Founded in 1992 by a Chinese music student named Qian Ni, Eastman strings originally gained their reputation in the world of violin making. They still operate in the manner of a 19th century violin workshop, with a team of master luthiers crafting instruments largely by hand with the exception of a few band saws used for neck outlines. The first guitars they built were arch-tops, the design being a natural extension of the violin. They quickly became popular amongst professional Jazz musicians, for whom comparable arch-tops would run upwards of 10K. When they began producing flat-tops, their affordably-priced, diverse selection of options proved equally successful. Their traditional series, especially, have proved popular in folk circles. They offer solid, high-quality tone-woods at a fraction the price of U.S. builders.