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  1. #1

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    Hi folks. I've spent the last week researching and trying out archtop guitars, and have my eye on a Eastman AR805CE. Nothing in that price range sounded or felt as good in my hands.

    I put the pros and cons as follows:

    PROS — playability, feel, sound, weight, looks, price
    CON — the "stigma" of being made in China may hurt its resale someday

    I have traded or sold Fenders and Gibsons and other American made guitars and basses at good returns, but I am worried that an Eastman might not maintain its value as much. If this were a Gibson, I'd be playing it right now. (I know, I know. It would have also cost twice as much—or more—for the same quality.)

    Any input is welcomed! Thanks.


    Eastman AR805CE-eastman-ar805ce-jpg

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  3. #2

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    I think that it's true that the Eastman won't hold it's value like a Gibson. The upside is that they're entirely professional instruments that you don't have to worry about at the gig as much. I play mandolin in a jazz trio (I know, I know...) and I'm using a Chinese made instrument. It has a piezo pickup, and sounds as good plugged in as an instrument costing 10 times more.
    Besides, if we don't buy enough Chinese products, their GNP will dip, and they'll want to call in our debt!

  4. #3

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    con: check out the Harmony Central reviews. Several owners say the finish on Eastman's is thin and easily damaged. You might not care about that, though.

  5. #4

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    Hi Billd,
    If I' had to part with my L4 for some reason, I'd buy an Eastman. Incredible quality, they define a new value for money standard.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    con: check out the Harmony Central reviews. Several owners say the finish on Eastman's is thin and easily damaged. You might not care about that, though.
    I don't think it's a fault in the finish...rather, I think it's the type of finish. Pretty sure its nitro with a french polish....not thick and durable like a lot of poly finishes.

    As for Eastman's holding their value..I think they hold it pretty well. Sure, not like a Gibson...but I also think they sound much better

    BillD - I know you're looking at an Eastman, but I'd ask you to hold off on your purchase for a little bit. I'm introducing an archtop of equal to greater quality for significantly less. You can PM me for more details, but it should be available in a couple of months. Not knocking them...I own one that I love and paid a lot for (anniversary model), but it can be done for less.

  7. #6

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    Eastmans are great. I think one of the reasons the finish is thin is the theoretically enhanced resonance. I also read somewhere that Eastman has fixed the ease of dent and ding probability.

    Economically, if buying the Eastman saves you more than half as much again on price, then the added devaluation of a new Eastman will probably even out. Or, you may even make out better. If you are buying used, they seem to hold their used value. I just sold my El Rey, but wouldn't hesitate to buy another Eastman.

  8. #7

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    I have an Eastman AR810CE that I bought new in 2005... a great guitar. I am not planning on selling, but everything depreciates these days. Because everything depreciates is why I purchased my Benedetto Bravo used. I saved a chunk and was able to get a great guitar.

    There is actually a Benedetto Bravo on eBay with a starting bid of $2500 that currently has no bids. The auction ends ends in 6 hours. I have no affiliation with the seller, just watching to see what it sells for. A new Bravo will cost around $4400. I guess the point is everything depreciates before it appreciates... if it appreciates at all.

    I play both my Eastman and Benedetto. If the Eastman feels right, then get it. I really enjoy playing my 810ce.
    Last edited by Steve Z; 02-20-2010 at 09:23 AM.

  9. #8

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    Even if you plan on reselling, the decision is not that obvious.

    Scenario 1 - let's say you spend $2,000 on a new Eastman AR805CE, and you invest $7,000 in the stock market. You earn inflation adjusted tax adjusted 6% (compounded) on your stock investment (that's about the historical adjusted rate)

    or; Scenario 2 - you spend $9,000 on a new Gibson L5

    10 years later let's say you sell the Eastman for a inflation adjusted $1,500 (that's what I've seen used ones listed for). Your stock investment (tax adjusted and inflation adjusted) is now at... $12,500.

    12,500 + 1,500 = $14,000

    In scenario 2, you'd have to be able to sell the L5 for $14,000 in today's dollars (i.e. inflation adjusted) to be as well off. It's possible it would sell for that much or more if becomes a sought after collectors item. It's also possible it wouldn't sell for that much.

  10. #9

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    After all my research and thinking about it for a while, then posting here to help make up my mind, I decided to pull the trigger this morning. I went in with just enough cash to cover the price I was willing to pay, plus tax. I made my offer and said I'd pay cash if they'd do it. Success.

