cut for the wire. The top itself is a very thin laminate that performs a lot like almost like a solid top. The humbuckers are routed, and therefore not as loud, but still louder than many other laminated archtops. TBH, I think the p90 models sound better both unplugged and unplugged than the humbucker versions (except that 60-hz hum can be a problem with P90s).

    John

  7. #6
    Man… This is fantastic information. Thank you, John!!


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  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    I have a lot of experience with the whole family of Godin archtops. Some comments...

    First, they are able to keep their prices low for a few reasons: They use some unusual woods that are functionally very good but cost less (like cherry laminate). They do a lot of their manufacturing in Canada where they don't have to pay any health care costs for their employees and the Canadian dollar is weaker than the US dollar. And Robert Godin is a brilliant engineer who uses every industrial advance that they can, trading some cosmetics for reduced manufacturing cost. Matte finishes, automated manufacturing, and an open and obvious scarf joint in the neck. They are not a great marketing company but they are an outstanding manufacturing company.

    As for the acoustic voice, it's not loud but it is very pleasing. I played my P90 Kingpin II acoustically quite a bit and enjoyed it.

    Regarding the different models and configurations: they are definitely not all equal. I really enjoyed the P90 Kingpin II and the Composer. I didn't especially enjoy the humbucker Kingpin II. I owned one and I've played three others. They all lacked the sweet acoustic voice of the P90 version. They weighed about a pound more than the P90 version or the Composer and I suspect that they were beefed up to handles the size and weight of the two humbuckers. I tried the Jazz a couple times and I didn't care for it. The voice was both brighter and thinner than the Kingpin II and the Composer.

    If you're interested there are lots of my demos and songs on YouTube of both the Kingpin and the Composer.
    Thanks so much for the information, Jim! I would love to see your videos if you could send me the address. Based on your analysis, do you recommend Godin? Is it your go to, or do you guys lean more towards Eastman?


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  9. #8
    Definitely still looking for some feedback on Eastman and Gretsch as well. I’ve been playing guitar for about 30 years, but still relatively new to archtops.


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  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    I have a lot of experience with the whole family of Godin archtops. Some comments...

    First, they are able to keep their prices low for a few reasons: They use some unusual woods that are functionally very good but cost less (like cherry laminate). They do a lot of their manufacturing in Canada where they don't have to pay any health care costs for their employees and the Canadian dollar is weaker than the US dollar. And Robert Godin is a brilliant engineer who uses every industrial advance that they can, trading some cosmetics for reduced manufacturing cost. Matte finishes, automated manufacturing, and an open and obvious scarf joint in the neck. They are not a great marketing company but they are an outstanding manufacturing company.

    As for the acoustic voice, it's not loud but it is very pleasing. I played my P90 Kingpin II acoustically quite a bit and enjoyed it.

    Regarding the different models and configurations: they are definitely not all equal. I really enjoyed the P90 Kingpin II and the Composer. I didn't especially enjoy the humbucker Kingpin II. I owned one and I've played three others. They all lacked the sweet acoustic voice of the P90 version. They weighed about a pound more than the P90 version or the Composer and I suspect that they were beefed up to handles the size and weight of the two humbuckers. I tried the Jazz a couple times and I didn't care for it. The voice was both brighter and thinner than the Kingpin II and the Composer.

    If you're interested there are lots of my demos and songs on YouTube of both the Kingpin and the Composer.
    Jim - Found your videos and they are outstanding. It is amazing the level of accomplished musicians are on this forum!


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  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    Definitely still looking for some feedback on Eastman and Gretsch as well. I’ve been playing guitar for about 30 years, but still relatively new to archtops.


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    I would suggest doing some advanced searches on Eastman here. There are many threads here about them, including about the ar-371 and 372. Overall, Eastmans are very well made, very high quality guitars. Definitely not "crap". Best to check out the discussions yourself, because it's hard to boil down to a few words. I haven't played Gretches enough to form an opinion.

    John

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    I would suggest doing some advanced searches on Eastman here. There are many threads here about them, including about the ar-371 and 372. Overall, Eastmans are very well made, very high quality guitars. Definitely not "crap". Best to check out the discussions yourself, because it's hard to boil down to a few words. I haven't played Gretches enough to form an opinion.

    John
    Thanks John. I haven’t heard anything negative about Eastman guitars… nothing but rave reviews. My only comment was it someone said that their guitar cases were subpar.


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  13. #12

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    I have a Chinese GB40II and can tell you it does not feel mass produced at all. It’s a beautiful guitar that plays and feels great. I assume quality would be similar to the LGB30.

