Epiphone Dot Review – 2021 Guide

Vlad
| Last Updated: January 26, 2021

If you ever wanted to have that good old guitar sound and thought it was out of your league because of the price on the used market, you probably haven’t heard about Epiphone guitars.

Epiphone Dot might be the guitar you were looking for for a long time.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • A semi-hollow body for an enhanced tone and sound
  • Comes with a 22-fret fretboard inlaid with rose wood
  • Chrome hardware for much better aesthetic display
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PROS

  • Affordable alternative
  • That lovely vintage sound
  • Ideal for vintage rock n’ roll

CONS

  • Watch out for feedback
  • Heavy and bulky design

Epiphone Dot Specs 

Type of Guitar: Semi-acoustic Guitar

Body Size and Type: Double cutaway semi-hollow thinline body

Number of Strings: 6-string model

Tonewood: Laminated Maple body with Gloss finish

Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

Neck Profile: Mahogany 1960’s Slimtaper D neck profile with 1.68 inches wide nut 

Fretboard: Pau Ferro fretboard with 22 Medium jumbo frets

Scale Length: 24.75 inches

Bridge: Locktone Tune-o-matic

Color: Vintage Vintage Sunburst, Cherry

Pickup Type: Epiphone Alnico Classic HH pickup configuration

Weight: 8 lbs approx

Pros

Let’s find out the pros it has to offer.

That Lovely Vintage Sound

Like all the semi-hollow guitars, Epiphone Dot can perform without using an amp as its f-shaped holes resonate nicely. Maple body and Maple center block behind the pickups will generate a genuine bright tone with rich overtones.

This sonic trait is transferred to the pickups as well so the sound is warm, mellow, pleasant, and round, especially with the neck pickup position. The bridge pickup on the other hand has that classic ‘50s rock n’ roll edgy sound that could sound even better if you layer some effects on it. 

Ideal for Vintage Rock n’ Roll

If we say, Johnny Be Goode, you will probably know that song by heart. And it was made on Gibson ES-335. Sure, Epiphone is not exactly Gibson, but, the concept and overall tone behind the guitar are pretty much the same. This should tell you a lot about the tone you’re about to get if you buy this guitar.

Besides that mild overdrive tone, Epiphone Dot is capable of clean sound as well, so it will have that sweet jazz or blues tone you were looking for.

Affordable Alternative

If you had purchased any Gibson in your life you probably had that feeling that you didn’t get the features that justify completely the price it is asking for. Epiphones are quite opposite of that philosophy, and the best part is that every year, with every model they make, they are getting even better. 

So, if you don’t care so much about the headstock logo, Epiphone Dot may be a great solution for your semi-hollow guitar experience. For most users, Epiphone will provide you with all the traits necessary for only a fragment of the price you would pay for a Gibson version of the same model.

Cons

However, it comes with some drawbacks, including:

Heavy and Bulky Design

Epiphone Dot is significantly heavier than solid body models so it might be a struggle to carry it around the gig on a frequent basis. And, it’s not just that it’s heavy, it’s bulky as well. You may have serious trouble reaching higher frets on this model, especially in a standing position. 

Watch Out for Feedback

The nature of semi-hollow guitars is that they are open on the top and resonate while playing. You should try to stay away from your amp during the performance to avoid unwanted feedback.

Also, investing in a noise gate pedal might be a good call.

What Recent Buyers Report

People tend to praise how Epiphone got their quality control improved over the years. The consistency behind the models they are currently making is very high so people are not afraid of purchasing their guitars online without even trying. Most of them agree that you can’t get wrong for this price.

They tend to praise the guitar sound a lot, especially when they try to acquire that jazz tone, and this model seems to deliver it for both professionals and amateurs alike. Hardware seems to be vintage-styled, especially Grover tuners, and the only thing you should watch out for is the input jack - it tends to fall inside occasionally. 

So in general there are no big flaws except for string action height - it seems that those who are used to solid body guitars comment that you really have to press hard and close to the frets.  This practically means it’s more suitable for blues players than modern rock guys, although they are getting really attracted because of various punk rock bands promoting these models.

Also, watch out for the weight, some newbies complain their shoulder is getting sore after 30 minutes of playing while standing.

What Are the Components Of the Epiphone Dot? 

Epiphone Dot comes with Maple tonewood. This semi-hollow instrument has a double-cutaway shape and f-shaped holes on the top sides along with a 2-ply black pickguard beneath the strings. 

The tuning machines are 18:1 ratio Grover Rotomatic with Nickel finish just like the rest of the hardware including the tone and volume knobs.

