Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I'm a metal player for the most part, and the distortion sound is very good. Even on my small Marshall MG Practice amp. The only un-wanted noises made are due to the amp limitation. At a respectable volume on my amp, this guitar really cranks out a full and strong sound. Especially after stringing it with the thicker strings needed to play in lower tuning. I now have a set of Zakk Wylde Boomers (10's) on it, and it sounds phenomenal, especially when paired with a better amp, like a Line 6 Flextone III.
Overall Impression — 10
I play all kinds of metal and "nu-metal". Sevendust, System Of A Down, Skindred, Drowning Pool, Linkin Park, Dream Theater, Godsmack, and bands similar to them. The guitar fits in very well since most of the bands tend to use Les Paul's. I've been playing for about two years total, and playing regularly (every day) for about a year now. The only other guitar I have is a Jay Junior Dreadnought acoustic guitar. My LP is far more fun to play. And while my uncle has a music studio in Boxford that I go to every Sunday, with several different nice guitars including a Shecter Diamond Series, and a Dean Les Paul, I find myself playing my Les Paul Special II far more. If the guitar were lost or stolen, I might get a Custom Les Paul and string it with the same strings, just because of the extra features it has. If I wanted to save a few hundred for an amp though, I'd buy one of these again. It's a solid product for advanced users, and it's very beginner friendly as well. I love the sound and the look, nothing makes me hate any part of it. The only draw bag with the Les Paul's is they tend not to have whammy bars. No need on most the songs I play, but it would be a nice feature to add. But anyway, if you want a new guitar that can perform well for one hell of a price, stop sitting here and go buy an Epiphone Les Paul Special II!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I play at all kinds of places and volumes. It's good to bang on, and it can also be one you take nice care of too. It depends on what you want from it. However, it's quite capeable of covering any and all bases. The stop-bar tail peice might eventuall rust out after a couple more years, but it's an easy item to replace, and it eventually happens to all guitars from my understanding, so no big deal. I went for an entire year (moderate usage) without changing the strings, and none of them broke. They only recently started to sound a little off. I wouldn't be worried about anything breaking. The finish gets finger prints on it since it's pure black, but that's nothing a cleaning cloth won't take care of.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar has nice, even action all the way down the fret, and the pickups start off well and stay nicely adjusted now matter how much you play it. Nothing was damaged when I got it. Perfect condition.
Features — 8
- Made in 2001 in the USA - 22 jump frets, rosewood fretboard - Mahogany/rosewood neck, alder/maple body - Dot inlays, chrome hardware - Ebony black finish - Les Paul form factor - Tune-o-matic bridge - One volume, one tone, one three-way Switch - Two humbucking pickups - Non-locking tuners - Came with gig bag, strap, cable, set of Dunlop Tortex picks, (2) Ernie Ball string packs. This guitar has some very nice features. It obviously isn't going to be quite as expansive as its "uptown cousins" as far as the on-board controls go, but for the price, the features list is very, very nice. Less controls for me to worry about anyway.