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Eastman 59/V Les Paul style guitar.

DrJamie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,849
Just discovered these exist. Looking for a nice Les Paul, or copy. These sound like real possibilities. Any owners out there? My local dealer carries Eastman acoustics. Almost impossible to justify a Historic as a gigging guitar (but who knows??)
 
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Benz2112

Memba?
Gold Supporting Member
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6,551
The Eastman workshop makes really nice handmade instruments, the only thing they have in common with the large factories, is a geographic border.
 

Verne Andru

Member
Messages
735
Eastman are made in China, but it's not what you think. They started as Eastman Strings (still are) and do a big business in acoustic basses, cellos and that sort of thing. The owner, who I've met, is a standup guy who hires crafts-people who maintain a very high level of quality across all their products.
 

WorstBandNameEver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
252
Just discovered these exist. Looking for a nice Les Paul, or copy. These sound like real possibilities. Are these made with slave-level wage earners? Any owners out there? My local dealer carries Eastman acoustics. Almost impossible to justify a Historic as a gigging guitar (but who knows??)
Apparently, Eastman pays their employees fairly for what folks get paid in the area. But, hard to say and it's not the sort of things posted on Glassdoor. They only make 4000-6000 guitars a year. You can watch Youtube factory tours from a few years ago that shows what it is like there.

I own a few now. I think they are great, but the real handmade aspect means that all have some very minor imperfections, but I've seen worse than minor. I would certainly play one first or make sure you can return it in case.

Also, their nitro vs. varnish is an important consideration.

If you want a Gibson historic, they will not be that exactly. They are their own single cut in the LP style.

The best part is mine all weight 8 lbs or less.
 

DrJamie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,849
Maybach might be a bit too scarce from what I've seen...they look very cool.
 

R. B.

Member
Messages
190
Just discovered these exist. Looking for a nice Les Paul, or copy. These sound like real possibilities. Any owners out there? My local dealer carries Eastman acoustics. Almost impossible to justify a Historic as a gigging guitar (but who knows??)
Just bought my first sb 59. Should be arriving early January... I was really impressed by all the specs - gotoh tuners, bypass tone pot, jesscar fretwire, orange drop caps, ebony fretboard, etc. For little more than the cost of an LP studio you get a handmade LP style guitar that has pretty much the highest quality components you could wish for.

Did you spot that, aside the aesthetics, the nitro finish sb 59s are fitted with Seymour Duncan 59 pickups whereas the varnished ones have Lollar imperials? This could be a really important difference for some players.
 

Architech

Member
Messages
46
Eastman are quality instruments, try not to be misled by the whole chinese=mass produced stereotype. They’re fairly established as a string instrument manufacturer like violins etc. I always find it odd the classical crowd seems to embrace chinese quality so much more than the guitar crowd does.
 

DrJamie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,849
Yes the Varnish models have what would be assumed to be upgraded Lollar pickups. As an aside, I've played Heritage 150's and never found one I bonded with. I did have an old 140 gold top that I did like.
 

techjunky

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
372
I own 2 Eastman guitars; a T486 and a SB57. Both are absolutely fantastic guitars. I was playing the SB57 yesterday around the house and kept thinking how impressed I am with the guitar. Ive only owned a few Gibsons, and none were custom shop models, but I did sell a 2018 Les Paul Classic to fund the SB57 and have absolutely zero regrets. It plays better, is 2 pounds lighter, and is equal or better build quality.
 

Evan_R

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,333
I got the 56 model a couple of months ago and it’s amazing. I literally haven’t had to tune it! I don’t understand why it’s so good!
 

mikeSF

Member
Messages
310
Have owned 4 Eastman's over the years and presently have the SB59. I've also owned and played enough Gibbies to know you must spend Custom Shop bucks to really get a good piece.

This SB59, at $1,600, is every bit as good as a historic RI, such as R9. And the Eastman has better stock pickups, mine came with 4-conductor SH-1's. Eastman's fretwork was demonstrably better and the ebony fretboard feels better than LP's rosewood. Mahogany 1-pc bodies are lighter and more figured than comparably priced Gibsons, no doubt.

Can't beat Eastman for overall value if you don't require a designer logo on your headstock, imo.
 

Gspspinone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
866
They’re cool guitars, but inconsistent in workmanship. Definitely have to play one first. A local shop carries Eastman, they had a 59/V...cool guitar but fret work was a little wonky and it was near $2000. A used Gibson LP can be had for under that (I just sold a 2019 LP Standard that had perfect fit/finish and was dead mint for $1800).
 

dughaze

Member
Messages
999
Just went through the same drill. I wound up with an awesome used R7 and God willing I am going to gig it till the cows come home.
 

Sp8ctre

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
881
I have recently purchased two Eastman guitars and I can say firsthand now they are fantastic guitars.
The workmanship is unbelievable for the price point. I see no flaws at all on any part of the guitars.

