Epiphone ES-335 "Dot" Deluxe (Limited Edition) Reviews 5

I saw this particular guitar in an exhibit at a NAMM show, and recently acquired one from a friend. I got mine used, actually I was doing a repair job on it (swapping out a pickup), and ended up buying it from the guy. The model I have is the Dot Deluxe, a limited edition in translucent cherry finish and gold hardware. I paid around $350 USD for it, with hardshell case, and actually used it during my last gig.

First and foremost, I am an avid guitar buff, and have played and/or worked on almost every guitar out there. Finding something that pleases me is quite hard. This particular guitar, however, impressed me right out of the case. The first thing I noticed was the cherry red finish on it, which is very well accented by the gold harware and black headstock. The hardware looks perfect, and the gold finish does not look cheap, although how it looks after one year of punishing gigs remains to be seen. The action was dead on, about 3/64" above the 12th fret on all six strings. The neck is extremely straight, but even then, there was only a hint of a buzz, which was quickly remedied by stringing it with a set of 11's with a wound 3rd, which I prefer using anyway. The neck feels solid in my hand, fast and slender yet still substatial and pleasing to hold. All the frets are smooth and expertly dressed, and even on an unbound neck, the fret edges are very well filed without any rough edges. Surprisingly enough, the rose- wood on the fretboard seems to be much higher quality than what I've seen on Korean guitars, very smooth-grained and resonant. As for the electronics, the three-way toggle and the control knobs seem to be somewhat cheap, but the pickups still pack a good, solid punch, with a nice bottom end and a midrange bloom I didn't expect from this guitar. It never sounds twangy and is a joy to hear clean.

There are, unfortunately, a few negatives about this guitar. Upon close inspection of the finish, I noticed some uneveness in the spraying around the cutaways, and some overbuffing along the upper bout and behind the neck. I also noticed some overspray on the neck edges, which is more noticeable on the unbound neck. After removing the pickups, I did notice the pickup cavities were rather messy, heavily oversprayed and very rough around the edges, although the wood did seem to be well carved and laminated. I guess it really doesn't matter, since you will never show this area off, but nonetheless I found it to be a little dissappointing. As for the pickups, I wasn't dis- pleased, but I found that the best marriage of pickups to this guitar will be the Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbuckers I will install in it. Also, the tuners were rather loose, and altough LSR 40 to 1 ratio tuners would be ideal, they aren't very attractive, so the next best choice would be Grover machines.

Again, very solidly constructed. The guitar is heavy, weighing in at around 8.25 lbs, but it is very well balanced. Excellent binding on the body, and nothing about this guitar feels cheap or flimsy, with the exeption maybe of the tuning pegs. The whole guitar just vibrates and sings when strummed unplugged, indicating to me very solid assembly of the bridge and tailpiece, which are tied to a soundpost that must be quite solid to get this tone.

The bottom line is this: I have coveted a GibsonTM Les PaulTM for a long time, as well as the ES-335, but I have to admit, this is as good a guitar as they come, and I'm sure that if you look hard enough, you will find flaws in any guitar. Besides, for $350, I'd rather take this one to a gig and not have to worry so much about cigarrete smoke, spilled beer, or clumsy drunken idiots. The tone is what matters at a gig, and I'm sure everyone has better things to do that to stare at the logo on my headstock.

Fernie Camacho rated this unit 5 on 2001-12-27.

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