    I’m really not an experienced player and don’t have enough of a frame of reference to compare it to other instruments but can tell you I’m extremely happy with my GB.


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  14. #13

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    I've been through an Ibanez artcore 75, Vestax D'Angelico, Gibson L7, and the Eastman 810 is easily the best sounding. They have some quality control issues with the finish around the tuning pegs, but you can't find a better sounding archtop. The cases are much more flexible than others, but I don't think they would offer less protection. They follow the curve of the guitar, giving the advantage of an eggshell kind of thing.

  15. #14

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    I'm far from a Gretsch expert or even a fan, although there's a 1999 3156 Streamliner with cat-eye F-holes in the harem. I've used it for the occasional dance gig, because it's my only one with a Bigsby. The DeArmond 2000 PUPs are super, with a tonal range from dark, mellow jazz to bright country twang without nasal honk. Made in Korea, the build quality is impeccable. My son considers it his heirloom and borrows it quite often for recording purposes to his studio, being a rock drummer himself. When visiting my favorite music store, I'm often drawn to contemporary Gretsches, unable to justify the huge price difference between U.S. made and Korean models. The 5420 is particularly attractive. Of course, one can say that these guitars wear a far too thick paint coat to be or ever become vibrant. However, the more expensive Duesenbergs represent very much the same school of design and finish. Why not used in jazz? It's mostly a matter of tradition and a consequence of Gibson's past dominance. In the same vein, the SG is rarely used for jazz, although with flatwounds it might well work... well.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by F-Train
    I have a Chinese GB40II and can tell you it does not feel mass produced at all. It’s a beautiful guitar that plays and feels great. I assume quality would be similar to the LGB30.

    I’m really not an experienced player and don’t have enough of a frame of reference to compare it to other instruments but can tell you I’m extremely happy with my GB.


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    Thanks F-Train. In my experience and from talking with others, Ibanez’s quality control is the best in the business, so I don’t doubt your experience one bit.


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  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    I'm far from a Gretsch expert or even a fan, although there's a 1999 3156 Streamliner with cat-eye F-holes in the harem. I've used it for the occasional dance gig, because it's my only one with a Bigsby. The DeArmond 2000 PUPs are super, with a tonal range from dark, mellow jazz to bright country twang without nasal honk. Made in Korea, the build quality is impeccable. My son considers it his heirloom and borrows it quite often for recording purposes to his studio, being a rock drummer himself. When visiting my favorite music store, I'm often drawn to contemporary Gretsches, unable to justify the huge price difference between U.S. made and Korean models. The 5420 is particularly attractive. Of course, one can say that these guitars wear a far too thick paint coat to be or ever become vibrant. However, the more expensive Duesenbergs represent very much the same school of design and finish. Why not used in jazz? It's mostly a matter of tradition and a consequence of Gibson's past dominance. In the same vein, the SG is rarely used for jazz, although with flatwounds it might well work... well.
    Thanks Glitter bug. I feel much the same way that you do. Google the Gretsch G5420TG-59... exclusively available at Sweetwater. It’s a Korean Chet Atkins, and it is gorgeous. With some flatwounds on it I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t be a kick Chet style jazz rig.


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  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by mittens
    I've been through an Ibanez artcore 75, Vestax D'Angelico, Gibson L7, and the Eastman 810 is easily the best sounding. They have some quality control issues with the finish around the tuning pegs, but you can't find a better sounding archtop. The cases are much more flexible than others, but I don't think they would offer less protection. They follow the curve of the guitar, giving the advantage of an eggshell kind of thing.
    Perfect! Great info, Mittens!


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  19. #18

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    the LGB30 has been made in Indonesia since 2019. You can check out more details here:
    LGB30 | Ibanez Wiki | Fandom. I’ve read Ibanez has a quality control dept on site at that factory.
    I have an Indonesian made AF95FM as well as two MIJ Ibanez and have had a couple from China. The build qualIty IMHO from Indonesia is quite beyond the Chinese guitars. Fit, finish, fret work, all are typical Ibanez solid.
    I did have an LGB30 (Chinese) couple years ago. Had to sell for $. But I would say of all the Ibanez hollowbodys I’ve played it seemed the most ‘175-like’.
    At its price point and from what I’ve seen of GodIn, I would definitely check the LBG out. Ibanez cases are rock solid, and rarely does one come out of a box with finish burps.
    I like Michaels idea, get the three in from returnable sources and see which you fall in love with!
    good luck!
    dave

  20. #19

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    One more thing I forgot to mention, most Eastmans are 1 3/4 at the nut. They are the only maker I know of with an arch top that wide. It works great for my long fingers, but may not fit everyone.