Mine are a T186MX and a T486BK. Box have quality CTS Pots, Switchcraft Switch and Jack, Gotoh
Bridge and Tuners. The 486 has SD Jazz in the Neck and SD 59' in the Bridge. The 186 has Lollar
Imperials in Both Positions.

Both are set up perfect with low actions and I personally love the 1.75" nut width. They are both
very resonant acoustically and when plugged in you can feel them vibrate under your arm, but there
is no issue with feedback even at fairly high volume!

People can say what they will, but these are not your typical mass produced Chinese guitars. It
really doesn't matter to me if people shun them, more for me to buy at good prices! I'm on the
hunt for an SB59 right now!
 

TattooedCarrot

Ferro Picta Carota
Silver Supporting Member
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4,263
 

AculaMD

Member
Messages
85
Chiming in as a recent owner. Hope to do a little review next month.

Love my SB-59/v! Happy to answer any questions

Just a few issues... bridge posts were screwed in angled in so once i popped the bridge off it wouldn’t go back on. So per dealer’s instructions I bent the posts out, in the process dinging the thread a bit. Yesterday I did the mapleflame mod of legend and had to bend the posts out again. It’s fine now and I won’t comment on tonal differences here lol.

I suspect I’m getting some rising frets that I’m gonna try gently hammering down to see if i lose some buzzing. Not a huge deal, fretwork is great otherwise. the 8th fret C on the high E doesn’t sustain like the rest of the guitar, so gonna try heavier tuners.

I like to tinker and swap hardware so I put an ABM brass ABR (way better than the Faber bridges I’ve used in the past) on and will swap the tailpiece too. Tuners I’ll be putting in are Kluson Revolutions.

Mine came with Bare Knuckle Stormy Mondays, no complaints there. The whole guitar sounds great.

The whole world of LPs was foreign to me and wanted to experience something with a majority of the “vintage-correct” appointments. Aside from the ebony board and varnish finish, the Eastman fit the bill better than a Standard or Heritage H-150 with the long neck tenon and abr posts going straight into the wood. Not claiming anything about those features tone wise, just wanted to experience them for myself.

I absolutely LOVE the varnish finish: looks classy and feels even better. From now on I’ll be looking for semi-gloss finishes on guitars. Also love the ebony headstock face plus ebony truss cover, as well as the MOP inlays. Oh, and mine is under 8 lbs.

I may be a convert on fatter necks, too. It’s just a joy all around and I hardly grab my other (very nice) electrics now.
 

Tim Z

Member
Messages
390
I own two Eastman guitars, a T486 and a SB59. Both are FANTASTIC!! I have been playing professionally for 55 years and have owned and/or played almost every Gibson model out there from the late 50s to current. The first Eastman I got was the T486 and I call it the "Gibson 335 KILLER"! It is every bit as nice as any Gibson 335 I have played, and perhaps even better. I had to search all over North America to find one. I am in Canada and ordered a Cherry Red model from the New York area. I believe it was on sale for $995 USD. In the end it cost me around $1600 CAD. A Gibson of similar quality would have been in the $5000 range.

More recently I had GAS for a Les Paul. I did own a really nice 1981 Tokai Love Rock that I seriously regretted selling. So went down to L&M to try all their Les Pauls. I tried about 7 of them in the $3500 range, and to put it mildly, I was not impressed. So not impressed that I wrote to Gibson telling them how disappointed I was with their workmanship on their new guitars. They had a couple of Custom Shop LP's that I also tried, and while they were definitely better, still not of the quality I would have expected. So, since I love my T486, decided to research the Eastman choices. I could not find one bad review of the Eastman SB59 series, and many said they liked it better than the Gibsons. Could not find one in Canada, so I ordered one from The Netherlands, which cost me $2275 CAD. They were awesome to deal with. When the guitar arrived I could not have been happier. I am typically more of a Strat/Tele guy, but I can honestly say that this Eastman SB59 is one the very best guitars I have ever owned and played. It plays and sounds fantastic and looks equally as nice. Beautiful flame on both guitars. This SB59 is twice the guitar of any of the Gibson Les Pauls I tried before purchasing.

There are some photos of both guitars at my guitars gallery here: My Guitars
 
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Jeff_G

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,163
Chiming in for posterity.

l purchased an SB59/v for the exact reason that I didn’t want to gig expensive custom shop guitars in dirty bars. As it turns out, I absolutely love the one I got. The neck feels perfect, the pickups are Lollars so they are excellent, the craftsmanship is top notch, and it sounds amazing. Weighs just over 8 lbs too! I highly encourage anyone who is interested to check them out.

That said, it is not an LP. They’re just different. One isn’t better or worse than the other - just different. So if you’re looking for an exact 1:1 replacement, then I don’t think it’s the guitar for you.
 




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