During this year’s Summer NAMM show, Gibson/Epiphone announced the new Epiphone ES-339, which is modeled after the Gibson version of the same guitar. As you may know if you follow my Twitter feed, I’ve been looking for a small-bodied semi-hollow guitar for a while. I’ve been looking at the Gibson ES-339, but I couldn’t justify the price. This Epiphone may suit my needs very nicely. It will have the same basic features as the famous ES-335 guitar, but, like the Gibson ES-339, it will have a body that is just slightly larger than a Les Paul. It will be available in four colors: Ebony, Cherry, Vintage Sunburst, and Natural. I haven’t been able to find a release date yet, but I’m looking forward to checking these out in more detail when they become widely available.
In addition to the basic model, they will be releasing an “Ultra” version of the ES-339 that has some interesting features, including a built-in tuner and a Nanomag pickup, which you can use to get acoustic-like tones that can be blended with the humbucker pickups on the guitar. The humbucker pickups are modeled after Gibson’s BurstBuckers, and include push/pull coil tapping. Another feature of the Ultra ES-339 is the ability to plug the guitar directly into a computer via a USB port on the guitar. Being able to plug the guitar directly into your computer could be useful for recording quick demos or song ideas. I’ll be interested in seeing how well this works in practice.
I’ve had hit-and-miss experience with Epiphone guitars in the past, so I’ll reserve judgment until I’m able to spend some time with one of these, but I think this is a great addition to Epiphone’s lineup and one that is particularly intriguing to me.
Here’s the text of the press release announcing the ES-339 guitar:
The Epiphone ES-339 is Here! Epiphone introduces the much anticipated ES-339 – a NEW instrument with its roots planted firmly in the classic era that helped define the Epiphone and Gibson Kalamazoo factory as a leader in cutting edge instruments. Today, this new semi-hollowbody from Epiphone turns back the clock while simultaneously rocketing the player-favorite into the future.
The Birth of a Legend: Introduced in the late ’50s, the ES series became an instant classic by bringing the feel of an archtop to players who had wholly embraced solid body classics like the Les Paul. The first in the ES series, the ES-335 became an instant success but for many players, it’s body was slightly too big.The new ES-339 is the perfect remedy, featuring body dimensions that are smaller while still retaining the bell-like tones of all ES series guitars as well as the classic shape.
Classic Construction: The Epiphone ES-339 features a reduced size laminated maple body with a solid center block. The SlimTaper ‘D’ profile 24.75-inch mahogany neck has 22 jumbo frets with a 1-11/16-inch nut and is hand-set and glued with a mortise and tenon neck joint with Titebond glue.
The 12-inch radius neck also features a rosewood fingerboard with mother-of-pearl inlays, much like the original. Single ply cream binding on the fingerboard and body completes the classic look and looks superb on all the ES-339’s finishes which include cherry, ebony, natural and vintage sunburst.
Epiphone Barrier Breaking Electronics: The new Epiphone ES-339 pickups are set up to provide a huge variety of sound choices for the modern guitarist. For those who are used to carrying two guitars to gigs, the ES-339 will solve that problem once and for all. Now, you can play any gig and any style with just one guitar – the Epiphone ES-339.
The ES-339’s fabulous ProBucker humbucker pickups can make an infinite variety of tones thanks to the three-way pickup selector which features a push/pull coil tap. The neck pickup volume pot and the bridge pickup volume pot each feature an easy-touch push/pull coil tap, making it easy to switch back and forth between single coil or classic humbucker sounds.The all-metal heavy duty Epiphone 1/4-inch output jack gives you a lifetime of worry-free use.
Epiphone Hardware You Can Trust: The classic Epiphone hardware you’ve come to know and trust makes the ES-339 a must-have guitar. Featuring Epiphone’s LockTone Tune-o-matic bridge and LockTone Stopbar tailpiece, the ES-339 sports all nickel hardware along with Wilkinson 14:1 ratio vintage machine heads with tombstone buttons.
Epiphone Guarantee: Like every Epiphone, the ES 339 features our Limited Lifetime warranty backed by world famous 24/7/365 day Gibson Customer Service. If you want a versatile, professional instrument designed for live performance or studio and capable of crunch, rock, jazz, country, and stinging blues, come back home to the Epiphone ES-339!
Dave MacLeod says
Just seen that these are on sale in the UK for only £349! Unbelievable value for money. Amazing and very, very tempting.
I agree, Dave. I think that translates to about $499 here in the U.S. for the base model, and somewhere around $599-699 for the Ultra model, although specific U.S. pricing still remains to be seen.
This looks sick, but the neck makes me nervous. Epi makes some AMAZING necks and the other 95% are terrible. Too fat with weird tapering like on the Casino. I had my Casino for a whopping 2 days.
Hopefully, the necks on these will feel ok. I haven’t found an Epiphone that’s lasted more than a few weeks, but I’m hoping this one changes that trend.
Can’t relate to the fella not liking his Epi Casino. I bought a John Lennon Signature Casino recently to add to my existing guitarsenal of 40+ guitars. I love it and it’s now my main go-to guitars!
It has this amazing tone and great playability. Only drawback is the limited access to the upper frets. But I can live with that…
I’ve got my sights one of these. Been hoping Epi would come out with a version of the 339 for a few years. Like Dr. Axe I haven’t had any complaints with my Epi Dot for 5 years now. I usually get all my guitars professionally setup when I first get them and play on from there.
Robby, more than most, I think Epiphones suffer from a poor factory setup, and I agree that getting it set up first thing would be a good idea. I think I would have kept at least one of the Epiphones I used to have had I got them set up before I started playing them.
Russell B says
I have a “few” guitars. I own four Epi’s. Two Masterbilts, a Sheraton II, and a Nighthawk. I am impressed with all of them. I am really looking forward to playing a 339 to see how it feels. A professional setup is key to playability. I had bigger issues trying to get the bugs out of my Gibson SG faded than any Epi I own.
I’m glad to hear that you’ve had good experiences with Epiphones, Russell. A lot of people seem really happy with them. I’m looking forward to checking out the quality of the ES-339s, but as I mentioned above, up to know, I haven’t had much luck with Epiphones.