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Trying to choose between a 50th anniversary 1962 Sheraton & a Pelham Blue ES-355


Joe D.

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Good evening, everyone. This is my first time posting in the forums here. It's great to have a place to talk about guitars, especially Gibsons and Epiphones.

 

Tonight, I'm coming to you guys in search of advice. I would like to purchase a semi-hollow body guitar and I have my choices down to two : A Pelham Blue Epiphone ES-355 or an Epiphone 50th Anniversary 1962 Sheraton E212T.

 

Here are a few of my concerns/comments about both and a bit of info about what I'm looking for :

 

- Price-wise, the guitars fall in the same line for me. If I buy the 355, I will be buying a case with it. I understand the Sheraton comes with a hardshell case. The case for the 355 will likely even the price up.

 

- While the Sheraton is a beautiful guitar in its' own right, I have always loved Pelham Blue.

 

- I have concerns of the electronics in the 355 compared to the ones in the Sheraton. GIbson USA pickups are tough to beat, with all due respect to the product that Epiphone produces.

 

- I have been told the build quality of the Sheraton is superior than that of the 355. That's not to say the build quality on the 355 isn't excellent - just passing along what some folks I've spoken to about these two instruments have told me.

 

- Tone-wise, I am going for something that will be very versatile, but will also be distinctly different than what I already have. I currently have a Gibson LPJ Les Paul, a Gibson SG, a Strat, and a Telecaster. I play every genre of music I possible can. It's important to me that I become as versatile as possible. Amp-wise, I play into a 1965 Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue. My pedalboard is various Wampler and TC Electronic stuff.

 

- The large size of the 355, while a drawback for some, is part of the instrument's appeal to me. I am not sure how its' size relates to the 1962 Sheraton. I have only played the contemporary Sheraton.

 

- The Bigsby on the 355 is a very large selling point for me. I will not be able to purchase the version of the 62 with the Tremolo arm and have always love Bigsbys on semi-hollows and hollow-body guitars.

 

- I'm having some trouble figuring out what the fingerboard material is on the 355. Some of the reviews I've read say ebony, as did the YouTube review that I watched from the guys at Anderton's, but the listing on websites such as Zzounds say rosewood.

 

- Due to where I live, I am unable to try out either guitar (hence the lengthy post)

 

- Ultimately, I would like tone and build quality to be what makes the decision for me. The aesthetics and the Bigsby make me lean towards the 355 but everything I've read about build quality (tuning pegs, input jack, ect. as well) and pickup quality make me lean towards the 1962 Sheraton.

 

I apologize for the lengthy post here, but rather than fall further down a black hole of reading other folks' message board posts and YouTube videos, I wanted to come straight to the source to help determine my choice. I apologize for the length of this post, but any responses to it with be hugely helpful and greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks a lot,

 

- Joe D.

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I would like to purchase a semi-hollow body guitar and I have my choices down to two : A Pelham Blue Epiphone ES-355 or an Epiphone 50th Anniversary 1962 Sheraton E212T.

 

Hi Joe,

Is this Sheraton a semi-hollow? I ask because its tailpiece is like in hollow bodies, not semi-hollow.

From what you have said, I'd take ES-335. If you don't like its pickups, you can always upgrade them to whatever else. Maybe to Gibson's if you like, but you can also try other brands, like Seymour Duncan, or, if you don't want to spend too much, e.g., Tonerider, Tesla or Entwistle.

I have few Epi's and I think their build quality is good, at least good enough for me.

That's just my point of view.

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Hi Joe,

Is this Sheraton a semi-hollow? I ask because its tailpiece is like in hollow bodies, not semi-hollow.

From what you have said, I'd take ES-335. If you don't like its pickups, you can always upgrade them to whatever else. Maybe to Gibson's if you like, but you can also try other brands, like Seymour Duncan, or, if you don't want to spend too much, e.g., Tonerider, Tesla or Entwistle.

I have few Epi's and I think their build quality is good, at least good enough for me.

That's just my point of view.

