Suggested Upgrades for ES-335 Pro

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by JacobZ06, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. JacobZ06

    JacobZ06 New Member

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    I am looking for feedback on the ES-335 Pro from owners. Would like your thoughts on locking tuners, nut, bridges and tremolo units. Any other experience would be appreciated.

    Jacob
     
  2. elephantrider

    elephantrider Well-Known Member

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    that's one of my only guitars that i haven't modded.
    what do you not like about it with the current set up?
     
  3. Cam.man67

    Cam.man67 Well-Known Member

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    The only thing I really dislike about my 335 Pro is the tuners...I’ve got a set of Grover 18:1s to go in when I get around to it. Other than that there’s little that needed to change.

    However, I’m an eternal tinkerer and so I wound up here, and it’s incredible:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. sliberty

    sliberty Active Member

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    First, your specifics:
    • Locking tuners - I am not huge on locking tuners, but I do live good tuners. The Epi's are fine, but a nice set of keystone Grovers would be an improvement.
    • Nut - I am not having any issues with the nut. If you decide to change yours, you'll have to ask yourself why, and then select a replacement nut that solves whatever was bothering you.
    • Bridge - its a good bridge, but see below
    • Tremolo units - I installed a Duesenberg Les Trem II, and it is wonderful. A no brainer to install, it works great, and is completely reversible (no modifications at all). Tuning stability was good, but I installed a roller bridge from Philadelphia Lutherie anyway, and it helps make the tuning stability just a little bit better.
    Now my ideas:
    • Pots/Caps - I don't like the push pull pots (they suck, one broke while simply pulling the knob off) and I don't like the way the split coils sound anyway. Also, I like Linear volume pots, and audio tone pots, 500K each. This is not typical, so I replaced the whole wiring harness. CTS 500K Linear and Audio pots, and Mallory caps.
    • Switch and jack - I installed proper Switchcraft parts just because. The Epi switch and jack were working perfectly, but if past experience counts for anything, they would have failed sooner or later. So now I won't have to deal with that.
    • Pickup ring screws - Epiphone uses 4 bright chrome screws to hold the pickup ring to the body. Gibson uses 4 black screws. I greatly prefer the black screws as there was just too much shiney chrome for my taste. So I bought the black screws and replaced them. Ahhhhh...much better...
    • Pickguard - there was a guy on eBay selling custom pickguards for the 335 Pro (and other guitars). In this case, it looks more like the Gibson pickguard. Instead of an L bracket like on a Les Paul, it uses the hidden plastic block bracket that site under the guard. It also came with more authentic layers. Just a vanity thing. But it's nice.
    I really like the pickups, so they are staying.

    There you have it...YMMV...
     
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  5. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Ok, this should be fun. Apologies to @sliberty for pinching his list format.
    • Locking tuners - I love locking tuners, particularly Hipshot open gear lockers (better ratio than enclosed) and they're super easy to install without drilling. Good for tuning stability with or without a trem. They're also great for quick and easy string changes.
      Cue the unsolicited "tie your strings" tutorials.:rolleyes:

    • Nut - A TUSQ XL would be a solid choice to replace the OEM plastic if you're hankering for an upgrade. Also nice with a trem since it's permanently lubricated.
    • Bridge - I never liked my stock Epi bridge; the "retainer" spring didn't retain a thing. I replaced it with a roller unit. Even with a hardtail I LOVE the feel of this bridge. If I can put a roller on it, I will.
    • Tremolo units - Bigbsy - but with a Vibramate kit. You'll thank me later.
    Now for the fun soldering bit!
    • Potentiometers / Capacitors - Upgrading your electronics is a good (if not 100% necessary) excercise. The OEM stuff is serviceable, but for the sake of precision I like the 525±5% pots from Art of tone. Good stuff there. U.S. push pulls are a bit more durable should you go that route. Caps....I don't put a lot of stock in "Magic Tone Beans" so no Russian PIO or Gibson's fake "Bumblebee" caps for me. I like Mallory "150" caps ± 5% in whatever value I've chosen for the build. The axial leads are so much easier to deal with in my view.
    • Switch and jack - Switchcraft for the switch all day. Absolutely the standard. Having said that, I insist on Pure Tone jacks. In my view it's worth the upcharge for the superior mechanical and electrical connection.
      Pure-Tone2.jpg
      In my view upgrading the electronics yourself really gives you a more direct connection to the axe due to the intimate knowledge you gain with each solder joint.
    • As a caveat to the previous two items. You'll need to enlarge the control holes to install the slightly larger U.S. spec units. Still worth doing, but you'll also need new knobs to fit the U.S. pots because the metric ones won't work.
    • Pickups are a subjective thing. What I like might not do anything for you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  6. mmn

    mmn New Member

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    Only thing I did was a Tusq xl nut. Just don't like plastic, especially if I'm filing the nut slots.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  7. sliberty

    sliberty Active Member

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    Imitation is a form of flattery :)
     
  8. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    At least we agree on a few points. :cheers:
     
  9. Geochem1st

    Geochem1st New Member

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    I researched this guitar quite a bit before I bit and pulled the trigger.