  21. #20

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    I can help you a little with the Gretsch. First of all, no Gretsch guitars are made in the US these days, with the exception of Custom Shop guitars. The Pro Line or 6xxx series are made in Japan at the Terada factory. The 5xxx series are Korean made and are of top quality. I have a bunch of Gretsches, three of which are Korean made ones.

    You certainly can get an ultra mellow tone with a Gretsch, and yes flats will help. Just roll off the tone pot and adjust your amp. My Gretsch Tennessee Rose is probably my most versatile guitar. I can rock it, roll off the treble and play jazz, or play anything in between. You may or may not like the blacktop Filtertrons. Live with them for a while. If you like the guitar, but not the pups, you can swap them out for standard Filtertrons or TV Classics.

    I think that the best advice given here is to order the guitars on your short list from one of the stores with the generous trial period. Keep the one you like. As much as I love my Gretsch guitars, I also love my Benedetto and Ibanez GB10 for jazz; there’s no one correct answer except how you feel. If you want more info on Gretsch guitars, I’d be glad to help. You can also go to the gretschpages. Tons of info over there and an absolutely great group of folks.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    .. the Gretsch G5420TG-59... exclusively available at Sweetwater. It’s a Korean Chet Atkins, and it is gorgeous. With some flatwounds on it I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t be a kick Chet style jazz rig.
    no contest..that's clear winner...sweetwaters extra-special finish/color is great...been watchin that awhile...surprised it's still around...very cool guitar...pups can be easily swapped for some tv jones, if needed, down the line

    spent kid time in the shadows of the og williamsburgh brooklyn gretsch factory...my first guitar was a gretsch!!...sentimental fave...but great as well


    cheers

    ps- chet hated flats...flats were standard on gretsch guitars at the time but chet wanted more acoustic-y roundwounds!!...for his fingerstyle...he also wanted humbuckers...not dearmond dynasonic single coils...so filtertrons appeared

    pss- i love flats and dynasonics! haha

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    I have a lot of experience with the whole family of Godin archtops. Some comments...I tried the Jazz a couple times and I didn't care for it. The voice was both brighter and thinner than the Kingpin II and the Composer...
    Just as info for the OP:

    I picked up a Godin Jazz a few years back in some kind of inventory clearance for less than 1/3 of the MSRP including shipping and a case. Just couldn’t pass it up. I didn’t like it though. It was pretty bright sounding but it also had a couple of other deal breakers for me. One, the neck joint doesn’t lend itself to great upper register access. There are body edges and bulk in the way. Two, the fretboard radius was really flat. I need about 12” max to play like I like to play. The Godin seemed more like a 16” or 20”. Luckily when I sold I didn’t lose any money.

  24. #23

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    I can only be of help re: Eastman AR 372. I've noticed that you read through my thread so there's not much I could add to that apart from the fact that my appreciation for this guitar has only grown. I've had it for more than three years now and I have no plans to replace it. It has been stable, no issues whatsoever including the finish - which has been mentioned on earlier models.
    And the case that came with it is a quality hardshell case. I'm used to Gibson necks - their width and general feel and profile - and the Eastman neck feels much like a Gibson.
    I'd say it's worth a try. Whatever you choose: good luck with the search.

  25. #24
    Thanks TOMMO! Your feedback is greatly appreciated.


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  26. #25

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    Honestly, the case is what I would worry least about. You can always get a better one if you feel you really need it. I never did for any of my guitars.

    Re: Godin: I played some of their archtops at a shop. Three identical guitars, except for the colour. Two were good, one was outstanding - of course, the one whose colour I like the least. That caused me to seriously rethink my priorities. Anyway, that was over ten years ago and shouldn't influence your decision.

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    Honestly, the case is what I would worry least about. You can always get a better one if you feel you really need it. I never did for any of my guitars.

    Re: Godin: I played some of their archtops at a shop. Three identical guitars, except for the colour. Two were good, one was outstanding - of course, the one whose colour I like the least. That caused me to seriously rethink my priorities. Anyway, that was over ten years ago and shouldn't influence your decision.
    Ha! The color thing makes me laugh because I completely know what you mean. The guitar that I really wanted was the Epiphone ES-175 premium, but I only want brand new the go-round. The only one that I’ve been able to find brand new is wine red, which is the exact same color as my old Gibson Studio Les Paul that I had for over a decade and had a hard time bonding with. Just because of that color I had to walk away from the 175. It’s amazing how humans work.

