Epiphone Les Paul Special II or Epiphone Les Paul Special VE?

What is the best beginner model for all genre, especially metal and rock?

  • Epiphone Les Paul VE

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FoxV1

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I am a beginner from a rock and metal background. I have been trying to buy my first lead guitar and after some research it became apparent that the Epiphone Les Paul was the best first guitar for beginners. I found that the Epiphone Les Paul guitar packs were the best option and Bryan Epsey gave an excellent demonstration on these packs. Of the three he demonstrated, I chose the Performance pack with the Epiphone 15R Electar amp. However, I couldn't find this pack anywhere online. In my research, only the Player pack was still in stock. The problem was that this only came with a 10 watt amp and the 15 watt amps were out of production as was the Performance pack and Epiphone Goth SG Electric Guitar Performance Pack. Then I watched all the Epiphone Les Paul guitars being previewed by experts on YouTube. The one that stood out was the Epiphone Les Paul Special II. This rated as the best of all. However, getting this as part of a pack proved fruitless and even when it was, it only came with the 10w amp. The single Player pack is still available, but now the amp has shrunk to nothing more than a toy for kids. The only option now is to buy the Epiphone Les Paul Special II and an alternative 15 watt amp separately. Now, yet another problem has emerged, the Epiphone Les Paul Special II is no longer in production and has been replaced with the Epiphone Les Paul Vintage Edition. After researching this, it too is cheaper and nothing more than a toy. Yet retailers are marketing the VE as having very little difference to the Epiphone Les Paul Special II. The VE is clearly no match for the Special II. So, it would seem that Epiphone have downgraded beginner models to toys.

I would really appreciate any feedback and opinions from anyone that may be able to offer some suggestions.

Many thanks in advance.
 

SWeAT hOg

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The Special II and LP VE are the same guitars.
 

chasenblues

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XJman

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The fit and finish in that price range is going to vary widely. You’ll have to try a bunch for yourself and not worry about reviewers on YouTube. Many times they are sent a ringer so the company can guarantee a good review.
 

sasquatch

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choices.
I favor the old yello P-90 Special.
Could be $89 if it was 2009 still, but it's not.
I would wait for a sale
or find a nice, clean un-used one before forking out upwards of $150
but it's definitely worth that money

38723162024_863e814666_b.jpg

What a Sreaming Demon!
Howl, Bark, Get Off!!
This was $89
I just needed the switch moved
 
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FoxV1

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Wow! Viewing all the advice here has been very helpful, especially from experienced guitarists. I have decided on the amp I want. I narrowed it down to the Spider Line 6 and Fender Mustang and the Mustang is much better. I have decided to buy the guitar from GAK since they offer a price match. They have ordered the guitar and I am just waiting for it to arrive in store, however the guitar they have ordered is the Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Special II Plustop (Heritage Cherry Sunburst). I have spotted the same guitar on Amazon for less their price: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Epiphone-P...l+special+ii+electric+guitar+vintage+sunburst I contacted GAK and they informed me that the Amazon model is not the plus top model. The one they've quoted is a better guitar. Both the Amazon Epiphone Les Paul Special-II and the GAK stores Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Special II Plustop look exactly the same to me. So, is the Plustop a better guitar? What do you guys think?
 

chasenblues

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So, is the Plustop a better guitar? What do you guys think?

Looking at the specs between the two they're the same to me. Imo at this level of guitars.."budget models/beginners level" calling something a "Plustop" is marketing speak to charge an extra 40$.

Just my .02c..Others will probably feel different.

Just add to your GAS(Gear Acquisition Syndrome:laugh2:) Have you looked at Thomann's?


https://www.thomann.de/gb/lp_models.html?filter=true&oa=pra&price-first=88&price-last=374
 

paruwi

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Looking at the specs between the two they're the same to me.

they are close, though the finish of the 'VE' is different,
it's not the thick poly coat, it's with open pores, feels way more 'woody'

edit:
the wood is poplar on the VE

s-l1600.jpg
 
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elephantrider

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agree with squatch. i bought this same guitar for $80. it was
a great little guitar. i actually ended up putting a toneman 50's
style full harness and jack, along with a late 60's gibson p90 in
the bridge, and it makes pretty good noises.

edit - i do like the ve finish, as pete pointed out, vs the smoother
finish of the tv yellow.


