I'm an amateur player considering buying an Eastman 420 french horn, and was wondering if you have any opinion on the brand's quality, or anything else. I'd be buying it lightly used for about $1800 Canadian in total (with taxes), so around £980 I believe. I realize the price is most likely more than what it's worth, but I'm not really comfortable buying over ebay, and craigslist has not come up with any alternatives.
Basically it's a Chinese-made horn, but the company does own or manage its own factories not just buy in instruments from a Chinese maker. Thus the quality is probably higher (and more consistent) than the average Chinese instrument, but the basic design is still probably just a copy of somebody else's and it doesn't necessarily have the backing of a large amount of research and development. Given that they are then sold at a premium price, I personally would probably spend my money on something else if buying new.
The only experience I have with this brand is one correspondent (who buys a lot of horns...) bought one. He paid $420 although it needed some work doing. He was pleased with it and said it played great... it was the same model as the one you're looking at. So that's at least one testimonial.
As I say, I would probably be looking for a used Holton 378 for that money, but then you might not find that anywhere else but Ebay. And it doesn't seem grossly overpriced if it's a decent blow.
Afraid that's as much use as I can be, the rest is up to you. If you do decide to buy, do let me know what you think of it once you've had it a while, and so add to my store of knowledge...
Hope this helps