Les Paul Special II review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (939 votes)
Epiphone: Les Paul Special II
1

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.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jon.peebles
    This is a very nice guitar, FOR THE MONEY. Those of you comparing them to Gibsons just plain don't know what you are talking about. Even the higher end Epi's are definitely a step up. That being said, this is much nicer than any other 170 dollar guitar i've played. The pickups are pretty decent, I play mostly classic/hard rock type stuff (Aerosmith, Zeppelin, etc) and with a decent amp you can get a good, throaty distortion from the bridge pickup, but it starts to get muddy if the tone knob is any lower than like 9. It doesn't quite have the balls of a real LP, but it's no slouch. When it comes to getting clean tones they are a little finnicky, I can only get a good full clean sound out of a very specific tone/pickup configuration but when you get it dialed in right it sounds pretty good. The sustain isn't quite what I would like, especially at lower gain levels. A set neck guitar with a better nut would probably help drastically with that though. The hardware and finish are great for the price, I've knocked mine around a good deal with minimal blemishes and no real damage. After a good setup mine plays very well. Nice low action which is great for the beginners this guitar is intended for. I'm planning on upgrading to mos likely an Epi LP custom now that i've been playing awhile, but I probably won't get rid of this one. It's become my baby and will continue to be a serviceable guitar for quite a few years I imagine. Definitely the best guitar out there for beginners and would even serve an intermediate player pretty well.
    Grovle5
    A good guitar for a beginner, but if you want a good guitar that you could use in a gig, then your in the wrong place. A good beginning guitar and very cheap. It has good tone and stays in tune relatively well. I learned to play guitar on it, and is definitly worth the money. You should give this guitar a look if your wanting a cheap, easy to use guitar.
    bearsfan092
    Yep, I can confirm the low E buzzing problem. Tuners are kinda bleh. For a beginning guitar, this is fine, but I'd seriously consider other options rather than buying this because it has the name "Les Paul" on it. 6.8/10
    BMX_KID
    This was my very first electric guitar back in the day....i still got it ive had it for 3 years and its in good shape still, but now i gotta dean VMNT1 (Hell Yeah!)...the only probs i had with it is that it went outta tune reall easy like when i put it back in the case and got it out the next day the E,D,G, and B strings would be outta tune wtf?! and it does buzz on down past the 15th fret so it was kind of annoying when i played solos, plus i had to re adjust the neck a lil when i first got it but other than that its a purty good beginner guitar great sound and feel
    Thedamondude
    I personally love my Special II. This guitar shreds. anything from complicated solos and arpeggios, to a good blues sound, it performs. I would definately use this guitar live. It's really one of those instruments you want to take care of because it will keep its tone forever. Compared to my Schecter Damien6, it packs a little less punch, but thats what I expected on the lower end. Nice bright sounds, and kicks ass with distortion or overdrive. All in all this guitar is a beast, it can pull off any technique with style.