Some in this thread were asking about the New Epiphone ES-339 vs the real deal Gibson and I offered to do a quickie if I got to GC to get my hands on one. Finally did today. I'm only comparing fit/finish and core play-ability, didn't plug in and didn't have my Epi on me but have been playing it enough lately to be able to compare mentally. VS Gibson ES-339 1. Finish - Gibson wins hands down. My ES-339 has some sloppiness at the neck joint and a binding finish flaw at the back. Neither major enough to call it a B-Stock, you really have to look close. But the Gibson was better...but not flawless either. There was some very minor glue bleed at the neck joint on the Gibson, otherwise no flaws. 2. Hardware (Tuners) - rather impossible to tell hardware differences without spending significant time with an instrument, but a couple things worth noting. Gibson has position markers mounted under there knobs, nice touch. A sursprise were the tuners we're just as stiff and unpleasant as the Grovers on my Epi. This was very surprising. I was surprised by the Grover's stiff action on my Epi as my other axes with Grovers as totally smooth and thought for certain the Gibson alternative would be superior, not the case. 3. Playability - The Gibson at GC had very old strings of uncertain gauge, so I can't make much of a ruling here, but the action wasn't much different than my Epiphone. 4. Resonance - Some in the other thread complained the Epi's were dead by comparison. I noticed no significant difference. VS Gibson Midtown Custom I know, totally different construction methodology and materials, but it was there... 1. Finish - Again, Gibson wins hands down. And again, there was some very minor glue bleed at the neck joint on the Gibson, less so than the 339 otherwise no flaws. 2. Hardware (Tuners) - Excellent smooth action on the Gibson, much better than the Epi. 3. Playability - Have to tip my hat to Gibson on this on. Extremely comfortable guitar. 4. Resonance - The guitar body was more alive when strummed versus both ES-339's, but the unplugged tone didn't have that specific semi-hollow tone the other had, likely due to the chambered construction. So given a bit of hands on experience (though not plugging in) and taking price into consideration, I'd rank them as follows: 1. Midtown Custom - Just a sweet axe, didn't like the flat top but that's more of a cosmetic thing. Beat both the ES-339's. Pricey to me, but at just under $1,500 its affordable in the grand Gibson scheme as well as compared to the guitar demographics at TGP. 2. Epiphone ES-339 - Very nice axe at a great price. Really 3. Gibson ES-339 - Also very nice axe, but to me you get darn close with the Epiphone at less than 1/3 the price (assuming comparison with the lowest price Gibson model).