Price paid: $ 150
Purchased from: local pawn shop
Sound — 8
I play a lot of Slash-esque riffs, and the special pulls it off rather well. The tonal quality is great, with the wax potted pickups and 500k pots. I get very little hum, and run it thru either a DOD or Zoom pedal hooked to my Crate amp. Harmonics are great, sustain is pretty decent, although my Les Paul kills it on sustain.
Overall Impression — 8
All in all, it suits my musical taste. I have 6 other guitars, and this one gets used second to my Les. If stolen I would definitely buy another one. I am considering getting a second one, so I can hot rod this one. I like the color, the shape, the sound, I just wish they had doubled up the vol and tones, but then again, that's a Les. A bigsby would be fun, but as it is, it's a great value.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It would withstand a live gig, however I believe the attendees wouldn't be that thrilled with it. The hardware is pretty fine, although it never hurts to upgrade. The strap buttons are mounted good, albeit a little small. I would definitely consider strap locks. The finish is deep, and glossy. I would bring it to a gig as the backup. If my Les petered out I maybe able to fake it to the end.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action was very smooth, and the strings very close to the fret board. Pickups needed some finessing. The only issues I noticed was noise from loose strap buttons, and the wires needed trimmed. The wood quality was good, and luckily you can't see any wood, so the finish is impeccable.
Features — 6
I picked up this Epi Special, about 3 months ago.The head is the standard Epi head, and the switches etc, are Gibson. Whether this is true accross the board, I am unsure. it's probably Japan made, although it doesn't state that fact. The neck is Standard 22 fret, with frets thinner than my Strat. The body is alder, the neck is probably maple. I doubt it's mahogany. It's a solid black color with a very high gloss finish. The body is Les Paul style, although it's flat, rather than arched. It has the Tune-O-Matic bridge, and stop bar, identical to most Les Pauls. It comes with two nice humbuckers, stamped Epiphone on the reverse side. Its controls are one volume, 1 tone, with a 3-way switch. Probably not switchcraft though. The pots are indeed 500k Gibson pots. Whether that's the norm, once again, I don't know. It had the regular enclosed cheapo deluxe non locking tuners, but I have since replaced them with a set of chrome grovers. As far as accesories.