    It is very rare for me to have a guitar feel so comfortable in my hands right from the start. Over the past week, I have probably "kicked the tires" of a couple dozen guitars of various makes and models in the $2-3K range (Gibson, Gretsch, Epiphone, Ibanez, Hagstrom, and a couple of other Eastman models). None felt as great as this one. And it sounds brilliant acoustically.

    Thanks again for everyone's input.

  11. #10

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    Well, to ease your mind on Eastman finish issues.....mind you this is just my experience....but the 805 I had from '05 had all kinds of finish problems.
    The 803 I have now has none. I think they have worked on their formula or curing process or something.
    Congrats on the guitar!

  12. #11

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    I think the Eastmans have established themselves as serious, high quality instruments (and they are) and have managed to shake-off some of that Made In China stigma. Consequently you won't lose on one of these like you would if you bought say an Ibanez Artcore . They're not in the same class.

  13. #12

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    I think the "made in China" stigma thing will change/fade over time. I bought most of my guitars in the '80's - at the time I could not afford Gibson or other US brands, so went for the Japanese models available, such as Ibanez. I remember they were not thought of as particularly posh, or top-end guitars, but now they seem increasingly well regarded, and even sought-after for some models.

    And now the lower end of the market seems to have largely moved to countries like Korea and China. Sort of seems like the same process happening all over again - what will the situation be in 20 years time I wonder? Will we be seeing rare sought-after vintage Eastmans for sale at inflated prices on E-bay? Will I be wishing I had snapped a few up while they were easy to get hold of?

  14. #13

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    After neglecting my Eastman AR805CE for a while I started playing it again. However there are certain things about it that annoy me. This was the primary guitar that I used for almost 8 years.

    Frets: I don't know if the frets are different than my AR371CE or AR503CE, but I find on this guitar, I struggle with fretting to get a clear tone without any annoying buzz. The guitar has been seen and adjusted by several luthiers. I had some of the grooves in the nut built up the last time. I wonder if it's the fret profile. My eyes are just not good enough to compare the profile to my other Eastmans.

    Of course there is still odd little unidentified ring or buzz that does not seem to be fret buzz.

    I sometimes wonder if replacing the pickup and electronics would be a good idea. Not sure if they contribute to the buzz. Not sure how good the stock pickup is.

    The guitar is a little battle scarred from collisions with microphones. At this point I doubt the guitar has much financial value. Not sure if it makes sense to put money into a guitar that I might sell at some point.

    I did bring it out recently and played it live with a mic on the guitar and guitar plugged in. I enjoyed playing it out again.

    I even toyed with buying a Pisano, but I must some of my experience with the AR805CE hold me back.

    I think 2005 is still relatively early for an Eastman. Not sure if the AR805CE has improved since that time.


    Danielle

  15. #14

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    2005 is early for Eastman, and they definitely have come a long way since.

    That said, if this was your main axe for eight years, perhaps the frets are simply worn and it needs a refret - or at least a level and crown job. It makes a HUGE difference, as in night and day, in terms of playability. Costs about $250-300 USD on average. Not everything can be rectified by setup alone, especially when worn, uneven frets are involved.

  16. #15

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    I have a 2006 AR810. The guitar has a great tone but with annoying buzzing from the floating pick-up and pick-guard. I have a hate-love relation with the guitar but it seems that it comes from the pick-up assembly. The problem is that I love the tone I get from the pick-up....

    The pick-up is a Kent Armstrong single coils with the poles adjusted for bronze string. One day I will either:

    1- Replace it with a thinner, neck mounted pick-up and uses nickel strings
    2- Get rid of the pick-up as I use the guitar acoustically most of the time.

    If you finaly find that a significant portion of the noise comes from the electronics please let us know.

    And, yes, the finish is fragile.

    Daniel

  17. #16

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    We might have different pickups. The one I have is non adjustable. I always assumed it was configured for the D'addario jazz light round wound set that comes with the guitar.

    I often suspected something is loose in that pickguard assembly but do not know what it is? Pickup, pot, wiring or something else. Might make sense to go totally acoustic for a while just for diagnostic purposes.

