Price paid: £ 119.99
Purchased from: Absolute Music Solutions
Sound — 8
My style is principally punk rock/post-hardcore/alternative rock, and the Special II gives more than enough range to suit my needs. The tone pot, volume knob and pickup selector enable a fine range of tones, from warm and smooth to bright and biting. The Special II has a richer, darker tone than my first guitar, a Tanglewood Stratocaster copy, which has three singlecoil pickups - it provides a good contrast. I use the Les Paul with a Marshall MG100 FDX, and the humbuckers pretty much eliminate ambient buzz, except for when the tone pot & volume knobs are at the highest setting and the selector is on the bridge pickup, but that isn't really a problem of much consequence. Highly impressed.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar is very well matched to my style, giving a fine range of tones while being simple enough to make adjusting the sound quick and easy. I have been playing about one and a half years, and the only other guitar I have is a Tanglewood Stratocaster copy, which has a more trebly single-coil sound. I vetted this guitar thoroughly before making the decision, which was based on a multitude of favourable reviews and the good reputation of Epiphone. I purchased this guitar with my own money, which is why I opted for a lower-end model, but I can't really find many faults with it. I think I would probably buy the same guitar were it lost or stolen. The thing that I especially like about the Les Paul Special II is the fact that it punches well above its weight, and you get a lot of guitar for a very affordable price. I did consider getting an SG Special, but preferred the Vintage Sunburst finish that was available for the Les Paul models. I reccomend this product to virtually anyone, but especially for beginners as it is a forgiving, great-sounding guitar that will last and is pretty much unbeatable if its price is compared to its performance.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I would feel comfortable using this guitar live with no backup, as it feels sturdy and has a pleasing heft to it that engenders a feeling of solidity. The strap buttons are solid, although I have attached two Dunlop strap locks just to ensure that the strap will not come off during more spirited stage activities. The finish is durable and I am sure it will last. Very good.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action was good enough for me to play it right out of the box. I do occasionally hear a slight bit of fret buzz when I play at the lower end of the neck, but I think that is more to do with operator error than the guitar itself. The tone pot and volume controls react positively. The finish is sleek and shining, and feels durable. The tuning pegs feel taut. The only issue is that the pickup selector Switch feels a little loose in its middle setting, but this isn't a major quibble. A well-put together guitar.
Features — 8
Pickups: 700T, 650R Hardware: Chrome Scale: 24.75 in. Nut Width: 1.68 in. Neck Joint: Bolt Neck Material: Mahogany Fingerboard: Rosewood/Dot Binding: None Body Material: Basswood Finish: Vintage Sunburst One volume control, one tone pot, 3-way selector. The only thing included was some literature and a cheap cable, but I wasn't too concerned by this due to the affordable price. I have only been playing around one and a half years, so the setup is simple and serviceable. All in all, good so far.