    I bought myself the Epi Limited Edition Custom Shop ES-335 Pro, in ebony black from Musicians Friend, as a christmas present. I've had it now for about 3 weeks.

    Out of the box, the setup was a tad high but playable. The fit and finish on the guitar was remarkable. When I lowered the action to my likings I was more than impressed with the playability and fret polishing.

    In time I might change the 3 way switch. Other than that I would not change a thing on this guitar. It may possibly be the last guitar I own. I have played Gibson dots before from various years including vintage. They have nothing on this guitar.

    This must be one of the best kept secrets in guitardom. $456 with tax on a 15% discount, free shipping.

    Equal in sound and playability to the Gibson.
     
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  10. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Well-Known Member

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    I said that in 2013, about 12 guitars ago. :)

    Welcome to Epi-Talk. Congrats on the early Xmas present. Let's see some pics of that brand, spankin' new 355.
     
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  11. Cozmik Cowboy

    Cozmik Cowboy Active Member

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    I have no experience with that specific model, but do have a '92 Sheraton (which, if you didn't know, is what every 335 wishes it was). I was completely happy with her stock except for one thing (which I'll address in a moment).
    She got slightly damp (fortunately no more than that) in a flood in '96, and in '14 I had to make a new harness for her. I went with CTS 500K audio mini-pots* (my Tele got audio for volume & linear for tone, which I also tried the other way, but I find I like all-audio better), Switchcraft switch & jack, and Sozo .033 µF Vintage Mustard caps; stock was fine, but this sounds a bit better (though I would never rewire a semi unless it was an absolute necessity; you would not believe what a PIA it is......).

    *I started with ±9% full-sized ones, but they would not go through the f-holes.

    The only other thing (except swapping the "GIBSON" TRC for an Epi-logo one) I want to do is the nut - but only because carved will play better than molded. When I do it, I'll probably go Tusq, but may save the bucks & get a carved plastic one, since the nut material has no effect except on open strings. So, upon further thought, maybe I'll get a ZeroGlide.

    Stock bridge, tailpiece, & tuners are just dandy; unless you just want to tinker, there's no reason to mess with them (assuming yours as good as they used in '92). But if you want a whammy bar, Raiyn has the right idea with the Bigsby & Vibromate. Or, if they still make them, a Wonderbar.
     
  12. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    They're not that much, and placebo effect or not, they feel better to me which makes them sound better.
     
    Cozmik Cowboy likes this.
  13. Cozmik Cowboy

    Cozmik Cowboy Active Member

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    One should never underestimate the value of a good placebo!
     
  14. Cozmik Cowboy

    Cozmik Cowboy Active Member

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    Oh, yeah - on the matter of hole size: My MIA replacement parts fit snugly but well into the metric holes, except for the switch. I had to ream it just a tad. Go slow & careful on this part, or the finish may chip, requiring taking a round file to the inside of the stock washer (the Sheri has gold hardware, so finding an SAE one was too much trouble) to cover up the chip. Yeah, I do know this to be fact..........
     
  15. MerrChan

    MerrChan Active Member

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    For My love
    it's been small, subtle changes..
    a couple of purely cosmetic 'upgrades'
    such as
    New Custom ordered Pickguard
    Witch Hat knobs
    TRC

    It also got some enhancements:
    Yellow Jackets for Tone
    Switchcraft Mini Toggle
    Switchcraft jack
    Gotoh bridge

    This little Beast just needed some Retro-Love and that's all.
    Couldn't be happier really

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    "What is That"?

    ...the whole point
    Blank is Beautiful
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  16. Cozmik Cowboy

    Cozmik Cowboy Active Member

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    I should have mentioned, others with Sheratons from other years/factories have had no problem with the full-sized pots, so try them first.
     
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  17. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Yup, and if they don't fit, you'll already have parts for the next build!
     
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  18. Walker

    Walker Active Member

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    Semi hollows DEFINITELY are a PIA to rewire. I did a 335 copy and the full size pots just barely fit. And the strings or wires you use to pull the pots and jack always fall off.
     
    Davis Sharp likes this.
  19. Cozmik Cowboy

    Cozmik Cowboy Active Member

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    Indeed I do! I offered a friend to rewire his circuit-board LP into a proper guitar, but he passed, so they still await my pleasure.
     
  20. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    I like the idea of a circuit board guitar, however if I were to go that route I'd insist on one from Obsidian Wire
    [​IMG]

    They make theirs out of components with the same level of tolerances I use in my hand wired jobs.
     

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