NGD: Epiphone ES-335 Pro

Ryguy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,061
View media item 50473
Picked this up last week, and am very impressed - so much so that I feel compelled to post about it!

My bandmate had a cherry one that I uses on a gig last year and really liked, so I picked up an Iced Tea version. They are both similar in terms of fit and finish, tone, and playability, and if they are any indication of the overall quality of Chinese made imports, then Epiphone is clearly doing something right. I had a couple of MIK/Peerless Epiphones back in the day (Casino and Sorrento), and neither were as nice as this guitar. The finish is flawless as far as I can tell, and even the fretwork is very good. The neck is wide and flat. Sort of strange, but not at all unpleasant, even though I generally prefer fat necks. The width and shoulders help it fill out your hands well. I highly doubt I'd pick this in a blind test with a Memphis '63 reissue, but for $400 this one is hard to beat, and it is definitely a gig-ready/worthy guitar.

So far I have swapped out the knobs, and changed the cheap-feeling bridge for a Gotoh drop-in replacement that cost $25 (and which made a noticeable improvement in the tone). I also purchased a Tusq nut that I'm going to install, and will change the pickguard and bracket just because. I'll also probably install a Bisgby B7. Beyond that, I am not sure it really warrants any other upgrades or changes. I always tweak my guitars, so none of the above changes were really necessary per se.

The Epiphone Alnico Classic Pro pickups are very, very nice. I swapped out the stock ones for Seth Lovers in my buddies, and remember my initial impression being that the SLs had darkened and muffled the guitar a bit overall, and that the stock ones maybe even sounded better. I didn't really play it enough after the swap to be sure though, and am planning to get together with him soon to A/B them. I haven't played humbuckers in years, so I plan on getting used to these for a while before deciding whether or not I want to upgrade. Not a necessity though by any means.

One last thing: these have coil switching on both pickups, and so far I am finding some fantastic tones with the split buckers. Particularly when using the middle position, and splitting only one of the pickups, then tweaking the volumes, there is just a world of tones in there. Even if I eventually do upgrade the pups, I think I'll stick will coil splitting after seeing how much versatility it brings. The only thing I don't like is the way the volume knobs work in terms of cleaning up and retaining some treble through the sweep. I assume this might be the push-pull pots. I might have those switched to the tone positions if that is possible, in order to get better performance out of the volume knobs.

If you are looking at a 335 style on a budget, do yourself a favor and check one of these out, though of course YMMV. I feel like it holds it own with MIJ stuff, and I am a big fan of MIJ guitars. In fact, I only purchased this because I lost out on a Greco SA-64 to a jerky Craigslist seller. I only spent about 30 minutes on the Greco, but this EPI is not a noticeably inferior guitar in any respect, and cost me less than half what I would have paid for the Greco.

Wow, sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps anyone on the fence about one of these!
 

Ryguy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,061
Thanks! Ya know, I need to get a scale. But this is probably right around 8lbs.
 

sliberty

Member
Messages
3,941
I love mine too. Pickups are keepers for sure. I did replace the pots and caps and switch and jack however. One of the push pull pots broke the first week I had it (the shaft simply pulled out completely). Also, I really prefer some specific things in the control cavity (50's wiring, linear volume pots), and had little use for the split coils. But this is mostly just a matter of taste. The guitar truly rocks.
 

CrashC317

Member
Messages
372
Super happy with mine. Can't beat the feel and sound at this price point.

Only one gripe with mine - I can't ever get it to intonate quite right. Particularly the G string. Got the saddle cranked all the way and it's still not quite right. Is this the replacement bridge you used? I'm all for trying it if I know it'll drop right in.

Anyone replaced the tuning machines? That's another one I'd be interested in swapping out if I could figure out what will be a drop-in replacement.
 
Last edited:

sliberty

Member
Messages
3,941
Not having intonation problems on my ES 335 Pro at all. And, it probably isn't going to be solved with a new bridge. I suspect the nut in your case.
 

Brion

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,983
That looks nice. I chose the 339 Pro, but wish I had the 335 Pro. The 339 is a bit cramped up in the higher registers for my hand.
 

Ryguy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,061
Only one gripe with mine - I can't ever get it to intonate quite right. Particularly the G string. Got the saddle cranked all the way and it's still not quite right. Is this the replacement bridge you used? I'm all for trying it if I know it'll drop right in.
This is the one I bought, its a different model I believe. I didn't need the bushings, it is literally a direct drop-on replacement.

With the new bridge I do have the G string saddle cranked pretty far back, but intonation is spot on. I'd change the bridge either way if I were you, as it really does improve the overall tone of the guitar. But you should also look at the nut as it certainly may be causing tuning/intonation problems due to the slots. Stewmac also sells a Tusq recplacement nut with pre-cut slots that is a pretty close fit, but you'd need a tech to replace that depending on your skill level.
 

lemonpaul59

Member
Messages
2,065
View media item 50473
Picked this up last week, and am very impressed - so much so that I feel compelled to post about it!

My bandmate had a cherry one that I uses on a gig last year and really liked, so I picked up an Iced Tea version. They are both similar in terms of fit and finish, tone, and playability, and if they are any indication of the overall quality of Chinese made imports, then Epiphone is clearly doing something right. I had a couple of MIK/Peerless Epiphones back in the day (Casino and Sorrento), and neither were as nice as this guitar. The finish is flawless as far as I can tell, and even the fretwork is very good. The neck is wide and flat. Sort of strange, but not at all unpleasant, even though I generally prefer fat necks. The width and shoulders help it fill out your hands well. I highly doubt I'd pick this in a blind test with a Memphis '63 reissue, but for $400 this one is hard to beat, and it is definitely a gig-ready/worthy guitar.

