Les Paul Ultra II Review

manufacturer: Epiphone date: 01/19/2011 category: Electric Guitars
Epiphone: Les Paul Ultra II
This Guitar was made in Korea and it has a smooth and boasts an impressive slim-taper, 12" radius neck with 22 frets.
 Sound: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 8.4
 Reliability & Durability: 7.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.4
 Features: 8.6
 Overall rating:
 8.5 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.4 
 Users rating:
 8.6 
 Votes:
 62 
reviews (6) pictures (1) 35 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
Les Paul Ultra II Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 07, 2009
2 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 549

Purchased from: Guitar Guitar

Features: This Guitar was made in Korea and it has a smooth and boasts an impressive slim-taper, 12" radius neck with 22 frets. The quilt top finish is a beautiful sunburst with no flaws at all. The chambered body makes this guitar light and a perfect candidate for long Live sets or jam sessions. The Alnico classic plus humbuckers are passive and have a great sound. But the true gem of this guitar is hidden in the neck. The shadow nanomag Acoustic pickup. This is active and needs a 9-volt battery in order to work. The sound is just like an electro Acoustic, and I use it for all my clean tones. The controls are split. Two are for the humbuckers, while two are for the nanomag. However, the volume and tone pots Switch depending on what pickup you are using. For example, if you are using the treble pickup in the bridge position, the volume is closest to the floor while the tone is closest to you. This is reversed if you are using both pickups or the neck pickup. The grover tuners are high quality and hold tune very well. // 10

Sound: The sound is brilliant. With the addition of the nano mag pickup, this guitar can cover all tonal areas with ease. I run it through a Line6 Spider III 150 and it copes extremely well with all the effects and amp models. The feedback can be horrendous if the amp model is set on insane while you're standing close to it, though. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: When I got the guitar, the action was perfect. However, the bridge pickup was far too low, but that is just a minor thing. Intonation was perfect, strings fitted the nut, the wood was flawless and the neck was perfectly set. There isn't much else you can ask for. The nanomag even came with a battery. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is built like a tank. I have dropped it three times and there isn't a dent to be seen. The hardware seems like it will last as long an age. The strap buttons are very well designed and there is really no need to fit proper strap locks. I would recommend the plastick clips that go over the strap though for added safety. I would use this guitar without a backup. It is very reliable and well built. // 10

Overall Impression: My overall impression is one of awe. The guitar is beautiful and as I have already said, it is solid. The pickups are very good and will not need replacing. The nanomag works wonders. I run this with a 65 reissue Mustang, and between them, any type of music is possible. Although the les paul could manage blues- jazz- rock- metal. Anything. I would deffinetly buy this again, and I plan to. I will use the next one as a second guitar on stage and probably put heavy gauge strings on it and keep it in drop C# tuning. I love the finish, it's just gorgeous. The only thing I dislike is the fact it dosnt come with a hard case. Still, I had no objectios to shelling out on a Hiscox case for it (75) as they are very well made, solid and have a generous sized compartment for picks/straps/tuners ect. // 10

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overall: 7.8
Les Paul Ultra II Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 26, 2009
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 549

Purchased from: Guitar Guitar

Features: This Guitar was made in Korea and it boasts an impressive slim-taper, 12" radius neck with 22 frets.The quilt top finish is a beautiful sunburst with no flaws at all. The chambered body makes this guitar light and a perfect candidate for long Live sets or jam sessions. The Alnico classic plus humbuckers are passive and have a great sound. The bridge pickup also sounds clear and defined with distortion. But the true gem of this guitar is hidden in the neck. The shadow nanomag Acoustic pickup. This is active and needs a 9-volt battery in order to work. Just underneath the battery compartment, there are three controls, Treble, Bass and Gain. These controls control the tone of the Nanomag pickup. The controls on the fron of the guitar consit's of 2 volume controls and a master tone. There is also a master volume for the Nanomag. You can tell the difference as the numbers on the knob are different. The Tune-o-matic bridge keeps everything in tune and the grover machine heads are first class. The only problem I have with this guitar is the fact that it does not come with a case and I had to shell out 75 for a Hiscox one. // 8

