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Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

The Ridiculously Comfortable Eastwood Breadwinner

One of our “not-so-best-selling” models is the Breadwinner. We made a replica of this guitar some years back just because it was always one of my favorites, and is stupid comfortable to play. No other guitar on the planet seems so ergonomically correct like this one does. So we keep it in production, because every now and again someone else will stumble upon its design brilliance. In fact, last month I got a letter from a customer – Matt Plummer – that I thought I would share with you. Here is Matt in his own words:

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Michael,

I just wanted to email Eastwood and say that buying an Eastwood Breadwinner was the best decision I have ever made. I have muscular dystrophy and am unable to stand or walk. I use an electric wheelchair for mobility and have been playing guitar for 8 years. One year ago, give or take, I came across the Breadwinner and thought to myself that it would be a perfect guitar for me because of the body style. Having to sit down and play made most guitars uncomfortable for me. I had the toughest time finding something that had that perfect fit. When I finally gave in and bought the guitar my mind was blown at how easily I was able to play it while sitting.

It opened up so many new things for me musically and physically. I now play quite often in a band of my own, Slow Static. This guitar, its shape, and lightness made playing guitar easier for me which, in turn, allowed me to expand my own musical ability. I play a style instrumental, cinematic, ambient music with my band. We have had the opportunity to play with many national acts such as Jeff the Brotherhood, Touche’ Amore, and many others. Also, we had the opportunity to play a show at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium this past spring which was an amazing experience for me. So if it hadn’t happened already Eastwood officially had someone play one of their guitars in that huge stadium! Haha.

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Slow Static's Matt Plummer with his Eastwood Breadwinner Guitar at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

I just wanted to let you know that this guitar has opened up so much for me personally. We are recording our first album and I’m excited for what the future holds. Rest assured that I will always be playing music on my breadwinner. I don’t think any other guitar would do. I’m definitely saving up for another Breadwinner in the near future! Thank you and to the rest of the company. It might sound a little cheesy but that guitar has officially changed my life.

Thanks!

Matt Plummer

Electromuse Lap Steel Guitar Pickup

Lap Steel Guitar – You Need One!

I don’t remember what drove me to my first lap steel. Maybe I needed a new sound for a song my band was working on, or perhaps I just felt like my guitar playing was in a rut. Whatever the reason, once I discovered it I was instantly hooked.

I started with an old Electromuse (it looked like a boat paddle), and then had to figure out what to do with it, and so I commenced the seemingly endless quest for the right tuning, picks, bar, and tone. Now, this was before we all had the Interwebs at our fingertips (back when I’d visit the library once a week to review the three emails I’d acquired since last login), so how-to videos via youtube simply were not an option. I was left to my own devices.

Electromuse Lap Steel Guitar Pickup

Electromuse Lap Steel Guitar Pickup

I plunked away on my steel, but I was missing something. My sound was thin, and noisy, and out of tune…nothing like what I was hearing in my head. I chipped away at it without much luck, until I met Spider Webb Welten.

Willbern “Spider Webb” Welten owned a music store in Sparta, IL (also noteworthy as the film-shooting locale for some scenes from the original movie version of In The Heat Of The Night). Welton’s was a small, quirky store that shared its quarters with a wig shop/hair salon run by his wife, and it featured a few glass counters, about twelve guitars wrapped in plastic (for that cozy, backwoods, Invasion of the Body Snatchers ambiance), and some miscellaneous cases which, I would soon find out, housed lap steels and pedal steels.

