Eastman SB59/V.... Custom shop killer?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Chuteboxehero, Nov 10, 2020.

  1. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    I've heard various things about Eastman since they launched their '59 inspired solid body line. Either they're Made in China but better than a Gibson or It's a Chibson that costs the same as a Gibson etc.... Had one turn up locally and was curious to check it out. Ended up taking it home to do some playing figuring it can be returned if it doesn't work out.
    First thing I noticed was the finish. This particular guitar has the "V" finish meaning it's french polished varnish on top of a thin nitro color coat if I understand the process they use correctly. It also has a light relic job done to it and the nickle hardware is also aged. I'm not normally a fan of artificial aging but it really looks and feels good on this one. The wear isn't over the top and it makes sense when you look at it, not just random scrapes and dings but wear in the spots you'd expect to see it.
    Also noticed the one piece mahogany body and the carve of the top. Looks amazing in person. Apparently the tops are hand carved... Definitely a nice deep carve on the top. Fret board is a beautiful piece of ebony which feels as smooth as glass. Has some light streaking which I'd prefer rather than having black fingers after every session. The fret work is top notch. Perfectly cut bone nut. Nice neck binding and no tool marks in sight. Headstock veneer is also ebony and it looks beautiful.
    I've read these shipped with either Lollar Imperials or Duncan Antiquities. I popped both out while changing strings and found they are in fact Antiquities and they sound absolutely killer in this guitar. Having the neck pickup out also showed they use a long neck tenon which is a big deal to some. Gotoh lightweight tailpiece and a legit ABR-1 bridge that threads directly into the top. CTS audio taper 500k's and orange drop caps. The wiring is 50s style and the work is done beautifully. Even the body routes are clean.
    Sorry to run on but there's alot worth noting with these guitars. Most importantly is the sound and playability. This one weighs in at 8lbs 4oz and it feels nicely balanced. Neck is bigger than the normal 60s slim profile but not a baseball bat like a '58. If I had calipers I'd measure it but unfortunately I don't so I'll say this... I don't love fat necks but this one feels nice. And finally the sound. I ran it into a few different amps and a modeler. Into my 5w combo it sounds amazing. Into a JCM800 it was amazing and these pickups roll off so well you can basically set you gain channel and work off your volume knob to get anywhere from light break up to full blast. Overall it sounds just like what you want a '59 inspired LP to sound like.
    I think that's about it... I went into this with zero expectations either way. I love the Les Paul and own a plenty of Gibsons. I'm also a fan of guitars built overseas and the value they can offer for the price. When you consider what a Les Paul with the following features would cost... VOS finish with relic. Long neck tenon. One piece body. Deep top carve. True ABR -1 bridge. Plus the attention to detail put into this guitar... You're looking at an R9 which run 5k to 6k? So the price tag when these were new wasn't really out of line. Find one used like this one and I think it's one of the better bargains out there. I'll definitely be keeping this one. I've been itching to play it the whole time I've been writing this. That's awesome.
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    Unfortunately I can't seem to get a decent picture of this with the crap lighting and my phone's camera. Google the model in amber varnish and you'll get a much better idea of what it looks like in person....
     
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  2. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    It's a beautiful work of art you have! I would be completely bat ship jealous of you, except I have my own Eastman I love and adore. An 2007 El Rey 3. A squished Paul Supreme like creature that has captured my guitar soul completely! Found in a pawn shop, neglected and unloved, within 2 minutes of playing, had to own it. Or it own me.... hmmm.

    Carved flame maple top on a 2 piece mahogany body, 22 fret ebony board on a mahogany neck. Semi hollow with no 'F' holes, it's on the lighter side of things. Play and tone, it's everything I always wanted in a Paul. The only issues were the pickups, the import Kent Armstrongs, were just meh. And, as you can imagine, the act of replacing them was an experiment in creative cursing! But the Golden Age A2's, just give me that sound I hear in my head. Not a fan of the Tone Pros bridge, but eventually it will be replaced.

    I am just in awe of the quality of every Eastman electric I have played. Yours is simply stunning! May it love you a LONG LONG time!!
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  3. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    Nice! Glad your enjoying yours too! Love the shape of the body. Nice top and that color looks great! It's crazy that prior to this one turning up which led me to look into Eastman in general, I'd only seen their archtops and those were pretty rare to come across. Every review I read was positive, especially concerning build quality so I figured it was at least worth the drive to see it in person. I'm really impressed at how well equipped this came from the factory. The parts that would normally be getting swapped out for better components were already quality. The Gotoh Japan tail piece that compliments the ABR -1 is so light it feels like it has no mass at all. Also this is the first set of Antiquities I've played and after working with them for a few days, I think they're the best humbuckers I played in a LP style guitar. With the bridge pickup on and the amp turned up hot, I can roll off the volume to about 6 and get clean on the edge break up, them hit about 8 and get nice saturated overdrive but every note in a chord is still clear as day, and then roll it to 10 for full blown heaviness. Yea I could go on for hours. I'll finish with this... I'd like to track down either one of their Specials with P90s next or something ES355 style. Both look amazing.
     

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