With a history stretching back over 100 years, Epiphone is certainly one of the world’s most storied guitar manufacturers. Their Sheraton model has been one of the company’s most popular offerings since its introduction in the 1950s.
The Sheraton II PRO version features the classic Sheraton body design with a couple of unique upgrades. Priced well under $1,000, this guitar is a great middle point between Epiphone’s traditional lower price range and more premium American-made guitars. Let’s break down the specifics of this axe and find out what makes it one of the best electric guitars available under $1,000.
The Sheraton offers the double-horned body shape made famous by Gibson’s ES-335. It’s a semi-hollow guitar, with a large center block running down beneath the pickups and bridge and two hollow “wings” on either side.
The semi-hollow design setup provides most of the woody acoustic tone you’d find in a hollow-body guitar without so much of the resonance and feedback. It’s also a great way to achieve the resonance of an acoustic instrument without the cumbersome width and depth. This axe is easy to manage for players of all sizes.
On the Sheraton II PRO model, the body and top are both constructed out of laminated maple. The neck is made from five pieces of laminated hard maple and walnut; it’s glued into the body for maximum resonance and vibration. Pau Ferro — a South American tonewood that offers a cross between the sounds of rosewood and mahogany — makes up the fingerboard.
The 24.75″ scale length is standard for all Gibson and Epiphone guitars; it’s great for a dynamic, slinky feel and makes expressive bends easy. Likewise, the 12″ fretboard radius provides just enough curvature to make chords slightly easier without restricting fast, seamless solos and bends.
The Sheraton II PRO comes outfitted with a pair of Epiphone Probucker humbucking pickups. These are Epiphone’s attempt to recreate the legendary tones of Gibson PAF humbuckers, first introduced in the 1950s and ’60s. In terms of tone, they offer a broad frequency response that’s great for rock, blues, jazz, and hard rock — ES-style guitars are some of the most versatile models around, and this Sheraton is no exception.
Following standard practice for Gibson and Epiphone, this axe features a set of four control knobs: two volume knobs and two-tone dials give you precise control over each pickup. One nice divergence from more traditional offerings is the coil-splitting feature enabled here for both the neck and bridge humbucker.
When enabled, splitting the coils deactivates one of the two coils contained within the pickup. That effectively turns your humbucker into a single-coil pickup and allows you to obtain an even larger array of tones from the same guitar. A three-way pickup selector switch also comes stock, allowing you to change between pickups or blend them together to further customize your sound.
As one of Epiphone’s top-of-the-line models, the Sheraton II PRO includes some outstanding hardware to match its reputation. The Epiphone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stoptail bar work with the Grover Rotomatic tuning pegs to keep your tuning and intonation stable across the entire neck. The nut is made from Graphtech’s NuBone material, a synthetic compound designed to mimic the tonal qualities of bone with a longer lifespan.
The real highlights, however, are the flashy inlays and accents. The neck features mother of pearl and abalone inlays, shaped into blocks with a triangle set in the center. The headstock houses Epiphone’s elaborate mother of pearl vine inlay, reserved for the company’s fanciest instruments. It’s certainly hard to miss! A contoured tortoiseshell pickguard rounds out the design with a more understated, classic touch.
True to its history, the Sheraton II PRO offers an incredible range of tones; pretty much any player can find their perfect sound on this axe.
The neck pickup is warm and smooth, with plenty of bass and midrange frequencies. Jazz and blues players will appreciate the added depth and the soft, smoky sound it produces when played clean. While there’s still some top-end coming through, the neck might sound a bit muted to players looking for a snappier, more treble-heavy tone. When distorted, it’s throaty and vibrant — the midrange emphasis keeps everything punchy without coming off as overbearing or piercing.
The bridge pickup delivers the sharper tones rock and country players will love. Whether clean or distorted, it cuts through any mix with ease. The increased treble is apparent whether you’re playing through the bridge pickup exclusively or blending it with the neck — the more focused, present tone certainly comes in handy for lead playing.
The pick attack and dynamic response are also outstanding here; the Probucker pickups noticeably clean up or distort as you dig in with your picking hand. With the guitar just slightly breaking up, it creates a fascinating tone that’s both clean and dirty at the same time. We can imagine it’s a feature many Sheraton players would love to take advantage of!
The Epiphone Sheraton II PRO builds on Epiphone’s tradition of quality budget instruments while offering some touches normally found on more expensive instruments. As a “step-up” guitar or just a second axe for some variety, it’s hard to beat the Sheraton’s blend of performance, versatility, and value.