    In regards to the case, any negative feedback that I ever hear from anyone on these boards tends to stick out in my mind. I really don’t care much about cases… But if you provide me a weak case with a $1000 guitar, it makes me question quality all the way around, you know? That being said, this forum is a resounding billboard for Eastman guitars. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about them here.

    Your comment about the three Godins really makes me think. I’m looking at buying a guitar from Sweetwater or special order from my local guitar shop for Eastman. I have never bought a guitar blindly without playing it before. Makes me nervous.


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  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    I can only be of help re: Eastman AR 372. I've noticed that you read through my thread so there's not much I could add to that apart from the fact that my appreciation for this guitar has only grown. I've had it for more than three years now and I have no plans to replace it. It has been stable, no issues whatsoever including the finish - which has been mentioned on earlier models.
    And the case that came with it is a quality hardshell case. I'm used to Gibson necks - their width and general feel and profile - and the Eastman neck feels much like a Gibson.
    I'd say it's worth a try. Whatever you choose: good luck with the search.
    Thanks Tommo! Are you still happy with the Kent Armstrong pick-ups? I’ve read about several others on here swapping them out. But that could always just be perfectionism… or boredom.


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  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    no contest..that's clear winner...sweetwaters extra-special finish/color is great...been watchin that awhile...surprised it's still around...very cool guitar...pups can be easily swapped for some tv jones, if needed, down the line

    spent kid time in the shadows of the og williamsburgh brooklyn gretsch factory...my first guitar was a gretsch!!...sentimental fave...but great as well


    cheers

    ps- chet hated flats...flats were standard on gretsch guitars at the time but chet wanted more acoustic-y roundwounds!!...for his fingerstyle...he also wanted humbuckers...not dearmond dynasonic single coils...so filtertrons appeared

    pss- i love flats and dynasonics! haha
    This was really helpful, neatomic; I think I might be sold. Would it be a sin to put flatwound’s on this Chet-style guitar? I want to have my cake and eat it too… I want to be able to play Chet-tunes finger style and then flip that switch and be able to hum out mellow jazz licks..


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  30. #29

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    Interesting: I had an LGB30, a Gretsch 5420 and an Eastman 403 (which is not a 371, I know).
    I sold the Gretsch before I got into jazz, but I tried to get a jazz tone out of it, which kind of worked, but it had round wounds and I didn't like how the tone knob was a bit insensitive. Also, it's a heavy guitar. Lot's of paint on it. I used the Gretsch in my Beatles Tribute band.

    I couldn't bond with the 403. It sounded too much like an acoustic flat top: too bright, too little sustain, even after I changed to a CC pickup. Some 371 that I see on YouTube also have this bright, acoustic, a bit 'nasal' tone.

    The LGB30 I did like. A really good electric sound with enough sustain, very airy. I'd say: a 'typical jazz guitar tone'. Whatever that is. I sold it because I bought an Eastman Romeo which is all I need to be honest. A lot of air in a small body, high end components, great tones.

    Hope it helps.

  31. #30

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    I'm going to be a bit contrarian about Eastman. It's been a while since I've played an Eastman and they've come out with a lot of new models that may be different but I've owned three of them and played many more and never bonded with any of them. I always found them to be thin sounding and too bright for my taste. That doesn't mean that they are bad guitars but it does mean that I was unable to achieve what I need tonally from them.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Zigracer
    I can help you a little with the Gretsch. First of all, no Gretsch guitars are made in the US these days, with the exception of Custom Shop guitars. The Pro Line or 6xxx series are made in Japan at the Terada factory. The 5xxx series are Korean made and are of top quality. I have a bunch of Gretsches, three of which are Korean made ones.

    You certainly can get an ultra mellow tone with a Gretsch, and yes flats will help. Just roll off the tone pot and adjust your amp. My Gretsch Tennessee Rose is probably my most versatile guitar. I can rock it, roll off the treble and play jazz, or play anything in between. You may or may not like the blacktop Filtertrons. Live with them for a while. If you like the guitar, but not the pups, you can swap them out for standard Filtertrons or TV Classics.

