Joe B Epiphone ES 335

Lou Coppolino

Country Gent
Jul 23, 2022
1,510
Howell, NJ

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
23,194
Monkey Island
I have about 20 Asian Epis including 3 Signature models. Based on that limited sample size I surmise Sigs are not build to a higher standard, just fitted with higher grade parts, and sold at a higher price point.
 

sgarnett

Country Gent
Apr 14, 2020
1,057
Kentucky
The 2022 Bonamassa is very nice. The two I’ve played had very nice fretboards (Laurel, which varies a lot, but some do look great), and slightly more attention to detail on the frets. That’s not to say they wouldn’t benefit from a bit more.

My pet peeve with most of the IBGs is the wiring, which has significant unshielded loop area to pick up hum. The Bonamassa wiring looked better, but I didn’t get a chance to try it with gain and nobody else playing.

The Bonamassa pickups are definitely an upgrade.

Then there’s the Vibrola. I actually enjoyed it a lot, but there were times I wished it wasn’t there.
 

Lou Coppolino

Country Gent
Jul 23, 2022
1,510
Howell, NJ
Frankly though, I’d take the Vibrola over a tension bar Bigsby.


I think the trem bar sits too upwards.

This, IMO, needs to be bent so it's more useable.

I don't remember the youtube, but the screws holding the neck p/u are not fully down.

This may not be on all the Joe B 335's.
 

sgarnett

Country Gent
Apr 14, 2020
1,057
Kentucky
I saw a review that mentioned a pick up that wasn’t sitting right, but it was hung on the mountain green. I think it was easy to address.

Oh, I totally agree about the Vibrola arm. I would probably put the stock one in the case and fabricate something else to bolt on.
 

GlenP

Country Gent
Double Platinum Member
Jul 23, 2019
2,663
WA
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Just for the case alone, I mean: FRAGILE, must be Italian!
 

chicago slim

Synchromatic
Dec 27, 2008
570
Bowling Green, KY
I've played two JB 335's and passed on them. They had one at a shop that also sells Eastman guitars. I came home with a T486 that smoked the JB 335 for the same price. It looks like a ES345, comes with a case, Seymour Duncan pickups (Jazz/59), has an Ebony fretboard and great fretwork. But it is different as it is constructed more like an acoustic guitar. The neck shape is also a little different. I would always suggest trying before buying, to see if it works for you.

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I'm waiting for the Noel Gallager Riviera's to hit the guitar shops. I need to try the neck to see if I like it as much as my IBG 335. I did polish the frets on one of my IBG 335's and I now like the feel a lot better.

Lou, do you have a modern Riviera? If so, how does the neck shape compare to your IBG 335?
 

Lou Coppolino

Country Gent
Jul 23, 2022
1,510
Howell, NJ
I've played two JB 335's and passed on them. They had one at a shop that also sells Eastman guitars. I came home with a T486 that smoked the JB 335 for the same price. It looks like a ES345, comes with a case, Seymour Duncan pickups (Jazz/59), has an Ebony fretboard and great fretwork. But it is different as it is constructed more like an acoustic guitar. The neck shape is also a little different. I would always suggest trying before buying, to see if it works for you.

View attachment 195335




Lou, do you have a modern Riviera? If so, how does the neck shape compare to your IBG 335?


I don't have a Riviera.
 

Lou Coppolino

Country Gent
Jul 23, 2022
1,510
Howell, NJ
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sgarnett

Country Gent
Apr 14, 2020
1,057
Kentucky
- I enjoyed the jangly, natural reverb of the Vibrola, but I don’t want it “on” all the time. - The wiring harness is definitely better on the Lazarus (meaning less unshielded wiring).
- The JB case is nice on the inside, but I’m not crazy about all the pseudo-tour gold lettering on the outside.

The regular IBG at a Black Friday price of $499 was just too good a deal to pass up. I can replace a wiring harness for (far less than) $800. I don’t know whether I’ll replace the pickups, or (if I do) whether I would use Burstbuckers like the JB.

So, as much as I enjoyed the JB, I went with IBG.
 
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Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
23,194
Monkey Island
Epis are 5-ply including the JB. Current Gibsons are 3-ply(used to be 4-ply).
Not all plywood is the same, and both brands showed some variety in layers, thickness, woods used and grain orientation of individual layers. I can not escape the feeling they always put a very conscious effort in making the Epi a less resonant instrument than the Gibson. Funny thing is a rock player might actually prefer the stiffer less feedback prone top of the Epi.
 

sgarnett

Country Gent
Apr 14, 2020
1,057
Kentucky
I purposely did not pick up the real 335. I do have a real Gibson Lucille (early 80s, I think), but that is a different beast altogether.
 


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