ES-339 Pro Review

manufacturer: Epiphone date: 02/25/2013 category: Electric Guitars
Epiphone: ES-339 Pro
All in all, a very enjoyable and less-than-expensive way to have some 6-string fun. Again I have to point out that the guitar is absolutely stunning, and sometimes it's better to look good than feel good, as Billy Crystal says. For deeper, darker sounds, it's a real good fit.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7.5
 Features: 9.5
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reviews (2) pictures (4) 25 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.6
ES-339 Pro Reviewed by: DJ Dunzie, on march 16, 2012
4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 449

Purchased from: Long & McQuade

Features: Brand new 2012 release Epiphone ES-339 Pro in Vintage Burst. 22 Fret, rosewood board, 12" radius, 24.75" neck glued-in. Mother of Pearl inlays, dual ProBucker humbucker pickups with coil tap option (accessed via push-pull volume controls for each). Semi hollow body with a laminated maple build. Off-white / cream binding on the body as well as the neck, and finally a "Tune-o-matic" bridge and LockTone tailpiece, nickel hardware. No case or bag was included, which to me was disappointing. However, the specs in general are pretty good on paper. // 9

Sound: Well, I'll start by saying that I've never owned any hollow-body guitars previously, so if you haven't ever played around with one, the sound is very different right off the hop to most solid-bodies even with similar specs and hardware. Add in the fact that I've been primarily a Fender single-coil guy for much of my playing career which spans off-and-on for some 25 years. So it took a while to get used to and dial in to my tastes (and presets). It has a real bell like sound at times, and took me some playing around with to start getting sounds I enjoyed out of it. The setup out of the factory left a little to be desired (more on that later) and dialing in the action and pickup adjustments made a big difference. I still find the sound a little muddier than I'd like, but for blues and dirty blues playing I'm starting to enjoy it more and more. In single-coil modes, you'll find the hum is actually far worse than on a typical Fender Strat even with lesser quality pickups (Mexicans and Squiers), however it does provide a really broad range of sound options on this guitar. Versatility is definitely a strong point. Adding a little fuzz/gain/distortion works just fine as you'd expect from a double humbucker guitar. However, until getting the proper setup done I did come away pretty disappointed in it, lacking any kind of clean response and consistency. Today, I've learned what works for me and I like it much better - for the right type of use. I'd still like to give a shot at upgraded pickups to see how it would respond. Maybe later... // 6

Action, Fit & Finish: Out of the factory, about what you'd expect from a less-than-expensive Epiphone model in terms of setup. While the neck was straight and felt very nice in fact, the action was too high for my tastes. The pickups were not mounted very well, one being a little wobbly, and the other on a pretty fierce angle for some reason. A trip back to Long and McQuade made a big difference, improving the action tremendously and the sound a healthy amount too. The guitar is plain beautiful really though, with a gorgeous blended Vintage burst, nice binding touches, and the inlays on the fretboard and headstock. Really a striking piece all around, and the reason I enjoy having it in my collection. The size is GREAT to me... Larger than a Les Paul, smaller than the 335's. In fact it seems to split the difference very nicely. While I don't find the guitar "fits me" the way I'm used to with my Strats, it's a nice guitar to hold and play, and I have no real issues with the tailpiece interfering with my right hand in any way. The standard strings I believe are 0.10's, and not of a real high quality. For some reason I initially got a lot of colour wear off the fretboard on my fingertips for the first couple weeks of playing, but it seems to have cooled off a little now. In comparison, I got next to none from a Deluxe Player's Strat with rosewood with a lot more time in. However, all in all, a beautiful looking guitar let down somewhat by less than ideal setup and some less than high-performance parts. For the money, about what you'd expect. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I haven't owned it long enough to rave about it, but it does seem to be put together pretty well. The body is solid (if a hollow-body can BE solid) and the neck seems to be well crafted. The electronics haven't given me any issues, and with the exception of the guitar sometimes falling out of tune a little easier than I'm used to with other guitars I've owned - especially when the strings are newer - it plays pretty darn well. I'd gig with it for sure, but I sure would use other guitars - not because of reliability issues, but because for my tastes and styles the Strats fit a lot better in many cases. For the money, it seems to be a lot of features packed into a reliably-crafted guitar. // 8

Overall Impression: Again I have to point out that the guitar is absolutely stunning, and sometimes it's better to look good than feel good, as Billy Crystal says. For deeper, darker sounds, it's a real good fit. For the cleaner lighter more articulate sounds, I reach for my Strats. I play this guitar more for the fun and enjoyment of the very different sounds the hollow-body and twin hummers offer. I rarely switch either pickup to single coil any more, because quite frankly I find the sound a little disappointing. All in all, a very enjoyable and less-than-expensive way to have some 6-string fun. // 8

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overall: 9.4
ES-339 Pro Reviewed by: Jackson.Wolf, on february 25, 2013
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 299.99

