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Author Topic: Martin OM-21 vs Eastman E10OM (vs L'arrivee L03)?  (Read 4405 times)
dazedandconfused
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« on: March 13, 2012, 04:39:18 PM »

Hi

Apologies for sort of cross-posting - I've already asked in general about the L03 in the main "L'arrivee Guitar" forum and somebody there suggested I might want to try an Eastman E10OM or E20OM

I haven't been able to find an Eastman E10OM, but I did find an (old version) Martin OM-21 on sellout and wondered if anybody has compared the Eastman OM guitars to this guitar, and indeed to the L03 and could give me some advice about which one to get.  Both the L03 and the OM-21 are on big discount here (just a bit more than the US 'list' price, which is amazing for this part of Europe).  E10OM is 'normal price' and so will be slightly more than the discounted L03 and is on 'order-only' (there seems to be one-only in stock my country!) which probably means I don't get to test it if I want to buy it.  I've liked the tone of the E10OM better than the E20OM in the YouTube videos I've heard but that may not be a good guide

I was able to compare the L03 to the OM-21 and found that:
- I preferred the tone of the OM-21 to the L03, I find the L03 a little harsh and I don't much like the sound it makes when strummed
- I found the neck on the L03 was slightly nicer than the OM-21, the only exception being that the bottom string buzzed badly when tuned-down to 'D' and plucked hard
- The OM-21 wouldn't play at all loud and I couldn't get it to play any harmonics on the 7th fret (!)....  they worked fine on the 12 fret but were weak on 5th and non-existant on 7th (setup problem?).  L03 had no problems with these and played harmonics beautifully.  I wouldn't say it was 'loud', but it had more dynamic range and could certainly play louder than the OM-21
- L03 had much better sustain on the notes, actually 'incredible' would be a better description
- The shop assistant thought I played the L03 better
- I've been a classical guiar player up until now so I will be playing mainly finger style
- I want a guitar to keep and so resale price isn't important, second hand purchase isn't an option here because of lack of availability

I also managed to try a Rosewood L09R in the shop but although I preferred the tone slightly over the L03, the lack of sustain against the mahogany L03 almost made it seem like a cheaper guitar (maybe the L03 was just better worn in?).  I didn't like the pearl inlay on the L09 and it was more than twice the price of the L03 and so out of my price range anyway (OM-21 fell between the two in terms of price)

Can anybody comment on the Eastman E10OM vs the Maritin OM-21 and maybe make some suggestions about which would be more suitable for me (or L03) in the light of the above comments?

Many thanks!





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fongie
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 06:14:33 PM »

L model is a wonderful, wonderful guitar IMO. Built for both strumming/fingerpicking, I think it's a good choice.

However, you, as mainly a fingerpicker, OM-21 would be my choice. A wonderful guitar, great fingerpicker and it holds itself up there in the strumming department as well. Personally, I prefer the vintage Martin tone, great volume, you get from the scolloped bracings. The newer model carries the 1 3/4" nut too. To my knowledge, there are never any bad words to say about it, simply because theres nothing not to like.

As for the Eastman, sorry, don't know anything about these guitars. Good luck

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crescent
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 06:22:48 PM »

Maybe it,s time to take the L-03 out of the running as this is your second post in regards to what you don't like about the L-03. Martin OM-21 is a great guitar not sure about the Eastman many people rave about them and can be had for less than the Martin.
In the end we can give advice on what we like or dislike , buy what sounds best to your ear best of luck on your journey.
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dazedandconfused
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2012, 06:46:37 PM »

Maybe it,s time to take the L-03 out of the running as this is your second post in regards to what you don't like about the L-03. Martin OM-21 is a great guitar not sure about the Eastman many people rave about them and can be had for less than the Martin.
In the end we can give advice on what we like or dislike , buy what sounds best to your ear best of luck on your journey.