Upon my first visit I took in the air, tainted with the chemical aroma of hair product, as a skinny, elderly man came out from the back and asked how he could help me. As soon as I told him I was looking for a set of steel strings, the old man perked up. ” C6TH, E9TH or both?” he inquired, and I could already tell I was in way over my head. “Uh…it’s for a lap steel?” The old man frowned and corrected me, “it’s not a ‘lap steel,’ it’s a straight steel, son” and he walked behind the counter and pulled out a pack of 6-string “straight steel” strings. Then he took out a card and scratched down A/C#/E/A/C#/E, with the words ” Top A Tuning ” underneath. As I paid for my strings, I asked if he had any other tips. In the course of the next hour, Webb pulled out three lap steels (straight steels), three pedal steels, an assortment of finger picks, and a magazine that had his picture on the cover. I realized that this was the guy, and I had happened to find him in middle-of-nowhere-southern-Illinois by complete chance.

Following are some of the tips that I learned from Spider Webb that day. These small nuggets of information that the steel guru shared have been invaluable, and I hope they will also help you on your journey to steel enlightenmen:

  • Get some heavier strings. Most steels come with fairly light strings, but thin strings equal thin tone, and this is especially true for the lap steel (which is the name I still call it by…sorry Webb). I typically use a custom gauge that consists of .056-.016, and I feel they produce a nice, fat tone, whether played clean or overdriven.
  • Use two metal finger picks and a plastic thumb pick. This is the key to speed and articulation, and will help you cut through a band better than simply using your fingers. I prefer a medium Pro-Pic that is heavy enough that I can barely bend it, and a heavy, large National thumb pick. I often use a lighter, blue Herco pick, which I also use for the banjo and the pedal steel, because I’m too lazy to carry multiple thumb picks with me, but the heavy Nationals give me a much fuller tone. Fingers without picks can give you a really great tone as well, so you may experiment both ways.
  • Keep your fingers on the strings behind the bar. This was a huge eye-opener for me, as it allowed me to get a truly defined tone without any noise. It also helps to keep the bar straight and accurate for better intonation.
  • Play on the line. This takes a little time to get used to, but you always want to keep your bar directly over the fret marker. Playing in the space will cause you to be flat.
  • It’s not fine china, so don’t be afraid to use some pressure and push down on the strings with the bar. You will get a much better tone this way.
  • Use a volume pedal. Starting with the pedal about 20-30% engaged will give you plenty of room to add sustain to notes when needed.
  • Use vibrato the way a singer would. Play the note clear and solid, and then add a slow vibrato by rolling and moving the bar back and forth. This is one of the more difficult techniques to learn, and it takes some time to accomplish.

Here are a couple of videos of me playing the Airline Lap Steel Guitar, available from www.eastwoodguitars.com for only $349:

1) Hawaiian Tone

2) Kick Butt Blues Tone:

I’ve owned two of Eastwood’s Airline lap steels, and I believe they are the best steel on the market for the money. The Airline has plenty of string height at the nut, and a bit wider string spacing than other steels in the same price range. The body has plenty of mass and weight, giving the steel a great tone, both clean and driven. Add a bit of delay and fuzz for an over the top tone, or try some modulation effects or a POG for a cool organ effect.

Written by: Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson

 

Airline RS-II Electric Guitar (Natural Flamed Maple Finish)

New Airline RS-II Guitar Demo Video by Mason Stoops

Mason does it again with some great playing and a quick history lesson on the Airline RS-II. Enjoy the show!

We have a new shipment of RS-II guitars coming in 2 weeks –> Order before April 30th for FREE Shipping!
(North America only)


Airline RS-II Electric Guitar (Natural Flamed Maple Finish)

Airline RS-II Electric Guitar (Natural Flamed Maple Finish)

Airline RS-II Specifications:

  • Airline RS-II Demo – Mason Stoops – Eastwood Guitars.
  • Body: Maple top, back and sides.
  • Neck: Set, bound one-piece, straight-grained Canadian maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood, Block Markers
  • Scale Length: 26″ with 12″ radius
  • Width at Nut: 1 11/16″
  • Pickups: Two AIRLINE Vintage Argyle Diamonds
  • Switching: 3-Way, Chicken Head Knob
  • Controls: 2 Volume, 2 Tone
  • Bridge: Tune-O-Matic, Trapeze Tail
  • Hardware: Vintage Kluson Style Nickel/Chrome
  • Strings: D’Addario #10
  • Case: Extra
  • Unique Features: Roy Smeck Pickguard

BUY NOW: $749.00 US

Mason Stoops and Wendell Ferguson jamming at NAMM

New Airline Coronado ’59 Demo by Mason Stoops

 New Airline Coronado ’59 Demo 

Check out this new demo from our friend Mason Stoops. Mason does some great research and shares some interesting historical info about the origins of the Coronado model. Great job!