What Pickups Are In an Epiphone Dot?

It comes equipped with dual humbucker Epiphone Alnico Classic configuration and a 3-way switch selector placed along with the black pickguard. 

Every pickup has its own control so there are 4 pots in total. Those pots shape the tone further or add or turn down the volume. Such configuration allows you to utilize the middle switch position and blend the tone to your personal taste. 

Just please don’t forget that turning down any knob completely will also mute your guitar. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

What Kind of Neck Profile Does Epiphone Dot Have?

Epiphone Dot has a neck made of Mahogany and it’s a 1960’s SlimTaper D-profile shape with regular 1.68” nut width and adjustable truss rod.

The scale length is 24.75” and it includes regular 22 medium jumbo frets on the Pau Ferro fingerboard. And, as you may suggest from the instrument name, the inlay on the fretboard is dotted. 

What Does an Epiphone Dot Weigh?

The weight is around 8 lbs. Bear in mind that the weight is approximate as the factory wood piece weight may differ a bit.

What Types of Music is the Epiphone Dot Best For?

Epiphone Dot balances between the solid body and hollow body guitars quite well and shares some traits from both guitar types. That makes this guitar good for ‘50s rock n’ roll and jazz music in general. Also, it may work great for vintage country, folk, and blues music.

As long as you don’t expect that grit and punch solid body guitars can deliver, it will do just fine. Eventually, it may satisfy all your needs for having a different guitar, especially for indie rock musicians. They will be glad to know that a semi-hollow body can be combined with the pedal effects.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Epiphone Dot Suitable For?

This guitar is suitable for everyone because its price is the only thing in the low range. The rest will satisfy most users, even some pro players who aren’t hardcore rockabilly fans. 

Also, action might be a bit too high for advanced playing, so we strongly advise you to try it out for yourself before buying - it may happen that action can’t be set that low like you would like to.

Speaking about the age, because of its body size, this guitar won’t be suitable for the younger population as even adults who are smaller in size may struggle grasping it properly.

What is an Epiphone Dot?

Epiphone Dot is an archtop guitar that’s been made to resemble the original Gibson ES-335, an instrument that has defined the sound of the 1950’s rock n’ roll.

Where Are Epiphone Dot Guitars Made?

All Epiphone guitars are made in China, Qingdao factories to be precise.

What Makes the Epiphone Dot Stand Out From the Competition?

Epiphone Dot is the ideal showcase of great bang for buck ratio. Nowadays, most players don’t have enough money to buy a Gibson ES-335. If you’re looking for that semi-hollow sound, the Dot seems to be the best replacement solution on the market. 

This Epiphone looks just exactly like the original and sound-wise it will provide you with the faithful tone and playability so you won’t trail so much behind the Gibson counterpart. Build quality is on the spot, so it won’t fail on you easily. So, unless you’re a true professional, there is no real need to invest thousands just on a guitar.

Ultimate Comparison Overview 

Epiphone has a lot of semi-hollow models at the moment, so let’s compare and see what are the difference

Epiphone Dot vs Sheraton II Pro

These instruments are the Epiphone finest semi-hollow instruments so they share a lot of things. If we disregard cosmetics such as headstock size, fretboard inlays, or bindings, the real difference can be felt on the neck material. ES-335 is made of Mahogany while Sheraton II Pro is Maple-based so it will be a bit more playful as the Maple is softer than Mahogany. Also, instead of plastic nut, Sheraton II Pro is equipped with GraphTech NuBone XL model. 

Pickups are a bit different, too - Epiphone Sheraton II Pro comes with the Epiphone advanced ProBuckers that support coil-splitting and those pickups are as close as you could get to Gibson style while having an Epiphone guitar. So, if your budget allows you a couple of hundreds more, Sheraton II Pro seems to be a worthy investment. 

Epiphone ES-335 Pro vs Dot

The alternative name for Dot is actually ES-335. With that being said, you would guess that those two guitars have a lot in common. Visually they are identical except for the fact that ES-335 Pro has rectangles as an inlay, while Dot has, well… dot inlay.

Besides that, the only significant difference is in the pickup configuration. First, ES-335 Pro comes with the Epiphone Alnico Classic Pro humbucker, and then, there is that coil-splitting option which is missing in the Dot version. 

So, if you have a chance, pick ES-335 Pro and call it Dot Pro - it would make sense and you will have various benefits of this pickup feature.

Epiphone Casino vs Dot

While those two guitars may look the same at the first glance, Epiphone Casino is a full-hollow body instrument. It’s a bit less versatile than Epiphone Dot and it won’t stack with overdrive and distortion pedals so it is prone to feedback more than semi-hollow guitars.

