NGD: Eastman E1D

RomanS

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I've been getting back into playing more acoustic guitar during the last 2 or 3 years, after playing mainly electric for the last decade.

The only acoustic (aside from a Loar acoustic archtop) I had was an old Guild GAD30 I bought in the mid-'00s - great sounding little thing, but over the years, after playing mainly Teles with fat baseball bat necks (Warmoth Fatback & Boatneck profiles), I've come to dislike its super-thin neck, and it also has developped some problems - very worn frets (needs a refret), a crack in the top behind the bridge, and a rattling sound (loose bracing?)

I got a '69 Harmony H167 2 years ago (very nice FAT neck, looks super cool - but it's a bit fragile, and it is very quiet - great for solo fingerpicking, but nothing much else).

I also got on the waiting list for an Iris OG as a treat for my 50th birthday, but the waiting time for those is loooong...

Well, I recently started playing with an acoustic only band, and I attended a bluegrass camp - and I've been lusting for a nice dreadnaught ever since...
But since that Iris is going to cost quite a bit, it needed to be something "affordable"; plus, I wanted something with a neck that wasn't super thin - which immediately ruled out all "budget" Martin models, with their terrible "modified low oval" neck profile - most uncomfortable neck ever, feels like an '80s Ibanez shredder... Same thing with most other "affordable" dreadnaughts, thin necks only...
Also, guitar stores here in town don't have a great selection of good acoustics, no way to try out stuff, had to rely on hearsay and order by mail...
I was set on getting a Takamine EF340S-TT, because it's supposed to have a super fat neck - but got to try the rosewood version of that at the bluegrass camp recently, and while the neck is great, indeed, it had a super-thick "dipped in glass" poly finish (hate the look of that, I prefer more "rustic" finishes); didn't sound that great, either...
A Yamaha FG3 I played sounded great, the neck was OK, but I couldn't get over the Halloween pumpkin orange finish...

Now, Eastman has been on my radar, but none of the stores here have a lot of those - I tried an E1OM that was great (but not what I was looking for), another one of those that was so-so, and an E1D that was OK, but being their shop demo, had super-tarnished frets, and a few dings; neck on that wasn't a super fat baseball bat, but kinda "mid-size plus" (just like on those E1OMs I tried).

Well, with a lack of options I started looking for E1Ds online, and found an appealing one at TFOA in the Netherlands; that store has a great reputation; but what attracted me immediately was the amount of "silking" on the top of the E1D they had for sale - silking, which is most visible on perfectly quartersawn Sitka spruce tops, is said to be an indicator for exceptional sounding instruments.
So, took the gamble, ordered it -- and got lucky!

The E1D I received plays super nice - the neck is chunky (.93" at the first fret), more so than the one I tried at the store; it was set up quite well (I wouldn't have minded slightly higher action - but it came with 12s, I prefer 13s, will try those on the first string change), very nice fretwork, and that open-pore finish feels very "fast" (and looks great, too, much better than the plastic-y thick gloss finish usually found in that price range).
But best of all: It sounds amazing! Super-lively, plenty of bass, plenty of treble, it's the proverbial "rings like a bell" tone - really great guitar, love it!

IMG_20221019_093750.jpg

For some reason, my E1D came with a red-ish pickguard, different from the dark brown one found on most of the ones you see online; that red matches the shade of the mahogany back and sides perfectly, so I'm not complaining!

Look at that nice chunky neck, and awesome feeling open-pore finish - can't get any less sticky than that (I usually only put a single coat of TruOil on my Tele necks, and sand down lacquered necks, can't stand that sticky feeling of a gloss neck).
Those tuners are great, too, not as ugly as clunky Grover/Schaller types, but just as smooth, and these even have screws on the buttons, for adjusting how tight they feel (rare with open-back tuners).
IMG_20221019_093459.jpg


And look at the gorgeous silking on that top, rare to find in that price range:
IMG_20221019_093552.jpg


EDIT: Should have cleaned that finger print on the bridge, before taking the photo...
 
Last edited:

RomanS

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Since I love this thing so much, I also want to use it with my band, and as it happens, we have a gig this Saturday - so I already added a strap button at the the neck heel, and I put in a pickup: a Journeytek soundboard transducer (kinda like the K&K mini); I tried it at home (through a FireEye RedEye preamp, into a QSC CP8 speaker), and that sounds great, too - can't wait to use it on stage!

One more thing I like is that it comes with a gig bag instead of a case. I live in a small city apartment in a metropolitan area, and usually take the subway or tram to rehearsals or gigs, a gig bag is so much more convenient here, and I've got too many cases taking up storage space already.
The included gig bag is a bit flimsy, though, going to use another one I have, with thicker padding.
 