  18. #17

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    One way to find out what is buzzing on a guitar is to use a piece of small dia. plastic tubing as a stethoscope. Just put one end near your ear and the other end near the suspected source of the buzz. Play the note that sets off the buzz and often the source can be located this way and then dampened.

  19. #18

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    I actually bought an automotive style stethoscope quite some time ago. I can not say it's ever really helped me really diagnose a problem with in any certainty. Living alone does not help. I find you often want another set of hands for this type of stuff.

    One thing I find odd about this pickup installation, is that even though it's a floating pickup, I can't view it as really floating under the 6th string. The pickup the way it's installed puts significant force down on the top with a small pad between the pickup and the guitar top. I am sure this is not helping with any noise from the pickguard assembly as a lot of vibration is going right into the pickguard via the pickup.

    Danielle

  20. #19

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    As noted, 2005 is very early for Eastman. They have come a long way and their prices reflect the changes. Without seeing the guitar, my opinion is of limited value, but my gut feeling is that the cost of improving the guitar is going to be quite high relative to its resale value. You don't seem to really be attached to it any longer, so why not just sell the guitar and put the money into something that works for you without a lot of trouble and cost?

  21. #20

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    It's easy to take the pickguard and pickup off the guitar, but leave the whole apparatus suspended by the wire running out of the f-hole. You don't literally let it hang there in free space under its own weight, of course; you set it down on something. But this will allow you to play the guitar acoustically without those components present. Then you can tell if the buzzing comes from something there or not.

    I recently did this with my DeArmond equipped L-5. I had been poking around inside with a mirror looking at braces, dreading that I'd find something unglued. But no, it was just where the pickup wire was held to the pickguard by a small plastic bracket. It had come out of the bracket and was vibrating. I put it all back carefully and all is well with the world. I wouldn't have been able to tell without removing the various attachments and strumming the guitar acoustically.

  22. #21

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    I am going to look at this with a friend tomorrow afternoon.

    I wonder if there is a way to improve on the way that Eastman mounted that pickup. I would like to try and find some good photos showing mounting schemes for that style of pickup. It looks like this one is attached by a relatively thin metal bracket that extends from the pickup and is mounted to the bottom of the pickguard with small screws that do not go through the pickguard. Maybe once we get the pickguard off the guitar we can bend the bracket and so that the pickup does rest on the guitar top.

    I did pad the cable where it goes through the F hole and I thought that helped. The cable has a tendency to make contact with the F hole binding.

    She keeps telling me this is the best sounding guitar that I have. I have to admit I really do like the sound especially when you take the time necessary to mix both the acoustic and electric sound. Although I am sure these little mechanical vibrations and associated noise affect a live sound, I tend to find them more irritating when playing quietly at home.

    I do think of getting another archtop. However, I really like 16", 25" scale, 1 3/4 nut, and I do not often see alternatives with those specs. I do have the Eastman AR503CE that I like, but it certainly does not have the acoustic tone of the AR805CE. I toyed with springing for a Benedetto Bravo but really question if that would give me anything that I don't get with the AR503CE.

    I put a rubber band on the strings right where the strings exist the tailpiece thinking that should take care of any possible buzzing of vibration where the string comes out of the tailpiece. I do have a set of Pyramid strings here with silk wraps on all strings that I have not tried yet.


    Danielle

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleOM
    I am going to look at this with a friend tomorrow afternoon.

    Maybe once we get the pickguard off the guitar we can bend the bracket and so that the pickup does rest on the guitar top.
    Danielle
    That would be the best way to get a lot of buzzing.

    The Eastmans often have a felt between the top and the pickguard. Sometime the felt barely touch the top, sometime it firmly press on the top. I had that felt removed as I want my top to vibrate freely to maximize the acoustic response. I am like you and think that there is nothing better than mixing the mic and pick-up tone. If one relies only (and always...) on the pick-up amplified tone then that buzzing from the electronic is not a big problem.

    I think that one of the problems (at least for MY guitar) is that the 2 screws that secure the pick-guard on the side of the neck are too far from the pick-up. It is like that because the end of the neck/fret board is thinner as it is a floating fretboard not touching the arched top. One solution that I am looking at, for my AR810, would be to add more support to the floating pick-guard with screws in the side of the thin portion of the fretboard. Does it makes sense to you?

