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  1. #1

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    Actually had it for around 3 weeks now. It’s excellent and I much prefer its tone to the Eastman AR503CE (now sold).

    These things are subjective I know but I couldn’t dial the nasal treble out the Eastman, even with a custom pickup change and it had a couple of dead spots.

    These are expensive for Korean made (although setup in the USA at Comin’s workshop) but I’m planning on keeping it a long time.

    Last edited by Humbuckr; 05-30-2021 at 06:21 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Congrats! Hopefully you continue to enjoy it.

    I have a Comins GCS-1es and love it, though I do wonder if I should have got the full hollowbody version instead, like yours... I'm saving up for my first archtop.

  4. #3

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    As an Eastman AR503CE player, I am very happy for you!

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    As an Eastman AR503CE player, I am very happy for you!
    Apologies, mentioning the Eastman was putting my foot in it somewhat. I think it was probably my particular example as I’ve heard better sounding demos (if I remember correctly including yours with a Bare Knuckle p90). Mine didn’t seem to like C notes either.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbuckr View Post
    Actually had it for around 3 weeks now. It’s excellent and for quality of tone it blows the Eastman AR503CE (now sold) away.

    These things are subjective I know but I couldn’t dial the nasal treble out the Eastman, even with a custom pickup change and it had a couple of dead spots.

    These are expensive for Korean made (although setup in the USA at Comin’s workshop) but I’m planning on keeping it a long time.

    Congrats. I tied one of these briefly and thought it was really nice. Great playability, and a really good sound, also very comfortable to play,

  7. #6

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    Just wondering how the acoustic volume seems vs the Eastman AR503CE.

    I actually have two AR503CE guitars here. I have not noticed any dead spots. The two guitars definitely sound different. The older one has characteristics that I think give it a little more personality on the initial attack and perhaps make it a little more acoustic sounding.

    I often wonder about the string and tuner interference that I have seen on the AR503CE guitars. That GCS16-1 has good string separation on the head stock. I see Eastman has been improving the separation on some their newer models, but they don't seem to be going back and changing the older ones.

    Any buzzes or rattles with the new guitar? It seems I always end up struggling with rattling hardware any time I get a new guitar with a hum bucking pickup.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleOM View Post
    Just wondering how the acoustic volume seems vs the Eastman AR503CE.

    I actually have two AR503CE guitars here. I have not noticed any dead spots. The two guitars definitely sound different. The older one has characteristics that I think give it a little more personality on the initial attack and perhaps make it a little more acoustic sounding.

    I often wonder about the string and tuner interference that I have seen on the AR503CE guitars. That GCS16-1 has good string separation on the head stock. I see Eastman has been improving the separation on some their newer models, but they don't seem to be going back and changing the older ones.

    Any buzzes or rattles with the new guitar? It seems I always end up struggling with rattling hardware any time I get a new guitar with a hum bucking pickup.
    I’m sure this will vary guitar to guitar and the Comins is all laminate vs the solid top on the Eastman. However I’d say acoustic volume between the two is comparable. I’m inclined to say the Comins has an edge there but could be mis-remembering.

    The main difference to my ears is the solid, piano like attack the Comins has. Also the EQ is different with the Comins being warmer and rounder. Playing the Eastman through my Henriksen Blu, I had treble and presence dialled down to 25% or less with low mid and bass boosted heavily and guitar tone way down...I found it still too bright until the tone control was virtually zero’d. The thicker string notes sounded a bit hollow. On the Comins, it’s good to go with most dials at noon.

    Initially there was some string buzz on the Comins with harder strumming but it was due to the pickup being raised too high on the treble side. That’s disappeared completely by lowering the pickup. I’ve tinkered with the action a bit and strung it with 13 Jazz Bebops. String height at the 12th is around 2.2mm low E and 1.75mm high E which feels about right. Plenty of room to lower further though.

    And yes I agree the headstock string separation on these Eastmans is a worry. Solved on the ES-335/0 clones with a narrower headstock flare but still present on their full hollowbodies.

  9. #8

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    I purchased a Comins -gcs-16-1 with the Violin finish yesterday. After playing it for a couple hours, then changing the RW strings to Flat TI 11's I'm really pleased with it. I'm on a 2 year wait with Mark C. and seeing I wasn't happy with what I have now, I'm glad I made the purchase.
    I'll add more when I do my NGD post!