Sound: This guitar suits my music style and playing style perfecty as it can handle distorted and clean sounds and there is no buzzing when the guitar is being played. It is alos built like a tank. I have dropped it three times and there is only a small scrath to show for it. The styock pickups are very good, but if you are looking for something with alot of punch, it would be worth switching out the bridge pickup for an EMG or Seymour Duncan. I run it through a Line6 spider III 150, and it copes very well with the amp models and amp effects. I also use DS-1 pedal, and it can handle any level of distortion the pedal gives. However, there can be terrible feedback if you stand too close to the amp. And the neck pickup seems abit weak to me. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: From the factory, the guitar was set up perfectly. The intonation was amazing, the action was set at just the right height and the pickups were almost correct. A few mm too low, but that was easily sorted. Everything was routed properly. The finsh was flawless, and it is beautiful. The wood quality is great and the mahogany gives a great tone. Everything was cut to perfection but one of the frets were slightly oxidised. I sorted it with a bit of polish, but I would have rather not have done. // 7

Reliability & Durability: As said before, this guitar is built like a tank. The hardware seems like it will last as long as an age. The strap buttons are very well designed and there is really no need to fit proper strap locks. I would recommend the plastic clips that go over the strap though for added safety. I would use this guitar without a backup. It is very reliable and well built // 8

Overall Impression: My overall impression is one of awe. The guitar is beautiful and as I have already said, it is solid. I run this with a 65 reissue Mustang, and between them, any type of music is possible. Although the les paul could manage blues- jazz- rock- metal. Anything. I would deffinetly buy this again, and I plan to. I will use the next one as a second guitar on stage and probably put heavy gauge strings on it and keep it in drop C# tuning, but I will be putting EMG'S on the next one. I love the finish, it's just gorgeous. // 9

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overall: 6.8
Les Paul Ultra II Reviewed by: L2112Lif, on may 18, 2010
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: The guitar's an Epiphone, and a new model. Around 2008 I believe. Its got your Standard 22 frets with a Gibson style neck, but a satin finish. Its mahogany with a quilted maple top, and I got it in the traditional sunburst. Its got 'gold' hardware, but after about a half a year it wears off to a not-so-pretty gold and chrome finish. She's got two humbuckers and a NanoMag piezo pickup (more on that in a moment). // 8

Sound: The guitar's got a very distinctive sound when you mix in the Piezo, and I always used to on clean tones. I'm running it through a Vox VT30 right now, and I used to use a Marshall 250DFX which I sometimes run the piezo output through, because the 250DFX is a completely characterless amplifier. The piezo sounds excellent, as do the humbuckers. I play everything from classic rock to grunge rock of the nineties, and with the VT30 I can grab those tones pretty well with this guitar. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I picked it up at the store, a factory second. There weren't any imperfections in the wood, but one tone knob was misaligned (But, knowing that I hardly use the neck tone, I didn't really care). The action was a little high for my taste, but once again I was at the store, so i guess it was to meet in the middle of styles. // 8

Reliability & Durability: At first, this guitar seemed pretty solid. Dropped it a few times into its hardshell case, the straplocks I put on the guitar failed a few times, yada yada. Typical practice stuff. However, one time the locks failed, the guitar fell down. Just, straight down. And the lock impaled the body of the guitar and created a GIGANTIC hole, which is now fixed. It took three months to fix that hole. Then, I get the guitar back and the tech broke the input cover AND the battery cover. So I replaced that plastic cover, which was s*** anyway, with a nice metal one. Then I notice the battery cover's broken. Tried to change the batteries, and the battery casing's LEADS broke. Just cleanly snapped. Poof. No more Piezo. Doesn't work, just sort of shifts in and out, which annoys me to all hell. // 3

Overall Impression: I honestly love(d) this guitar. I really do/(did), until that damn piezo's battery wires snapped. Perhaps if it was simply assembled in the USA better, none of the damage that was done would have ever happened. Don't get me wrong, I know it was ultimately my fault, but I've been this hard on other Epiphones, customs and acoustics, why not this one? I would buy this guitar again, though. Half because I love it when it works, and half because I'm a masochist when it doesn't. I've been playing for a few years, I've got a gig coming up tomorrow. Trust me, get a backup for this guitar. // 6

