Epiphone ES135 Guitar

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The stunning blueburst of this Limited Edition, Korean Custom Built ES 135 neatly reflects the instrument’s characteristics and credentials. The semi-acoustic slimline body with its Venetian cutaway and 3-ply plastic pick guard, has a laminated maple top and solid mahogany back and sides and offers just enough air space to open up the texture and timbre of the sound. And this 135 does have excellent acoustic properties even before you plug it in, with a tonality that is round and full bodied with good overall balance.

The bound rosewood fingerboard is set on a shallow ‘U’ maple neck and comes with 22 jumbo frets – with surprisingly little “pink” from the 18th to the 22nd. The head is standard swept Epiphone and holds the six chrome plated Grover machine heads. While down at the other end, the tailpiece is a simple double arm trapeze, which looks as though it could have been lifted straight out of the Gibson factory.

Adjustable tunematic bridges are standard fare on this type of guitar, and here the “house” Epiphone tunematic doesn’t disappoint. It is certainly built to a higher spec than those found on most guitars in this price bracket with no audible rattling or buzzing. The two Humbucking pick ups are “designed by Epiphone in the USA” and have alnico classic magnets, are double vacuum waxed and have enamel wire and give plenty of bite and punch. The 3-way switch on the top bout provides the usual rhythm combination and lead options. I was, however, a little disappointed with the tone pots, which we felt needed a broader dynamic range to both match the undoubted power of the pick ups and give the bridge pick up more of an edge. Overall though, this is an exceptionally fine and well finished instrument that plays like a dream.