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.