Impulse buy online - 2013 Epiphone ES-339... good year, bad year?

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by DHart, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. DHart

    DHart Active Member

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    This one was manufactured in December of 2013, in the Qingdao Plant.

    It looks fantastic in the many photos the seller posted. Like new. Beautiful, dark rosewood board.

    I'm not at all concerned about the pickups and electronics, as this will be an upgrade/project guitar for me.

    My intention is to install a set of TVJones Classics (FIlter'trons) and a new premium wiring harness, right off the bat. Probably replace the tuners, as well. I'm hoping to turn it into a quasi-Gibson/Gretsch alternative guitar. I really love the 339 size, semi-hollow design, and light weight. (I also have a wine red Gibson ES-339)

    The guitar hasn't arrived yet.

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    I'm hoping that Epiphone's ES-339 production, in December of 2013, was pretty good.

    Is it likely to be a pretty well-made guitar?

    Not a steal of a price, but that's ok, I didn't want to buy a new one, as I like the older rosewood boards and this natural finish. The natural finish models are very few and far between on the market. Seller wanted $395, I offered $339, and they accepted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
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  2. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Well-Known Member

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    Nice. Are those the seller's photos? If so, he/she is very careful. That should carry over to guitar maintenance.

    I like your modding ideas. Filter'Trons are nice, but the Gretsch knob setup drives me nuts - so much that I converted by G2655 to a Gibsony 2 vol/ 2 tone.
     
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  3. Paruwi

    Paruwi Kraut-Rocker Staff Member

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    I would not worry about any month or year or place of manufacturing....

    Congrats
    :thumb::applause::thumb:
     
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  4. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Well-Known Member

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    Out of curiosity (and GAS), I looked up the Reverb price guide. The average resale price has gone up by $100 since 2017 - could be sample sizes and/or other things. The price history doesn't show the color, so $339 is reasonable - especially if the natural finish is seldom seen.

    I wonder about the price spike in March 2019. The sales that month were each over $350. CITES?

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  5. Norton

    Norton Active Member

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    My 339 is super solid.

    The pots are totally fine. Good taper 500k and all that.

    I’ll buy the pro-buckers if you’re going to swap them out.
     
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  6. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    The only thing I've noticed on these (and other epi semi-hollows without biding on the F hole) is that the black paint is a hair sloppy around the F-hole. Everything else is dead on perfect. Mine is a 2015, and I've played a 2017 and 2019 and they were all just as good.

    As for the pots, they were very decent. I got a set of DiMarzio 36th anniversary PAFs for christmas last year that came with a wiring harness, but they were the tall LP pots. I just spliced the pickups into the existing Epiphone harness without issue. The push-pull mechanism is actually very nice, doesn't feel as cheap as I expected.

    A note though, Norton above suggested that they were pro-buckers. I don't know if this changed in recent years, but mine came with Alnico Classic Pros, not pro-buckers (as your's presumably will too). They were great sounding pickups though, better than the old Alnico Classics (with the brass base plate) that used to come in Epiphones (IMO) and are in my parts bin to be used without hesitation on anything project requiring humbuckers that comes my way.
     
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  7. Caddy

    Caddy Well-Known Member

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    Yup, I bought a new 2014 in the same natural finish. It did come with Epi Alnico Classic Pro pickups. Pickups sound really good. Have changed nothing on it other than putting on a Gotoh bridge and a Graphtech nut, then only because I had them on hand, not out of need. Pots, etc. are fine. BTW, great guitar.
     
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  8. DHart

    DHart Active Member

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    Yes, seller's photos. And among the very best, and most complete, seller's photos that I've ever seen.

    As for Gretsch - I agree. I'm not a fan of their controls, nor am I a Bigsby fan.

    But I love the clarity and sparkle of the Gretsch-style TV Jones pickups: Classics, TV-HT Hilo'trons, and T-Armonds. I have installed these various TV Jones pickups in my D'Angelico EX-SS, Gibson ES-339, ES-Les Paul, Fender Strat, Fender Tele, and Fender Cabronita Thinline. These TV Jones pickups just sound gloriously clear, detailed, and sparkly bright. And, of course, I also have other Teles and Strats with conventional Fender-style pickups.
     
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  9. Antigua

    Antigua Member

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    I have a new Casino, I second that it's perfect aside from the black paint around the f-hole looking ragged, as it does with this guitar.
     
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  10. DHart

    DHart Active Member

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    It's interesting that there are so few natural finish ES-339s on the market. I couldn't find any in the USA on eBay, and only two on Reverb. Nor is Epiphone currently producing them in the natural finish. Of the available finishes, considering the guitars I already have, finding this natural was what pushed me over the edge to purchase.

    Norton, I believe this guitar has AlNiCo Classic Pro pickups, not ProBuckers.