    My pick-guard buzzing could be loud but not always, when not too loud it still add an annoying '''prrfft'' on the acoustic tone, at least for some notes. Otherwise the guitar has a terrific tone. I would go with a neckmounted pickup if you like the tone and find that your problem comes from the electronics. Archtop.com is a good place.

    I am very interested to see how you will solve that problem.

    Daniel

  24. #23

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    Since you'll have a helper, ask your helper to repeatedly play a note that stongly produces the buzz while you move your ear around the guitar to try to localize the source. Once you find the general area try touching or pushing various parts of the instrument in that area, while your helper continues playing. Note any locations that make the buzz change or temporarily go away.
    If you find the general area, look for any suspect joints, interferences, fasteners, etc. If you find any suspects, experiment with the simplest solutions first, such as a bit of padding, tightening or repositioning. When I've used this approach I've often found that a bit of felt or a shim solved the problem. In one case, using a guitar pick as a shim solved the problem.
    Since you removed the felt from the pickguard, I think you'll find that's part of the problem. A pickguard with only two support points is much more likely to cause something to buzz.
    Last edited by KirkP; 07-02-2015 at 01:01 PM.

  25. #24

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    It's my understanding that the felt on the bottom of this style of pickguard, near the tailpiece should not be touching the guitar top. It's only there to protect the top in case you put too much pressure on the pickguard. If it touches you dampen the guitar top and also transmit more vibration to the pickguard assembly.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleOM
    Daniel, I was having difficulty following the alteration you have in mind. What is the problem that you expect that alteration to solve?

    Danielle
    The alteration was to make sure that the pick-gard could not vibrate/move relative to the side of the fretboard/neck. I think that I have buzzing coming from the pick-gard rubbing/vibrating against the side of the fretboard/neck. The screws on my guitar hold the pick-gard against the thicker part of the neck. Adding screws closer to the pick-up would improve the rigidity I think but I am not sure that the neck is thick enough in this place.


    It is nice that your pick-up doesn't touch the top anymore. This could cause major buzzing. If you have ringing this might be something else. I use 13-57 gauge string and broke my tail-piece twice because of metal fatigue. I changed the tailpiece for a Benedetto style that I got from Stewmac. I am under the impression that it improved the tone, less brassiness and warmer. Some knowledgeable persons on this forum think that it should not make a significant difference. Maybe it is all psychosomatic but I think that it improved the tone. The Benedetto style is only wood, no metal.

  27. #26

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    I understand your logic now. And I suppose that would help to keep the pickup steady as well. On the other hand, if you want sound isolation, some soft material might be in order, so that vibrations are not transmitted to the pickguard.

    I think I am done all of the trouble shooting I will do today. I got the strings changed, to ones with silk wrap but did not seem to solve the problem. I am still not sure what it is that's bothering me. I have not been able to connect it to any particular note or frequency.

    I recall early tailpiece failures. It's my understanding that it was redesigned quite a few years ago now and is no longer a problem.

    In the past I have also suspected a truss rod rattle. I tried some minor truss rod adjustments but that did not make any difference this time.

    Danielle

  28. #27

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    I have the same year and model Eastman. The early stock PUs were terrible. I replaced mine with a Benedetto 6 and the difference was huge. The stock PU literally fell apart when I removed it. I cannot complain about any of the rest of the build and I really like the lightness of the top.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    As noted, 2005 is very early for Eastman. They have come a long way and their prices reflect the changes. Without seeing the guitar, my opinion is of limited value, but my gut feeling is that the cost of improving the guitar is going to be quite high relative to its resale value. You don't seem to really be attached to it any longer, so why not just sell the guitar and put the money into something that works for you without a lot of trouble and cost?
    I will keep your comment in mind. I suspect it really does not make sense to go beyond any simple fret maintenance / basic adjustments. Changing the tailpiece or pickup certainly will not add any (financial) value to the instrument.

    Danielle

  30. #29

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    I am realizing there is a real negative to playing this instrument as it is. Because I struggle to get clear sounding notes, I play this guitar with a tighter left hand grip. I think I am literally hurting myself playing it.

    Danielle

  31. #30

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    Get the frets leveled and crowned... it's not very costly and may be a huge improvement.

  32. #31

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    I spent about an hour with my friend looking at this guitar today. We found a loose screw under the pickup mounting tab. She was able to bend that tab enough where I could put the pickguard assembly back on the guitar have the pickup off of the guitar top.

