With the ever increasing popularity of the mandolin in contemporary music, and the tendency of alt-bluegrass and Americana groups to plug in on stage, Eastman Guitars has introduced an electric mandolin model to serve those markets.
Their new ER-M is built with using a solid maple, lightly arched top that is hand carved, with a flat back of solid mahogany. The f-holes in the top resemble the classic ES guitar models made by Gibson, with volume and tone controls across the lower bout.
It was designed by Eastman’s master luthier Otto D’Ambrosio for his El Rey series, and that body style fits the rest of the El Reys. He says of the new model that “The ER-M started not as an instrument concept, but rather as a sonic vision.” Each element of its design was developed with the end result in mind, including the chambered back.
The single pickup was custom designed for mandolin by Jason Lollar of Lollar Pickups in Tacoma, WA, and Eastman believes he has achieved a tone with this mini-humbucker that can be modified to fit in comfortably with an acoustic bluegrass group or a raging rock band with equal ease.
Scale length on the ER-M is 13 7/8” with 1 3/32″ width at the nut, making it easy to switch to from a standard F or A model mandolin. It uses an ebony fingerboard and bridge, with a one-piece maple neck.
As with all Eastman instruments, their Asian manufacturing allows them to offer guitars and mandolins at a startling low price given their professional construction. The new ER-M mandolin is available with a padded gig bag for only $1299.
They can be ordered now through Eastman dealers worldwide.