Epiphone Elite '63 Reissue ES335

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by SLG, Dec 1, 2005.


  1. SLG

    SLG Member

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    I did the deed, and bought a Epiphone Elite Series red '63 reissue ES335. My fears about too heavy a finish deadening the guitar were laid to rest. The guitar has great unplugged resonance. It's definitely on a par with the best ES335's I've played. These guitars are made in Japan as opposed to the standard Korean Epiphone line. Finishing was flawless. The fretwork was superior to the standard Epiphone work.

    The neck is the 60's slim taper that I prefer. Those who love the 50's baseball bat feel will most likely be disappointed. Excellent neck binding. The tuners are stock Grovers. The frets are medium jumbos and were properly leveled and finished. The nut was properly cut and finished and will not require any adjustments or tweaks.

    The previous owner had upgraded the original pickups to a Burstbucker 2 & 3 so I can't comment on the sound of the original pickups (which I did receive and may try at a later time). The switches and wiring were original. They were as good as any of the American-made instruments. The electronic wiring and switches are usually a weak point in most imported instruments I've played, but that is not the case with this guitar.

    The factory case is very good, and reminds me of the high quality tolex cases that use to be standard equipment with a good quality guitar. It's better than the gig bags and molded plastic crap that comes with most guitars today.

    My final verdict? As good or better than any of the Gibson ES335's I've owned or played over the years, including several vintage 60's instruments. If you are considering buying one of the Epiphone Elite/ Elitist ES335's have no fear. You will be getting a great guitar that is at least on a par with the standard Gibson stuff, and in some respects superior to the more recent factory offerings.
     
  2. jdiesel77

    jdiesel77 Member

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    anyone else try this guitar or have one?
     
  3. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    I played one at a store a couple of days ago.

    Seemed like a nice guit and a good Gibbo alternative, but it was 3 times the price of my Hamer Echotone.

    I didn't think it was three times better. Maybe 20% better?
     
  4. jeffcoop

    jeffcoop Member

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    I have one, and I love it. It's all stock. I like the pickups just fine--they have more of a vintage sound than the 498T/490R set in my SG, and while their tone is a bit less complex than the Burstbucker 1 & 2 set in the Cloud 9 chambered Les Paul I had last year, they still sound great to me.

    Before I got the Elite Dot, I had a regular MIK Dot, which was ... okay. This particular Elite Dot blows that particular MIK Dot out of the water--there's no comparison.
     
  5. jdiesel77

    jdiesel77 Member

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    thx..been gassin for a gibby 335 ..mmay just take one of these down instead
     
  6. SLG

    SLG Member

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    After the honeymoon was over, I was still enamoured with the guitar. So I went out and bought another one in sunburst. It was just as good and consistent as the first guitar. I picked up both of mine used off EBay for $700~$750. It is hard to beat these if you are jonsing for a 335.
     
  7. jeffcoop

    jeffcoop Member

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    I actually drifted away from mine for awhile, to the point that I decided to sell it. I took the pictures, wrote up the ebay ad, but before posting it decided to play the guitar again. And that was that--I still have it (and regularly play it) a year later.
     
  8. Ryguy

    Ryguy Supporting Member

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    I have a Riviera Elite, and will agree that it's feel, sound, and playability are superb. Beautiful finish, great fretwork, stays in tune REALLY well, just a top notch instrument. I love semis and thinline archtops, and have owned both vintage Gibson and Guilds, and some cheaper imports like the Korean made Dot and Casino. IMHO, the Elite is on par with the Gibson and Guilds and simple smokes the Korean stuff. But that seems to be the case with most of the nice Japanese stuff I've played.
     
  9. 3Tone

    3Tone Member

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    I own an Elitist ES-335 and whole-herartedly agree with SLG's and Ryguy's assessment of the quality of the guitars. I also think the Elitst neck profile/taper is better than the Gibson 60's slim taper which, on some of the ES-335s I've played lately, is a real flat/thin "U" shape that stays flat/thin for the length of the neck. The Elitist has a nice "C" shape that becomes a bit more full as it tapers towards the body of the guitar.

