Epiphone ES-335 Pro – 2020 Review

Vlad
| Last Updated: January 25, 2021

There is a bit of a cult around the Gibson ES-335 guitar. 

Let's see what Gibson did when they granted this name to the Epiphone version and check if it’s perhaps a bit more than just a budget-line version of the same guitar.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Small block inlay on the Rose wood fretboard
  • Classic neck Humbucker pickup for nice sound output
  • Arched top and back design for better sound range
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Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 PRO Electric Guitar Cherry

PROS

  • The ideal ES-335 clone
  • That coil-splitting feature
  • Incredible bang for buck ratio

CONS

  • Heavyweight and oversized guitar

Epiphone ES-335 Pro 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 or Birch body with Gloss finish

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany 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 Sunburst, Natural, Cherry, Ebony

  • Pickup Type: Alnico Classic Pro HH pickup configuration

  • Weight: 9 lbs approx

Pros

The following are some pros of this guitar:

The Ideal ES-335 Clone

Double cutaway body, f-shaped holes, pickguard size, everything looks exactly like on the original model. Epiphone put a lot of effort into making a great looking clone of the legendary Gibson ES-335 and we must say that the build quality seems to be perfect. 

It uses the same gloss finish and color option as well along with the same neck profile. So, visually, the only difference you would notice is the different logo on the headstock and letter E on the pickguard.

If we could remove those details, we guarantee you couldn’t tell the visual difference.

That Coil-Splitting Feature

Humbuckers are probably the favorite pickup type for every guitar player. But if you ask what they are missing on a typical HH setup, it’s how the clean guitar tones sound like. 

Luckily, ES-335 Pro comes with a push-pull option that will allow you to do the coil-splitting and have a single-coil mode on. Such an option will significantly improve the versatility of this instrument and eventually lead you to use this guitar more frequently.

Incredible Bang For Buck Ratio

Epiphones are familiar with being affordable guitars and the best choice for those who don’t have a budget for a Gibson model. But, if you take a look at the Gibson ES-335 price, you will notice that the Epiphone is about five or even six times cheaper. 

The truth is that the Epiphone model doesn’t sound five times worse, so in the end, unless you’re an award-winning musician who needs that premium model for their next Grammy, you’ll probably be just fine with it while the price difference can be invested in custom upgrades, effects or a new amp.

If you are, we’re really glad to have you on our blog reading this article!

Cons

However, it comes with some drawbacks, including:

Heavyweight and Oversized Guitar

Coming at around 9lbs, this guitar won’t be very pleasant to play while standing. It is possible but in the long run, your back will probably start to hurt so it’s more of a studio or sitting stance instrument.

Also, speaking of its size, it will be a completely different experience from your typical solid-body guitar. The body size will position your hand differently and you may have a real struggle getting to the higher frets while playing leads. So, unless you’re 6’2” or something, you may have a problem handling this instrument.

What Recent Buyers Report

In general, it seems that this model is really well built. No complaints were found about build quality and even the pickups are getting hyped praise which is something new as most users usually upgrade their pickups upon purchase at some point. As most buyers were experienced players with a long live performance history, it’s safe to believe in such statements.

Buyers love how this guitar perfectly resembles the original 335 design at a much lower price. The visual aspect is perfect, and they are regularly falling in love with its beauty. The price feels so low they would easily say it provides twice the content. Even those who were skeptical about it report that they have completely changed their mind about Epiphone guitars after playing this model, especially regarding craftsmanship.

While the neck is often described as large or meaty, one of the features players loved the most is the split coil feature as it gives increased practical use for this instrument and they only wish the original Gibson model had such a feature. They say it fits the Jazz and Blues really well and that even Classic rock can be performed on it convincingly. 

What Are The Components of The Epiphone ES-335 Pro? 

Epiphone ES-335 Pro is a semi-hollow body guitar that comes with Maple or Birch tonewood. The body has a double-cutaway shape and f-shaped holes on the top sides.

ES-335 is equipped with dual humbucker Alnico Classic Pro configuration. There is a 3-way switch selector placed next to the black pickguard.

What is The Neck On An Epiphone ES-335 Pro Made Of?