  10. #9

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    Still strung with TI Jazz Bebop 13s but I have a set of Jazz Swings waiting to go on. This is recorded via XLR from the direct out on my Henriksen Blu.


  11. #10

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    Congratulations, its a beautiful guitar...I have a gcs-1es and i love it! I really don't think it's expensive for a Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese or whatever...I think it's cheap because of the high quality of construction and materials! And frankly, compared to instruments made in the USA, more expensive and sometimes worse...even more!

  12. #11

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    That's a gorgeous lam spruce top. Hard to argue the price when Sadowsky are asking between 5k-6k for something similar.

  13. #12

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    That is a beautiful instrument. Congratulations, and play it in good health!

  14. #13

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    Thanks to @Strbender …this has been like two NGDs for the price of one!

  15. #14

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    An update, mainly to discuss quality and craftsmanship.

    I've since sold the Comins, mainly on account of the narrow string spacing (especially at the bridge... I was measuring about 51mm).

    There was something about the aesthetics and design of the Richlite pickguard and tailpiece that seemed slightly naff too.

    Have recently purchased a used Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso- the sunburst all laminate one- in good condition. It was less than half the price of the Comins (and still would have been half the price when they were sold new a few years back).

    Im willing to bet these Comins guitars are made in the same Korean factory as Peerless and by the same hands. The finishing, binding and finish type seem very familiar. Ultimately, I don't think I'd opt for another Comins as I think they are slightly over priced.

  16. #15

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    $2,695 USD > $2,199 USD

    Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso | Guitars 'n Jazz

    GCS-16-1 | Comins Guitars

    Plus, the Comins is set up by Bill in his shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Humbuckr View Post
    An update, mainly to discuss quality and craftsmanship.

    I've since sold the Comins, mainly on account of the narrow string spacing (especially at the bridge... I was measuring about 51mm).

    There was something about the aesthetics and design of the Richlite pickguard and tailpiece that seemed slightly naff too.

    Have recently purchased a used Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso- the sunburst all laminate one- in good condition. It was less than half the price of the Comins (and still would have been half the price when they were sold new a few years back).

    Im willing to bet these Comins guitars are made in the same Korean factory as Peerless and by the same hands. The finishing, binding and finish type seem very familiar. Ultimately, I don't think I'd opt for another Comins as I think they are slightly over priced.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    $2,695 USD > $2,199 USD

    Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso | Guitars 'n Jazz

    GCS-16-1 | Comins Guitars

    Plus, the Comins is set up by Bill in his shop.
    I don’t think the Peerless guitars were being sold for anywhere near that new …the UK price was around half of that figure.

    “Someone” sets the Comins guitars up…maybe Bill put a hand on the first batch but I seriously doubt he touches every one of them nowadays. The bridge on the Peerless matches the top better than the Comins did.

  18. #17

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    Would I prefer an ebony pickguard on an archtop? Sure. But consider many more expensive instruments use plastic pickguards and most people don't see that as a reflection of the quality of the instrument. I suppose it's a choice on the part of the builder, just as the decisions are around neck carve, nut width, etc., which are going to suit some players better than others.

    I own a Comins gcs-1es, the semi-hollow sibling, and think it's a high-quality instrument at a reasonable price. It has standard TOM bridge spacing at 52.5mm. I don't find it an issue but I probably would at 51mm. I could see why it would be frustrating.

    I recall reading one person, likely on this forum, requesting from Bill the TOM floating bridge found on the two pickup model.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeOnJazz View Post
    Would I prefer an ebony pickguard on an archtop? Sure. But consider many more expensive instruments use plastic pickguards and most people don't see that as a reflection of the quality of the instrument. I suppose it's a choice on the part of the builder, just as the decisions are around neck carve, nut width, etc., which are going to suit some players better than others.

    I own a Comins gcs-1es, the semi-hollow sibling, and think it's a high-quality instrument at a reasonable price. It has standard TOM bridge spacing at 52.5mm. I don't find it an issue but I probably would at 51mm. I could see why it would be frustrating.

