Epiphone Les Paul Special II
Epiphone Les Paul Special II

Les Paul Special II, LP-Shaped Guitar from Epiphone in the Les Paul series.

MGR/Mazz 02/04/2005

Epiphone Les Paul Special II : MGR/Mazz's user review

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Purchased 5 years ago at Music Junction in Camberwell, Victoria for about AU$450 (for the guitar alone, hard case was extra). I needed a guitar to learn on (as my Dad did not trust me with his guitars) and could not start out on acoustic because of small hands and fingers (although from practice on this one I can now play acoustic).

It has an awesome tonal quality to it, and it is possible to really rock out with, both in rythm and lead positions. It is really comfortable and light to wear, but takes a lot of getting used to playing it on your lap. This guitar can take a serious lot of knocking about - I have dropped and knocked this guitar on numerous occasions, and only have two very small dints in it. I wouldn't be surprised if you purposely smashed it on the ground and it didn't fall apart. I found this guitar was great for my small hands and fingers, and the fretboard is fantastic, doesn't take much to play, though the neck is fat and quite slow.

Although I really love this guitar, there are a lot of down sides to it. The pickups seemed to sink back into the guitar body and after that the sound wasn't ever the same, and it was somewhat dampened. The Jack socket was incredibly loose about a week after I got it home, so I tighten that by hand every once in a while (because there is no other way). The tuning is not the greatest out, although mine seems to be a lot better than other Specials out there. I can really thrash the guitar for a good 30 minutes before it needs any form of tuning (and no, I am not tone-deaf). But it can get rather annoying when I have experienced guitars out there that do not need tuning for at least half a week. The strap is set in an awkward position and you really need either quick locks or a screw-in strap to not have your guitar crashing to the ground every five minutes. Originally my strap knobs just kept falling out (hint: stick a matchstick in the hole and then screw it back up - you're just filling up a hole). The plastic on the pickup switch broke almost immediately and when switching between pickups, there is this large echoey sound, which can be heard over an amplification system at times it is so loud. And I have a 60W practice amp! The thing that really made me want to buy a new guitar was because the neck was so slow. No lightning quick solos on this guitar.

As I said earlier, you could bash this guitar to Mars and it'll come back sparkling. Little bits have fallen to pieces or have stopped working over the years, but it's expected from such a cheap guitar. I would recommend changing the tuners and the pickups for an almost awesome guitar if your an intermediate player.

Overall, this guitar is probably the best you can get for a beginner who does not know if they will continue with the instrument. It is cheap, and actually quite durable (despite what was previously said), and is good for what it is. But if you are up to the stage where you are looking for your second guitar, I would not suggest the Epiphone Special II, unless you were buying it for it's open coil humbuckers, because they can sound pretty sweet, even though they are cheap.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com