38723162024_863e814666_b.jpg

What a Sreaming Demon!
Howl, Bark, Get Off!!
This was $89
I just needed the switch moved
 

terryk20

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hi terry here this is my epiphone lp special ii plus top i have been playing live for 3 years the only mod i did was good quality tuners and good pickups in my case i opted for a set of epiphone pro buckers very close to a paf humbucker i get great copliments all the time and the mods cost les than 100 bucks
DSCF0004.JPG
DSCF0003.JPG
 

moreles

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Hmmm.... I'll have to memorize the Epi model numbering scheme and get back to you. Except I won't -- I think the plethora of models gets pretty silly. As others have noted, you may want to try a whole batch og them -- different models -- and let that experience guide your choice. I find the Epi quality control has gotten quite good, so there's way less risk of getting a plastic-coated lemon than was the case years ago. It's a good, reliable brand -- quite a success story. Enjoy the search.
 

BRMarshall

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I bought an Epi LP Special VE (Sunburst - nice) from MF last spring as part of my cheap project guitar series (Ibanez GRG120BDX & Squier Bullet Strat (2)). I think the Epi VE had the best classic rock sound with stock pups (since replaced with SD SH6 & DiMarzio Air Norton) through an Orange Micro Dark & Bugera G20 (1x12 cabs with WGS & Celestion spkrs). I have 2 Gibson LPs (Studio & Traditional) and the more expensive Epi LPs come closer to Gibson. I like the guitar a lot, although it did require some work. Overall set up was pretty good & although the tuners aren't top shelf, hold tune pretty well. The fretboard was ROUGH! You could see & feel the texture. I spent a fair amount of time sanding, ending up at 1500 grit, & now have a smooth board. With the single volume & tone, it is pretty easy to swap pups (the control cavity is VERY tight & the pots are small, BTW SD & DiMarzio have different color hots, I didn't coil split). The VE is inexpensive enough you can change pups, pots, jack, nut, & tuning machines as you go to customize if you like. The SD SH-6 is the third and final (I think) bridge pup in this guitar. The jack & electronics on mine seem very quiet. The only other planned upgrades are Grover tuners & Tusq nut.
 

BRMarshall

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FoxV1,
Congratulations, hopefully it arrives soon. The Plus Tops look real nice - its hard to complain about a cherry sunburst. I really like terryk20's blue burst (nice nickel pickups).
My two cents on amps. I've had a Fender Champion 100 (2x12) combo that I guess is a modeling amp, but never warmed up to it. I couldn't dial in the tube tone in my head. I've played mostly acoustic since 1981 & before this year had SS amps (exception, Marshall Valvestate hybrid half stack in the 90's, sold in the early 2000's). I bought an Orange Micro Dark (hybrid) last winter and a Bugera G20. To me tubes, even if just preamp, bring a sort of roundness and organic nature to the tone. The Orange is pretty cheap & with a graphic eq in the fx loop provides a lot of tonal flexibility and has way more volume than I need at home. Depending on your needs, you may want to try some of these low wattage tube amps (Orange, Bugera, Jet City, Randall, Marshall, etc.). The search for tone is part of the fun.
 

az2000

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I noticed the "vintage" has a 14" radius (the regular Special-II has 12"). Does that make any difference in playability? I think I read somewhere a flatter radius might be easier for larger hands? (Or, perhaps I have that backwards).

Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Special II Plustop (Heritage Cherry Sunburst).

I bought a used 2013 Epi LP Special-II. It's a nice guitar.

If you don't know how to setup a guitar you should watch some videos on neck relief, action height, intonation. Mine was out of adjustment and seemed much more pleasant to play after I adjusted it.

I'm in the process of changing my tone/vol pots to "dual concentric" pots. This should let me have tone & vol on each pickup without drilling holes and adding two more pots. (I'm also going to experiment with "50's tone wiring" and "independent volume" wiring.).

I also want to replace the 3-way switch with a "freeway" (6 position, at Stewmac). I'm thinking I'd like to switch between normal serial wiring (neck/both/bridge) and parallel (neck/both/bridge).

