Price paid: $ 189
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 9
With the stock pickups the sound was muddy and lacked any type of clarity. The stock tuners couldn't hold tune for less than 5 mins of playing. My style of playing is hard rock and blues, which the ES335 is well suited for. My objective was to have the equivalent of a decent Epiphone at half the price. With the pickup and the tuners swapped it holds tune and sounds rocking.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, a great deal. $189 for the guitar, $20 for tuners, $30 for pickups. Under $250 for a guitar that can easily go head to head with a Epiphone. No brainer... Personally, I'd rather spend more on my amp than on a name brand, when most of the name brands are made in Asia anyways.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have gigged with this and no fear, the guitar is well built. The hardware - now - is decent and is resilient enough to handle a night of quaffing and playing. I normally come with 2 guitars so I always have a backup. The finish is more than thick enough to handle drops and bumps with no real issues.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The glossy finish was ok, some small blemishes, nothing on the face though. The stock pickups were tossed in favour of some Epi 57 classics which make the guitar sound SOOOOO much better. Stronger output, and much better clarity.. The weak tuners were replaced with Wilkinson locking tuners. Now I can play and not worry about loosing tune while playing during a song. After these mods, I can easily rate this a 8.5/9.
Features — 7
Made in 2011 most likely. Made in China (like most nowadays), Maple laminate top and back. Double bound body and neck. High Gloss finish. ES-335 style hollowbody with balsa block running down the middle. 2 humbucker pickups, 2 volume, 2 tone pots. Tune-o-Matic bridge. Out of the box, it looks nice. Some overspray on the binding. Set neck. The tuners and pickups are crap and that is to be expected at this price point. The woodworking quality out of China as of late has improved greatly. I look at these guitars as great chassis, that only need an electronics and some hardware upgrades.