Fair comment and many thanks for taking an interest

I don't want to say bad things about the L03 at all and certainly not upset anybody - the tone isn't 'quite' my ideal but I find it very appealing and may still end-up getting it.  If only it were a little more 'mellow' but still kept all the other qualities crying

Clearly others can only offer personal opinions - it would just be nice to hear how they find the Martin and Eastman compare...
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2012, 07:02:15 PM »

Maybe it,s time to take the L-03 out of the running as this is your second post in regards to what you don't like about the L-03. Martin OM-21 is a great guitar not sure about the Eastman many people rave about them and can be had for less than the Martin.
In the end we can give advice on what we like or dislike , buy what sounds best to your ear best of luck on your journey.
I kind of got the opposite impression (that the L-03 was more in the running than the OM-21).  No matter.  Have a friend come and listen to you play them both.  Make your final decision on what calls out to you and your helper the most.  At this point, disregard brand name, model, biases from others, woods, decoration.  Choose on tone, how it feels to play the music YOU play.  Maybe it will come down to which one makes you smile the most.  FWIW

Kurt
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crescent
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 08:00:03 PM »

Fair comment and many thanks for taking an interest

I don't want to say bad things about the L03 at all and certainly not upset anybody - the tone isn't 'quite' my ideal but I find it very appealing and may still end-up getting it.  If only it were a little more 'mellow' but still kept all the other qualities crying

Clearly others can only offer personal opinions - it would just be nice to hear how they find the Martin and Eastman compare...

I,m sorry I did not mean to insult your decision just wanted to see you pick a guitar that feels and sounds good to you.
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dazedandconfused
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2012, 08:23:04 PM »

I,m sorry I did not mean to insult your decision just wanted to see you pick a guitar that feels and sounds good to you.
You didn't insult me and I'm genuinely grateful for your response to my first mail!

Sometimes feelings don't come across the way we want when we post on forums etc 
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Zohn
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2012, 08:59:36 AM »

This is not a too objective comparison but I'll add my 2c anyway.

I have an Eastman E20 OM which is the rosewood version of the E10 OM you referred to. To compare apples with apples I would compare the E20 OM with the Martin 000-28EC since they are both short scale OM's both with 1 3/4" nuts (000-s generally have 1 11/16" nuts except for this Martin)

What sets the equation apart though is the Eastman with its Adirondack top vs Sitka of the 000-28EC.

I personally don't care for comparisons like these - I happened to love the Eastman after the first strum back in Nov last year and certainly not because it sounded like a Martin - if it did or does it's ok with me too. Everytime I play it I still compare it to that initial impression and that hasn't changed - I love it and to me it was a good find/buy.

For what it is worth, I love Martin guitars too and have my eyes set on an 00-18V which is rather different to the ones discussed here.


 
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2012, 09:18:46 AM »

I would think that the Larrivee OM-03R or OM-09 would get you a lot closer to the Martin OM-21 sound than the L-03, and keep the Larrivee neck that you seem to like.  So I'm not sure why that comparison hasn't come up.  Or have I missed something?
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fongie
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2012, 02:53:37 PM »

For what it is worth, I love Martin guitars too and have my eyes set on an 00-18V which is rather different to the ones discussed here.


 

I didn't want to complicate things any further but Zohn has just mentioned this lovely Martin 18 guitar.

Solid hog B/S, sitka top, short scale, 1 3/4"nut, scolloped bracings, this baby is definitely a must to add to the equation. If you don't mind a hog and 'V' neck.

For a 00, it sure has volume for a small git, beautiful finger styler and for blues.
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ffinke
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2012, 03:48:09 PM »

... If you don't mind a hog and 'V' neck.

For a 00, it sure has volume for a small git, beautiful finger styler and for blues.

If the neck on a Larrivee is a desirable point stay away from the Martin deep "V" neck. I tried one once and it felt like a baseball bat compared to the Larrivee. IF you can play one to see if you like it, by all means do so. The point is: the opinions of this forum are just that, opinions! Yours will differ so it is important to play the guitar you're thinking of buying... PLEASE!

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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2012, 08:53:34 PM »

I've played a pre-2012 Martin OM-21, own a Martin OM-21 Special and an Eastman E10-OM.

