NGD - Epiphone ES 339 P-90 Pro in Black + Review

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Dismalhead, Apr 3, 2020.

  1. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey all,

    Here's my new Epi ES 339 with P90s in all it's glory. Received it yesterday and test drove it for 3+ hours last night. Since I've got some time on my hands I figured I'd post a review along with the pic.

    Cost $359 brand new from Musician's Friend.
    Made in China
    Weight is 7 lbs, 6 oz.

    [​IMG]

    Body: The finish and workmanship is gorgeous. Absolutely flawless. From the pics on MF I thought it might be satin which wouldn't have been my top choice, but it is indeed glossy as all get out and looks stunning. Binding is an ivory color. The workmanship is as good as my '90s Korean Sheraton that I used to have; better than on my '90s Gibson LP Studio.

    Neck: 12" radius fretboard, rosewood, 22 frets. I noticed immediately that I was getting black gunk on my hands as I played. I looked it up and people said Epiphone was putting dye on the fretboards to make them look more uniform and dark. By the end of my session most of the dye was gone, my hands had cleaned up after washing them every hour or so, and the fretboard was much lighter in color. IMO it looks much better without the dye; to my colorblind eyes it looks to be reddish/brown. There is some dark figuring in one place up on the higher frets as you can see in the pic. I spent some time afterwards rubbing the board with a shop towel to remove the last remnants of the dye. Feel is great, except the back of the neck is painted and it has the old painted neck stickiness to it. I've sanded down all my other necks to bare wood with just a touch of Tru Oil - not sure if I'll do that on this one because it's so beautiful as-is. Fret polish is good and uniform, but some of the fret ends are slightly stabby to my fretting hand. I'll deal with that in the next day or so.

    Pickups: Newer model P90s called "P90 Pros". A wonderful surprise. They sound very much like P90s. They're sparkly and round clean, and then when you crank on the distortion they're gnarly tone monsters. I had to turn down the distortion level on both my pedals which were set for my Teles and Strats. Combined with the semi-hollow design they're deep and resonant. Put on the neck pickup and dial down the tone and it's got probably the best "woman tone" I've ever had on any guitar.

    Hardware: No issues that I can see. Tunomatic bridge, Epiphone Deluxe Kluson-style tuners. Tuners feel good when I turn them - nice and solid. Nut is probably plastic, but I'm gonna leave it be for the time being because it's staying perfectly in tune.

    Playability and set up: First thing I did was tune it up and checked the set up. 4 of the 6 strings were perfectly intonated, 2 just slightly off. I'm guessing the strings are .10s - I switched to .09s a while back and these feel a bit thick to me. Strings were new like they'd just been put on and hadn't been stretched out; it was badly out of tune when I opened the box. I spent about 10 minutes stretching them out. Action is uniform and excellent, strings close to the fretboard like I like it. This is possibly the best set up brand new guitar I've ever bought, and it plays like a dream. The guys in China obviously take pride in what they're doing. The neck pickup was significantly louder than the bridge, so I adjusted the heights to balance them out this morning.

    Summary: The guitar and I had a magical bonding experience last night. Haven't felt like that for a while. I played everything from clean, mellow Moody Blues to jamming along with my old Scorpions Lovedrive CD (yes, I'm musically stuck in the past). Tons of bending and screaming leads. I tuned it twice in the first half hour, and then after that when I kept checking it with a tuner it STAYED PERFECTLY IN TUNE FOR THE REST OF MY JAM SESSION - over three hours. Awesome. I love this guitar.

    Also, it looks a bit dark to me with the black pickups on the black body, so I ordered myself a 5-ply black pickguard this morning which should have a wider white edge and make the pickguard stand out a bit more and break up the all-black appearance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
    RoyBGood, Hiker, ladave and 23 others like this.
  2. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Nice, cream covers would be cool to match the binding...
     
  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was thinking that too earlier this morning. Definitely a possibility.
     
    39martind18 and schmee like this.
  4. gtrplr

    gtrplr Tele-Holic

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    Glad you’re liking it. This is one of my favorite models, and one that seldom crosses my workbench (I work for Epiphone, in the repair department). Check the back of the headstock. If it has the number 12 on it, I had my hands on it before it left the Operations Center. In any case, thanks for buying one of ours. It helps keep my wife fed.
     
  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Nice!
     
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  6. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just a little white sticker that says "Inspected" around a "QC".

    Thanks for being part of making such a cool guitar! I can guarantee it's gonna be a favorite. Getting ready to go play it again now.
     
    televillian likes this.
  7. stormsedge

    stormsedge Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Sweet! Dice knobs? Ok, maybe later :oops:.
     
    coreytree likes this.
  8. MonkeyJefferson

    MonkeyJefferson Tele-Holic

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    After a setup, it’s one of the most boss situations you’ll play at any price point.
     
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  9. MickM

    MickM Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Nice! I have a similar fully hollow Collings with a black top. First thing I did before plugging it in was to can the pick guard. Don't replace it , get rid of it.
     
  10. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I used to own a red Epi "Dot" with humbuckers . Are these different? The body looks more compact for some reason. I remember my Dot weighed a ton but it sounded really smooth. I sold it to a guy who gigged regularly in Kentucky. That sale felt good since I was just a couch player.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
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  11. Tele Slacker

    Tele Slacker Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Love it. I’ve got one that I found locally used (in red). Wonderful guitar! Had to have some fret leveling, but otherwise... a wonderful guitar to play, bone stock.
     
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  12. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    I recently got a perlham blue and it really is a well made and fun to play guitar. I like the smaller body size. Mine would look good with cream pickups covers and pickguard too. And gold knobs.
     
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  13. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Holic

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    I have an Epi 339 with Pro Buckers, bought it used but mint last year with a hardshell case. By far the biggest bang for the buck guitar I've ever owned. It's feels so nice in hand and is supremely versatile in terms of the sounds you can get out of it. They're fantastic guitars! Congrats!
     
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  14. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Good choice! I have one with humbuckers.

    IMG_20150703_071201829.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  15. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Holic

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    I have had my Epi 339 (natural w/ HB's) since 2014. Bought the Epi 339 hardshell case at the same time. Just a great guitar. I do think it is a shame that they are not available in natural now. Just a classy look, IMHO.
     
  16. 62 Jazzmaster

    62 Jazzmaster Friend of Leo's

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    Congratulations, that is a beautiful guitar. Thanks for the review, too!
    I prefer the ES-339 ergonomics to the 335, have several of the down-sized Epiphones, but not the P90 version - yet.
     
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  17. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Afflicted

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    Sweet guitar, HNGD!
    I have a Pelham Blue, a little filing of the nut and setup, plays and sounds great!
     
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  18. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's

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    Happy New Guitar Day!
     
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  19. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Congrats - I'm a big fan of the ES-339, both Gibson AND Epiphone.

    I had a cherry red ES-339 Pro P90 for a few years. It was an excellent guitar, great neck, excellent build quality... but I ultimately let it go because I also have a Gibson ES-339, and there were other guitars that I wanted to buy.

    The Epiphone ES-339 and Les Paul ES Pro are the two Epiphone models that I really love. Epiphone China can make awesome quality guitars.

    After selling the cherry red one, I had a hankering for another one - to mod with Firebird pickups - and found a natural one, used but like new, for a great price that I couldn't resist.

    Great guitars!

    Awaiting a set of Firebird pickups:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Nice guitar. Congratulations.
     
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