Epiphone LP Special II Review
The Epiphone LP Special II is an extremely inexpensive electric guitar suitable for beginners. Here’s an overview of the features:
- 22 frets on a rosewood fretboard
- Mahogany bolt on neck
- Mahogany body
- Tune-O-Matic bridge
- Epiphone 700T and 650R humbucker pickups
- 3 way pickup selector
- One volume and one tone control
This is a very basic guitar with basic features – ideal for beginners. One of my students has this guitar and for them at their stage it’s all they need. This combination of features is one of the best choices for a beginner as you won’t have to worry about multiple tone/volume controls or tremolo bridges. The guitar’s humbucker pickups make this an excellent choice for beginners wanting to learn rock or metal.
The bolt-on neck is only found on budget guitars as higher priced Les Paul guitars use a neck-through setup. For a beginner this doesn’t matter as it simply means you will pay a lower price. For a beginner there’s no advantage to paying extra for a neck-through guitar.
Ease of use
As a guitar teacher I know that beginners almost never touch the tone controls and often completely forget to think about pickup selection. This means that the three way switch and one tone, one volume controls are an ideal setup. I highly recommend this type of guitar for beginners due to the simple setup. As a beginner you want to focus on your technique and skills rather than concern yourself over pickup selection or tone adjustment.
The guitar feels very good and the body doesn’t feel bulky like an expensive Les Paul and achieves a similar look. Having the flat body makes it an excellent choice for children as they will find it easier to reach over the body and see over the neck. So for younger beginners the LP Special II is extremely easy to play when seated or standing.
With electric guitars it’s the pickups that have the biggest impact on tone. Budget range guitars will have inexpensive pickups and sometimes they can sound pretty nasty. The humbuckers in the Epiphone LP Special II sound great given the price. The quality of the pickups would have to be one of the best I’ve heard for a beginner guitar. The noise is very low (usual for humbuckers) and they react very well to high gain settings. Most beginners will want to play this type of guitar for rock or metal and my student is thrilled with the tone it produces.
The quality of the pickups are good enough that most beginners will never feel the need to upgrade them. By the time you develop to the point where you start to hear the difference in quality between different pickups, you will probably want a different guitar anyway. So this is definitely a safe choice for beginners that will last a long time. In other words – you’re not going to outgrow the sound of this guitar any time soon.
Quite often when one of my beginner students purchases a budget guitar I need to adjust the neck or action. When my student purchased the Epiphone LP Special II, I was very happy with the setup. The action was set up fairly low without any buzzing and I never noticed any problems over the next six months.
I’ve had students with tremolo guitars break the tremolo or damage the guitar so from this point of view the Epiphone LP Special II will be far more reliable as a beginner guitar compared to other budget options. Having a flat body means that the neck and headstock has a lower angle compared to a Les Paul which means it’s highly unlikely you will damage the guitar when laying it down or knocking it over.
The Ephiphone LP Special II is an ideal guitar for a beginner as it has a simple setup and a fantastic price.
- Fantastic price
- Excellent quality guitar for beginners
- Simple controls
- The vintage sunburst look isn’t for everyone (check out the Ebony finish here)
Who is it for?
Beginners – if you want to learn guitar or have just started learning, this is a fantastic guitar that you won’t outgrow any time soon. The simple setup means you wont be confused about pickup selection or separate volume and tone controls for each pickup. I recommend this type of guitar over a guitar with a tremolo bridge as there are extra problems beginners can experience with those type of guitars.
More specifically, if you want to learn metal or rock (or any other similar style), this is a great first guitar. The humbucker pickups work really well for high gain styles and the action of the neck makes it very easy to play.
Who isn’t it for?
Intermediates – if you’re already past the beginner stage, this guitar probably won’t meet your needs. It’s a great first guitar but not the best second guitar. If you’ve already been playing for a number of years you will probably want a guitar with better quality pickups or different hardware options.
How to get the most out of it
A lot of beginners are buying this guitar to use with the game Rocksmith 2014 and I can see why – it pairs up perfectly. Although any guitar can be used with the game, a simple guitar like the Epiphone LP Special II works very well as you can focus on your playing without thinking about pickup selection, tone controls, etc.
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