The Airline ’59 Coronado is our tribute to the Supro Coronado model used by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The originals were made of Res-O-Glas, but we have upgraded the design to tone-chambered mahogany bodies. Upgrades to the standard Coronnado model on this ’59 include rubber body binding, zero fret, Tone Pros bridge and Deluxe Airline hardshell case.

The ’59 Coronado include the DLX Airline hardshell case. Only $1079.




 

SPECIAL OFFER: We will also include a white Airline leather strap ($45) and a white Airline Curly Cord ($39) and FREE SHIPPING for all orders until Dec 15 ONLY. ($99 shipping outside North America)

 

Airline Folkstar Resonator Guitar

Mason Stoops Demos The Airline Folkstar Resonator Guitar

Hey everyone, here is Mason Stoops from California. Mason has been a customer of My Rare Guitars since we first met at NAMM in 2005. He is a talented player and we are very proud to have him helping out with some guitar demos. Good thing we have them in stock at www.myrareguitars.com, because after you watch this video, you’ll want one!

Only $699. Order before October 31 and get a FREE hardshell case!





Airline Folkstar Resonator Guitar

Airline Folkstar Resonator Guitar

Eastwood Mandocaster Review

Eastwood Mandocaster Electric Mandolin (Antique Sunburst)

Eastwood Mandocaster Electric Mandolin (Antique Sunburst)

BACKGROUND:
Traditionally, the mandolin is described as a short-neck lute with eight strings, named after the Italian ‘mandolina.’ It has the same fretboard and tuning as a violin, and originated in its current form around the 16th Century and likely developed to fill out the scale of the lute family. The instrument became popular in North America into the 18th Century and particularly in parlors where simple instruments were used to entertain. Into the 19th Century mandolin ensembles toured the Vaudeville circuit and the mini-lute soon captivated the average person as a viable instrument of choice to play at home and with friends (its small size was great for travel); this occurred well before the popularity of the steel-stringed guitar as thousands of mandolins were sold through Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs.

Lyon & Healy were one of the larger mandolin manufacturers in the early stages, but Gibson soon took up the challenge to become the primary manufacturer. And it was in 1905 that the Gibson A-4 was developed, breaking all mandolin traditions as the design moved from the typical bowl-back shape to mimicking violin construction with a carved top and back. This helped to set the stage for a preferred mandolin shape in American folk and popular music. Today the mandolin may be best accepted or connected to folk and country bluegrass music, but it also has been used in rock music of various genres, including works of Led Zeppelin, Tea Party, Alan Parson Project, The Byrds, Hall and Oats, REM, Jethro Tull, Yes, and many others.

The flat-back style of mandolin took a unique turn in 1956 when Fender developed a 4-string electric version, with a body shaped similar to a Stratocaster – and its name to become the Mandocaster. Highly collectable, mostly because of its unique shape, the Mandocaster was limited in usability due to the four strings and a less robust sound of typical mandolins. Nonetheless, it did find an audience due to its appearance and electric capabilities before being discontinued in 1976.

