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  • EPIPHONE 339 PRO - User Review

    Purchase history :

    ---------------------

    Bought from a friend who ordered it online a year ago from Thomann. He didn't play it much, kept it at home without changing the initial set up. I got it for 250 bucks.



    Basic setup I felt needed to be done :

    ------------------------------------------

    - Adjust truss rod (was completely loose causing excessive neck relief)

    - Lowered the action to 1/16 (12th fret)

    - Reversed the neck pickup ring to have the neck pickup nice and parallel with the strings.

    - Adjusted intonation (no problem)

    - Binding at the bottom of the neck was covered with uneven glue. I sanded it with 200-400-800 grit. Looks better now but it was so close to the pickup ring that most people wouldn't have noticed the glue.

    - The nut was fine but needed lubricant. I put Vaseline in the nut and bridge saddle groves.

    - Restrung the guitar with GHS 10s, stretched the new strings properly.

    - Adjusted pickup height to 3/32 (bass side) 2/16 (treble side), that is for both pickups with strings depressed at last fret. [EDIT : see at the bottom of review]

    - Raised the stop-bar tailpiece a little to have not too big of an angle behind the bridge saddles (makes intonation set up smoother IMHO, YMMV).



    Features 7/10 :

    -----------------

    - Epiphone Classic Alnico Pro pickups (NOT the Burstbuckers found on early models)

    - Vintage Sunburst finish

    - Scale length : Sits nicely between longer Strat/Tele and shorter LP/SG standards

    - Push-pull coil tapping

    - Semi-hollow, etc (see epiphone website for detailed specs)



    Playability (9/10)

    --------------------

    After set up, it is on par with my Gibsons and American Fender. No fret buzz, no dead note, straight neck, a joy to play. The frets are smoother on my high-end American 50th anniversary strat. Apart from that, the Epi 339 Pro plays like a charm and stays in tune.



    Ergonomics (10/10)

    ----------------------

    This guitar is smaller than an ES-335 but its body is wider than that of a Les Paul (about 1 inch wider if I remember correctly). The guitar is well-balanced without any neck diving issue (the central block in the body and the lighter vintage style tuners make for a nice balance).



    The slim D-shape neck is a dream to play. It is nice and slim but gives your thumb some comfortable "shoulders". YMMV



    Electronics (7/10)

    --------------------

    The guitar is quiet with very slight hum when sitting too close to the amp. The pots are quiet and gradual. You can really adjust volume and tone from 0 all the way up to 10. Push-pull volume pots work fine. When coil tapped, the pickups sound thinner, possibly quieter.



    Tone (7.5/10)

    --------------

    The Classic Alnico Pro pickups do a good job at creating that Gibson tone. It doesn't sound as tight in the bass department as solid bodied Gibson guitars I compared with. Is it due to the pickups or the semi-hollow body ? I can't tell. The stock pickups on the Epi 339 Pro make it sound lively in the midrange and treble frequencies. It has a very decent amount of bass frequencies too (which you lose when using the coil-taps). All in all, a great blues, jazz, rockabilly guitar, with wide bass and expressive mid-highs. Metal and distortion fans might want to favour tighter bass (semi-hollows such as this 339 might feedback more for such applications also).



    The rather trebly quality of the Classic Alnico Pro pickups combined with the smaller body result in a rather mid-rangy voiced instrument. It has plenty of bass but doesn't sound as smooth and deep as bigger semi-hollows. I am very happy with this because I find this tone closer to the human voice and quite inspiring. Now, some people might be looking specifically for deeper tones, which the ES 339 Pro can do, but probably not as well as bigger jazz boxes.



    Coil-tapping (7.5/10)

    ---------------------

    As a strat player, I find some use in using the coil-splitting on the neck pickup of the 339 Pro. With tone pots slightly rolled down I get very nice clean tones for solos and arpeggios. When I push the volume back to its normal position, the sound gets mucher deeper, as is to be expected when switching from single-coil to humbucker in the neck position. An interesting comination is Neck (split) + Bridge (humbucker).



    Hardware (7.5/10)

    -------------------

    Everything is fully functional. The Grover tuners are a great feature for tuning stability. My only complaint is that this 1 year old guitar shows tiny traces of corrosion on the stop-bar whereas my 20 year old Gibson SG doesn't. When it comes to chrome, you get what you pay for I guess. The tuner are nickel-plated and should age well. Lower quality chrome plating on the bridge and tail-piece can be an issue for players with sweaty hands. Rumour has it that Rory Gallagher's sweat was chemically aggressive and virtually destroyed the finish of his guitar. Check your sweat then...





    Global impression (8/10)

    ================

    It is a keeper. Good-looking woods, finish and bindings. This guitar is nicely voiced and plays like a charm. It is very reasonably priced because it lacks the gadgets of the upper model in the Epiphone range (The 339 Ultra). The Epiphone 339 Pro is comfortable, accurate, stays in tune and sounds like a mid-range semi-hollow should. Tone-wise, it has a rather creamy mid-range with crisp highs. The lower frequencies are full and warm but are probably not as tight as those of pricier models in the Gibson/Epiphone family. I intend to use the stock pickups on this guitar.



    I own Telecasters, Stratocasters, Les Pauls and SGs. This is my first semi-hollow body guitar. The ES 339 Pro stands between Fender and Gibson territories. I would recommend it for clean tones and electric blues or jazz. Quality-wise, it is as impressive as my Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster. Once set up properly, these reasonably priced guitars are much more than decent.





