Additionally, despite its modest price, the ES33C comes equipped with a Shadow LC 4 preamplifier/EQ, which provides boost/cut sliders for Volume, Bass, Low-Mid, High-Mid, and Treble—having control over two bands of mid frequencies is a nice touch—along with a phase switch to aid in suppressing feedback. And, all of the low-profile controls are intelligently recessed below the edges of the preamp enclosure, reducing the possibility of changing settings by inadvertently brushing against them. An onboard tuner would have made a nice addition, but at this price, you have to cut corners somewhere.
The ES33C has a good, if unexciting, acoustic sound, and the lows, mids, and highs are well balanced, as are the volumes of the individual strings. When amplified, however, the level of the high E is lower than that of the other strings, the overall output is relatively low, and the sound is slightly boxy. The instrument fared a little bit better when played through a tube studio
preamplifier, yielding a richer and better-balanced response—though the more sensitive preamp also accentuated the piezo quack and general high-end brittleness.
The ES33C is certainly not a great guitar. But make no mistake—it is a good guitar and a great value.