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RomanS

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If I had to nitpick and find a few faults with it:

The action is a bit low for my heavy-handed playing style - but I generally prefer very high action, even on my Teles the low E sits about 3 mm above the 12th fret; there was a note from the setup tech at TFOA that 12th fret low E was at 2.65 mm, and high E at 1.9 mm.
Now, since the fretwork is excellent, there isn't any string buzz, but that Eastman is almost too easy playing, and I like having to dig in and wrestle a bit (Tele player, ya know...)
As I said, I hope that changes I bit once I put on a set of 13s instead of the 12s it came with, plus, I could always change the saddle...

Another thing: It has a string spacing of about 55mm at the bridge - very typical for a dreadnought, but a bit tight for fingerpicking; but that's not what I got this Eastman for, anyway, I'll just use my Harmony for that.

And another thing that some people might not like: The fretboard edge is nicely rolled (great for guys who fret with their thumb, but I'm not one of those), and the fret ends are nicely dressed. This feels super comfortable!
BUT: You have to be really careful when using a capo up the neck (say, 5th fret), because if there's any sideways action when placing the capo (like with my Shubb), the low E tends to slip off the side of the fretboard (I have the same problem with the Harmony). Less rounded fret ends and fretboard edges would have prevented that (but felt less comfortable).
Maybe I'll need to get a yoke style capo?
BTW, that is not a problem for playing at home - but it might be in the turmoil of a rowdy bar gig...

That's about it for criticism, everything else about the Eastman is great.
 
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RoscoeElegante

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Looks the beaut! And I hear you about chunky necks. I have a gorgeous Martin mahogany 000-15. It would be great except its neck is just too thin.

Anyway, congrats on your newbie. Put it in DADF#AD tuning and let it lead you onward....
 

zombywoof

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The Eastman neck sounds like what is referred to as a midcentury modern Gibson neck meaning it is close to the carves Gibson went with in the 1950s which clocked in at a depth of .91" to .93" at the 1st fret. More than a few find these full medium necks the most comfy Gibson ever went with. And they are similar to the necks Harmony used up to around 1968 (after which they were slimmed down a bit) which also benefitted from the 1 3/4" nut as opposed to the then standard Gibson 1 11/16" nut.

But I do get the fat neck thing which based on my frame of reference starts kicking in at around a .96" depth at the 1st fret. I play two old Gibsons one of which has 1 7/8" nut, a soft V carve and a depth at the 1st fret of 1.05" and another which has a 1 3/4" nut, a round shoulder C carve and a depth at the 1st fret of 1.04". I also own a 1942 Harmony H165 Stella with a V neck which also falls into that depth range.

I also agree that I would find that 55 mm string spacing at the bridge on the skimpy side. But a 2 3/16" spacing does appear to be the norm with guitars built from the 1940s on. I always blamed it on the rise of the plectrum. While I prefer a 2 5/16" or 2 3/8" spread, I can play guitars with a skimpier spacing. It just takes a bit of time for muscle memory to kick in. Harmony pretty much stuck with a 2 1/4" spread.
 
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RomanS

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The Eastman neck sounds like what is referred to as a midcentury modern Gibson neck meaning it is close to the carves Gibson went with in the 1950s which clocked in at a depth of .91" to .93" at the 1st fret. More than a few find these full medium necks the most comfy Gibson ever went with. And they are similar to the necks Harmony used up to around 1968 (after which they were slimmed down a bit) which also benefitted from the 1 3/4" nut as opposed to the then standard Gibson 1 11/16" nut.

But I do get the fat neck thing which based on my frame of reference starts kicking in at around a .96" depth at the 1st fret. I play two old Gibsons one of which has 1 7/8" nut, a soft V carve and a depth at the 1st fret of 1.05" and another which has a 1 3/4" nut, a round shoulder C carve and a depth at the 1st fret of 1.04". I also own a 1942 Harmony H165 Stella with a V neck which also falls into that depth range.

I also agree that I would find that 55 mm string spacing at the bridge on the skimpy side. But a 2 3/16" spacing does appear to be the norm with guitars built from the 1940s on. I always blamed it on the rise of the plectrum. While I prefer a 2 5/16" or 2 3/8" spread, I can play guitars with a skimpier spacing. It just takes a bit of time for muscle memory to kick in. Harmony pretty much stuck with a 2 1/4" spread.
Yeah, a thickness between .9 and 1", and a nut width of 1-3/4" are the sweet spot with regards to comfort for me - all my favorite guitars fall in that range, my Tele partscasters with Warmoth boatneck and fatback profile necks, my Harmony acoustic, my Loar archtop, and now the new Eastman (which, actually, has a nut with a smidge less than 1-3/4" even so it is listed as such).
 

Fretting out

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Jun 13, 2019
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Land of Mary
I've been getting back into playing more acoustic guitar during the last 2 or 3 years, after playing mainly electric for the last decade.

