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Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II Artist Series - Vintage Sunburst Reviews

4.5 stars based on 15 customer reviews
  • from usa December 18, 2014Music Background:

    I have the sunburst one, love it what acction

    love it what a sound. would like to know what to get to polish the gold pickups and shine there brass color

  • from Seattle, WA Area May 4, 2013Music Background:
    Playing since 65' Produce TV Commercial Music tracks

    A Jazz Guitar So Good, I bought 2 of them.

    I have a 1994 Natural Finish JP-II and a 2005 Heritage Cherry Sunburst JP-II Model, Both are Korean made by Samick, and are Excellent. I am using D'Addario Chrome 11 Flatwounds and Have Upgraded the Pickups to Gibson 490T/490R Gold Humbuckers in the 2005 model, and have installed Gibson 57 Classic and 57 Classic Plus Gold Pickups in the 1994 Version. Both are Truly Excellent Guitars, the 94' Natural Model is Mellower sounding, with Beautiful Full jazz tones and an Nice Smooth easy playing Neck. The 2005 Version has a slightly brighter and more lively sound with the 490 series pickups, and has an even faster neck, with slightly better acoustic sustain. The newer 2005 version is overall, an improved Model. I played it back to back with an Vintage ES-165, and my JP-II Played Better, Sounded Better, and didn't have feedback issues!!

  • from Brooklyn, Michigan February 11, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Tech/Former Pro Player

    Great Value

    The Emperor II has been a wish-come-true for me. The guitar is more attractive in person than I thought it would be! It plays VERY well, too. The 'jazz box' design and quality is nothing short of amazing, especially when you factor in the price point of this guitar. I had considered saving up for a Gibson like the ES-175, but the cost was way too high for me. The Emperor II appears to have the same build quality, although I know that the electronics aren't as good. But that can be taken care of if I decide to upgrade them. Still, as it stands I have NO plans to do anything but enjoy playing this and leaving it completely stock.

  • from New York February 22, 2012Music Background:
    Juilliard graduate [piano and composition major]. Retired High School music teacher. Professional accompanist and arranger.


    I purchased the Epiphone Emporer II two years ago. I arrange and play the old standards [Jimmy VanHeusen, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, etc.] both amplified and without the amp. This guitar sounds warm and beautiful both electronically and acoustically !!
    It is positively the very best guitar purchase that I've made!!

  • from Baltimore February 2, 2010Music Background:
    Lifelong Hack

    Yes its a great guitar

    I thought this guitar deserved better than a 3. Its a six hundred dollar guitar, I'm not going to compare it to an 8000 dollar Gibson, or guild USA. Believe me, NOTHING else in this price range will come anywhere near the Emperor 2. Its a pro grade instrument. I love Gibson Guitars and while I'm no expert on semi Hollow bodies this axe has definately got the Gibson Neck. Not all Epiphones do, not even the pricier ones, but this one does. The joinery is high quality and the hand work is there, Unlike Cheapy guitars which to me have a feeling as if they were never touched by human hands, much less skilled hands, but this one has got the feel.These kinds of large arch tops are what are known as "Jazz Boxes" and this one is done in the grand old Epiphone style. I have a feeling this guitar could also handle some hot electric blues or heavy 70's rock. Im going to give it a work out on my Marshall JMP Mk2 and find out.

  • from California January 4, 2013Music Background:
    Beginer guitarist/drummer

    Epiphone Emperor 2 Guitar

    Great guitar and i dig the fact you guys check the guitar out to make sure it will arrive in playing condition is cool.Also your added warranty and customer follow up is great.I would defintly order again from sweetwater!
    Good price as well.

  • from Westport, CT December 27, 2012Music Background:

    I Played it and Loved It at First Sight and Sound

    It was love at first sight and sound for me. I went in to buy a set of strings for my LP 1960 VOS and left with a Emperor II. It just had such a great whole body tone and I loved the feel of the neck and quality of the sound. This guitar is priced right, too. I had an Epiphone ES 335 that I traded in 2 years ago. I didn't like the quality. It wouldn't hold it's tune. I loved the tone but was just disappointed. The Emperor won me back. The Vintage Sunburst is beautiful. It fits my hand and body comfortably and the sound through my Black Star amp. I agree that they could have shaved the frets a bit more for my taste, but this is by no means a big issue for me. There is some feedback issues but that goes with the territory for a hollow jazz box. It is fun to play with or without my amp - just a great addition to my collection.