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overall: 9.2
Les Paul Ultra II Reviewed by: LeoKisomma, on january 07, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: The Les Paul Ultra II is a 22 fret guitar made by a company called Epiphone, which is generally regarded as a sub-contractor of Gibson. The tuners on the guitar feel that they are of a good quality, and it has the usual 4 dials on the front of the guitar for volume and tone adjustment. But this is where the similarities end between this and a regular les paul. This guitar has two sets of pickups; the usual hum-buckers for treble and rhythm which are from the same maker Gibson use for their Les Paul guitars, and a nanomeg setup for the neck of the guitar. For those who are wondering what I'm on about, nanomeg pickups are a system of pickups laid underneath the fretboard and are particularly useful on Acoustic guitars for a clean sound. This means the this guitar has the ability to function as a fully electric and a semi-acoustic. This may lead to some confusion as there are three volume dials on the front and one master tone, so I'll describe it as if I'm looking down at it while it's strapped around my neck. The top-right dial is nanomeg volume, top-left is treble pick-up volume, bottom left is rhythm pickup volume and bottom right is master tone control. I'll talk you through how to use these in the sound section, but needless to say that makes this a seriously versatile guitar, in the same way that giving a man a third arm makes him better at juggling. Individual EQ for the nanomegs is on the back of the guitar. Finish on mine is cherry sunburst and quite nicely finished, and the neck is bolt-on, giving it a solid earthy tone. That's about it for features but there's enough of them. Important note: nanomeg pickups are always active on all channels so to hear them without interference turn on pickup to zero and turn nanomeg volume to desired level. // 10

Sound: This guitar sounds solid, thick, earthy sharp and smooth all at the same time when it's overdriven and you've set it up properly. Personally I set the treble volume to maximum, nanomeg volume to minimum and Rhythm volume to minimum when playing it overdriven. This does two things: firstly is means that all the gain is channeled cleanly through the treble pickup so you get a really thick classic-rock sound without the nanomeg interfering, and it sounds beautifully smooth yet sharp. Alternate picking as well as finger picking, hybrid picking and legato playing are all possible as the pickups are wired to receive everything; the second thing turning the nanomeg volume down does is unique, Switch to that while on a fully driven gain channel and all the gain goes away but the volume and the clean tone remains, like a foot-switch. This is because the pickups are still receiving the signal from the guitar but all of the 'rough' noise has been washed out. This makes quick switching between guitar overdrive and clean tone possible with the tone Switch on the guitar. Be aware that I use it for the tones that I like so I can't vouch for everybody, but I'm struggling to think of a tone this guitar can't produce save for effects pedal-induced stuff. I've played a Zakk Wylde with EMG active pickups that produced less gain. That's my opinion though and I don't fiddle the tone much so I don't have a 'full deck' yet. It's deal a good first hand though. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up very well. Some guitars I've played have the action set too high, particularly on Gibson and gibson-style guitars. This wasn't set up badly, the neck feels very nice to play on, and joy of joys this guitar has been cured of the oldest Les Paul curse in the book. Les Paul's are generally as heavy as granite, but because of hollow spaces inside the guitar to enhance the nanomeg sound it's probably the lightest guitar I have. Wood feels of a good quality, the strings were a bit thinner than I'm used too but I'll soon change them anyway. The only other thing that I can think of that might be a flaw of this guitar is simply that it's an Epiphone rather than a Gibson so it wouldn't sell for much, but I wouldn't want to sell it anyway. It's definitely a part of my live 'kit bag' now. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've played it live while switching vigorously between clean and gain on the guitar rather than the amp and it's still working fine, and gave me what I needed for the performances. The strap buttons haven't fallen off, which is always nice, as it's usually a nice surprise on some guitars. I've used high volume and high gain and both and it's survived so far. Finish hasn't peeled or faded despite a knock due to me being careless by accident. I would happily turn up at a gig with just this. I use a guitar with a whammy bar so I personally Wouldn't use this exclusively but it's apples and oranges really. Anne Wilson from Heart uses these exclusively for her live performances nowadays though. // 9

