Epiphone Dot Archtop Review | A Player’s Take on a Vintage Axe
The Epiphone Dot Archtop, first manufactured in the 1990’s, is a more affordable version of the Gibson ES-335 “Dot”. For those beginner guitarist looking for a beautiful, semi-hollow body electric guitar, this Epiphone Dot Archtop review will interest you.
In a nutshell, there is no better semi-hollow body electric guitar that will beat the Epiphone Dot for the price. It is an excellent guitar in its own right even though Epiphone modeled it after the more expensive ES-335.
The Gibson ES-335 was first introduced in 1958 as the world’s first semi-hollow body electric and quickly because a popular guitar for those playing rock and roll. Many people know this guitar as “Lucille”, the trademark guitar for famous blues guitarist B.B. King.
Just as I shared in the Epiphone Les Paul review, Epiphone has taken the Gibson model and created a more affordable (but still good quality) electric guitar.
The design of the Epiphone Dot Archtop is like that of its older Gibson brother with only a few slight differences. A body that can be paradoxically described as both slim and jumbo is accented by two humbucking pickups and vintage top hat controls. Both guitars boast a mahogany neck and a beautiful rosewood fingerboard.
[Editor’s note: this article was first published incorrectly stating that the Gibson ES-335 was made using all solid wood. Based on reader comments, this has been changed] Interestingly, both guitars are manufactured using laminate wood and a solid, mahogany center block.
Thankfully, the quality manufacture of the Epiphone Dot Archtop compensates for laminate wood in this case because the guitar still sounds excellent.
Epiphone Dot Electronics
As I said above, the Epiphone Dot sports two humbucker pickups, which is what is expected with this type of guitar. Epiphone uses their Alnico Classic humbucker pickups which for an entry-level guitar are actually quite nice. The sound you can get through a sound system is impressive.
You can control each of these pickups individually with the tone and volume knobs (4 total) which are the fun vintage top-hat style. A 3-way selector switch allows you to switch pickup configurations.
Opposite from most guitars, the Epiphone Dot Archtop has its output jack positioned on the guitar face which may seem weird at first but it’s actually a pretty cool look when you’re playing on stage.
Epiphone Dot Playability
What sets the Epiphone Dot Archtop apart as an excellent beginner electric guitar is that it plays marvelously. This is because the action is low and the neck is smooth.
I have never had any buzz with this guitar and it feels great in my hands. There’s something about playing a Dot that makes me want to try out a new lick or run a nice scale. It just sounds nice and I barely need to press down on the frets.
Overall Impression of the Dot
While it’s not the cheapest entry-level electric guitar on the market, the Epiphone Dot Archtop is certainly one of the best values.
I love playing the guitar! Mostly because, it sounds like a guitar that costs twice as much. Best of all, it has a unique and beautiful look that turns head whether it’s on stage or hanging on your wall.
In conclusion, this guitar isn’t just for beginners, it’s a high-quality electric that will make even a veteran player want to pick it up and strum.