The Epiphone Sheraton and ES-335 are two of Epiphones most popular semi-hollow body electric guitars. They’re fantastic entry points to get that vintage feel without having to break the bank for a fully fledged Gibson 335 or 355.
But what are the differences between the Sheraton and ES-335 and which is right for you? I’ve owned one, the Sheraton, an tried them both. So I’m going to compare the two and hopefully help you decide which is best for your needs.
Before we really get into the details let’s take a quick look at an overview of the main differences between the Sheraton and the ES-335:
The Sheraton Pro II has a nearly all-maple construction and features a laminated neck rather than the traditional Epi style scarfed mahogany of the 335. The ES-335 has a mahogany neck whereas the Sheraton’s is a 5-piece Maple/Walnut laminated neck. The Sheraton has ProBucker pickups and the ES-335 has Alnico Classic PRO pickups. This gives the Sheraton a warm and mellow sound in comparison to the ES-335 which is brighter and punchier.
The major difference is the Sheraton has ProBucker pickups and the ES-335 has Alnico Classic PRO pickups. The Sheraton ProBuckers are coil split too and the Classic PRO’s aren’t (you’d need to get the ES-335 Pro if you want coil split pups).
I’m not huge fan of the split coil sound and the ProBuckers haven’t converted me. I just think split coils are always muddy and never do a good job of mimicking single coils.
But I think the ProBuckers are definitely the better of the two and a noticeable upgrade. It depends on what you are looking for though.
The ProBuckers in the Sheraton are definitely more mellow with a good amount of warmth. They’re great for jazz and blues.
The Alnico Classic PRO pickups were brighter and punchier than the ProBuckers, making them ideal for country, rock and blues.
I preferred the Sheraton for its warmer tone but if you want something brighter then the ES-335 is the way to go.
Body and Neck
The Sheraton’s laminated neck is made from five pieces of maple and walnut and feels great – very comfortable. It has a 60’s slim taper which suited me as I have smaller hands.
The ES-335 has a solid mahogany neck with a rounded C profile. If felt a bit fatter in my hands but not so much so that it was unplayable.
I’m a bit of an oddity as I have really small hands for a man. So I almost always prefer a smaller and slimmer neck. For most people though the 335’s neck isn’t going to be a dealbreaker.
There wasn’t a huge difference in the bodies. The body of the Sheraton is slightly larger than the 335 although you probably won’t notice. It’s not enough to make it particularly uncomfortable or awkward.
Hardware and Controls
The quality of the hardware in the 335 is not great. In fact it felt cheap.
The tuners were really quite poor, the pots were cheap and it just felt like much of the hardware was lacking. Like it was from a much cheaper guitar overall.
I have read that the issue is with quality control in the 335 and the updated ES-335 Pro doesn’t suffer with any of these issues. But it’s something to know and be wary of.
The Sheraton on the other hand was fine. All the knobs and the switch felt a lot more substantial to me. The tuners and pots were fine too.
In terms of looks the major difference is the Sheraton’s gold finished hardware. There’s nothing wrong with the ES-335’s nickel hardware but the gold of the Sheraton is a bit flashier and looks great.
Both have Epiphone Locktone Stop Bar tailpieces and Locktone tune-o-matic bridges.
The control layouts are very similar too. They both feature two volume and two tone knobs and a three-way pickup selector switch.
There wasn’t a lot to separate them here. Both were built well, felt sturdy and didn’t have any poor quality control issues.
No sharp frets or dodgy nuts. The biggest difference was the weight – the Sheraton felt a little heavier (probably due to the large headstock), especially considering it’s a semi-hollow body.
That’s not necessarily a criticism, a weightier guitar can often feel more substantial, plus it should be more resonant. I think it was just a little unexpected.
To me the Sheraton wins the battle of the looks. As well as the gold hardware the Sheraton has a “tree of life” inlay on the headstock, fingerboard inlays and more intricate binding.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re both gorgeous looking guitars. I just think the Sheraton stands out a bit more. Call me shallow but those little extras make it feel more luxurious and look more expensive than the ES-335.
If you’re not looking for the flashiness of the Sheraton and want something more understated then the 335 is a beautiful and traditional looking guitar though. Also the nickel hardware will probably age better. Something to keep in mind.
It’s the tone where the biggest difference is between the two. The pickups are the main factor in how a guitar sounds and as mentioned earlier these two guitars have ProBuckers and Alcino Classic Pro’s respectively.
The Sheraton’s ProBuckers are Epiphones answer to Gibsons BurstBuckers. They were a real surprise to me and in a good way.
You get a fantastic warm tone. Full and rich. Really nice sounding.
The ES-335 uses Epiphone’s Alnico Classic PRO Humbuckers. They weren’t too shabby either and sounded really good when starting to break up a little.
I think why I preferred the Sheraton is that it sounded like I expected it to. In my head a large bodied, semi hollow-body is synonymous with a jazz and bluesy type of sound and that’s what I got. A really mellow and rich tone that has a very rounded warmth to it. Just smooth, man!
The 335 on the other hand was brighter and more defined. It had a little more grit and rawness to it that seemed to suit that slightly rocky and edge of breakup sound. Good for blues rock and generally more versatile than the Sheraton, just maybe not quite as good sounding overall.
You can see them compared in this video:
While there are a lot of differences there are quite a few similarities as well:
- 24.75″ scale length
- Gloss finish
- 12″ fretboard radius
- 22 frets
- Medium Jumbo frets
- Epiphone LockTone™ Tune-o-matic bridge
- Epiphone LockTone™ Stop Bar tailpiece