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Eastman El Rey ER3
Overall Rating
Submitted: January 6th, 2018
by badpenguin
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Sound Quality
With the original pickups, a pair of Dan Armstrongs from Asia, the sound was....... meeeehhhhhh.... Seriously, for a guitar that has a list price of over 2K USD, the pickups should either blow you away, or at least make you say..."..Not quite my taste, but still good." These were just on the bland side. They weren't bad, just not good. Yes, the guitar was made in China, but no reason that good pickups couldn't be used.I replaced the stock ones with a set of Stew-Mac Golden Age A2 humbuckers. and the difference was night and day! The slightly lower output of the Alinco 2 magnets really accentuated the guitars natural tone. Much better bass response, and nice even mid range, with the highs sounding natural. With some gain, the pickups sparkle, without getting muddy.
This is a solid carved maple top guitar, with solid mahogany back and sides. A mahogany set neck, with a 24 fret ebony board. With a nitro finish, it's pretty much indestructible. Yes, dings and scraps will occur, as with any guitar, but, as they say on Top Gear "That'll buff  out."
Ok bought mine used. Which is kinda typical for me. in over 75 guitars, 2 were new. Listed at $2200 USD, commonly selling for the $1900 USD mark. I paid  less then a 3rd of that. 
General Comments
Made in China in 2007 Les Paul-ish shaped single cut-a-way hollow body, solid maple carved top, solid mahogany back and sides, flame maple binding,  NO "F" holes, NO electronic access on the back. (Take that into account when replacing the pickups, which you will.) 25.4 Inch scale  22 fret ebony fretboard on a 3 piece mahogany neck. 2 humbuckers with 2vol, 2 tones and a 3 way. Tone Pros wrap around bridge, with Gotoh tuners and a bone nut.The pros: Wonderful neck. The near Fender scale makes complex chords easier in the middle of the neck, more so then on a Gibson. The ebony board just feels like silk. Slightly wider then a Gibson, it just allows so much more movement. NOT for shredders!Light weight, being about 6 1/ to 7 pounds.The craftsmanship is beyond what many American companies are doing today.The cons:The Kent Armstrong pickups are.... lame...  is the best word for them. Replacing electronics will require a LOT of patience, and a lot of cursing.The neck. yes, it is a pro in buying it, but the Fender-ish scale, and ebony board, gives it a brighter "snap" and "ping", then a jazz guitar should have. (IMHO) It's a trade off, comfort over tone. A few twists of the tone knobs helps though.The bridge. Oh my God, the bridge..... In theory, a wrap around tail piece is a simple design with the fewest parts possible. Tone Pros went out of their way to make this bridge a mass of stupidity. You CAN NOT adjust the string intonation with the string on the bridge, the intonation screw is directly under the string. In order the run the string thru the bridge, you have to push it thru 2 holes, one directly behind the other. NOT easy in a gig situation.Adjusting the action requires a wrench, sliding it under the bridge posts, and turning it right or left, thereby GUARANTEEING  a scrap or a ding around the bridge.It is easy to lose the caps on the studs.The thickness of the bridge does not allow for the best possible action.  (Yeah, I know, I am harsh on the bridge, but for 2K, so should you.)
Reviewer's Background
Over 35 years as a player and a tech, with 75 guitars and basses staring at me as I write this.
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