    I just wish Epiphone would make a version with a Gibson rounded '59 type neck profile. As pleasing as the '63 neck is, I still prefer a more full/chunkier neck.
     
  10. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    Does the Elite ES-335 us the 50R/60T pickup combo, or is it a 50R/50T set? I've read on the Epiphone Forum that these pickups are actually the US 490R/498T pickups.

    Nice guitar, congrats!
     
  11. 3Tone

    3Tone Member

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    The website spec lists them as 50SR/50ST.
     
  12. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    OK, they should be the same as a 490R/490T set then, actually some pretty nice Alnico 2 pickips.
     
  13. astroboy581

    astroboy581 Member

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    i know this threads been done for a year. . . .
    my #1 strat needed to get repaired so i got reintroduced to my elitist 335. the tone is unbelievable and i can't believe i let it sit on the wall for so long. i will be playing this thing more and more in the future.
     
  14. Miles

    Miles Member

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    I've been on the market for a solid 335 style guitar for some time now. I've had a MIK Sheraton and I was not very impressed with it.

    I went hunting at local shops for 335s and found a lot around $2500-3000 with all kinds of manufacturing issues:

    Sloppy wiring
    blemishes
    sloppy binding
    raised tuners
    cracked fretboards

    Just not that nice in general. So I picked up an Elitist 335 Natural at Wildwood Guitars last week and went home with it. The quality exceeds the Gibbie 335s on the market these days. Brilliant guitar and I love the tone of the stock pickups. They're brighter than I'm used to with a semi-hollow, but they have a lot of dimension and articulation. This guitar is the kind of guitar that you pass on to your children. I love it!!! I may sell my MIK Sheraton at some point for a used sunburst elitist.
     
  15. Trandy

    Trandy Supporting Member

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    This is hysterically familiar. I did the exact same thing.

    After playing it again...I probably won't ever sell it.

    Here's mine:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

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    I'm trying to remember where I read it, it was over a year ago, but I believe the 50R/50T/60T are not relabeled 490R/490T/498T pups, but were designed specially for the Elitist series. Maybe similarities, but apparently not the same.
     
  17. pdouds

    pdouds Member

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    just bought a sunburst 335 elitist off of ebay. can't wait until it gets here. I had a gibbie years ago during my berklee days, have always wanted another one, especially a sunburst one. my fuchs is upstairs paitently waiting for it to arrive.:drool
     
  18. 83stratman

    83stratman Member

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    I don't know about any official word on this, but I have had LPs with the 49x pickups in them, and they sound nothing like the pickups in my Elitist LP to my ears. For my tastes, the Elitist pickups are way better. I don't know how true this is, but there is a guy over on the LP forum who claims he was a Epi endorsee and played Elitist series. He says that his contact claimed the Elitist pickups were pretty much relabeled '57s.
     
  19. Guitar55

    Guitar55 Who was that masked man? Silver Supporting Member

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  20. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

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    This is off of the Epiphone Elitist Web Page about the Pickups:

    All Elite instruments are equipped with custom-would pickups "Made in the USA" exclusively for Epiphone by Gibson Musical Instruments and are made with such uncompromising features as:
    • High Quality Cover Materials - All pickup covers use quality German silver with vintage Nickel or real 24K Gold finish.
    • Vintage Two-Conductor Wiring - Authentic two-conductor wiring with "braided" outer shielding for true vintage look and tone.
    • Full Wax Potting - Every pickup is potted in a special wax bath to insure that microphonic feedback due to internal vibration is eliminated. All covered models receive a second wax bath to further protect the pickup.
    • Specially Made Magnets - All magnets are magnetized by Gibson to ensure the total reliability of each magnet's performance. Critical magnetic flux is maintained for the perfect combination of output without sacrificing tonal characteristics.
    If they are relabeled '57s, that would be nice. I have a set in a '78 MIJ Riviera and they sound very nice.
     

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