Eastman have been earning a fine reputation for a few years now, by crafting a fine selection of solid body and semi acoustic models , that have taken influences from some of Gibson’s legendary models – I recall a comment from a very discerning customer a few months ago – He had recently purchased a new Eastman SB59 and brought it into the shop to show me – This customer has owned many fine guitars in the past, that have cost £5000 and more, so he has expensive taste buds, plus impeccable product knowledge, for exquisite guitars – He said ‘get over the fact that it is built in China – Get over the fact that it doesn’t say Gibson on the headstock facia and you can buy a mighty fine guitar’ – I acquired this used, 2017 Eastman SB59/V Antique Varnish Classic following a trade in against a Strat and can now offer it for sale – Priced at £1449 and that includes a deluxe shaped Eastman case, along with an appropriate certificate – Might be worth you spending a few minutes reading a review, undertaken by Dave Burrluck and courtesy of Guitarist Magazine, so please click here – The whole guitar is highly spec’d and hand crafted in China so in no particular order let me update you with the following details :-
- Whole guitar weighs 8lbs and 14oz – So on a par with many similar LP models – Note solid mahogany body with no chambers or weight relief
- Ebony fingerboard + headstock facia + truss rod cover
- 12″ fingerboard radius – 1 11/16″ nut width, which equates to around 43mm – 24.75″ scale length – So LP influenced
- Jescar FW47106 medium jumbo frets – .047″ / .104″ – nickel silver – NO nibs over fret ends
- Meaty neck profile with a hint of ‘slimmer shoulders’ so it doesn’t feel a handful – R9 LP influenced – Measures .860″ around the top nut end and 1.00″ around the 12th fret
- Long tenon neck join
- Aged patina finish – ‘French polished top coat’ satin vibe – Lengthy process and very much influenced by violin luthiers
- Top spec’d hardware and electronics CTS pots, Switchcraft socket + selector switch
- Gotoh lightly aged hardware – including light weight aluminium tailpiece and ABR style bridge on vintage style posts
- Kluson vintage style machine heads with tulip buttons
- Seymour Duncan Antiquity paf flavoured humbuckers – neck measures 7.35K and the bridge measures 8.20K – Unpotted + alnico 2 magnets
- Orange Sprague tone caps
The whole feel of the guitar is very much old school – Chunky neck profile which certainly feels like many Gibson R9 replicas – The frets are on the chunkier side and close to Dunlop 6150’s – As such string bending is effortless and allows for a slick action without any choking out – The guitar has been on my bench for a new set of 10/46 gauge strings and set-up with a sensible slick action – Maybe somewhat different for a vintage Standard flavoured model, you’ll find an ebony fingerboard – I don’t see this as a positive or negative feature – Without being told about it and without looking to hard at the guitar itself, so just play it, I’m not so sure you’ll notice it – Ebony does add a touch of clarity to the overall tone but again we are talking about marginal differences
Tonal character :- Very much old school – Not sure you are expecting me to say otherwise – For many the first evaluation is to judge it unplugged – Played acoustically, you’ll wish to check out how it feels, performs and sounds and in doing so, you’ll find there is no negative experience at this stage – You can both feel and hear it ring out loud as you play a few chosen open chords – A chunky neck assists with this vibrant character, assisted by a hand select one piece mahogany body – But I dare say you’ll be in a hurry to hook it up to your amp – Initially, you’ll maybe rush through a few chosen licks, as you switch from clean to overdriven amp settings and again no complaints so far – So now a more thorough sound check is required and I start off with a clean amp setting – It possesses enough natural character to ensure that it does not sound bland whatsoever – Rich, smooth and warm with almost a single coil clarity from both pick-ups – The Seymour Duncan Antiquity paf replicas are on the lower output side of life, certainly compared to modern contemporary humbuckers – As such the tone is lush and musical – Chilled out blues chords and licks, or country twang and it possess plenty of character, with good depth, body and articulation – I’m sure many will play such a guitar in some form of rock/blues environment, with a decent level of gain on the amp, yet it is nice to know that you can still experience such a lush clean tone to fall back on as and when required – The overall tone character is more refined, as against being a screamer, yet it can still bite, bark and growl when required
To me playing the Eastman SB59/V, through an overdriven amp setting, is discovering how it will respond with subtle variations to the volume and indeed the tone pots – This is were you should find so much soul, emotion and expression and again it does not let you down – Lower gain amp settings with the 59/V turned up, or hi-gain amp levels with the volume pots rolled off, will produce distinctively different and usable voices, so instantly both options have there place, be it for chord work, riffs, shuffle patterns or lead licks – It is this expression that allows you to become fully infatuated with such a guitar – With everything on 10 you’ll experience a big tone, with clear lows, crisp highs and just enough fat mids, but not to the extent they overpower – Roll off the volume pots a touch, for subtle but effective variations and now you’ll experience a softer voice that is more sultry, but certainly not muddy, as the guitar retains its articulation and sparkling clarity – With the amp on moderate distortion levels, this approach allows you to morph from Pete Green style blues licks, with the volume pot around 6 or 7, through to Bonamassa rock blues licks with the volume pot now on 10 – On hi-gain amp settings, the same approach allows for subtle but effective levels of gain to be controlled by you and the volume pot – From full on ‘Still Got The Blues’ to a more tender approach as required – Hence so much emotion available to you – Try Less gain, along with a boost pedal and the guitar on 8 through to 10, or hi-gain and the guitar now around 6 and both produce different voices that are totally usable – As I said so much emotional control at your fingertips – Overall this 59/V always sounds more melodic and tender, so in control, as against pushed to its limits – The more you play it, the more you realise what it can deliver – The finer nuances of the guitar may not stand out on its first 2 minute test drive, but the more you play it, the more it will grow on you as you discover what it can deliver
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Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A journey, now in excess of 40 years, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.
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