    We did play it while holding the whole pickguard assembly in our hand and could still hear an irritating high frequency rattle. We suspect it's coming from the tail end of the guitar but really were not sure if it was from the tailpiece or some other device down there. Time did not permit us to start taking that apart. Debating what would happen if the ebony cover was not secure on the tailpiece.

    We were not sure how that end pin jack and tailpiece are assembled. We noted that there is no nut inside the guitar on the end pin jack.

    Danielle

  33. #32

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    I left my guitar at the repair shop. A number of the frets were out alignment and it was obvious using the small rocking tool. He will level and do a full set up. The luthier said he has been adding paper pad between the brass and the ebony cover on some of those Eastman tailpieces and will do that. I will report back in a few weeks after I get the guitar back.

    Danielle

  34. #33

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    Leveling and crowning after 8 years, its makes sense. For the tailpiece, I could not be happier now that I have a Benedetto installed.

    Good luck and keep us informed

    Daniel

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanTheMan
    I have a 2006 AR810. The guitar has a great tone but with annoying buzzing from the floating pick-up and pick-guard. I have a hate-love relation with the guitar but it seems that it comes from the pick-up assembly. The problem is that I love the tone I get from the pick-up....

    The pick-up is a Kent Armstrong single coils with the poles adjusted for bronze string. One day I will either:

    1- Replace it with a thinner, neck mounted pick-up and uses nickel strings
    2- Get rid of the pick-up as I use the guitar acoustically most of the time.

    If you finaly find that a significant portion of the noise comes from the electronics please let us know.

    And, yes, the finish is fragile.

    Daniel
    Sounds too simple but my 2005 had a slight buzz/vibration issue and I tightened the two little screws that hold the finger rest onto the underside of the neck. I went ahead and tightened the machine head screws too and I haven't had an issue since. I have the original Eastman branded pickup that everyone on the net bashes but everyone who hears that guitar comments and compliments on the "gorgeous sound" of that guitar.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpguitar
    Get the frets leveled and crowned... it's not very costly and may be a huge improvement.
    This is the best possible advice. I've found that sometimes the objective difference between a top dollar guitar and a bottom feeder is the setup. Having a qualified professional so your instrument can make more of a difference than swapping out pickups or changing tailpieces.

    As a matter of fact, I have two Eastman guitars that have been Plekked. They sound and play every bit as good as my vintage Epiphones or Heritage Eagles.

  37. #36

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    I have been playing my AR805CE a few days now after getting it back. After fret leveling, crowning, and full set up it is much more easier to play and consistent. However I do find it takes more effort to get a clean sound, playing acoustically at home, when compared to my AR503CE or even my AR371CE.

    The luthier did put a paper damper between the tailpiece brass and the ebony cover. He also put putty into the tailpiece hinge assembly.

    I am beginning to think a lot of this just relates to neck / fretboard characteristics, with the primary one being the fretboard radius. I have no gauges here but the AR805CE feels like it has a greater radius. I also think the bright acoustic nature of the instrument makes any improper fretting technique very noticeable.


    Danielle

  38. #37

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    Can you be more specific about "more effort for clean sound"? Do you mean you mean more left hand pressure to fret the strings? If so, which strings and areas of the fretboard? And more effort compared to what? -- another guitar?

  39. #38

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    I have been comparing to my Eastman AR503CE and AR371CE. Those two guitars have the same frets. I do not know what frets are in the AR805CE.

    I don't think I can relate this to specific frets or areas on the fretboard. I do find I have to watch the lateral position of the bridge, and make sure that first string does not get too close to the edge of the fret.

    When I say extra effort to fret, I mean that I find I have to be more careful with the AR805CE to fret the note so that the finger falls as close as to the fret as possible. Applying more than reasonable pressure seems to make no difference at all. I find I need to be very accurate with fingering when playing chord melody especially using those top 4 strings. I think I am finding it helps not to drive the guitar hard with the right hand, but somehow that seems odd from an acoustic archtop perspective. I believe those guitars were originally designed to be played hard with real energy.

    My Eastman AR503CE is now with the same luthier for a proper setup. Although he will not be doing any fret work, he will be looking at the nut and bridge grooves. I suspect when he is done I will have two guitars with similar setup.

    I do note the AR503CE tailpiece does not have a hinge. The AR805CE does.

