At the risk of hijacking sleigh s thread, I decided to continue our Eastman semi hollow discussion here.
Pura Vida , thanks for that info on the model numbers and lower bout sizes. I wasnt aware of the distinction.
Your description of the carved mahogany body is exactly what attracted me to these guitars when researching online. When I saw the scale was 25.0 I found the GAS to grow even more. I used to have a Fret King Elise, which is an ES339 shape out of carved hog, and that guitar had a beautiful tone. Alas, the short scale is not my favourite and the guitar also had a piezo which was not my favourite.
So the Eastman semi hollows seem similar in build, but simpler and prettier.
Doubt I will ever find a T186 in NZ, but you just never know.
Eastman offers a lot of options in what they call their "Thinline" series. They have laminate models, which are modeled after a Gibson ES335 with a center piece that runs all the way down the center. And laminate for semi-hollows has a much different connotation than on an acoustic guitar. Many people want a laminate semi hollow b/c they aren't as susceptible to feedback.
And then they offer the solid body, which we've been discussing. These T184/T185/T186 models are all solid wood, and with the exception of a 2x3" center block, they are also fully hollow inside (like an Epiphone Casino). They definitely have a different vibe, as they're much more resonant and have incredible sustain. But surprisingly, they don't seem to feedback either, which is great (note: I haven't played mine at concert volumes, but others have noted that they're resistant even at higher volumes). If you're shopping used, they've made two changes: older models have gold hardware and Kent Armstrong p'ups. A few years ago, they changed to chrome h/w and SD pickups (def improvement), and within the last year, they switched over to Lollar pickups (which have gotten universal acclaim). Also, Eastman's build quality in the last few years has become more consistent, so I'd be cautious of the older, gold models on the market.
And finally, Eastman extends their Antique Varnish models into the Thinline options (all in the laminate models). Normally, I'm not a fan of the "relic'd" look, but Eastman does such a good job with it. It looks really authentically aged. But more importantly, they're applying thin coats of varnish onto the guitars, which makes them unbelievably resonant. It's the same varnish process that they use on their classical instruments, so they know what they're doing, and then they apply a French polish finish on top. I own an acoustic guitar with the varnish finish, and it's completely sold me on the process. Those who own Eastman's electrics (solid and hollow) say that the varnish finish makes a huge difference there, as well.
The most difficult part is getting your hands on one. I was just watching the Guitar video from Summer NAMM on Eastman's new Romeo model, and in the second half, they show a heavily antiqued black T59/v-LTD-BK (all Maple lam, varnish, w/ Bigsby). They mentioned that they only made 60 of them (25 US, 25 Europe, 10 China). When I asked how many T184/T185/T186 they sell, Eastman told me they sold a combined 52 units in North America in 2017. So, these are not mass produced models. If you see one, jump on it!
Thanks for the info Pura Vida . Yeh, I suspect I'm going to be waiting a long time for one of these down here. It will need to remain within the confines of the GAS lobe of the brain, until the right time, place and budget.
The 185 does seem quite a nice size. My Fret King was more like a 184 size and was very comfy to play, apart from the short scale which is really just due to my anatomical issues.
I would love a humbucker electric at some point. This Eastman has made the short-list!