    I recall reading one person, likely on this forum, requesting from Bill the TOM floating bridge found on the two pickup model.
    Fair points. The richlite thing is definitely a preference, not good or bad necessarily.

    ToM spacing is still a bit tight, that’s what’s on my Les Paul. Great for plectrum work of course. Even my vintage style strat bridge sits at 55mm. My Martin 00028 is 57mm.

    The Peerless is around 53-54mm but has a 59mm fretboard width so there’s room to re-notch the saddle and widen spacing a bit further. If I didn’t have aspirations toward fingerstyle the Comins spacing would have been fine.

  20. #19

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    Respectfully, you are incorrect .

    Bill still sets up most of them. He has an assistant that helps him part time with this who was trained by him that works under his supervision. He has significantly cut back on his building of his custom guitars in order to support this as this part of his business has grown.

    Lastly, prices on guitars can also vary significantly by region due to government import tariffs and VAT.

    Quote Originally Posted by Humbuckr View Post
    I don’t think the Peerless guitars were being sold for anywhere near that new …the UK price was around half of that figure.

    “Someone” sets the Comins guitars up…maybe Bill put a hand on the first batch but I seriously doubt he touches every one of them nowadays. The bridge on the Peerless matches the top better than the Comins did.

  21. #20

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    In my opinion, which is based on the Gcs1-Es model, they are great guitars, with an incredible finish and a great value. What do you buy in this category that is as good or better for $1699? Honestly, respecting the differences in style and sound, it has a much better finish than the 175 I've ever had! I know Peerless are great too, as is Eastman, no problem with that. Also in my opinion, personal preference issues like bridge spacing, neck width, etc, are not value criteria! Finally...if Yotam Silberstein, Jimmy Bruno, Jack Wilkins, Sandro Albert and others use it successfully, it should work!??

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strbender View Post
    I purchased a Comins -gcs-16-1 with the Violin finish yesterday. After playing it for a couple hours, then changing the RW strings to Flat TI 11's I'm really pleased with it. I'm on a 2 year wait with Mark C. and seeing I wasn't happy with what I have now, I'm glad I made the purchase.
    I'll add more when I do my NGD post!
    You might want to keep it even when you get your Campy, the laminate guitars are quite different, depending on the guitar. I have a Borys that is more "thunky" and feedback resistant. The Campy is s much better acoustic guitar of course, and more open and resonant sounding electrified. Kind of like the difference between an L5 and a ES175, but not quite so much, if that makes sense?

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejaybill View Post
    You might want to keep it even when you get your Campy, the laminate guitars are quite different, depending on the guitar. I have a Borys that is more "thunky" and feedback resistant. The Campy is s much better acoustic guitar of course, and more open and resonant sounding electrified. Kind of like the difference between an L5 and a ES175, but not quite so much, if that makes sense?
    I most deffinately plan to keep the Comins when the Campy arrives. I think it will make a wonderful gigging guitar, that's if I ever get to gig again. Or if I start giving lessons it would sound fine without using an amp. The Campy is for me. If I get a chance to record, or under certain performing conditions I will use it in public. Other wise it's mine all mine

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strbender View Post
    I most deffinately plan to keep the Comins when the Campy arrives. I think it will make a wonderful gigging guitar, that's if I ever get to gig again. Or if I start giving lessons it would sound fine without using an amp. The Campy is for me. If I get a chance to record, or under certain performing conditions I will use it in public. Other wise it's mine all mine
    I use the Campy for recording a lot, it has a nice liquid but open sound for that. And it would be great for a duet gig, I'm just not sure how it would react to a full band with drums etc., maybe it would be fine! But it is an acoustic guitar first, as are most guitars with floating pickups (unless yours will have a built in pu?).

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbuckr View Post
    Have recently purchased a used Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso- the sunburst all laminate one- in good condition. It was less than half the price of the Comins (and still would have been half the price when they were sold new a few years back).
    Being a very shallow person, I could never own an archtop as completely and utterly fugly as the Peerless Martin Taylor Virtuoso.

  26. #25

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    hi,

    I'm searching an archtop around this budget and reading this post is helpfull.

    thank you cause I didn't know comins guitar and this guitar sounds great and look good according to me after looking and earing some guitar players on the net.