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NGD: Eastman DM1

daverepairdaverepair Vermont, USANew Craig Bumgarner 'Selmer' style

As a luthier, I do a fair bit of work for a local shop, which happens to be an Eastman dealer. Given my interest in archtops and vintage jazz, and curious about Selmers, I suggested, over a year ago, that they bring in a DM1. They did, & I rented it for a month, & then returned it(at the time, not thrilled by it). There it sat, unbought, until two weeks ago. While dropping off a repair, I tried the Eastman again...nice! The store owner nicely urged me to try it again...lowered the price...said, take it home to try. Ok! Long story short, I bought it.

It is an intriguing and enjoyable contrast to my numerous vintage Epiphone acoustic archtops. The combination of long scale and light gauge strings give it a certain 'edge' in playability, over my beloved Epiphones, with their somewhat shorter scale, and medium PB strings. It's distinctive 'bark' is a pleasure, and my leads ring out nicely. I've admired Eastman instruments for several years now, and the DM1 is the same quality level: the quick, cost-saving flat, unfilled-pore finish doesn't bother me, and I like the colored top. The fretwork is superb. The neck shape, a flat C or D shape is very different than my Epis, but I manage it just fine. The guitar does not match my friend's Craig Bumgarner beauty(obviously!), but it's pretty darn good, especially for the price. I'm very pleased.

I have two questions: one(and this is not a complaint), is the Eastman built with an actual 'pilage', or rather, is the top, and top bracing, shaped in a radiused dish? I'm curious, as I hope to build my own, and using a radiused dish would be simpler, IMO. Second, the tailpiece seems a bit flimsy: it's bent slightly downward, at the tip. Are there tailpieces available of a somewhat thicker or solid stamping, and would one of those be an improvement?


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