As with other rare and vintage instruments, Eastwood Guitars swooped into production to create its own unique version of the Mandocaster, which construction and appearance rivals the old Fender issues. Available in a high-quality finish of antique sunburst or black (I ordered an antique sunburst model since it so reminded me of a vintage instrument), the Eastwood Mandocaster boasts a solid alder body with a maple bolt-on neck and rosewood fingerboard. In fact, when describing this instrument it can be described accurately as a solid-body guitar, as though a James Bond villain miniaturized a Telecaster and gave it 8-strings. Surprisingly heavy in feel, you can tell you have something in your hands that will last for years without breakage or environmental damage. It is built to stand up to regular use.

Eastwood Mandocaster Electric Mandolin (Black)

Eastwood Mandocaster Electric Mandolin (Black)

HARDWARE:
The bridge is a fully adjustable Tele-Style bride, which means a fully intonatable saddle just like its big brother. The bridge plate is cast and plated, and each set of strings has its own saddle with height adjustment screws. When first received, my Mandocaster had some buzzing on the third string, but with the included hex key (Allen wrench) included, it took seconds to fine-tune. The machine head hardware is quality Gotoh nickel and chrome, and the keys feel exceptionally smooth and solid in use.

NECK:
The maple neck with truss rod is very solid and bolts onto the body with four contact points. The neck is more of a U shape rather than a C shape, which may be a concern for a full-sized guitar, but I did not find it cumbersome or ‘thick’ in the least. Rather, having a rounder or chunkier neck for its size is a requirement since the neck of a mandolin is so narrow and small to begin with and you need enough bulk to make it strong and lasting. As well, with a solid-body Tele there certainly needs to be some harmony in the design and I could not imagine a thinner neck; even a person with small hands should not be hindered by the neck’s shape and I put myself in that category.

The frets are smooth on all edges and they may seem rather small if you’re use to today’s jumbo fret electric guitars. But I do not think one would want them any larger – the fret spacings are small, as they are with any mandolin, and a chief complaint of people with large fingers is the difficulty playing a mandolin effectively. Larger frets would reduce fret space and make the task of playing more challenging and particularly in the upper register. Moreover, the action is low and playing is smooth, and so the neck and fret size certainly do work together.

ELECTRONICS:
The vintage Fender Mandocasters were limited by a single pickup, whereas the Eastwood model has two single-coil pickups, together with a 3-way switch and a tone control (the switch and tone pots are smooth, solid and have little play), thus offering far more possibilities in the eventual sound. The pickups do not offer a lot of output, but they are super quiet even when you turn your amp up to high levels. And if desired, because they are standard-sized pickups, you can replace them with a different type. Nonetheless, the tone of a mandolin seems to cut through just about any mix and having extremely loud/sensitive pickup capability is not as much an issue as some would think. After all, it is unlikely a mandolin will be paired up with Death Metal music, and just about any other genre that incorporates a mandolin tends to be more subdued, even within certain rock genres. Consequently, I see these pickups as being sufficient for the job. As well, with such passive pickups, the true tone of this instrument shines through, whereas going a different route (with something more ‘active’) may reduce the mandolin sound one is trying to achieve.

TONE:
I own a quality pumpkin-back mandolin, and what can be said about these acoustic counterparts is that there is a certain resonating and vibrating quality that cannot be achieved with a solid body electric. Well, certainly, and that should be obvious, as obvious as being able to achieve sounds with a solid-body electric that cannot be achieved with an acoustic model (with or without a pickup). These are different animals and one would not compare an electric solid-body violin with a regular violin either.

Having said that, the Mandocaster has a definite mandolin tone which a person may or may not like, depending how much of a die-hard ‘acoustic’ mandolin player you may be. I’m a guitarist and like using a mandolin the odd time for enjoyment purposes or to include a mandolin within my compositions, but I’m certainly not a mandolin connoisseur. Yet I would state that the Mandocaster is the genuine article and produces its own array of unique tones that are unmistakably ‘mandolin.’ And those unique tones are the result of the body construction and the pickups.