Purchased from: Dawsons Music

Features: This Guitar was made in 2011, in China. It has 22 frets, a slim '60's Style' neck with a Rosewood Fretboard. Similar to the Dot/Sheraton guitars made by Epiphone this has a laminated top, and is a 'Semi-Hollow' guitar (making use of a Solid Centre block inside the body to reduce feedback). The body of the guitar is laminated Maple, in a wonderful Ebony finish (it really gleams!) with an excellent Mahogany Neck. When it comes to the body shape, this is where it gets good; It feels like an ES-335/Dot, but it is slightly smaller in its frame shape. This does make it feel as though its a cross between an ES-335 and a Les Paul when playing. An excellent quality. Plus it is easier for moving around the stage etc if you plan to gig. As you'd expect it has the Tune-O-Matic bridge, sitting next to 2 'EpiPro' Humbucker pickups. (with the Standard 2 Tone/Vol controls and 3 way selector switch). The Pickups really sing; they can crunch, ring out clearly, and produce beautiful sweet tones! Another useful feature is the 'Coil Tapping' mechanism installed. A simple click 'up' of each volume control turns the selected Humbucker into a Single Coil Pickup. Allowing you to emulate (once played with a little) some nice 'Strat-esque' tones. Classic Vintage tuners (Kluson/Tulip syle) grace the top of the Head, and they are sturdy as hell. Seriously my old Gibson SG didn't hold the tuning as well as these and that was 2 1/2 times the price! // 10

Sound: I own an Epiphone Dot too, so I expected this to suit my style the way that guitar does; and I was NOT disappointed. It has such power! My band The Twisted Dolls play Blues Rock (White Stripes/BRMC esque), and when it runs through my effects I can't play it enough! I'm using it with my Fender Frontman 212R 100w Amplifier, through an EHX Little Big Muff pedal and Crybaby Wah. For my style of fuzzy/dirty garage rock, it fits amazingly. Whether it is riffs, solo's or slide guitar the humbuckers really deliver. The bridge pickup as you'd expect has a really bright tone, giving that power Crunch when run through Overdrive. The Neck pickup is where I think this guitar sells itself. I love (trying) to play in the Clapton-esque "Woman" tone, with Full Volume and Low tone, and the sound is fantastic on this Guitar! I admit to not getting a lot of use out of the 'Coil Tap' as Single Coils are not my style, but they work fine none the less, and do indeed emulate that Strat Twang very well. Sometimes acting as a hired gun for bands who need a stand in guitar player, this guitar has really tried a number of genres; and excelled! Blues, Rock, Indie, Pyschedelic, Jazz & Pop are more than within its capabilities! I would say it may not be the most suitable for Metal however. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Out of the box the action was excellent. Nice and low with 0 Fret Buzz. I'd say it was a little low for me as I like to play Slide Guitar, but a small adjustment took seconds with the bridge. Pickups were at a great hight for the action (again I adjusted them slightly after I altered mine). But all in all, I could not complain! Everything looked and felt as though (considering it has only had a factory set up) that it had been done professionally. Bridge was routed perfectly, Neck in a great position (not too straight or bent). The finish is GLORIOUS! The cream binding around the guitar is steller! (As you'd expect with an Epiphone, the 'E' on the scratchplate fell off within days. But super glue fixed that) My ONE bugbear with the guitar was I felt the fretboard was a little rougher than I've experienced. Not noticeable in day to day playing, but when you start to Bend strings you feel it. (On the advice of a Luthier mate, I took the strings off, and rubbed the rough parts with a little Steel Wool/Wire pad/Brillo Pad, and then applied a small amount of Lemon Oil to the affected areas. Left it over night, gave it the once over with a cloth) Now it is PERFECT. It really is users choice, I just took that extra step to smooth out the board as I bend strings a lot :) // 8

Reliability & Durability: It would absolutely withstand Live Playing. It is going to be my number one guitar at gigs. If you're in the UK, come to a gig of mine and you can see the guitar yourself! It is so sturdy. It is the tuners that are surprisingly the most durable. I played it at rehearsals, and in 3 hours I had to retune the standard tuning ONCE! Extremely durable hardware, it will last a long time. Sadly it does have nickel covers on the pickups which will eventually dull, but chrome covers are not expensive at all if you don't like the 'weathered' look. The strap buttons hold well, but I must say as a general rule I always install Schaller strap locks. For a guitar you love, it is worth doing! Personally I wouldn't take it without a backup, but I wouldn't take ANY guitar without a back up to a gig. You just never know when a string or strings could break, or a guitar will get knocked. But it can hold it's own as the star guitar of the show, yes! // 9

Overall Impression: For my style of Fuzzy, Riff based Blues Rock it suits down to the ground. I also write a lot of melodic Semi Acoustic music, and any lead guitar lines I lay down with this beast! I've been playing for 6 years now, and I own several guitars (a Dot, Tele, Les Paul, WildKat, SG and Dobro), this is now one of my favourites. A welcome addition to the collection. I ABSOLUTELY would get this again if it were stolen, and boy could I understand why the poor sod who stole it, did so; this guitar is a beauty! My favourite features of the guitar are the pickups (neck particularly), the feel of the 'Short Scale' body, the slim, easy to play neck & of course the rock solid tuners! I'd compare it in sound to a Sheraton/Dot, but a little more Rocky. If there is one thing I wish it had, it is a Bigsby. My Epi Wildkat has one, but it doesn't stay nearly in tune as well as this fine piece of equipment. If you're thinking "Hmm, Should I get this/Should I not?", I felt the same. Until I bought it, now, I can not put it down. // 10

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