NAMM 2024: Eastman Guitars has quickly cemented its reputation as one of the finest electric guitar makers of the modern age. Refusing to bow to ergonomic norms and historically popular design trends, the brand is always pushing the boat out, experimenting with genuinely fresh body shapes and tasteful-yet-timeless ways to take the guitar in exciting new directions.
That’s why we’re not surprised to report its latest collection – dubbed the D’Ambrosio Series – is irrefutably one of the most aesthetically-pleasing new electric guitar releases we’ve come across in recent times.
Comprising three distinct variants – Single Cut, Double Cut and Offset – each addition to the made-in-California range, says Eastman, has been conceived to deliver “unprecedented beauty and quality”.
We’re completely onboard with that: just look at them. You’d be hard pressed to find a nicer-looking bunch of guitars on the market, let alone at this year’s NAMM show.
As such, the D’Ambrosio Series – designed in collaboration with master luthier Otto D’Ambrosio – goes beyond looks alone and encompasses some loftier goals. Instead, in Eastmans own words, it “represents our thoughts – both aesthetically and functionally – on the future of solid body electric guitars”.
That bold statement can be felt throughout the spec sheet. Take a glance and you’ll see reclaimed tonewoods (a more sustainable option), custom hand-wound pickups and exquisite finishing can be found across the D’Ambrosio family.
In terms of construction, rare swamp ash from Southern wetlands and wildfire-burned Phoenix pine recovered from the Oregon wilds serve as the heart of the collection across various Single Cut, Double Cut and Offset variants.
The bodies are joined by hard rock maple necks, which have each been meticulously crafted to Eastman’s FullerTone style – a new innovation that is said to offer more sustain and stability though its long-tenon, two-bolt neck-to-body design.
In practice, this method reportedly results in up to three-times greater neck-to-body contact, resulting in improved resonance. “Redefines industry standard”, is the phrase Eastman uses.
Further still, legally sourced Madagascar rosewood also returns to the brand’s lineup, and in some examples is used for the Series’ fretboards, while elsewhere you’ll find roasted maple.
It’s an exceptional combination of woods that sees the D’Ambrosios rise “above scarcity through purposeful craftsmanship and conservation”. And we haven’t even got to the pickups yet.
As alluded to above, the Single Cut, Double Cut and Offset templates are further divided into subcategories, each of which offer a range of pickup configurations. There are SS, SSS and HH-style options throughout, with every combo comprising Lollar units.
While control circuits throughout the D’Ambrosio family are fairly standard, the Single Cut and Double Cut models also arrive in a Kingtone format.
This introduces another new Eastman innovation, with the Kingtone Classic control seemingly opening up “tones you didn’t know your guitar could make”.
Finishing touches include Gotoh 510 tuners and a range of tailpieces on offer, including a choice of the MannMade USA tremolo, and Halon’s patented brass and stainless steel vibrola tailpieces.
“For D’Ambrosio Series, we pursued only the best suppliers in the guitar-making community,” Eastman asserts.
“Everything within D’Ambrosio Series reflects that clear goal; from rare, reclaimed tonewoods offering a signature voice, to custom hand-wound pickups eliciting nuanced tonality, to a new, unique design optimized for playability.
“Guided by Otto’s discerning eye, we set out to create instruments of unprecedented beauty and quality. The D'Ambrosio Series represents our thoughts – both aesthetically and functionally – on the future of solid body electric guitars.”
“Simply put – we left no vintage stone unturned to manifest modernist ideations. This uncompromising approach gives rise to a sum greater than its rarefied parts.”
To find out more about the comprehensive D’Ambrosio Series, head over to Eastman.
For more guitar gear goodness from this year's show, head over to our dedicated guide to NAMM 2024 news.