If you add those aspects up, you’ll get the idea that Casino will most likely be suitable for power pop, jazz, and a bit of vintage country and blues music, so if that’s what you’re interested in, go for Casino. But, if you need more than just that, Epiphone Dot will be a much better choice.

Peavey JF-1 vs Epiphone Dot

Peavey models are a bit underrated in the guitar world and the same goes for this semi-hollow guitar. It is made to look very similar to Epiphone Dot and it’s also equipped with humbucker pickups, has a 24.75” scale length, and the same four-knob control.

And speaking of price seems it’s even cheaper than Epiphone Dot, so if you’re looking to save some money there’s nothing wrong with picking this Peavey instead of Epiphone Dot.

So, in case you would like a bit more different look, Peavey’s Ebony and Transparent Red might be your call. Those bow-tie inlays might feel refreshing to you instead of plain dots.

Ibanez AS73 vs Epiphone Dot

Perhaps Ibanez Artcore semi-hollow guitars don’t have hype around them as Epiphone has, but those guitars are actually better made acoustically and it has a neck that is a bit different and closer to what Ibanez fans would expect.

So, in the end, as all aspects are similar, the only way to pick is to go out and test it for yourself. Have in mind that Ibanez is also a bit cheaper and seems to be a bit more consistent regarding build quality while on the other hand, Epiphone Dot stock pickups are a bit better in general.

Conclusion 

Epiphone Dot is an excellent choice for all those who are looking for a semi-hollow guitar that won’t break a bank. It will provide you with that sweet vintage sound and appearance that never gets old and will have a huge impact on your stage presence.

People Also Ask

Let’s review some of the most frequent questions we have found. We will cover some technical aspects regarding Epiphone Dot like how to specify the date of your model, how to tune it, adjust the bridge, and also provide some reminders on why we find this guitar especially to be a good choice.

Is the Epiphone Dot Hard to Play?

Epiphone Dot is no different from the other guitars, but its body size may find some players struggling because it is bulky. If you have such issues, consider Epiphone ES-339 Pro instead - it comes in solid body size while having all the traits of the semi-hollow guitar.

How To Care For an Epiphone Dot Guitar

Using your gig bag or a case is an essential way to take care of semi-hollow guitars as their f-shaped holes are prone to collect unwanted dust. Also, remember to clean your fret occasionally as it will also collect the grit from the fingers. Even a plain plastic credit card could help here out.

How to Date an Epiphone Dot

Every Epiphone has a serial number on the back of the headstock which can be used to find more info regarding your guitar. The concept number varied through the Epiphone history, so, we would strongly suggest to use the next website and type the serial number.

Who Plays an Epiphone Dot?

The Epiphone Dot is a budget guitar, so not many professional players are playing this exact model. On the other hand, Gibson ES-335, the model it was made upon was used by so many players, so here’s just a small list:

  • Eric Clapton
  • Chuck Berry
  • B. B. King
  • Roy Orbison
  • Dave Grohl
  • Eric Johnson

Is the Epiphone Dot a Good Guitar?

Yes. Epiphone Dot is an excellent example that you can have more than a decent guitar at a very low price. It’s strange how Gibson forces affordable prices with Epiphones on the one hand and places high figures for their Gibson counterparts. It’s strange because the sound difference between them is not so huge.

How to Lower the Strings on Epiphone Dot Guitar

You will have to open the Truss Rod and drop them using an Allen wrench. Also, take for the saddle - if you lower the strings too much you may need to re-adjust the saddle on the bridge as well. Also bear in mind that you can’t get exactly the solid body action on semi-hollow models.

How to Adjust Guitar Bridge for Epiphone Dot

Bridge adjusting should be performed if you want to change your current string action.

On the Locktone Tune-o-Matic, there are two slot-head screws that you can adjust to your personal taste. By turning the screwdriver clockwise you will lower the bridge, while the counter-clockwise turn will raise the bridge. 

How To Intonate an Epiphone Dot

There are individual screws on the saddle for every string. Place a tuner to your guitar and hit the open string and compare the note with the 12th fret. You should get exactly the same note. If the 12th fret is displayed lower slide it back, otherwise move it forward.

Tips for Getting the Epiphone Studio Dot Guitar to Sound Better

If you’re looking for full tone, instead of turning your amp louder, try raising the volume knobs up to the 10 first and then add up the volume on your amp. This way you’ll make pickups warm and prevent a bit of unwanted feedback along.

Vlad

I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.