    A friend of mine played it briefly last night and agreed the guitar was sounding much better. We were thinking the tailpiece work made a difference. (Paper damper between the ebony and brass, and putty in the hinge)

    Danielle

  40. #39

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    I tried using some picks here in lieu of feeler gauges. I held the string down spanning 3 frets and then checked the height on both guitars. Not sure I really have enough accuracy here but did not notice any difference between the 2 guitars.

    On each guitar a 1 mm pick would easily drop into the space between the string and the fretboard and a 1.14 mm pick would not drop into the space. (Used smooth Dunlop ultem picks)

    (Checked my AR805CE and my AR371CE)

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleOM
    The luthier did put a paper damper between the tailpiece brass and the ebony cover. He also put putty into the tailpiece hinge assembly.

    I am beginning to think a lot of this just relates to neck / fretboard characteristics, with the primary one being the fretboard radius.
    Danielle
    Considering what the luthier did to the tailpiece I am not surprised that changing mine on my 2006 AR810 for an all-wood benedetto improved the tone!

    For the radius, if the luthier did a fret leveling and crowning he must know what is the radius, did you ask? Too bad that you are not happy with it. Do you plan to keep it? Do you still play it?

    Daniel

  42. #41

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    (Paper damper between the ebony and brass, and putty in the hinge)

    That is a bit of a bodge job. The eastman AR805CE should have an ebony board and a 12" radius the radius of the floating bridge should match the fret radius, the AR805's seem to have the strings quite close to the edges of the fretboard might be something to do with the 1.75 nut width, it could be cured by having a new nut fitted with the string spacing narrowed slightly and the the slots recut on the floating bridge, there should be enough wood to sand the top of the bridge down to recut the slots and radius the bridge. If the fret dress has lowered the frets substantially and left them flat topped (they should be half an oval in shape) it will affect the intonation and could cause buzzing and will also encourage the strings to slip of the fretboard especially with light guage strings.

    This guitar has 12/50 flatwounds on, the action height is 1mm treble side and just over 1mm on the bass side there is no tendency for the strings to slip off the fretboard.

    Eastman AR805CE-fret-3-jpg

    Eastman AR805CE-fret-4-jpg

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanTheMan
    Considering what the luthier did to the tailpiece I am not surprised that changing mine on my 2006 AR810 for an all-wood benedetto improved the tone!

    For the radius, if the luthier did a fret leveling and crowning he must know what is the radius, did you ask? Too bad that you are not happy with it. Do you plan to keep it? Do you still play it?

    Daniel

    I have been playing the AR805CE these past few weeks as I left my AR503CE with the luthier for some work. I found it interesting to note that the tailpiece on the AR503CE does not have a hinge. They had a couple of Campellone guitars in stock and I noted those ones did not have a hinge in the tailpiece.

    At this point in time, I plan to keep the Eastman AR805CE, as it is the only real full size carved top archtop I have.


    Danielle

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Para
    (Paper damper between the ebony and brass, and putty in the hinge)

    That is a bit of a bodge job. The eastman AR805CE should have an ebony board and a 12" radius the radius of the floating bridge should match the fret radius, the AR805's seem to have the strings quite close to the edges of the fretboard might be something to do with the 1.75 nut width, it could be cured by having a new nut fitted with the string spacing narrowed slightly and the the slots recut on the floating bridge, there should be enough wood to sand the top of the bridge down to recut the slots and radius the bridge. If the fret dress has lowered the frets substantially and left them flat topped (they should be half an oval in shape) it will affect the intonation and could cause buzzing and will also encourage the strings to slip of the fretboard especially with light guage strings.

    This guitar has 12/50 flatwounds on, the action height is 1mm treble side and just over 1mm on the bass side there is no tendency for the strings to slip off the fretboard.

    Eastman AR805CE-fret-3-jpg

    Eastman AR805CE-fret-4-jpg


    The bridge could have easily shifted laterally after I brought the guitar home after having the work done. I do know I was experimenting a little and was playing it aggressively. I find that with normal playing I do have to reposition the bridge occasionally, (every few months).

    I don't have the eyes or the optical tools here, to really compare frets and profiles. When it's time for me to pick up the AR503CE, I will bring my AR805CE back, and see if we can compare frets and radius. I would not count on any Eastman conforming to any standard, especially the early ones. At one time they would have very obvious variations for a specific model. e.g. pickguard shape

    I suspect the AR503CE and AR805CE do have a different fretboard radius. They certainly feel much different to me.