Overall Impression: I play heavy metal, classic rock, blues, jazz and the occasional bit of classical and funk. This guitar meets my demands for all of these styles. There I very little more that I could ask of this guitar other than the whammy bar requirement, but that's me being picky. I also checked Gibson's stock, they have no equivalent guitar, so it's unique to epiphone. If I lost it I would get another in a heartbeat. If it was stolen, I'd probably fall into depression for a while as it's already become one of those 'special few' guitars, you know? Those couple that you look at and think "sure it's got a bad name on it and there are other that I could get thousands for selling, but this is the one I've got, and this is the one I want". // 9

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overall: 8
Les Paul Ultra II Reviewed by: grungelive72, on january 19, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: Okay so the Ultra II has been my first legitimate guitar. I had a New York Pro Strat before this but that sucked and didn't really count. Now, I bought this guitar with the intention that I would be using it for playing classic rock/punk and also Acoustic pieces. Well within the first month of having my Ultra II (I've had it for 2 years now), the knobs controlling the nanomag active pickup broke off. All of them. I'm not a guitar tech person so I didn't want to try popping open the back and pretend like I knew what I was doing. So I took it to Guitar Center and apparently these small, black, plastic knobs are pretty much impossible to get a hold of. After driving the 20 minutes to Guitar Center every weekend for about 3 months to see if there was any news on the knobs, I gave up and decided to just use the normal Alnico Classic pickups. The neck isn't too bad, a bit thick for my liking though, however, it is quite fast. I believe it's satin? I might be wrong though. The body is really light for a LP because it's "strategically chambered." The red and gold finish on mine kicks a** (Am I allowed to swear?) and my ex-girlfriend liked it a lot (Bro Points). The knobs are a master tone, and a volume control for each pickup, nanomag, neck, bridge. Tuners are grover, but they tend to wear out after awhile. Mine fall out of tune after even some moderate bending, especially on the G string. // 7

Sound: The buckers on this machine are pretty quiet, they're no EMG's but they're decent in the noiseless department. The pups are not very hot and require the gain to be cranked to get any sort of acceptable modern rock tone. I play through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe with an Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff distortion pedal. This gives me a pretty crunchy and clear tone, but not very tight. The bottom end is rather loose. I can get somewhat of an Avenged Sevenfold tone out of it? But that's about as heavy as it goes. This guitar really shines for anything Led Zeppelin. Using the OD channel on my Hot Rod Deluxe with the gain cranked full makes an amazing tone. Overall, this is a great Classic rock guitar, although if you have some intense distortion pedal I guess you could squeeze out some heavy metal. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Because I got this guitar as a present from my Grandfather off ebay, I have no idea if the previous owner set it up or anything, but it feels great. They action is medium-low, which I like. This certainly isn't a "shredding" guitar. The pickups were raised well and give great tone. However, the input jack has been breaking and giving me problems since day 1 and I have needed to tighten it and replace the plates a few times. Also, the pickup selector has gotten loose several times and almost fallen into the guitar more than once. These flaws are a pain to fix every time. But the hardware is looking brand new, and overall the guitar looks fantastic. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've had this for 2 years and it's never let me down. I gig with it regularly and I love it. The strap buttons have never given way (I've never dropped it), and I frequently use this without a backup. It's that trustworthy. Finish is hard to scratch and looks brand new, hardware hasn't faded much, and I hope to keep this guitar until the day I die. This is a 9 only because of the knobs that fell off. // 9

Overall Impression: I play classic rock, hard rock, punk, and some blues and this guitar covers it all. I'm a bit of a loser (I've only been playing 4 years) but I know a good guitar when I feel one. I would not necessarily replace this if it were lost or stolen, just because I'm getting more into heavier sounds nowadays, but if you were someone who loved Zeppelin, you would never put this guitar down. I play it every day. The Ultra II is a bit overpriced, but a great intermediate guitar. I'd definitely try it out before buying it. It's definitely not the best instrument out there, but it's worth playing at least once. I bet someone will love it. // 8

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