The new Double Top Series might look familiar. On closer inspection, though, this instrument is anything but.
To the eye, the Double Top seems like your classic flattop, traditional in the very best senses of the word. The ear however tells a different story. The Double Top’s sound is noticeably more resonant and responsive, with greater note clarity and balance. While still delivering all the tonal sensitivity and versatility players expect from an elite-quality acoustic, the guitar’s sheer sonic presence is undeniable.
How does the Double Top pull it off, this blend of the classical and the forward-thinking, of delicacy and strength? As usual, the answer is rooted in thoughtful craftsmanship.
The technique, developed over many years, reflects a concentrated effort to add backbone to lighter tonewood. To construct the Double Top body, a pair of one-millimeter-thin slices of spruce are joined with an equally thin strip of printed material called Nomex, which resembles a thin shaving of a honeycomb.
Nomex, a resinous substance patented by its maker, DuPont, was originally devised for use in the aerospace industry. On its own, the material is nearly weightless, composed almost entirely of air. Set upright between the pieces of spruce, it acts like a rigid wall, adding layers of density and depth.
Meticulous craftsmanship ensures that this density never compromises the inherent lightness of the material – and lighter material means greater possible sonic range. The Double Top can still respond to any vibration, accommodating slower playing for bass frequencies and faster playing for the trebles. The instrument is thus capable of carving out its space across a spectrum of styles and settings, from delicate solo picking to larger band arrangements.
The Double Top reflects the continuous push to move the craft forward in new directions. A keen awareness of musicians’ expectations, and an unshaking commitment to surpassing those expectations, is how relationships between guitar players and guitar makers evolve into something special. In its drive for excellence, this dedication will forge in any direction – sometimes, as with the Double Top, under the radar and under the hood.
As for the name: it speaks for itself. If you were to peer closely at its cross section, you’ll be able to see two thin layers of spruce supported by the reinforced honeycomb structure. Hence: Double Top.
So, technically, you could see the difference. But in this case, the real magic comes from below the surface. The proof is in the sound.
In my 24 years in the guitar industry I have heard many claims MOST of which are a new way to sell you the idea that cutting corners is better for you! Gibson weight relief, Martins laminated necks, Taylors expression system - In my opinion all ways of making savings whilst packaging it as a breakthrough.
The wonderful thing about Eastman is in my experience I have only ever witnessed the most courageous developments. I witness tone, value and unique qualities that I have never experienced in other brands.
So why would they do this - unless there was something really in it? They are a brand that doesn't sell on the name alone - they sell on people getting them in their hands and saying "WOW!!!!!" So this excites me.
What excites me further is that the double top concept and recognition of the double top and its incredible benefits to tone are NOT NEW!!! They are about 30 years old! Originally developed by a renowned Classical guitar builder and since adopted by some of the Worlds finest boutique guitar builders.
Such skill, time and knowledge is required to pull off the Double Top design that no mass production company would touch it.
As Eastman Guitars are totally hand made this does make the double top concept an incredibly interesting and viable process - but lets just wait and see - I CANNOT WAIT THOUGH!!!!
I will keep you posted!