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Thread: Martin or Eastman?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Florida Space Coast
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    11,765

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    If you were shopping for a mandolin, the answer would be easy. I love Eastman's cosmetics, but for that kind of money, I believe I could get a uke that sounds noticeably better. Only willing to spend so much on cosmetics over sound.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
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    6,604

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    I've owned an Eastman concert uke for a few year now, and it is an excellent instrument. Definitely Martin-inspired and very like a vintage Martin in feel and tone (I also have a 1930 Martin Style 0). The glossy finish is very different from the more refined look of a Martin. I'm no fan of the S-1, so I'm biased; I would probably take the Eastman over an S-1. Eastman will never have the Martin cache, but it will provide a great playing experience. I think they are very reasonably priced.

    In the end, the only thing that matters is that you like it. Spend some time with it at the shop and see if it speaks to you.



  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
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    39

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    I once had an opportunity to try out a Martin concert (brand new-made in their Mexican factory) and an Eastman of the same size, back-to-back in a music store, and much preferred the sound of the Eastman. If you really want a Martin soprano, try to hold out for a vintage instrument - there's a reason why they are so prized. FYI, I'm a Martin owner and lover - 000-15 guitar, my pride & joy - but the current batch of standard ukuleles, , like the S1, are not worth the price tag (IMHO). So . . . if you like the Eastman's sound, and it fits your budget, go for it. The only one you need to please is you!

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    18

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    Thank you all for your wise words

    Good to hear that I will not regret it when I decide to go for Eastman. I personally was quiet impressed with their ukes, but was a little worried if that would be a wise decision instead of a (new) Martin. I think you've taken that away so I guess I will be a proud Eastman owner soon

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
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    6,604

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    Eastman never really made the splash in the ukulele market that they did in other markets. Eastman started out making orchestral instruments (violins and the like). They entered the carved archtop guitar market and substantially changed it. In a word where a quality guitar could cost thousands, Eastman was producing decent hard-carved archtops for around $1500. There was nothing like it on the market. They expanded to mandolins a few years after that, and did very well. Again, a quality hand-carved mandolin was very expensive; at a time when Gibson's cheapest F-style was around $3500, Eastman was making good quality F-style mandolins for $1000 or less. In both cases, Eastman carved our market niches that really didn't exist before; not cheap, but affordable and attainable hand-carved instruments.

    With the ukulele market, on the other hand, they entered when the market was already saturated with ukes at almost every price point. Their solid mahogany ukes are of very good quality, but there are several choices at that price point, so Eastman never really grabbed the market the way they had with guitars and mandolins. And not that many dealers are carrying Eastman, so it's tougher to try one out.

    Eastman also put out an archtop ukulele (or at least they used to-- haven't seen one for sale in a long time). Definitely unique, but there doesn't seem to be all that much demand.

    With all that being said, I think Eastman's current uke line are excellent instruments-- if you can find one.



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