Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Martin DRSGT vs. Eastman e10d (or e6d?)

I’m in Thailand and the used market here is non-existent. Thankfully, over the years the selection of new Martins, Taylors, and now Eastman has grown considerably. I’m looking at buying a dreadnought here in the next couple months. I can get a Martin DRSGT for about the same price as a Eastman e10d.

DRSGT is solid sapele with sitka spruce while the Eastman has mahogany and adirondack.

I’m partial to the Martin brand name and the fact that there are about 12 shops in Thailand that will tweak the setup on the Martin for free whenever I want. The eastman has only one dealer that I know of. Does this matter?? I dunno.

Any thoughts?

I guess I could throw one more guitar into the mix. They have an Eastman e10ss for sale too for about the same price as the e10d. I’ve read that the short scale is easier to fret and more comfortable to play. My hands aren’t very big either so that sounds tempting. Although, is it true that it can prevent playing in more different tunings? Drop D or some thingamajig? Can you tell I’m new to the guitar?

Hi Stark, I’d go with the Eastman E10D. I’m also partial to Martins (I own 3) but in this case, dealing with lower end Martins, I think you’ll get a lot more guitar for the money with the Eastman. Adirondack vs sitka top, Mahogany vs Sepele back, Mahogany vs Sipo neck, Ebony vs Richlite fingerboard and bridge, polished vs satin back and sides, I could go on…
The ones I have played were very well built and sounded great. Lots of good reviews all over the internet on these Eastmans. Now go buy the Martin. :laughing:

I agree with what Bulldog said. The E10d is generally regarded as a great value. I haven’t played a DRSGT, but I am sure it has it’s strong points as well. I will add that it really comes down to the individual guitar. There are going to be guitars by just about any maker that are great and others that are not so great. As someone new to guitar, nice and easy action will make life much more enjoyable. If you don’t trust your own fingers and ears and if you have a friend who plays, get them to come along. If you don’t have a friend who is an experienced player start making some friends :smiley:

As far as the short scale, I like short scale guitars, but I wouldn’t suggest going that route unless you know it is what you want. Again, go play them (or take a friend) and see what speaks to you.

One other thing you could do is post a message on the unofficial martin guitar forum or the acoustic guitar forum and see if anyone in Thailand happens to have a guitar they wanted to sell. You never know, you might find someone with a good match for you.


the reason I had thought about the short scale guitar is because of reading about the closer spacing and then easier playability. I did try playing the e10ss in the store before knowing that it was short scale and I felt that it was much easier to play right away. It wasn’t until I looked it up online later on till I realized the difference.

Do you mind sharing what your hesitation is about ss? Thanks!

I’ll try and get on the Martin Forum and make a post. I did try playing a Martin D17m here a few days ago. Love it but is a bit more than my budget. (closer to 2,000)

— Begin quote from "Stark"

Do you mind sharing what your hesitation is about ss? Thanks!

— End quote

Sure, I’m always glad to share. I said something like “unless you know that is what you want.” If you absolutely know that is the way for you, then great, go for it. If you have any doubt, then I would be hesitant for two reasons:

  1. I play mostly the Martin Dread and OM scale length of 25.4" can easily adapt to shorter scales (including the super fun Taylor GS-mini). When I first started playing much acoustic, I had been playing shorter scale electrics and it seemed to make things much tougher to play the longer scale. In other words, if you learn on a longer scale it will be like paying the piper early on, and you’ll be able to also easily use smaller scales. On the other hand, if you learn on shorter scales it will be easier for a short little while, but then you would have to face that hurdle in the future.
  2. There are many more bluegrass guitars in the slightly longer scale available. Getting tied to a SS early on might cause you to not consider a bunch of guitars that might have ultimately made you happier.

Again, if you know you are a SS person, then go for it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

That makes sense. And plus I think I prefer the sound of the long scale anyway. At least as far as this video goes:

That’s an interesting comparison. It might be because of my preconceived ideas, but the the LS sounded punchier and the SS a bit more mellow (and sometimes sweeter). On the treble runs, I couldn’t tell much of a difference. I heard a huge difference on the bluegrass backup in G.