 

Both are semis. I can see why you thought that from the tailpiece though. It's certainly vintage and unique to say the least.

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I'm diggin' my 355. It is super nice. I suppose a Sheraton would be super nice too. Decisions, decisions... [biggrin]

 

1e56ffd8-771e-434d-8393-a7fb9bed7932_zpsbea74de2.jpg

 

Oh man. That is the EXACT ES-355 I'm looking at, Pelham Blue finish and all. Glad to hear you're digging yours. If you don't mind, I'd like to pick your brain a bit :

 

- Is the fingerboard rosewood or ebony? The listing on Zzounds says rosewood, but a review on Guitar Center's site and the YouTube review from Anderton's both have said ebony.

 

- Some people don't, but I love how big the 355 is. Pardon my ignorance for asking this question because I have a very limited experience with semi-hollows (this will be my first one), but how does the large body affect the tone as compared to a solid body? The only semi I've played is the 339 pro. Nothing wrong with that guitar, but the difference between that and the Epi Les Paul Tribute I played was noticeable, but not drastic.

 

At this point, I am definitely leaning towards the 355.

 

Thanks :)

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Hey Joe....welcome to the Forum !!

 

I had to cast my vote for the '62/50 Sheri, the Gibson mini-hums are lower output than what's normally found on new guitars today, and this coupled with the semi-hollow body give this guitar GREAT vintage type tones, and if you're looking for a SWEET sounding guitar, this one sure fits the bill.

 

When I got my '62/50 I realized how generic my '08 Sheraton II sounded, and just a cpl weeks ago dropped a set of Gibby p'ups into it...sounds like a whole different guitar now.

 

since somebody posted a pic of their absolutely beautiful 355....I gotta post my '62/50 again, just to balance the playing field.

 

GarysCam295_zpsefd6acb9.jpg

62502_zps763f53cb.jpg

 

the "Vintage RI" hardcase sure is nice too.

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BOTH, are nice guitars, period! "I" would opt for the '62 Sheraton, simply because

it's a true "Epiphone" model, and not a reworked (less expensive) Gibson. But, that's

just Me! I'm sure you'd be happy, with either one, provided you got to play both, and

could make an objective evaluation, prior to purchase.

 

Good Luck, on your decision! Can't be easy... [tongue][biggrin]

 

CB

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BOTH, are nice guitars, period!

 

Yeah, the problem with the OP's question is they're both excellent guitars with no great differences in functionality. Given that the cost is similar as well I think it comes down to esthetics. If it were my choice I'd go with the Sheraton. I like the frequensator tailpiece better than the Bigsby, plus it comes with a pick guard and is available in Cherry, Natural, and Vintage Sunburst. Either way though he's going to get a great guitar [thumbup]

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I would get the 1962 sheraton. The 355 falls apart, the jack input breaks, has regular alnico pickups found is any old epi, neck too thick, need to drill 2 holes yourself to install the pick guard. The sheraton is a really special guitar with great gibson pickups, the frequensator makes it sing, the thin neck makes it as easily playable as a les paul, and out of the box its ready to go with gibson brite wires strings. If you could hold them both you'd feel a marked increase in quality in the sheraton. In terms of feel there isn't much difference between the 355 and the budget dot to be honest. The sheraton on the other hand feels like holding a $5000 gibson.

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I would get the 1962 sheraton. The 355 falls apart, the jack input breaks, has regular alnico pickups found is any old epi, neck too thick, need to drill 2 holes yourself to install the pick guard. The sheraton is a really special guitar with great gibson pickups, the frequensator makes it sing, the thin neck makes it as easily playable as a les paul, and out of the box its ready to go with gibson brite wires strings. If you could hold them both you'd feel a marked increase in quality in the sheraton. In terms of feel there isn't much difference between the 355 and the budget dot to be honest. The sheraton on the other hand feels like holding a $5000 gibson.

 

Was it your personal experience that the 355 fell apart? Just having a problem with the input jack doesn't sound like "falling apart". In any case the Epiphones have a limited lifetime warranty. As to the pickups all the new Epis come with upgraded pickups that sound better (to me) than the ones used before that program started (don't know the year, sorry).