So far I have swapped out the knobs, and changed the cheap-feeling bridge for a Gotoh drop-in replacement that cost $25 (and which made a noticeable improvement in the tone). I also purchased a Tusq nut that I'm going to install, and will change the pickguard and bracket just because. I'll also probably install a Bisgby B7. Beyond that, I am not sure it really warrants any other upgrades or changes. I always tweak my guitars, so none of the above changes were really necessary per se.

The Epiphone Alnico Classic Pro pickups are very, very nice. I swapped out the stock ones for Seth Lovers in my buddies, and remember my initial impression being that the SLs had darkened and muffled the guitar a bit overall, and that the stock ones maybe even sounded better. I didn't really play it enough after the swap to be sure though, and am planning to get together with him soon to A/B them. I haven't played humbuckers in years, so I plan on getting used to these for a while before deciding whether or not I want to upgrade. Not a necessity though by any means.

One last thing: these have coil switching on both pickups, and so far I am finding some fantastic tones with the split buckers. Particularly when using the middle position, and splitting only one of the pickups, then tweaking the volumes, there is just a world of tones in there. Even if I eventually do upgrade the pups, I think I'll stick will coil splitting after seeing how much versatility it brings. The only thing I don't like is the way the volume knobs work in terms of cleaning up and retaining some treble through the sweep. I assume this might be the push-pull pots. I might have those switched to the tone positions if that is possible, in order to get better performance out of the volume knobs.

If you are looking at a 335 style on a budget, do yourself a favor and check one of these out, though of course YMMV. I feel like it holds it own with MIJ stuff, and I am a big fan of MIJ guitars. In fact, I only purchased this because I lost out on a Greco SA-64 to a jerky Craigslist seller. I only spent about 30 minutes on the Greco, but this EPI is not a noticeably inferior guitar in any respect, and cost me less than half what I would have paid for the Greco.

Wow, sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps anyone on the fence about one of these!

I tend to like these better, so I bought one over 3 years ago. The only thing it needed were new strings. It sounds great thru my RedPlate, Fuchs, Boogie, Zendrive, Ethos etc. I also own 2 custom shop Les Pauls, and 13 other guitars, so I have a good sense of reference.

 

Coopster

Member
Messages
1,508
I have the exact same guitar! I had to do a little setting up on it but now it holds tune great and plays great. I prefer my pickups a little hotter but they're nice sounding and great clean.

 

sliberty

Member
Messages
3,941
My only complaints with these guitars are cosmetic. I found the chromed pickup ring screws annoying, and I found the Les Paul style pickguard mount (flat L bracket and bolt showing through the guard) to be annoying as well. I've corrected both "problems" on mine.

These guitars play and sound so much better than their cost suggests.

 

Ryguy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,061
I've had the ES335 pro for a few weeks and am still very happy with it. I've upgraded the bridge, added a bigsby, and made some cosmetic changes (knobs and pickguard) and don't really feel the need to change the pickups. My buddy has a cherry one with Seth Lovers that I put into it for him, and we are going to compare them one of these days. These stock pups are very clear and articulate and feel pretty low output to me. Very nice.

Highly recommended all around!

View media item 53451
 

Darth Gain

Member
Messages
133
I picked up an older 2002 MIK Dot Deluxe as a blues jam beater with case for cheap. Punches way over it's weight, compared to a Gibson or Colling at 8-10x the price. It's a solid, modest guitar, not a grail guitar. Stock pickups were terrible, had a set of Antiquities that needed a parking spot. That and a good setup, the guitar is very nice.

It will never be my main guitar, so I didn't want to spend a lot. At those prices you can't go wrong. In a perfect world I'd have the Gibson or even the Collings, but the Epi is more than adequate for what I use it for.
 

Mooneyes68

Member
Messages
87
I've had the ES335 pro for a few weeks and am still very happy with it. I've upgraded the bridge, added a bigsby, and made some cosmetic changes (knobs and pickguard) and don't really feel the need to change the pickups. My buddy has a cherry one with Seth Lovers that I put into it for him, and we are going to compare them one of these days. These stock pups are very clear and articulate and feel pretty low output to me. Very nice.

Highly recommended all around!

View media item 53451
I'm going to look at a 335 Pro this weekend at GC (MF has them on sale for $379 and I'm hoping GC will price match). In the mean time I'm starting to get my upgrade parts list together and love the short pickguard and bracket you have on yours. Can you tell me where you got your guard?
 

Sparky6string

Member
Messages
3,609
Sweet guitar- congrats. I have a Limited Edition Pelham Blue Collection Epiphone ES-355 and an Epi ES-339 P90 Pro but still find myself gassing for these. I'm a semi-hollow kinda guy though, but I really want both a red one and one of the ice tea's like pictured here! At their prices I probably could get them but sheesh I gotta draw the line somewhere.
 
Messages
4,157
I've had a MIK Epiphone 'Dot' cherry for years... had the neck pickup swapped for a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat a while ago along with a killer set up and I loved it. Right now I'm returning it to '335' territory with a set of Bare Knuckle 'The Mule' pickups. Can't wait to hear how it sounds.
 

Stonebandit

Member
Messages
1,778
Great guitar, I have one a Cherry with the P90's.

Sounds like the QC on these is good as every NGD on these has a good report.
 
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Luva

Member
Messages
474
I'm going to look at a 335 Pro this weekend at GC (MF has them on sale for $379 and I'm hoping GC will price match). In the mean time I'm starting to get my upgrade parts list together and love the short pickguard and bracket you have on yours. Can you tell me where you got your guard?
Thanks for the public service announcement regarding the MF sale price on Epiphone 335 Pro models. Might have to do some test driving this weekend.
 

Visual Guy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,448
Congrats on your new semi! I just bought a 339 last week! Hope it serves you well!
 




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