Thanks to the guys at Sound Pure (www.soundpure.com) I had a chance to spend an hour by myself trying out 7 or 8 Eastman guitars. My goal was to find a replacement for my ES-335 that had a little more of an open archtop tone and vibe. I wasn't necesarily going full archtop though. My bias going in was to pick up one of the thinlines, probably a 146. So first off props and thanks to Sound Pure. It was great to be able to try out all of those guitars. Whenever someone on one of these boards asks what to buy, people always say to try to a/b as many as you can. This experience has reinforced that opinion. Every model had its own voice, and every guitar was unique. I tried multiple of each model and they were all different - both in terms of the finish in the wood and the feel of the neck. I played 803-15, 803-16, 145, 146 with maple back/side and ebony, and 146 with mahogany back/side and rosewood. So, right off the bat I tried the 146 maple/ebony and a 145 with the same configuration. I was skeptical that one inch in the bout would really make a difference in the tone of a thinline, but to my ears the 146 was much more open acoustically. That doesn't mean the 145 was a bad guitar. Actually, in the end I think I probably would rate it higher than the 146. Because it is not just a tiny archtop. It has its own sound which is a punchy, fun, modern sound. The 146 felt very good and comfortable and it was definitely more woody than a 335. You could play it unplugged and it is much louder and more interesting than the 335. I was actually kind of digging it. Then I played the 803-16. It was night and day. Just a much richer acoustic sound. I played an 803-15 as well. Once again, I really didn't expect much difference. But when I played them a/b the 16 clearly had a better tone. Plugged in it was a little closer. I think if I had just played the 15 without the 16 to compare it to it would have sounded fine (I don't have the best ears in the world or anything). But back-to-back I really liked the 16. I should go back and mention that I played the 146 with mahogany and rosewood. I thought I would like it - kind of like an 80's 175. But I didn't like it. I actually loved the look of the mahogany back. But instead of being warm and dark like I expected it was just less complex. It may have just been that instrument or I may have been overanalyzing, but it just didn't do it for me. So I played 3 different 803-16s to see what I would like. When people say to play a lot of eastmans and pick out a good one they mean it. These guitars were all different. One was a blem and I really wanted to like it because basically I am cheap/broke. But I didn't. It was a sunburst with a nice but rather plain back and a neck I just didn't bond with. The other two were violin finish and once set up were pretty similar, but the figuring on one was better than the other. That one also had a neck that I liked better. These weren't like CNC Fenders or anything. Every neck felt a little different. I played them through a Henriksen jazzamp. Now, these guitars did not have the bright, loud, open (maybe a little thin) sound that Eastman is really known for. These were all humbucker guitars and I felt I could get a good dark jazz tone from them. With my 335, I roll off the tone a little bit. But I have to be careful or it gets that dull thuddy tone to it. With the Eastmans the tone roll-off was much more subtle. I couldn't decide if that was a good thing or if really the tone control was just not that effective. The tone changed a good bit as you rolled off volume. So maybe it could use some work on the electronics. I wish I had taken my 335 with me so I could have a/b-d them through the same amp, but I was pretty pleased with the sound of the pickup. Who knows after a few months how I would feel. The necks felt flatter than a Gibson to me. And the string spacing felt wider. Sure enough, the nut width is 1.75. I don't know what the specs are on the neck but I would guess about a 14" radius. Very playable. I asked Chris to lower the action as far as he could and he got it very low with no buzz. Also, I did not play them loud but they seemed to be much more feedback resistant than what I have heard about their floater-equipped archtops. Strangely the easiest one to get feedback out of was one of the thinlines. These guitars are all compromises in some way. I had a 17 inch full-depth archtop with a floater and I hated it (D'angelico Excel). The mini-humbucker floater was weak and the guitar was uncomfortable to play and made my shoulder hurt. I am kind of a little guy and I felt like the damn thing was playing me instead of the other way around. These guitars are not going to have the projection, note separation, and complexity of those types of guitars. But for me it was a good fit. The 15 inch 803s and the 146 felt like the wrong kind of compromise. They were just in between - not as good-sounding as the 803-16 and not as punchy and fun as the 145. So that was my experience and opinion. Would love to hear what others think.