    Since you mention strings, this guitar is now setup with Pyramid, Gold 12 - 50, round core, (nickel) flatwound strings.

    (bodge job) ? Seemed like a reasonable low cost thing to do. (He did not charge me for that). Apparently he has had good results in the past adding the paper damper, as it would dampen any rattle, buzz, between the decorative ebony, piece and the brass tailpiece. I could not detect any sonic negative effect that occurred by adding that dampening material. It's my understanding Eastman added the ebony for decorative, esthetic reasons.

    Danielle
    Last edited by DanielleOM; 08-05-2015 at 08:06 AM.

  45. #44

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    Hi, this is my first post. I've been on and off this forum for the past few years but just now made an account. I've always wanted to learn jazz guitar but always hesitated to start. I started shopping for a guitar with a Gibson L5 in mind, but after a bit of shopping and a few helpful tips from forums members I decided to seriously consider an Eastman after all the good things folks had to say about them, especially the price point for a fully hand carved guitar. I'm very shallow when it comes to guitars, I have a weakness for beautiful woods. In the begining I've always thought Eastman had "not so great" flamed maple for their guitars, the patterns were either weirdly figured or just mediocre at best, some were even book matched strangely. When I found this one I knew I had to have it, the most beautiful back/sides I'd ever seen on an Eastman. Snatched it right up, strung up with flatwounds and it sounds amazing. I had a 1949 Epiphone Zenith in the past and I thought that was loud for an archtop but this Eastman projects so well and very loud. The tone is sweet and every bit a jazz box as some of the more expensive U.S./European made. Might not have quite the prestige but defintely can hold its own. I love this one so much I ordered a non-cutaway version as well. Here are some photos.

    Enjoy!





    And this one is on it's way, it comes with a custom made Campellone pick guard. Though it looks a little funny since I think it's made for a cutaway




    Last edited by Vee_voe; 10-03-2016 at 01:51 PM.

  46. #45

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    WELCOME !!

    A truly nice guitar. Had my share of Eastmans and I can attest to their sound and value and looks. That classic finish (violin) is so striking in person - many Eastmans are hard to photograph well, it's easy not to see how gorgeous they are when in the hand. You did well.

    And as for fellas being "shallow" liking really figured wood. Welcome to that very large club. Nothing shallow about it at all.

    Big

    (ps, this was my first one, got it from a member here (before I knew of this place). It's a real early prototype Eastman made for their first NAMM show... (Mr Wu said it was the fifth one he did) what they didn't sell eventually were given as artist endorsement pieces, Eastman didn't even have anyone that knew engraving at the time and thus it had no name on the headstock. Soon as I saw that wood I had to have it.

    Eastman AR805CE-pb260026-jpg
    Last edited by BigMikeinNJ; 10-03-2016 at 09:26 AM.

  47. #46

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    I used to own an East Anniversary but with a cutaway. I ended up selling it to my guitar teach who has gigged with consistently, week after week for 100s of gigs and it sounds divine.

  48. #47

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    Congratulations on a beautiful guitar! I think their wood binding really makes the instrument "pop", along with the violin finish.


  49. #48

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    I played an Eastman 805 Anniversary model and was very impressed with it. The only reason I didn't buy it is because I wanted a 17" and found a nice deal on a 910 which is a wonderful guitar.

    Enjoy and welcome to the forum.

  50. #49

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    Nice looking guitar Vee_Voe, I see that someone has added Kent Armstrong 12 pole floater and a Sadowsky saddle/bridge. I've fitted this saddle to a couple of my guitars with positive results. Enjoy

  51. #50

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    Wow good eye there Rob, yeah these upgrades came with the guitar. The original owner also had sound posts installed as well, one which fell out during shipping so I removed the other one also. I didn't even know about the Sadowsky saddle/bridge until you mentioned it and i googled it. Just an hour ago I order 2 bi-pod bridges from stewmac thinking it was an upgrade but I guess I wont have to do a thing to the 805CE, I'm also replacing the tailpiece on the non-cutaway with a kluson trapeze. I heard factory Eastman electronics arent all that great, so I guess the Kent Armstrong better? I'm still learning as I go.
    Last edited by Vee_voe; 10-03-2016 at 04:03 PM.