The neck on ES-335 is made of Mahogany and it has a SlimTaper D-profile shape.

The scale length is Gibson standard 24.75” and there are 22 medium jumbo frets on the Pau Ferro fingerboard. The nut width is also standard 1.68” while the tuning machines are 18:1 ratio Epiphone Deluxe with Nickel finish just like the rest of the hardware including the tone and volume knobs.

What Do the Knobs Do on an Epiphone ES-335 Pro?

There is a pair of knobs for individual pickup control. They have a role of tone shaping and volume control so you can blend your favorite tone in the middle switch position. Always remember that while being in this position leaving any knob to the zero value will mute your guitar completely.

There is also one handy add-on to the knob behavior - the coil-splitting option. With the push-pull option included, these knobs allow you to use the pickup in single coil option as well.

What Finish is Used On ES-335 Pro?

The finish on the Epiphone ES-335 is gloss which adds a bit of a more premium look to the overall appearance.

What Types Of Music is the Epiphone ES-335 Pro Best For?

Semi-hollow guitars seem to hold a nice middle ground between the solid body and fully hollow instruments. That’s why they can enter both worlds easily and excel at both rockabilly and jazz music along with rock and punk music as well.

Sure, it can’t sound as aggressive as solid body guitars can nor have that clean sound of hollow-body models, but in most situations, your song won’t require such strict sound so semi-hollow models can be “good enough” for specific situations. 

Rock players will especially be satisfied with this guitar type as they can stack overdrive and distortion effects on it without worrying too much about feedback.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Epiphone ES-335 Pro Suitable For?

This is an ideal semi-pro guitar. Because of its low price beginner may also consider buying it and we strongly recommend it if you’re into ‘50s rock n’ roll music, Pro players may use it to see if they really need a semi-hollow instrument and may end up realizing they don’t need anything better from what Epiphone did with this ES-335 Pro guitar.

Regarding age, we can’t recommend this guitar to teens and youngsters as it will probably be too large not just for their hands but bodies as well. If the urge is real, we recommend ES-339 instead.

Where are Epiphone ES-335 Pro Guitars Made?

Epiphone instruments are made in Epiphone's factory in Qingdao, China.

What Makes The Epiphone ES-335 Pro Stand Out From The Competition?

First of all, Epiphone ES-335 is the most affordable and probably the best 335 clone on the market. If you don’t have money for a real thing, this is your second best that will probably provide you with not just the look but a lot more tonal content than you may expect.

By “a lot more” we don’t just mean that it will sound better than you paid for, it simply has that incredibly useful coil-splitting feature that will significantly improve the overall versatility of this instrument and put you quite a different perspective about HH pickup configuration.

Comparison Overview 

Let’s see how the Epiphone ES-335 Pro stands against other similar models from the same brand. We will jump to the comparison against Gibson ES-335 - we used it throughout the whole article as it was quite an obvious reference.

Epiphone ES-335 Pro vs Dot

These two guitars are actually the same 335 models. Epiphone just has decided to re-brand the standard ES-335 into Dot name for marketing purposes only. So, besides dot inlay instead of rectangles, the only important difference between those two models is that the Dot version doesn’t come with the coil-splitting option and that it’s currently about $50 cheaper than the regular version. The pickups are both Alnico, but ES-335 Pro comes with the PRO suffix so it should sound better in general, but the real difference may vary at your local music shop. If you have a chance, try both models and see which one you prefer, it will be the best way to pick the right guitar for you.

Epiphone ES-335 Pro vs ES 339 Pro

Epiphone did with ES-339 Pro the same thing as Gibson - same features like ES-335 Pro but with smaller, more Les Paul-like body. Even the coil-split option is included. 

So, the only difference that matters is the sustain length due to the smaller ES-339 body. And with the smaller body comes the smaller weight, tighter sound, and less overall resonance. This may not be important for semi-pro users, but it is a feature that makes those two models different.

In reality, most people are used to solid body size so they actually tend to prefer ES-339 Pro.

 It feels a bit easier to carry around and less robust. But if you already have a Les Paul, it would be better to buy ES-335 and broaden your guitar tone palette further.