 

Necks vary and are a matter of personal preference. The neck on my new Dot is definitely not too thick. I also have a PRS with a wide/thin neck and the Dot neck compares very favorably to it. Regarding Les Pauls, my experience is the necks are not thin at all - just the opposite and one of the reasons I chose the PRS over an Epi LP.

 

I've played the Sheraton a couple of times at GC. It's a fine guitar, but I can't say it sounded significantly better than the Dot, or the Epi ES 339/335 Pros I played along side it - they all sounded fine. The Sheraton definitely has more bling, but again that a personal preference. I'd rather have more durable chrome hardware.

 

I think a pick guard is a good thing to have, but maybe it's not important to the OP. If it is it's easy enough to put one on.

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I wasn't trying to divide the house here, and in all honesty, I want one of the PB 355s for myself.

 

someone mentioned neck profiles, and yes, the Sheratons neck is thin, I mean Tele thin, maybe thinner, it's also narrow, but that's perfect for me due to arthritic hands. Its noticibly thinner than the neck on even my Sheraton II.

Balance.....it's important to me, and one big reason I prefer hollow/semi-hollow guitars....the Sheraton is perfectly balanced for seated play.....i've not played a 355 yet but i'm sure it's well balanced too.

 

as for sounding different, I gotta disagree w/the previous poster, the '62 sounds vastly different to a standard Epi w/humbuckers.

 

it's a shame that you can't play each beforehand, i'm not sure whether I could decide w/o it.

 

good luck to you !!

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as for sounding different, I gotta disagree w/the previous poster, the '62 sounds vastly different to a standard Epi w/humbuckers.

 

it's a shame that you can't play each beforehand, i'm not sure whether I could decide w/o it.

 

good luck to you !!

 

This is a good example of how we all perceive things differently. I'm going to have to go back to GC and play a Sheraton with the mini humbuckers again [smile] Do you feel that the difference in sound between the minis and the standard Epi humbuckers could not be compensated for in the amp?

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Do you feel that the difference in sound between the minis and the standard Epi humbuckers could not be compensated for in the amp?

Well, with the experience of owning a korean Sheraton II with asian full size humbuckers, a chinese Riviera LTD with asian mini humbuckers, a japanese Elite ES-335 with U.S. full size humbuckers and a Sheraton '62 reissue with U.S. mini humbuckers I would say: Yes. The '62 reissue Sheraton has a sound of its own, that you can't fully compensate for on the amp. You may get somewhere close, but it's not the same. Also Frequensator tailpiece vs. Bigsby vs. stop tailpiece makes a slight difference.

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I love both full size Humbuckers (Especially, Gibson '57, '57+), and Gibson Mini-Humbuckers!

I own 2 guitars now, with Mini's. My AIUSA Sheraton, and a '76 Gibson LP Deluxe. Mini's, to me, have

a nice "cross" in tone, between P-90's, and Humbuckers...in that they are a bit brighter, rounder,

and more articulate sounding, than (most) Full Sized Humbuckers. Yet, they still retain that

"humbucker" tone, overall. I always thought, from a pairing situation, the old "Alleykat" was

a great idea...Mini, at the neck, and full sized hummer, at the bridge! Although I certainly don't

"need" any more electric guitars (but, when has "need" been an issue, anyway...lol), I do wish that

Epi would bring back the Alleykat...but, with USA pickups, a thinner finish, and a Bigsby option,

as well. [thumbup]

 

Well, I can dream! (I have a LOT of those kinds of "dreams!"...LOL)

 

CB

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Well, with the experience of owning a korean Sheraton II with asian full size humbuckers, a chinese Riviera LTD with asian mini humbuckers, a japanese Elite ES-335 with U.S. full size humbuckers and a Sheraton '62 reissue with U.S. mini humbuckers I would say: Yes. The '62 reissue Sheraton has a sound of its own, that you can't fully compensate for on the amp. You may get somewhere close, but it's not the same. Also Frequensator tailpiece vs. Bigsby vs. stop tailpiece makes a slight difference.

