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Great bang for your buck!
I wanted an archtop. Partly because I wanted something as different as possible from my Telecaster as possible, and partly to have something I could lay unplugged and still get a reasonable volume. After much research and sitting down in a booth at Andertons for over an hour, it came down to this or a dot. The more comfortable dimensions, higher tolerance for distortion, bound neck and location of the amp input socket won out. I also have to say that the Sheraton II (dot with a party dress!) looks AMAZING in person.... ;)
Onto the Epi ES-339. This guitar has proven so popular, the price rose soon after I bought mine for £299. Other Epis stayed the same. The finish is almost flawless. The setup from the factory was dead on. The action nice and low, without buzzing. Intonation for harmonics is easy. Runs and licks are seamless and even barre chords are not a chore.
The 12" rosewood fretboard is a synch for bends. The mahogany construction means sustain goes on for days. I got mine in a nice two tone sunburst that sets the grain off nicely. The D shape neck fills the hand nicely. This is not a shred machine, but something to savour as waves of vibration travel through your body!
Both humbucking pickups have coil taps - and usable ones at that. A feature you won't find on the Gibson version that costs FIVE times the price. The pickups are really, really powerful when you add some dirt. The bridge HB can go a little indistinct and muddy if you don't balance it out with a treble booster. Having said that, for blues it is wonderful. I wouldn't ever think of swapping the pickups out for anything else. They are seriously high quality for a guitar of this price point.
The vintage tuners work very well. Thanks to the greater size and weight of the body, you're never at any risk of neck diving the way you might be with an Epi SG or Flying V. The only thing I don't like about the es339 is the top hat knobs and the selector switch, all of which feel very cheap and flimsy. The good news is, you can swap those out cheaply and easily.
All in all, if you are looking for an Archtop that can handle overdrive and is comfortable to play, I honestly can't think of a better option without going above £500.
Great value !
I purchased this guitar used for a great price. I don't know if the previous owner had a pro set up done on it but the action and intonation was darn near perfect. The fit and finish are beautiful, nice binding. The slim taper neck profile fits my hands well and makes it easy to play.
The pickups have a nice range of tone, not muddy or overly bright. I haven't had a chance to experiment with the split coil option much, but it's an option that may grow on me.
I bought the Epi hard shell case for it and I also have a gig bag to keep it protected in different situations.
I'm very happy with it and still would be even if I had paid full price.
Very versatile guitar, goes from clean to heavy tones. It has become my 1st guitar.
Comfortable neck, good pickups, very well built with awesome finish. This guitar brings a large number of qualities for a low price. When I took it to my luthier, he had a Gibson 339 at the same day, so we compared it. The only difference we noticed was the sound of the pickups, while Epihone's were more bright, Gibson were more fuller sounding. It doesn't mean Epiphone pickups are bad, they are just different. Kept the originals anyway, they sound perfect with my gear.