    I think that the best advice given here is to order the guitars on your short list from one of the stores with the generous trial period. Keep the one you like. As much as I love my Gretsch guitars, I also love my Benedetto and Ibanez GB10 for jazz; there’s no one correct answer except how you feel. If you want more info on Gretsch guitars, I’d be glad to help. You can also go to the gretschpages. Tons of info over there and an absolutely great group of folks.
    Huge help, Zigracer! Thank you. I’m all about quality and your thoughts about Korean-made match mine. As I mentioned earlier… Do you think it would be a sin to put flatwounds on this Chet-style guitar? Thinking either a Chromes or TI. Can you tell me specifically what adjustments you make to your treble, mid, bass when you want that mellow tone from your Gretsch? Thanks again.


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  33. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    I'm going to be a bit contrarian about Eastman. It's been a while since I've played an Eastman and they've come out with a lot of new models that may be different but I've owned three of them and played many more and never bonded with any of them. I always found them to be thin sounding and too bright for my taste. That doesn't mean that they are bad guitars but it does mean that I was unable to achieve what I need tonally from them.
    Thanks Jim. Based on the quality of your playing that I witnessed in your videos, I highly respect your opinion. It’s also nice to hear at least one other side of the coin. I’ve heard so many positives about Eastman... but there’s always the ying and the yang.


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  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    Thanks Tommo! Are you still happy with the Kent Armstrong pick-ups? I’ve read about several others on here swapping them out. But that could always just be perfectionism… or boredom.


    I still have the original pickups in mine, there's absolutely nothing wrong with them. Adjust the height and everything to where you like it best (this goes for every electric guitar) and get familiar with a guitar's sound before you consider changing anything.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    This was really helpful, neatomic; I think I might be sold. Would it be a sin to put flatwound’s on this Chet-style guitar? I want to have my cake and eat it too… I want to be able to play Chet-tunes finger style and then flip that switch and be able to hum out mellow jazz licks..

    put some thomastik (pure nickel) jazz swings on the gretsch and you'll be set!

    tone is much about pickup height...play around with the pup height till you dial in your tone

    cheers

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    Huge help, Zigracer! Thank you. I’m all about quality and your thoughts about Korean-made match mine. As I mentioned earlier… Do you think it would be a sin to put flatwounds on this Chet-style guitar? Thinking either a Chromes or TI. Can you tell me specifically what adjustments you make to your treble, mid, bass when you want that mellow tone from your Gretsch? Thanks again.


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    It's never a sin to try different strings. In fact, you may want to put rounds on for some applications and flats for others. If you're going to play Chet style, then rounds would generally be the string of choice, but YOU may like the flats. Vice versa for jazz. Lotsa guys like flats, lotsa guys like rounds. I find it varies depending on the guitar and what I am trying to get out of that particular guitar. So far I like TI GB flats on my Benedetto (trying LaBella flats next string change), but on the Ibanez GB10, Chromes seem to work okay. I string my Gretsch G400 with EJ21s (rounds) so I can get a little more acoustic response. I string all my other Gretsch electrics with EXL-115, with the exception of my Country Club which gets EXL-115W (wound G).

    Right now I'm using my Tenny and have the tone pot about 3/4 of the way down and treble-5.5, bass-7.5 on the Deluxe Reverb. I also like the rounded edge of the pick to mellow out the tone for jazz. But it's really salt and pepper to taste.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    Thanks Jim. Based on the quality of your playing that I witnessed in your videos, I highly respect your opinion. It’s also nice to hear at least one other side of the coin. I’ve heard so many positives about Eastman... but there’s always the ying and the yang.


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    Just to be clear: I didn't bond with the 403, but the T64 is a superb guitar (not bright or thin at all. It's smokey, dark and deep), the SB59 is an insane guitar that rivals 4-5k costing Les Pauls and the Romeo is sonic perfection in a perfectly finished original guitar.... I didn't get paid to write this btw...

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    put some thomastik (pure nickel) jazz swings on the gretsch and you'll be set!

    tone is much about pickup height...play around with the pup height till you dial in your tone

    cheers
    That’s exactly what I did! I ordered the G5420TG-59 today from Sweetwater. I can’t wait. I’m having it set up with TI J111’s. They’re also gonna tweak the pickup heights for jazz and fingerpicking. I should have it by mid-to-late February. Thanks to all for the help and advice! I’ll send pics when she gets here.


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  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Zigracer
    It's never a sin to try different strings. In fact, you may want to put rounds on for some applications and flats for others. If you're going to play Chet style, then rounds would generally be the string of choice, but YOU may like the flats. Vice versa for jazz. Lotsa guys like flats, lotsa guys like rounds. I find it varies depending on the guitar and what I am trying to get out of that particular guitar. So far I like TI GB flats on my Benedetto (trying LaBella flats next string change), but on the Ibanez GB10, Chromes seem to work okay. I string my Gretsch G400 with EJ21s (rounds) so I can get a little more acoustic response. I string all my other Gretsch electrics with EXL-115, with the exception of my Country Club which gets EXL-115W (wound G).

