Price paid: $ 529
Purchased from: Zzounds
Sound — 9
I play rock, blues, and folk. This guitar fits all those styles nicely. I run it through a DigiTech RP255, DigiTech Jamman, & into a Fender RP212. These humbuckers give you a rich bottom-end that borders on muddy with some distortions. For screaming solos you need to have the right combo of effects. For strumming and picking I like it straight up, without any effects. I'm not that crazy about the neck. I have small hands and I thought "slim taper" would fit nicely and it's just ok. Some may not like this though.
Overall Impression — 10
If you are looking for an archtop-styled guitar with the coolest paint job around... AND a Bigsby than this is the guitar for you. I've been playing for 15+ years and have drifted to Epiphone from Fender as my tastes have changed. I play mainly Pink Floyd, Neil Young, and alot of classic rock besides my original recordings. This guitar is versatile enough to fit all of that. Really, though, most of us use so much effects, modellers, etc.. That the guitar is really just for playability and looks... Not really sound anymore. If you want to look cool than this will do it for ya!
Reliability & Durability — 10
This won't leave my studio so it'll be babied and well cared for. My experience with other Epiphone archtops is that they can put up with a lot and I'm not afraid to take my Dot out anywhere. This particular guitar seems hardy and I think you should feel comfortable taking it out. Solid strap buttons. I trust the Epiphone brand and their hardware; bridge, tremolo, etc. Should be just fine. I find that they tend to use a cheap plastic nut which I've had to replace on other Epiphone guitars. That's a pretty easy, 10 minute job. Get a graphite one from Amazon for $10.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
It was set up nicely from Zzounds. I had to adjust the string height in the bridge for the bass strings a little, tuned up, and away I went. I bought this as a "blemished" model (saving $190) but I have yet to find the blemish. Others have looked at it and cannot find anything. There might be some swirl marks that they call a blemish, but that would be a stretch. It seems like Epiphone archtops have an issue with the Ge strings staying in tune, and it's the same with this. I may have to replace the nut later.
Features — 10
This limited edition ES-355 is a 2013, released in April. It's in TV Pelham Blue. The only color it's released in. It's Chinese made. "Handmade in China" it says on the sticker. It's got 22 frets on a slim taper neck. Compared to a Dot the neck is a little thicker, almost C-shaped. It's an archtop with two f-holes. The pickguard is not attached and you would need to drill two holes in it to attach it. I'm still deciding if I want to do this. It has tune-o-matic bridge and a classic Bigsby tremolo. Alnico humbuckers that are "double vacuum waxed" (whatever that means). It has beautiful Pelham blue finish that brings out the grain of the wood. I bought this guitar because I wanted one with the archtop shape, but with a Bigsby. It was the color though that sold me. It's an awesome & unique looking git.