The neck pickup is my favourite and has the most organic timbre the two. The bridge pickup offers a thinner sound, as is the case with any electric guitar, but it does cut through the mix better. Thus, for more robust music accompaniment, the bridge may be best, whereas the neck selection would be superior for unaccompanied or less voluminous music. And then you have the middle selector position, which has a slightly out of phase characteristic that definitely offers a mix of both worlds. A piezo pickup may be an interesting modification and this may result in even a better or authentic ‘acoustic’ sound, but the neck position does provide a full-bodied richness that has me returning to it repeatedly.

DIVERSIBILITY:
As important as the qualities of each pickup and the sounds that you can achieve, the Eastwood Mandocaster reacts like a regular guitar, in that it has good response with effects pedals. High levels of drive and distortion may not be apropos, but certainly a little edge/distortion with flange, tremolo, chorus or other ingredients bring out unique colors that makes people think twice about the mandolin and how well it can fit into modern music. And although too much drive or distortion may make the tone a bit abrasive, easing off on the volume knob cleans things up nicely.

Finally, I encourage readers to check out a video demonstrating the Eastwood Mandocaster, featuring Wendell Ferguson, an award-winning Canadian guitarist on YouTube:

PLUSES:
With two pickups, a three-way switch and a tone knob, there are many sound possibilities, besides any effect (tremolo, chorus, flange, etc.) you care to throw at it in order to produce your own unique mando tone. The weight and quality of construction is very good and you feel like you’re playing an electric guitar. Since the Mandocaster has standard sized pickups, you can replace them with any other single-coil model if desired. And… it comes in a lefty version.

MINUSES:
The Mandocaster may not sound as organic as a typical acoustic mandolin, but then again – this was not meant to replicate an acoustic model – it is what it is. The three-way switch may get in the way of some larger hands and particularly players with long and aggressive picking/strumming strokes.

Review by Brian D. Johnston

AIRLINE ’59 Town & Country Guitar: Struttin’ About Town

The new ’59 Custom version of this model is being seen all over town these days. Check out this new video from Wendell Ferguson, and pay close attention to the SCTV bit at the end. =)

Includes AIRLINE Deluxe hardshell case. STD model $999, DLX BIGSBY model $1149. FREE SHIPPING THIS MONTH.

Airline '59 Town & Country DLX Guitar (Vintage Cream)

Airline '59 Town & Country DLX Guitar (Vintage Cream)


Airline ’59 Town & Country STD:


Airline ’59 Town & Country DLX:


Last month the new Blondie video “Mother” feature Chris Stein playing the same model, for those who missed it, here you go again:

New Video Demos From Texas

Our good friend from Austin Texas – Lance Keltner – got his band together and did some guitar demo’s for us. We will be uploading them over the course of this month, here is the first one, the Eastwood P-90. Enjoy!

Eastwood P-90 Special Guitar (TV  Yellow)

Eastwood P-90 Special Guitar (TV Yellow)

Only $399. Order one this month, FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in North America, $75 to Europe.


 

color


Warren Ellis Signature Tenor Guitar Review

The good folks over at Premier Guitar have reviewed the Eastwood Warren Ellis Signture Tenor guitar. You can check out the review here. BTW not to brag, but they gave it 4.5/5.0 picks!

Premier Guitar Reviews the Eastwood Warren Ellis Signature Tenor Guitar

Premier Guitar Reviews the Eastwood Warren Ellis Signature Tenor Guitar

Vince Lee Test Drives the New Airline Folkstar Resonator

Last month I sent my good friend Vince Lee our new Airline Folkstar Resonator guitar – asked him to take it for a test drive. Here are three short videos he sent back:

1) Vince Lee playing the FOLKSTAR unplugged to you can get an idea of the natural tone. Nice!

2) Vince Lee fingerpicking on the AIRLINE FOLKSTAR part #1

3) Vince Lee fingerpicking on the AIRLINE FOLKSTAR part #2

Thanks Vince!

Check out Vince Lee here: http://www.myspace.com/vinceleemusic