D-16GT!! That’s got to be the one. Haven’t seen it at a store around here but I think that would get me in the price range I’m looking for. I hate to say it but I feel quite stuck on the Martin brand. The availability of shops that would look after it is a real plus for me if I ever needed warranty work.

AND, someone else who has played it can confirm for me if I’m rigtht, But I feel like the neck on the Eastman is bulky. It reminds me of a Recording King Rd-06 that my wife used to own. It has a monster neck on the thing. I really like the Martin modified low oval neck. Feels easier to play. Anybody have thoughts on the D-16GT I think it is US Made and more up to the Martin standard.

A guitar with a neck that is not comfortable to my hand would be a deal breaker for me no matter how great it was. I sadly sold the best guitar I’ve ever owned or played last year because I thought I could get use to the chunky neck but it never happened. And trust me I tried hard.

I think it would be safe to say that the D-16GT would be a step up from the Road Series GT.


I’m not really a Martin guy, not because I think they’re bad guitars, but I’ve just never played one that was comfortable to me. I would buy one in a heartbeat if I could find a neck I like. They’re either too chunky or too skinny. I agree with Bulldog 100% :

— Begin quote from "Bulldog"

A guitar with a neck that is not comfortable to my hand would be a deal breaker for me no matter how great it was.

— End quote

I too sadly parted with a couple of great guitars, a ‘72 Gallagher G-70 ( just 50 digits away on the serial number from Chris Jones’ G-70) and a '56 Martin D-18, both because the necks were too slim and the string spacing was too close. I still think alot about those guitars, but the necks just weren’t right. I had the Gallagher for over three years and I could just never get used to it, so it’s not like I didn’t give it a fair chance.

Hopefully this may help your decision: My brother has a SPD-16R. It’s a D-16 with special appointments such as gold tuners, fancier inlays and all gloss finish with Rosewood back and sides. Other than those extras, it’s still a D-16 and it’s a great, wonderful sounding guitar. It impresses me every time we get together on how good it sounds. (still don’t like the neck though, but that’s just me). I did a guitar comparison / contest awhile back and some of the folks who commented said they favored the Martin even over my Collings (not knowing which guitars they were listening to at the time). It’s still here on the forum somewhere if you 'd like to here a sample of the D-16.

By the way, his D-16 has a 1 11/16" nut width with a low oval or c- shaped neck. I agree with the other guys too on the Eastman over the DRSGT, but a D-16 would make you a very nice “keeper” guitar. My brother has had his since new in '95 or '96 I believe and it’s his only guitar.

Dang JW if the timing would have been right I’d have swapped you the Collings D2HAV for that Gallagher! :smiley: Seems like we’re on opposite ends of the neck profile spectrum. However, I am comfortable with the 1 3/4 nut on the new D-18 I bought but only because of the slim neck.

Stark it sounds like the D-16GT may just be what you’re looking for. Whatever you decide to buy be sure and let us know!

I’ll let you know when I get something. All of your input has convinced me to practice more on my wife’s guitar and some others and get a feel for what type of neck I want. We have a beautiful Martin 000-15m that sounds soooo good. I’m still learning to play (was messing around with mandolin and banjo last few years), but I think I would prefer a 1 and 3/4 inch low profile. the 1 and 11/16 seems tight sometimes. I got a local Eastman dealer here that I’m going to go visit. I’ve heard great things about their OM size guitars as well.

Good idea Stark. The last thing you want to do is make an “impulse purchase”. Be patient and figure out what you want before you take the leap and save yourself the risk of buyer’s remorse.

Went to the Eastman dealer yesterday and came home with the E20D (so much for patience :slight_smile:… after trying some different OMs and other dreadnoughts. Wow, this guitar sounds great. And I like the neck profile. Very comfortable to play. This guitar sounds sooo good strummed and the sound just fills out everything. Very fun.

Well congratulations, I think you made a great choice. It’ll just keep sounding better the more you play it. Would love to see a pic if you’re able to post one.


Great looking rosewood on that back!

Congrats Stark, that is a good looking guitar! I have heard nothing but good things about Eastman.

Congratulations! Did you already get a setup on it?