Name's George Yesthal, Born 11/04/51. Been playing since I was 9 just about the time the beat generation was winding down. Started my first band called Them Things in '65. Most successful band was called Renegade. We regularly opened the show for acts like Rick Derringer, Skynyrd, Blackfoot, Good Rats, etc.
In later life I owned two tattoo shops in the NEPA.
I've always been partial to Les Pauls, and considered them my #1 go-to axe. However, I've wanted an ES335 since I first played one in 1969, but could never bring myself to part with the $3000 + that they want for them. In 1993, I bought my first Epiphone Dot at a yard say for $75 w/ hardshell case. Needless to say, I didn't haggle. In 2001, a friend who owns a music store sat me down blindfolded and gave me an ES and a Dot to play. I couldn't discern the difference and promtly bought my second Dot. I have since owned two more (4 altogether). One I purchased from Musician's Friend and when I ordered it, I called the company about the difference between the Dot and the ES. As luck would have it, there was a Gibson Rep at MF that I talked to and was informed that depending on year and model they ranged from no difference at all to negligible differences, mostly in pickup quality and/or tuners, which are both easy fixes. But the stripped down versions are identical and in some cases (again, depending on year and model) EXACTLY (other than headstock) identical. I consider this to be the definitive info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_ES-335