 

 

 

epipho11.jpg

 

 

I went back to GC and played this Sheraton. I also played a new Sheraton with the standard size humbuckers and by comparison the minis are very bright. I prefer what I consider the warmer sound of the standard humbuckers, especially on the neck pickup, but that's just me. The point is the minis do sound quite different - perhaps the single most important difference between the Sheraton E212T and the Pelham Blue ES 355.

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epipho11.jpg

 

 

I went back to GC and played this Sheraton. I also played a new Sheraton with the standard size humbuckers and by comparison the minis are very bright. I prefer what I consider the warmer sound of the standard humbuckers, especially on the neck pickup, but that's just me. The point is the minis do sound quite different - perhaps the single most important difference between the Sheraton E212T and the Pelham Blue ES 355.

 

You played, THAT exact Sheraton?? Judging by the horn shape, it appears to be a Vintage '66-69 Sheraton! [love] [love] [love]

What were they asking for it, do you remember? Those (especially in "Cherry") are fairly rare birds!

 

CB

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You played, THAT exact Sheraton?? Judging by the horn shape, it appears to be a Vintage '66-69 Sheraton! [love] [love] [love]

What were they asking for it, do you remember? Those (especially in "Cherry") are fairly rare birds!

 

CB

 

Yep, that very one. It's listed as a "Scratch and Dent" because it has a small crack (maybe 1") on one side along the binding/edge of the neck by the headstock. The tech in the store says it's superficial/doesn't effect the integrity of the guitar. Apart from that the guitar is clean. All the gold hardware is in very good shape. Very pretty guitar for sure. They want $499. They're not listing it on the website. If you're interested PM me and I'll give you contact info. [smile]

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That can't be! That picture shows a USA Kalamazoo era, fairly rare "Cherry" finished Sheraton!!

For that price, there HAS to be something REALLY WRONG, with it. Not just cosmetic!

Granted, they don't command the prices that the same era Gibson's do...BUT, they still

garner a hefty sum, especially in great condition! So, what's REALLY going on, here?! [unsure]:rolleyes:

 

Are you sure it's not $4,999.00 :-k

 

In fact, they could get a lot more than $499, from just the parts, alone! Something's FISHY!! [confused]

 

 

CB

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These EPI Sheraton Tremotone 1962 Reissues are great guitars. I found mine on ebay. It's marked as a 2d. I really had to look hard to find out why, and finally it kind of hit me in the face. The side dots in the binding are all way too close to the wood of the neck, not centered in the middle of the binding as they should be. Other than that, it's perfect. The neck is not overly thin, but it's not chunky either. It's a good compromise size. These are an exact copy (well...as close as China can get) to an original 1962 mentioned by one poster. In fact, there is an original 1962 with this trem on ebay now at a cool $4995. IIRC, this was the original Epiphone semi hollow archtop. The neck is just great, tone is also. There is marked difference in tone at the three switch positions however. I don't find it bright at all - just clean and I make a distinction between clean and bright. So far I've only played through my 1938 Kalamazoo KEH amp. Later today, I will run it through my '54 Les Paul amp and then through my L5 amp. Then I'll try my Fenders, Ampegs and Vox. Good shakedown material eh?

 

Retail on these is $849.00 new, including the case - which is the original grey color by the way. Sweetwater said they are getting in a new shipment of these soon, and will sell for $799.00. Supposedly, they are only making 1962 of these, in which case they may be hard to come by. Personally, I don't see Epi restricting the numbers, especially if they sell well. We will see.

 

One good thing is that this model has USA Made Gibson mini buckers and CTS pots. No tiny toys these. I don't know what brand or value the caps are. Apparently, while looking like the original Tremotone tailpiece, these reissue Tremotones were redesigned a bit to work better. I don't know what the original problems were or what changes were made though.

