ES-339 Dot review by Epiphone

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (2 votes)
Epiphone: ES-339 Dot

Price paid: $ 265

Purchased from: eBay used

Features — 9
I assume from China, it's the Dot ES-339 and this one had 2 ProBuckers put in. Coil split by volume knobs, Dunlop Straplocks were added, Grover Deluxe tuners (Kluson style). Standard bridge is chromed nicely and no corrosion. 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way switch. No case or accessories. Gloss natural; neck slightly darker than the maple body looks to be mahogany. The neck is somewhat "fat," but comfortable. I like slender necks and think maybe the Schecters and Ibanez guitars have some of the best necks for comfort. I learned to play on classical guitars and acoustics and picked up electrics later. An ES-335 or ES-339 style is not for everyone, but they are versatile in covering a lot of musical styles.

Sound — 8
It's a versatile guitar that could get by at country, but is best on the middle and neck positions. Smooth and strong HB tones with clarity, no tininess, and a good variety of tones for most any blues, country, pop, rock and roll. I go into a '73 Princeton Reverb Silverface with good Celestion speaker, so lean toward that ultra-clean sound. It is not for Strat and Tele sounds, nor is it a Les Paul or SG. But the ES-335 general style with smaller body and a fairly fat neck. Rated "8" because I have had G&L and Ibanez guitars that handily beat it tone-wise and I also live in Lindy Fralin's town. So I am spoiled.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Bought used in easily 95% shape via eBay from Sweetwater. Somebody had it set up... Nut slots nearly perfect, intonation and relief nice and the bridge could be lowered to get 1/16" at fret 12 string height. No marks on it anywhere aside from somewhat sweaty pickup covers that will clean up. Frets will need to be polished, but are clean enough on receipt. Setup is so close to ideal that I rate it "9" and my pals are pro luthier/repair guys in my town. A used ES-339 from a big dealer in eBay means you can get a return if it is damaged or you just complain, so there is value in that. But I know that for this money, I got a physically like-new, "good enough" guitar. I can always get nearly all my money out of it.

Reliability & Durability — 10
For a semi-hollow, it's as sturdy as most any guitar could be. Maple is strong and the back/sides are surely laminated. Good hardware and tuners and it's not been mishandled at all. Very good used shape. Finish is gloss poly and is unmarked anywhere... Unusual in a used guitar under $300. Rating "10" since it is so well maintained and is naturally a solid type design. Maple body is about as tough as a semi-hollow will get and a slightly (10%) smaller than an ES-335 size makes it relatively stronger. It's also easier to handle.

Overall Impression — 9
It was so cheap to buy; packed well, unmarked, good pickups and tuners, clean and attractive and versatile that it has to rate a solid "9." If the tuners had a lower ratio (18:1) and the pickups had knocked me over, I would go for a 10. It's a lot of guitar barely used and with good components and workmanship and well-cared for. I had this model in the past with '57 Classics and I liked them better, but that guitar was new and more than $100 price increase; it was not already set up. So, finding this Epiphone barely used, in a good natural gloss with good pickups and straplocks and nice tuners makes it a very good value. The neck is not a slender one, but seems to maybe be a gentle "C" and a bit on the "fat" side.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    I play an ES-339 DOT Studio as my main axe... I found the stock HB pups to be severely lacking in tone, swapped in a Duncan '59 in the neck, and a Duncan Custom Custom in the bridge, new machine heads, Locking roller bridge, and curved locking stop bar.. swapped in new pots, switch and jack with premium US made components.. and then had the frets leveled.. It went from being a junky sounding hunk of wood that couldn't keep its tune for half a song.. To one of the nicest sounding and playing guitars I have ever owned.. Don't bother spending the 3k on a Gibson.. Pick one of these up for a few hundred.. then put another couple hundred into it.. and it will play/sound better than any Gibson ever will! Just my 2 cents :