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Tom DeLonge is a big name in the world of guitar thanks to his time with the recently disbanded punk icons Blink 182. And this affordable Epiphone version of his unique signature ES-333 should spark the interest of any genuine punk rocker.
This is a classy looking guitar, and one that doesn’t initially scream punk rock. The ES-333 naturally features Gibson’s bulbous ES shape, with an asymmetrical double cutaway and a classic 24.75” scale length. With its eye-catching f-holes, the semi-hollow body is made from laminated maple, with a solid mahogany center block that offers substance and sustain. The body is finished in a light gray/brown with a unique cream colored racing stripe running down the center.
Onto this there’s a set mahogany neck with a SlimTaper D-shape, a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets, with white dot inlays. This leads up to a traditional dovewing headstock branded with the Epiphone logo, and DeLonge’s signature on the back.
The output jack is on the face of the guitar, which is a design point that has never sat well with me, but otherwise this guitar makes a bold statement, and feels solid and durable – as you’d expect from an Epiphone in the $500 price range.
This signature ES-333 isn’t loaded with features, but it does the simple things very well indeed.
It comes fitted with just one pickup, but if one is good enough for DeLonge, it’s likely to satisfy your playing. It’s an American-made Gibson Dirty Fingers Humbucker, which delivers a huge sound. Clarity is retained at the highest levels, and it has all the grit and aggression you’ll need for Blink tracks, as well as rock, punk and metal in general.
There’s just one control knob, which is a master volume in a cool cream color that fits the style superbly. So there’s not a great deal of versatility – but this isn’t a ‘Jack of all trades’, rather a master of one.
Finally the headstock is fitted with six 16:1 Grover tuners, which are precise and add good tuning stability, especially when they are paired with Epiphone’s renown LockTone Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece.
For a passive humbucker, the output is huge and really impressed me. But it doesn’t lack clarity when turned up, and makes it perfect for on-stage performances or recording sessions. The single pickup limits you when it comes clean tones, but if you are after a gritty, distorted rock sound you won’t go far wrong.
The guitar itself is easy to hold and the neck is fast and comfortable, which is just what you need for some of those blistering DeLonge riffs. Finally, although the pickup is American, the rest of the guitar is made in China – however it sports good craftsmanship and feels built to last.
The affordable Epiphone version of Tom DeLonge’s cool signature ES-333 is a real hit. What it lacks in versatility, it makes up for in sheer output thanks to the Gibson Dirty Fingers humbucker. Punk rock fans rejoice!