    I've seen the sloppy black edge detailing on the f-holes on a LOT of Epiphone's. You'd think they could do MUCH better with that, with just a little more effort. :rolleyes: This guitar that I bought also shows some sloppy black edging on the f-holes. Kind of pisses me off, as everything else is typically so nicely done. I will probably try to clean those edges up as best I can.

    I don't know if this guitar will have the split-coil feature or not. Either way, I'm going to go with the TV Jones Classics and make up a new harness with my preferred pots, switch, and caps.

    Caddy... did yours have the split-coil feature?

    Judging from the side photo of the guitar I ordered, it looks like the two volume pot knobs are sitting higher - leads me to think that this guitar has the split-coil/single-coil option and was in that position when the photo was taken.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2020
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  11. Caddy

    Caddy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, they all came that way (except for the ones that came with P-90's of course).
     
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  12. DHart

    DHart Active Member

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    I was quite surprised, when getting my Epi ES-Les Pauls, at how great they sound in the split-coil position. To this day, when I play my one ES-Les Paul, which still has the ProBuckers installed in it, it's pretty much always in split-coil mode. Great tones.

    Do the AlNiCo Classic Pro humbuckers sound great in split-coil mode also?
     
  13. Antigua

    Antigua Member

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    This is the f-hole of my Casino, bought about four months ago, it loos like they used a black magic marker. It's visible from a distance, too. It's pretty much unfixable, but I can live with it. It's a little disappointing, the sort of thing you expect with Chinese knock off guitars, but not Epi's.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. DHart

    DHart Active Member

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    That's a pretty bad example. I'd probably get aggressive with that and hit it with sandpaper... along the entire edge of the f-hole... would then require some kind of finish touch up, of course.
     
  15. BGood

    BGood Well-Known Member

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    Abolutly not ! I'd buy some of those paint pens in white and just touch up the two small dents.
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    EDIT: I was going to retouch it in white in Photoshop to show you, then when I blew up the image, I realized that there's no dent and the black paint seem to have gone over the poly coat. I would just carefully scratch it out with a razor blade. Easy peasy ...

    MEtrfWb.jpg
    Good thing you posted a big clear image. Like that I could see that an unfixable matter to you is in the end something pretty simple to address. Too often, people post so out of focus little crappy photos of finish problems, that nobody can help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  16. Antigua

    Antigua Member

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    The black pigment is soaked into the wood, if you look closely you can see that the pigment runs with the grain. The toluene or xylene solvents in a magic marker are very thin and sink into wood a lot more readily than paint, which is why I suspect they used a magic marker.

    Here's a picture I took through a loop with my phone:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  17. DHart

    DHart Active Member

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    It absolutely boggles my mind that Epiphone can make such wonderful instruments in every possible way, but JUST CAN'T SEEM TO bring themselves to dress the edges of their f-holes with greater skill. F#@king insane of them!!!

    That said, my 2019 build ES-Les Paul has beautifully dressed f-holes. Actually, they are BOUND! BRAVO Epiphone! If this 2019 ES-Les Paul is an indicator, then Epiphone IS doing great things with dressing their f-holes - t least on these higher priced models.
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    The 2019 ES-Les Paul is magnificently done, right down to the f-hole binding! An impressive example of high quality Epiphone manufacturing.
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    With my Wine Red 2017 ES Les Paul, the binding is good, though just a little bit ragged in a few spots. All-in-all, much nicer than just a painted edge.

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    The fact that Gibson doesn't even bind the f-holes on the $2200 Gibson ES-339 is interesting. They just paint the edge, though it is painted with enough care that it is cleanly and evenly done, without oops.

    The fact that Epiphone does bind the f-holes on their ES-Les Pauls is great.

    BUT, on their ES-339 and ES-335 models, the painted edges are not uncommonly ragged. Perhaps Epiphone IS doing better with that, in 2019-2020 production.

    I very much LOVE these ES-Les Pauls! And, apparently, they aren't making any more of them. :frown:
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  18. Bonzo21

    Bonzo21 Active Member

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    You gotta have one thing to hate about em. They can't be perfect or people wouldn't buy the gibbos ahahahah

    Yeah, nothing wrong with modding them! Pictures when you get it done...
     
  19. DHart

    DHart Active Member

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    Bonzo... as it turns out, the AlNiCo Classic Pro pickups in split-coil (single coil) mode sound so amazing! They sound so good that I doubt I will ever replace them. I did replace the knobs and switch tip, though. As of now, I have no motivation to change a thing! Amazing guitar. The painted f-hole edges aren't bad, either.

    This is such a great instrument. And it's six years old. It totally rivals my Gibson ES-339 Studio, which cost me (new with case) around $1600.

    The fact that I was able to snag this for $339 blows me away.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
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  20. soulman969

    soulman969 Active Member

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    What year did Epi begin offering the Pro pickups on all models?
     

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