The Martin pre-2012 OM-21 has perfect specs for me - a 1-3/4" nut and a 2-1/4" string spread at the bridge. Lots of room and still easy to do barre chords up the neck.

The Martin OM-21 Special has slghtly different specs includign a 1-3/4" nut, but a wider 2-5/16" string spread at the bridge. Definitely harder for me to do a clean barre past the 9th fret with these specs. But the tone is different too from the standard OM-21, at least with the specimens I played. The Special has a deeper bass and more overtones, which I like, so I got the Special. The tone is still balanced though even with the heavier bass. I'd rather have the 21SP than one of the 28 series which is a little too bassy in comparison - for me that is.

The Eastman is a different animal, even though it is mahogany and adi spruce, it is much more bass heavy and darker toned. I also played several E20-OM's, but found them to be much of a good thing - way too bass heavy and dark. Plus the E10 sounded prettier to my ear. Anyway, I'd say the E10-OM is closer in voice to a Martin OM-28 than a 21. But honestly, the Eastman's have their own distinct voice that folks either like or don't like. I like the E10-OM's, but I like my Martin OM-21SP better. Also the ergonomics ae different - a not quite 1-3/4" nut and a 2-3/16" string spread at the bridge, so more like a Larrivee, but really that 1-3/4" nut on the Eastman is narrower than the nominal 1-3/4". Anyway, my Eastman E10-OM is a cannon. Definitely louder than my Martin, but my Martin has a better and more interesting tone to it for me. The Martin has a lot more nuance and you can get more out of it, even with my mediocre technique.

I have played one L-03 at a dealer and did not like it. But I also had the feeling that the strings might have been old, and I wasn;t interested enough to have the dealer change the strings for me. It was lacking in volume and resonance. It just didn;t seem very responsive. My smaller LS-03 is much more lively and present!

Anyway, what it comes down to is your own personal taste and what kind of ergonomics you want or need. But if you want really bass heavy and lots of volume, an Eastman may just be your ticket. They seem to be very consistent in tone and responsiveness and volume. They do nto have the fit and finish of my Martin, but they are still nicely made Chinese guitars.
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 01:29:40 PM »

From my perspective, an OM-21 sounds "closer" to an L-03R than it does to an OM-03R. The "closer" is definitely used advisedly because the Martin and Larrivee sounds are obviously different. The L-03R has a stronger lower end than the more balanced OM-03R. I owned an L-03R but wanted an OM size and traded for an OM-03R. I missed the bass and ended up with an OM-21, bought used almost three years ago. Larrivees are wonderful guitars, and I may have one again when I have some extra money, but I don't see being without my OM-21.

I also have an Eastman AC701S, an Englemann spruce/rosewood slotted head OM. It's a fine guitar, but I think the E10OM/E20OM guitars are a step better from what I've read.

Eastman or Martin--you won't go wrong, though I would rather have the Martin.

Bill
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dazedandconfused
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 05:01:07 PM »

Many thanks for the excellent advice I received here in this thread - I thought I would give an update just to let you know what happened

The advice to only buy a guitar that I had actually played seemed to make a lot of sense to me - as a result I now have an Eastman E10 OM

I really wanted to get the L'arrivee L-03 as it was the nicest to play and most responsive of all the guitars I tried (I could see that this was basically a stripped-down high-end guitar) but after three trips to the guitar shop I just couldn't find myself loving the tone of it enough to want to take it home crying

The Martin OM-21 (pre 2012 version) had lots of 'voices' and was nice to play but was somehow a bit 'boxy' and bass-light and didn't have anything like the sustain of the L'arrivee.  I think I would indeed have really liked the OM-21 Special from what I have heard in sound clips vs the normal OM-21 but there were none available to actually try and even if there had been I couldn't have afforded it new.  Unfortunately the 2012 version of the OM-21 is not currently available in my country.  I guess I probably would rather have had a Martin but it just wasn't possible