That seems like it would be fun stuff to play with without making permament changes. If it turns out ok, I might drill a hole for a small latching push-button switch to have in-phase/out-of-phase.

=====

The tuning machines on the special-II aren't great. I removed mine, added a light coating of Super-Lube (silicon grease) to the gears. I also tightened the screw in the center of the gear. I also tightened the screw at the end of the knob. But, be careful not to crank that down too tight. There are a couple thin plastic washers between the knob parts. I found my knobs were a bit loose/backlash'y. They needed some tightening. But, not a lot of force.

Someday I will replace the tuning machines with Grover 102. But, for now they seem good enough. (Put some pencil lead in the nut slots. That can make the tuners seem better. I.e., a lot of what may seem like a tuner problem is really bound strings.).

Also, I had to reverse the saddle on my G string in order to intonate it. That saddle wouldn't travel far enough back. Flipping it around so the flat side faces the tailpiece fixed it.

I lowered my tailpiece to the body (tightened down) and wrapped my strings over the top of the tailpiece. Wow, the sustain is much more. And, I realized what people meant about strings feeling "slinkier." But, it seems a bit too much to me (both sustain and slink). Next time I change the strings I'm going to go back to *not* tail wrapping, and raise the tailpiece higher for slinkier. If I find a good tailpiece height that way, then I'll make a bushing the right height so I can lock the tailpiece down (see if that makes more sustain).
 

az2000

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I would really appreciate any feedback and opinions from anyone that may be able to offer some suggestions.

I was thinking: something else you might want to try is loosening the four heavy screws holding the neck to the body. Unscrew them only 1 turn, enough to let the string tension pull the neck snug against the body. Then retighten. It can improve sustain if you feel like yours is lacking.

I saw a video on YouTube about it. It was called a "Luthier trick." There's a risk of stripping those screw heads (like all phillips heads). If you have a hollowground bit that fits the head well, and you know how to lean into it, keeping the bit straight, it should be ok. Otherwise, you might ask a luthier to do it for you.

I noticed a difference in sustain after I did it. Then I tailwrapped the strings and lowered the tailpiece firmly to the body. Now it seems a bit too much (sustain) to me (as I mentioned in my earlier reply).

If there are any downsides/risks to doing the neck loosening, I hope someone more knowledgeable will chime in. It seemed safe to me as long as the screws aren't backed out too far. Just 1-2 turns seemed safe.

Also, regarding difficult screws. I think *all* of them are. I've been putting some bees wax on any screws I remove just so they're easier to remove next time. Parafin wax might be ok. I've read pure silicone grease works. Ace Hardware sells that in the plumbing department. (I guess it's used to grease washers. It's not oil based. It's 100% silicone.).
 

marc1kim

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I own a Special I with humbuckers, I did a tuner upgrade and a good setup and it plays really, really well....and this is coming from a guy that's owned over 15 Gibsons :slash:
 

az2000

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I'm in the process of changing my tone/vol pots to "dual concentric" pots. This should let me have tone & vol on each pickup without drilling holes and adding two more pots.

FYI: I finished that project today. This is what my Special-II looks like with individual (stacked) volume-tone knobs:


(click for larger)
I posted a how-to here: Epiphone Special-II LTD mod: 2-vol, 2-tone, dual-concentric pots.

It was *much* more complicated than I thought it would be. But... now that I know how to do it, it's really not that hard. It was all the "oh no..." surprises that made it exasperating. But, I could do it in my sleep now.

Sorry to bump this thread. I wanted to reply when @marc1kim did. But, I was in the process of revising that how-to (as my thoughts evolved. Thank God this site lets us edit our posts for a long time. I'm sure it's much easier to read than my original stumbling around posts.). I wanted to wait till that was done.
 

Max Max

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I have a soft spot for the SG. But whatever you do, I would avoid buying it on Amazon. You have no idea what kind of conditions those guitars are stored under. My experience with them as far as musical instruments, hasn't been the best. Hope this helps
 

DrBGood

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I have a soft spot for the SG. But whatever you do, I would avoid buying it on Amazon. You have no idea what kind of conditions those guitars are stored under. My experience with them as far as musical instruments, hasn't been the best. Hope this helps
There is a pretty big chance that the OP has bought his guitar since he posted this in 2018
 

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