About 10 years after buying the Hofner, I decided to upgrade. I had expected that I was going to pay $5000-6000 for the guitar I wanted. I started looking online for dealers and found an interesting shop in New Jersey, Guitars 'N' Jazz.
Months later, Rabab told me that she was trying to find where her father was buried; he had died when she was 10. She knew it was in New Jersey, and thought the cemetery has the word "Rose" in it. Would you believe that Wikipedia had an entry for "Cemeteries in New Jersey"? I started calling the ones with Rose in the name and found him in Linden, which was about 20 minutes away from Guitars 'N' Jazz. We took the day on Veteran's Day, 2014, to drive up and visit both places.
The guitar shop is a cubbyhole that is in a corner carved out from a pharamacy. Although the owner was taking the day off to be with his son, who was out of school for the holiday, he set me up with a lady at the pharmacy who let me into the shop to play whatever I wanted. They also showed me the pharmacy basement, where he had a lot more stock stored. I didn't find quite the right guitar that day but was impressed with the quality that Eastman delivers for the price.
A couple of weeks later I was reviewing their web site and found another Eastman that was a tick up from what I had played in the store, and at $3000 was still below what I had been bracing myself to pay. But I decided, "Why pay more when you don't have to?" We did the transaction over the phone and they did a great job shipping it.