Review: Epiphone ES-339

We take a look at the new, Epiphone ES-339 – do good things come in small packages?

The Gibson ES-339 is one of the legendary US brand’s newest designs. And yet, this compact hollow body clearly shares some classic guitar DNA with its older, more famous brother, the ES-335.

Like many of Gibson’s most famous guitar designs, it has seen fit to produce a more affordable Epiphone version. But how does the Epiphone ES-339 fare, compared to it’s bigger brother? It stands up very well indeed, and even has a few ‘twists’ over its Gibson sibling…

Epiphone ES-339 Review

Slim, compact design

The original ES-339 was produced as a solution for those wanted ‘ES’ hollow-body guitar tone, but found the Dot a bit unwieldy. Essentially it took the same, classic semi-hollow design with solid centre channel, and shrunk it to size more akin to an all-solid design.

The result was a guitar that was far more manageable, but still with all the classic tone.

This Epiphone model is very much in the same mould, with a quality of construction that is surprising for a guitar of its price. On this cherry model, there’s a nice, subtle bit of figuring visible beneath the translucent finish, too.

Epiphone ES-339 Review

The LockTone bridge takes the place of Gibson’s Tune-o-matic here, but it does an equally great job of keeping things stable and in-tune.

The pickups are two USA designed humbuckers with Alnico magnets. Plenty of thick, warm tones can be wrung from these. The range of sounds that this ES-339 is pretty staggering- from creamy cleans, to powerful crunch (think Foo Fighters style tone). And this is before we get onto the coil tapping…

Epiphone ES-339 Review

Yes, unlike the Gibson model, pickups can be split into single coils via push-pull volume controls. This extends the range of available tones vastly, and arguably puts the Epiphone ES-339 among the most versatile guitars available at this price.


So, who will buy an Epiphone ES-339? This is a guitar with very broad appeal. If you’re a fan of slim line Tele’s, but need something with a thicker tone, or a fan of the Dot tone, but find the body a bit big, then you’ll love it.

Equally, if you have an open mind, give this a try, as it can do everything from clean to pretty nasty overdrive, and everything between, at a great price, with classic looks and design. Thoroughly recommended.