When the Gibson Custom Shop released the ES-339 in 2007, it represented not only the cheapest (but not cheap) route into the world of their Custom Shop instruments, but also presented an interesting alternative to the long-established ES-335. With Epiphone producing their own take on these highly desirable instruments, which cost considerably less than their Gibson counterparts, we thought we could take a look and do our own ES-339 vs ES-335 Dot shootout.
ES-339 vs ES-335 Dot impressions and specifications
The first thing you notice, of course, is the difference in size. The Epiphone Dot is a fairly hefty instrument in size and weight. In contrast, the ES-339 is a lot more manageable, being about the same body size as a Les Paul, but lighter due to the semi-hollow construction, a design shared by both instruments. While the smaller size of the ES-339 is easier to get your limbs around, if you have larger hands and play up the top end a lot, you might find the cutaways a bit more claustrophobic than the Dot’s.
As both instruments share the same scale length (24.75″), fingerboard radius (12″) and nut width (1.68″) and slim-taper D profile neck, they do feel remarkably similar when you play them, the biggest effect on your playing style will probably due to your comfort, and differences in playing posture when standing or sitting with your guitar.
As for the differences, some are cosmetic, and some are particular features that may influence you one way or the other. The Epiphone Dot does feel as though it resonates more, you can feel the wood ‘move’ a bit more, which maybe comes across as a slightly more ‘woody’ tone when you plug it in. The fingerboard of the ES-339 is bound, whereas it is unbound on the Dot; this may not be important to you, but, personally, I like the look of a bound fingerboard!
The ES-339 features coil-splitting on its humbuckers, allowing you to call up single-coil tone when you need. The 339 also has the jack socket on the side, rather than the front as it is on the Dot. The tuners are also different, with plastic tulip-style pegs on the ES-339, and Grovers on the Dot.
ES-339 vs ES-335 Dot options
If you’re looking at the ES-339 Pro and the ES-335 Dot, you may want to take a look at some of the alternatives. The Ultra-339 takes the Epiphone ES-339 and adds a NanoMag pickup at the end of the fingerboard for acoustic sounds, and gives you a range of output options. If you prefer the size and feel of the Dot, the Sheraton-II takes the concept and adds touches such as fingerboard binding, gold-plated hardware and more ornate inlays. Or, for something a bit different, you could try out the hollow-bodied Casino, with its two P90 pickups. Whatever you decide, there’s an Epiphone semi-hollow or hollow-body for you!
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