ES-335 Kansas City Semi-Hollow review by Glen Burton

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 5 (13 votes)
Glen Burton: ES-335 Kansas City Semi-Hollow

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.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I bought two of the Memphis models. Both came with a few problems. For the difference in price I think I would step up to rondo music and get the SX EG5 copy. PROS: good pick ups and tuning machine. Con terrible finish on the frets with lacquer sprayed all over them and the neck is very husky like an old department store neck from montgomery wards or sears. They sprayed the frets with the lacquer they use on the guitar so they were very rough. I took both guitars and blocked the frets, crowned them, polished them and set the neck, the action and the intonation. I sold each one for a $60 profit because of the work I did was evident compared to factory. I am now going to purchase an Ibanez AS93 semi hollowbody which I believe is equal to or better than todays Gibson es335. I am getting the one with super58 pick ups which delivers a steely dan/larry carlton tone. More suited for what I play. Hope this helps.