One of my favorite parts of running this website is getting to highlight my favorite guitars or companies, especially ones I think you should know about. My love of classic Gibson models, and suspicion of the Gibson company, are two of the more talked about topics on this site. I love so many of their guitars, but can’t get behind how much they charge for QA/QC that’s all over the place. These feelings have made me search far and wide for a way to get all the things I love about these guitars distilled into a better package and I believe Eastman has done that perfectly.
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Eastman prides itself on top notch attention to detail that is displayed in each and every guitar. Eastman is also unique in that they’ve really capitalized on the overseas market, where they can keep costs down but still produce really fantastic guitars. This aren’t some large scale, factory mill productions. They are carefully designed and built just like a USA Gibson would be, just overseas where we all know companies can save a ton of money.
Started about 25 years ago by Qian Ni after he graduated from Boston University’s school of music, it’s been an impressively successful quarter decade for the brand. Eastman has quickly gained the attention of players and the guitar media horde while simultaneously inspiring many other overseas builders to step up their game. In my opinion, you don’t see the highly successful Shijie or 10S guitars without this precedent being set by Eastman to some degree.
What you end up with is an instrument that may cost more than the lowest Gibson model, but plays more like a Gibson Custom Shop model. Take their new SB55DC/v for example, this is a premium Les Paul Jr guitar that looks decades old thanks to their antique varnish and is basically my dream guitar.
We’re going to be digging into their most well known model, the SB59 shortly so stay tuned for more on that! In the meantime, dig through their website and see the kind of praise these guys have accumulated. It may just make you want one of these instead of a real deal Gibson…