Jim James is the lead singer, guitarist for My Morning Jacket. He’s prolific, performing with people including John Fogarty, the Roots, David Lynch, Brandi Carlisle, and more. Previously, he had a Gibson ES-335 signature model. That’s sold out. What’s a guitar player to do?
If you wanted a very cool ES-335, and were a fan of Jim James and My Morning Jacket, you could do a lot worse than the Epiphone ES-335 Jim James signature model.
What is a Jim James ES-335
- First of all, an ES-335 (electro-spanish guitar in 1958 Gibson terminology, originally sold in the 1960s for $335 dollars) is a hollow body guitar, with a solid center section. They tend to have a more ‘open’ sound, and can be more prone to feedback.
- Walnut finish – this sort of finish dates to the 1970s, when Gibson was owned by Norlin, and had acquired the Epiphone company on the advice of a musician named Les Paul. Yes, that Les Paul.
- Slim C taper neck, called the Jim James SlimTaper™ C profile.
- Indian Laurel fingerboard
- Alnico Pro humbuckers
- Orange drop capacitors
- Circle Arrow truss rod cover
- Owl logo on back of headstock
- and a hardshell case with an owl
Why would you want this guitar?
The Jim James ES-335 is a very groovy guitar, just based on the specs. The body is 5-ply laminate, with an interesting choice of wood for the fingerboard, and a solid maple center block.
The SlimTaper C requires some explanation. A SlimTaper profile is one where the back of the neck tapers away from the fingerboard rapidly to the center of the neck. It’s not quite a V profile, but more like thinner neck with a softer profile – a V with the hard point rounded off, maybe. The SlimTaper C profile is a custom mix between that slim neck that tapers away from the edges of the fingerboard, but maintains the rest of a C profile after the taper over the center of the back of the neck.
That’s a difficult thing to describe. The result should be a neck that is comfortable to play, thin, with reduced wood at the edges.
Why an Epiphone Jim James instead of the Gibson?
The Gibson is sold out. It’s also significantly more expensive, at $3,499.00. The Epiphone ES-335 Jim James is $899 US dollars. The Gibson uses a 3-ply maple-poplar-maple laminate top instead of the Epiphone’s 5 layer of maple. The necks are similar, with the Gibson using an Indian rosewood fingerboard. The pickups in the Gibson are calibrated t-type humbuckers instead of alnico classics.
Check out the video version of this post here!
Some people look down on the Epiphone, as if it’s not a real Gibons. But on specs, you get a lot of guitar for the money compared to the full-price Gibson. If you’re looking for that unique sound that only a hollow body guitar provides, check it out at epiphone.com