  • from wichita December 26, 2012Music Background:

    Joe apass emperor 2

    Plays very nice,..really,.. a great value for the money !!!

  • from Pleasant Grove, UT USA October 3, 2012Music Background:
    Jazz/classical guitarist, film composer


    Absolutely love this guitar! Very, very warm jazz tone, but can be fun for rockabilly style or rock on the bridge pickup. Compared to Gretsch's Electromatic, and Ibanez Artcores, this is the best sounding guitar I've played, acoustic or plugged in. Plays like an acoustic guitar, like you've stepped back in time about 70 years. Only complaint, the pickguard rattles a bit. Awesome, get one, you won't regret it!

  • from Rocky Mt, NC November 12, 2010Music Background:
    Longtime gigging guitarist/bassist

    A surprisingly good guitar

    I was surprised at how good it sounded and played. My previous experience with Epiphone '57 Classic pickups had been bad--I had found them dull and lifeless but the original owner had lowered them a bit and they sounded great on this guitar. I love the neck profile; it's not too slim and not too meaty. The natural ones present a rich appearance and the vintage burst ones are also attractive. The earlier ones also had a cherry burst finish that just looked cheap in my opinion. For fun, I brought it to a blues gig and the response to it was all positive.

    The only drawback is the pickguard. It sits on top of the pickup rings which means the nonjazzers are likely to catch their pick on the guard while playing rapid 1st string runs. I have fabricated a 335-style pickguard for mine but just removing the bracket and guard works fine.

    So how satisfied have I been with this guitar? I swapped a great sounding but well used Gibson Les Paul Studio for this and I have had zero regrets.

  • from Chicago October 24, 2014Music Background:
    giggin' musician

    Great tone and easy playing guitar

    I play mostly blues but it's nice to have a guitar you can play a touch of jazz on. Also, nice to grab when tinkering around and you want to play an electric without plugging in. As a hollow body it obviously gets feedback when you add distortion but you can add some mild gain to give a good bluesy tone when needed.

  • from Central Oregon March 25, 2013Music Background:
    Part-time musician/teacher who gigs regularly

    Great value with that traditional, jazzy tone.

    The guitar is very well-constructed with a near-flawless finish. I wasn't sure about the set-up and played for several hours over a period of a few days to determine if I was going to keep it. I made a few adjustments, then took it to rehearsal and played it with my bass player. He was amazed and loved the tone. I had to admit that the blend with the bass was very nice. Compared side by side with my Fender D'Aquisto Elite, the Emperor holds its own very well and is actually a little cleaner and richer in tone. After two weeks, I'm loving it and will use it for three gigs in the next couple of weeks. This guitar is a great value and a super deal for jazz players! It also has that traditional look and vintage sunburst that reminds me of those old Gibsons.

  • from Hudson , Il USA February 18, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Bass Player Dinner theater shows student guitar

    Very satisfied

    This guitar seems to be well made with special attention to detail.
    I was very impressed with the low setting on the action which is not expected on a accustic guitar. I love this guitar.

  • from Portland Oregon May 9, 2009Music Background:
    amature guitarist

    big bang for the buck

    I have a 93' model with sunburst finish and I love it. The craftmanship and construction is excellent. I love the sound and use it for blues/rock. For the money it is alot of guitar!

  • from Sacramento, CA USA February 1, 2004

    Emperor II

    Have been playing one of these sweet jazz boxes for about a month now. Mine is the natural finish, but the vintage sunburst models also look gorgeous. The original Epi pickups are very good in this guitar's price range. The tone is full and warm with plenty of mellow midrange from the neck pickup. The bridge PU adds brightness without twang. As with any hollow-body, beware of feedback - can be fun to take advantage of when playing certain rock styles. Less sustain and more feedback than a semi-hollow, but has that real phat jazz tone. Original strings were 10's, I prefer 11's on this type of instrument but it's a simple change. The neck is comfortable and very playable. My only complaint is with the frets that could be filed a little shorter at the sides of the neck, but otherwise the fretwork is good. Overall, a great buy at this price range.

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