I was able to also try a few Blueridges which I didn't like much - I prefered the laminate (and visually more subtle) body BR-43 to the more expensive solid body BR-143 and BR-140  models but all had cramped finger boards and although the tone was nice they seemed very inflexible - or at least I was not able to do much useful with them - and way, way too much MOP  yak .   I also tried a Martin OMCPA4 which didn't please me much either - it was OK but somehow a bit bland and with a fingerboard that seemed 'cramped', even though it is supposed to have the same measurements as the l'arrivee fretboard

I found a different shop which was able to order an E10-OM for me to try (they could not get an E20-OM or any other Eastman guitar - I was very lucky to get this as it was supposedly the only one in my country!) and after playing it I decided to buy it and took it home just before the Easter holiday.  A big factor for me was the Eastman prices being not much more expensive than those in the US, whereas the Martin guitars are around 80% more than US prices here and L'arrivee prices are also rather high in comparsion to that in the US

I think I'm hearing pretty much what was described to me about the E10-OM in this thread: it has a very pretty, clean and open sound.  Maybe a little too polite in some ways and perhaps not as flexible as the Martin OM-21 or L'arrivee L-03 but 'nicer' to listen to.  The finish is very good and although not 'perfect' it gives the impression of being a very high quality instrument.  It has a very large sound with lots of bass and even after only four days playing it seems to already be getting louder - the amount of volume you can get out of it is astounding but it still sounds good when played quietly.  The guitar has lots of sustain, but I have the feeling that it is slightly more difficult to play that the L'arivee - perhaps I just need to get the action lowered a little more.  I'm enjoying it greatly at the moment and hoping I will continue to do so for a long time to come!
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012, 06:18:47 PM »

Congrats on your Eastman. It is doubtlessly a very good guitar.

As much as I like my OM-21, it would be hard for me to pay 80% more than it sells for here in the U.S., and I bought mine used for a good deal less. It's great to play before buying, and one thing to keep in mind is the age/quality of the strings on the guitar. I think that new Martins are now shipped with the Martin Lifespan SP strings (coated), so that shouldn't be as much a factor as it used to be. Don't know about the strings on the Martin you played.

Regardless, you won't beat the E10OM, especially for its price. You made an excellent choice.

Bill
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2012, 10:42:55 PM »

 +1 Congratulations on your guitar.
I wasn't able to try one of those, but they got some rave reviews, I think it was a good choice.
 
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dazedandconfused
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2012, 11:23:42 AM »

As much as I like my OM-21, it would be hard for me to pay 80% more than it sells for here in the U.S., and I bought mine used for a good deal less. It's great to play before buying, and one thing to keep in mind is the age/quality of the strings on the guitar. I think that new Martins are now shipped with the Martin Lifespan SP strings (coated), so that shouldn't be as much a factor as it used to be. Don't know about the strings on the Martin you played.

Many thanks for your kind words

You could certainly be right about the strings OM-21 - I wasn't convinced that the sample I played was the best copy of this guitar and also, as I wasn't able to play it back-to-back with the Eastman (they were in different shops), my memory could be playing tricks.   Add the effect of 'aging' to the guitar bodies and everything becomes very complicated  ohmy .  I think the 'voice' of the OM-21 is more flexible than that of the Eastman, particularly for strumming styles (though I finger-pick) and the wider sting spacing was nicer (though I liked the neck and sting spacing on the L'arrivee best of all).  The adirondack top on the Eastman has a clarity and immediacy in its sound which is very enticing - but perhaps that is because I am still rather new to steel-strung guitars (I really play classical).  I'm noticing that the Eastman seems happiest when I fit a thumb-pick: this isn't how I play normally, so I guess we will see which one of us 'wins' over time...  bigrin

The price differential on the North-American brand guitars in Europe seems a rather unwise move to me now that we are getting imports from elsewhere without that loading.  However I notice that it works the other way around as well and that the famous Spanish guitar marques like Alhambra and Ramirez seem to cost a lot more in the US that I could get the same models for here in Europe!     I guess we need to organise some US-Euro 'guitar exchange' social activities   

Still having lots and lots of fun playing my new guitar  - though I managed to give the headstock and body a small bump/chip today - the first of many I suspect crying
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