 

These come in two models. The Tremotone model is shown in this thread, and the Frequensator model. The Tremotone is an Epi designed, Bigsby styled, tailpiece/trem. They only used it on the 1962 Sheraton. The Frequensator is a tailpiece only. It has two quite different string attachment lengths, but I'm not sure how much the difference is. I'm guessing about 3 inches.

 

I have bought both. I know..greedy. The Tremotone arrived last night, and the Frequensator will come next week. I'll shake them both down and keep the good one and sell the other. course...I may have to keep them both.

Here are two links to the guitars. Most of the photos are of that particular guitar as posted in ebay. A few are there from places like Sweetwater so that I could see things not in the original ebay photos. If you have any particular questions, feel free to ask. I'm more than happy to answer all.

Tremotone

 

EPIPHONE - Sheraton 1962 E212TV

 

Frequensator: The photo with the serial number is a shot from Sweetwater. It is not the serial number of my guitar(s). On these 2ds, they impress a stamp lightly into the headstock back, and a sticker is placed over top of the serial as you see it in the photo.

 

Epiphone -Sheraton - 1962 Anniversary Sheraton E212T (Cherry)

 

I hope this help clarify things and that everyone enjoys the photos.

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That can't be! That picture shows a USA Kalamazoo era, fairly rare "Cherry" finished Sheraton!!

For that price, there HAS to be something REALLY WRONG, with it. Not just cosmetic!

Granted, they don't command the prices that the same era Gibson's do...BUT, they still

garner a hefty sum, especially in great condition! So, what's REALLY going on, here?! [unsure]:rolleyes:

 

Are you sure it's not $4,999.00 :-k

 

In fact, they could get a lot more than $499, from just the parts, alone! Something's FISHY!! [confused]

 

 

CB

 

I can only say that the guitar I played looked identical to the picture I posted. Next time I go to GC I'll actually check the f-hole sticker and the headstock for a serial (if it's still there of course). Meanwhile I'm happy to provide contact info to anyone who wants to contact the store directly.

 

As to the possibility of something major being wrong with the guitar all that's obvious is the small crack. The guitar plays perfectly and sounds great. If I wanted it though I would get a second professional opinion about the crack. GC has a thirty day return policy so the risk is low.

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I can only say that the guitar I played looked identical to the picture I posted. Next time I go to GC I'll actually check the f-hole sticker and the headstock for a serial (if it's still there of course). Meanwhile I'm happy to provide contact info to anyone who wants to contact the store directly.

 

As to the possibility of something major being wrong with the guitar all that's obvious is the small crack. The guitar plays perfectly and sounds great. If I wanted it though I would get a second professional opinion about the crack. GC has a thirty day return policy so the risk is low.

 

 

Well, for that price, I would guess, it's probably the '62 Reissue, in Cherry, but with

the wider (more Gibson like), headstock (as was typical, for '62 Sheraton's), and 3 screw

hole TRC, instead of the 2-hole, USA version pictured. Also, the "horns" will be rounder,

less pointed, than the one in the picture. That horn shape, didn't appear (officially) until

the '66 model year. I know, because my '66 Casino, has those same horn shapes. [biggrin]

 

Even so, the '62 Reissue, is a lovely guitar! [thumbup]

 

CB

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Well, for that price, I would guess, it's probably the '62 Reissue, in Cherry, but with

the wider (more Gibson like), headstock (as was typical, for '62 Sheraton's), and 3 screw

hole TRC, instead of the 2-hole, USA version pictured. Also, the "horns" will be rounder,

less pointed, than the one in the picture. That horn shape, didn't appear (officially) until

the '66 model year. I know, because my '66 Casino, has those same horn shapes. [biggrin]

 

Even so, the '62 Reissue, is a lovely guitar! [thumbup]

 

CB

 

Went back and took some pictures:

 

p1000310.jpg

 

p1000311.jpg

 

p1000312.jpg

 

p1000313.jpg

 

The crack in the neck is kind of discouraging on an otherwise lovely instrument.

 

By the way I hope the OP will post about which guitar he chose and not be put off by my off topic posts.

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