The only acoustic (aside from a Loar acoustic archtop) I had was an old Guild GAD30 I bought in the mid-'00s - great sounding little thing, but over the years, after playing mainly Teles with fat baseball bat necks (Warmoth Fatback & Boatneck profiles), I've come to dislike its super-thin neck, and it also has developped some problems - very worn frets (needs a refret), a crack in the top behind the bridge, and a rattling sound (loose bracing?)

I got a '69 Harmony H167 2 years ago (very nice FAT neck, looks super cool - but it's a bit fragile, and it is very quiet - great for solo fingerpicking, but nothing much else).

I also got on the waiting list for an Iris OG as a treat for my 50th birthday, but the waiting time for those is loooong...

Well, I recently started playing with an acoustic only band, and I attended a bluegrass camp - and I've been lusting for a nice dreadnaught ever since...
But since that Iris is going to cost quite a bit, it needed to be something "affordable"; plus, I wanted something with a neck that wasn't super thin - which immediately ruled out all "budget" Martin models, with their terrible "modified low oval" neck profile - most uncomfortable neck ever, feels like an '80s Ibanez shredder... Same thing with most other "affordable" dreadnaughts, thin necks only...
Also, guitar stores here in town don't have a great selection of good acoustics, no way to try out stuff, had to rely on hearsay and order by mail...
I was set on getting a Takamine EF340S-TT, because it's supposed to have a super fat neck - but got to try the rosewood version of that at the bluegrass camp recently, and while the neck is great, indeed, it had a super-thick "dipped in glass" poly finish (hate the look of that, I prefer more "rustic" finishes); didn't sound that great, either...
A Yamaha FG3 I played sounded great, the neck was OK, but I couldn't get over the Halloween pumpkin orange finish...

Now, Eastman has been on my radar, but none of the stores here have a lot of those - I tried an E1OM that was great (but not what I was looking for), another one of those that was so-so, and an E1D that was OK, but being their shop demo, had super-tarnished frets, and a few dings; neck on that wasn't a super fat baseball bat, but kinda "mid-size plus" (just like on those E1OMs I tried).

Well, with a lack of options I started looking for E1Ds online, and found an appealing one at TFOA in the Netherlands; that store has a great reputation; but what attracted me immediately was the amount of "silking" on the top of the E1D they had for sale - silking, which is most visible on perfectly quartersawn Sitka spruce tops, is said to be an indicator for exceptional sounding instruments.
So, took the gamble, ordered it -- and got lucky!

The E1D I received plays super nice - the neck is chunky (.93" at the first fret), more so than the one I tried at the store; it was set up quite well (I wouldn't have minded slightly higher action - but it came with 12s, I prefer 13s, will try those on the first string change), very nice fretwork, and that open-pore finish feels very "fast" (and looks great, too, much better than the plastic-y thick gloss finish usually found in that price range).
But best of all: It sounds amazing! Super-lively, plenty of bass, plenty of treble, it's the proverbial "rings like a bell" tone - really great guitar, love it!

View attachment 1041660
For some reason, my E1D came with a red-ish pickguard, different from the dark brown one found on most of the ones you see online; that red matches the shade of the mahogany back and sides perfectly, so I'm not complaining!

Look at that nice chunky neck, and awesome feeling open-pore finish - can't get any less sticky than that (I usually only put a single coat of TruOil on my Tele necks, and sand down lacquered necks, can't stand that sticky feeling of a gloss neck).
Those tuners are great, too, not as ugly as clunky Grover/Schaller types, but just as smooth, and these even have screws on the buttons, for adjusting how tight they feel (rare with open-back tuners).
View attachment 1041661

And look at the gorgeous silking on that top, rare to find in that price range:
View attachment 1041662

EDIT: Should have cleaned that finger print on the bridge, before taking the photo...
Interesting… my tanglewood has that going on on the top, it did sound the best out of the ones I tried even the twice as expensive martins

Maybe it’s the top on mine that made it better….

Happy NGD!!!
 

sloppychops

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Posts
2,254
Location
wisconsin
Good choice of guitar! Eastman makes great instruments. Even their budget PCH line is good. I've tried a couple of those and they sounded far better than their $350 price.

My sister has an E20 OM she never plays since she gave up on learning guitar. I'm hoping one day I'll be able to buy it from her.
 

Paul G.

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
4,382
Location
Rhode Island
Dreadnaught Gibson for flatpicking. 00 Eastman for fingerstyle. The Eastman has a very '40s big neck, wide string spacing at bridge, meets body at the 12th fret. Addy top, Indian rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck. It is an absolutely amazing guitar.

_9110001.JPG
 

Blackmore Fan

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Posts
2,254
Location
USA
I have two great Eastman acoustics. One is an AC-320, and the other is an E20D. Both are amazing. The only reason I don't have a third Eastman is that I keep reminding myself I have 2 already--I keep re-directing myself towards a Larivee or Martin.
 




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