Epiphone ES-335 Pro vs Sheraton

Those two instruments belong to the very top offer of Epiphone semi-hollow instruments so a lot of things are in common. 

Besides minor cosmetic differences such as headstock size, bindings, and fretboard inlays, the only real difference is found on the neck material (Sheraton neck is made of Maple or Walnut, ES-335 is Mahogany) and pickups. 

Epiphone Sheraton II Pro is equipped with ProBuckers, while ES-335 Pro comes with Alnico Classic Pro and Pro Plus pickups. Also, the D-shape neck seems to be a bit more comfortable while playing. 

How To Restring an Epiphone ES-335 Pro

As Gibson and Epiphone usually have very similar headstock shape and holes-through tuners, this method can be performed on both brands respectively.

It will go much faster if you have wire clippers and string winder but it can be done without them as well.

You will first have to loosen up the strings you’re about to change and use wire clippers to cut it. Then unwind it from the tuner and remove it from both guitar ends. Now, take a look at the tuners and set the hole in it to match straight with the string slot on the nut. Pull the string through it and make it tight. 

Next, place your finger on the string around the next tuner and drop the string back for such length. For the last tuner, use about the top of the headstock as a length reference. Wind the first tuner over the top of the string and place the next windings beneath so you’ll get the final wind under the strings. This way the strings will clamp and lock it in place and the final wind will be under the strings. And as a rule of the thumb, always wind the strings to the center of the guitar.  Remove the rest of the string content with the wire clippers.

So, once you have changed all the strings, you will have to tune them up before you start playing. There are many ways to do it and a clip-on tuner or pedal tuner might be the fastest way to do it. But, if you don’t have the one with you using a reference tone from the other instruments such as a keyboard or piano may also work.

Check out the video tutorial with the content described below:

Conclusion 

The Epiphone ES-335 seems to be one of the best solutions if you’re looking to buy a good semi-hollow guitar and save some real money. Many upgrades are possible so you can invest your money from time to time and save some cash to buy a better amp first, for example.

People Also Ask

Now that we described the ES-335 Pro to the very details, let’s answer some trivia about it such as polishing tips, date identifiers, artists who have performed on ES-335, and also try to explain what’s so different about semi-hollow guitar instruments in general.

Can I Play ES-335 Pro Without an Amp?

While the sound might be louder on ES-335 Pro when compared to your solid-body guitar, the unplugged level isn’t that high that we could make such a statement. It may be loud enough so you can practice without using an amp, but that’s just about it.

Why Do Some Guitars Have F-Holes?

This design came from classical music, precisely violin. The idea behind such a concept is to increase the volume while playing unplugged. But, it also may lead to increased feedback if you’re standing close to the amp, so be extra careful about your positioning if you’re performing live.

What Do Push Pull Pots Do?

If you have a HH pickup configuration, just like one found on Epiphone ES-335 Pro, this feature improves your guitar tone options a lot. So, within a single knob pulling or pushing you can switch between a single-coil and humbucker option within the same pickup.

Is the Epiphone ES-335 Pro a Good Guitar?

Definitely. Epiphone ES-335 Pro has all the features and visual aspects of the legendary Gibson ES-335 for a much lower price. And it goes even further - it has a coil-splitting option which improves the tone variety of this instrument a lot as it will provide you with the single-coil sound.

How to Care for a Epiphone ES-335 Pro Guitar

Storing your guitar in the gig bag or a case seems to be quite an essential way to take care of because f-shaped holes are easy to get the unwanted dust. As for the cleaning and polishing please remember to use different cloths. Any cotton cloth will do for this process, even old t-shirts.

How To Date a Epiphone ES-335 Pro

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:

Artists That Play The Epiphone ES-335 Pro

The Epiphone ES-335 Pro was made to be a budget version of Gibson ES-335, so we’ll list of Gibson players so you can get the idea of what you can expect from the Epiphone model:

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

Is The Epiphone ES-335 Pro Discontinued?

There is a bit of mystery regarding Epiphone ES-335 Pro by looking on their website. It has been manufactured since 2012 on a regular basis, it is available in many stores, but we can’t locate it anymore on their official website. Epiphone is updating their product line regularly so perhaps they are remodeling it for a new release.

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.