    [EDIT : pickup height]

    I have lowered the pickups after this review. The sound balance is better between pickups and the overly trebly tendency has gone. Here are the new measurements (with last fret depressed) :

    - Neck : 4 mm

    - Bridge : 3.5 mm



    With this new setup, I'd give the Tone 8/10. It sounds fuller with tighter bass (because the tone pots don't need to be rolled down as much as before). Very good guitar.

    "The blues is the recognition of a tragedy, and the optimism to deal with it" (Fruteland Jackson)

    "You may think you're playing your instrument, but what you're really playing is the audience" (anonymous)

  • #2
    Thanks for that!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for that!

      Comment


      • #4
        Excellent and very thorough review; thanks.
        Vintage Sunburst Epi Dot Dlx: Seth Lover set | Red MIM Strat: Tonerider City Limits set; Deaf Eddie Fat-O-Caster switch | 3TS Classic Vibe 60s Strat: Deaf Eddie Chromacaster switch | Ibanez SZ520QM: Dimarzio Bluesbucker & Air Zone | Fender Sonoran Bucket acoustic-electric | Fender Super Champ XD: Eminence Ragin' Cajun; JJ Tubes | Fender G-Dec III 30: Eminence Ragin' Cajun

        Comment


        • #5
          Excellent and very thorough review; thanks.
          Vintage Sunburst Epi Dot Dlx: Seth Lover set | Red MIM Strat: Tonerider City Limits set; Deaf Eddie Fat-O-Caster switch | 3TS Classic Vibe 60s Strat: Deaf Eddie Chromacaster switch | Ibanez SZ520QM: Dimarzio Bluesbucker & Air Zone | Fender Sonoran Bucket acoustic-electric | Fender Super Champ XD: Eminence Ragin' Cajun; JJ Tubes | Fender G-Dec III 30: Eminence Ragin' Cajun

          Comment


          • #6
            Great review - one of the many guitars I've been gassing about lately. Will eventually add one at some point.

            Comment


            • #7
              Great review - one of the many guitars I've been gassing about lately. Will eventually add one at some point.

              Comment


              • #8
                Pics or it's a Silvertone.



                Visit Crash Pad at:
                http://CrashPadBand.com
                CONSUME!:
                http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/crashpad
                Gear List/Pics:
                https://sites.google.com/site/briankrashpad/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Pics or it's a Silvertone.



                  Visit Crash Pad at:
                  http://CrashPadBand.com
                  CONSUME!:
                  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/crashpad
                  Gear List/Pics:
                  https://sites.google.com/site/briankrashpad/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nice review. Thorough. I have to say I'm shocked you set the action to 1/16th with no buzzing. On even the best guitar that's effing PRO!!!



                    Oh oops I was thinking 1/32, still effing pro though. If I set any of mine less than 3/32 I'm almost guaranteed to have some buzz.
                    Information is not knowledge
                    Knowledge is not wisdom
                    Wisdom is not truth
                    Truth is not beauty
                    Beauty is not love
                    Love is not music.
                    Music Is The Best.

                    - Frank Zappa

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nice review. Thorough. I have to say I'm shocked you set the action to 1/16th with no buzzing. On even the best guitar that's effing PRO!!!



                      Oh oops I was thinking 1/32, still effing pro though. If I set any of mine less than 3/32 I'm almost guaranteed to have some buzz.
                      Information is not knowledge
                      Knowledge is not wisdom
                      Wisdom is not truth
                      Truth is not beauty
                      Beauty is not love
                      Love is not music.
                      Music Is The Best.

                      - Frank Zappa

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Great review! I have an Epi Dot Studio in gloss red en route. I'll post a similar review when it arrives.
                        Guitars: Ampeg Dan Armstrongs, Fender Telecasters, Stratocasters, Epiphone Les Paul, G-400, EG-1275, Dots, Gibson SG, Squier Stratocasters, Telecasters, OLP MM1s, etc.Amps: Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50/1960A, Ampeg VL-502/VLA, Music Man HD150 212, etc.Effects: Vox ToneLab SE, etc.Influences: Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood, Paul Kantner, Eric Clapton, Rich Robinson, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, The Edge, etc.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Great review! I have an Epi Dot Studio in gloss red en route. I'll post a similar review when it arrives.
                          Guitars: Ampeg Dan Armstrongs, Fender Telecasters, Stratocasters, Epiphone Les Paul, G-400, EG-1275, Dots, Gibson SG, Squier Stratocasters, Telecasters, OLP MM1s, etc.Amps: Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 50/1960A, Ampeg VL-502/VLA, Music Man HD150 212, etc.Effects: Vox ToneLab SE, etc.Influences: Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood, Paul Kantner, Eric Clapton, Rich Robinson, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, The Edge, etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ye, looks like a standard procedure on any epiphone/squier piece:



                            Throw away pickups

                            Throw away hardware

                            replace nut (get a new neck - even better)

                            refret

                            repaint



                            but they're still the best deal for the money!
                            The Mojo that can be explained is not the real Mojo

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ye, looks like a standard procedure on any epiphone/squier piece:



                              Throw away pickups

                              Throw away hardware

                              replace nut (get a new neck - even better)

                              refret

                              repaint



                              but they're still the best deal for the money!
                              The Mojo that can be explained is not the real Mojo

                              Comment



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