    Right now I'm using my Tenny and have the tone pot about 3/4 of the way down and treble-5.5, bass-7.5 on the Deluxe Reverb. I also like the rounded edge of the pick to mellow out the tone for jazz. But it's really salt and pepper to taste.
    Great information again - Thanks so much. I’ll be honest.. this is going to be my first experience with flat wounds. I’ve been using rounds for 30 years. Sounds like you tweak your amp similar to the way that I do... I play a Hot Rod Deluxe IV. Always curious to hear what other people do with their mids... I never know what to do with ‘em..

  40. #39
    I agree try different ones with return policy. You do not know until you live with it normally. I do not want to bias you. All your choices are pretty good!

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    That’s exactly what I did! I ordered the G5420TG-59 today from Sweetwater. I can’t wait. I’m having it set up with TI J111’s. They’re also gonna tweak the pickup heights for jazz and fingerpicking. I should have it by mid-to-late February. Thanks to all for the help and advice! I’ll send pics when she gets here.
    nice! congrats..sweetwater is a great outfit

    keep us posted


    cheers

  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbs
    Happy new year guys. I’m kind of a lurker on here and read lots of the great information that you guys post. My wife has given me the green light to upgrade my Ibanez AF 75, but I’m in a quandary trying to figure out the best one. I’ve narrowed it down to three guitars, and I’d love to hear your opinions.

    Option one is in Eastman AR372CE, which I think you guys will love… As everyone on here seems to be huge Eastman fans. Are you guys happy with the Kent Armstrong pickups? I’ve never had the opportunity to play one. On some of the videos I’ve seen online they sound great; on others they sound weak. I play through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV. I read somewhere on here that Eastman’s cases are crap… Is that true??

    My second choice is a Gretsch Electromatic G5420G-54 (KOREA). Gretsch seems to be kind of frowned upon in this forum, and I’m curious as to why. I’m at Chet Atkins fan, so I thought this new limited run might be a lot of fun. But I played one recently at guitar center and I don’t like the glossed neck, and I’m not sure if I can get that ultra-mellow tone that I like for jazz.

    My last choice is the old faithful LGB30. Beautiful guitar and it sounds great, but I hate the fact that it’s mass produced in China.

    Please let me know your thoughts… I value them immensely. I’m planning to buy this week and arm it with 12-gauge flatwounds.

    Thanks guys!


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    Both the Eastman and George benson are Chinese made . And honestly I like guild.


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  43. #42

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    Looks like I’m a day late but I wanted to give a vote for the Ibanez. I’ve a new semi-hollow and it was great out of the box. I never liked Gretsch for jazz but it may work for you and your style.

    I really wanted to promote Peerless. I have two of there guitars and they are they champion sleeper guitar! The Eastman AR372CE is very brittle like a flat top acoustic so good thing you didn’t go with it. It plays and looks beautiful though. I recently went shopping for a new guitar which included the Eastman and documented it here:
    Choosing an arch top $1000-1400 range (16” w dual HB)

  44. #43

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    Bensons are Indonesian made since 2018/19. Big increase in quality over C made.

  45. #44
    Hey guys! I hope that everyone has been well. So… After this discussion, I decided to order the ‘59 Gretsch 5420tg because I was hyped up on Chet Atkins. I’ve since had a change of heart, canceled my pending order, and am absolutely going to buy an Eastman.

    I noticed that a lot of the mid-upper range models have gold hardware. Has the gold hardware on your Eastmans crumbled off with tarnish? If I make this kind of investment in nice jazz guitar, I want to make sure that it looks good for longer than six months.


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  46. #45
    Check her out! I ultimately decided on an Eastman AR580CE. Blown away… What amazing guitar







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  47. #46

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    Enjoy!

  48. #47

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    Beautiful, that's a winner.

  49. #48

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    Beautiful guitar. Enjoy it well.

    John

  50. #49

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    Congrats !! The Eastman 580 may be the perfect guitar in their lineup. Wood binding, carved top, laminate back and sides- at a very attractive price point for this instrument. Rich S did an in-depth review of this guitar and liked it very much.

    You made a great choice - do enjoy.


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    Last edited by QAman; 02-10-2021 at 09:20 PM.