Was This Epiphone Slash "AFD" Les Paul Special-II a Good Deal...

Pierre008

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Good morning, everyone...

I purchased this Epiphone Slash "AFD" Les Paul Special-II last night off Craig's List. I paid $60.00 for it. It also came with two guitar wires and a Zoom G1u effects pedal.

Did I get burned? Did I get cheesed? Was I ripped off?

Yes it works. And yes, I am a novice player.

Regards,

Pierre
 

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C_Becker

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:welcome:

Nope, those are over 200€ new, so you got a great deal.
The ones I played had really nice necks, not too thin and flat like many other Epiphones.
I also really like the built-in tuner, great idea.
All in all, it seems like a nice little guitar for a beginner.

Pro tip: Get it set up or learn to do it yourself, because nothing can make or break a guitar more than a good setup. No fun in learning when the strings are an inch off the fretboard.
 

az2000

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Yes it works. And yes, I am a novice player.

That's a good price. I paid $100 for my used 2013 Epi Special-II. (It had a broken plastic jack plate which I replaced.). I agree with others who say set it up. Mine was much nicer after I adjusted neck relief, action height and intonation. It's easy to do after you watch some videos. Neck-relief is the only thing you risk damage if you break the rod. Just go slow, small movements. I go a bit the opposite direction before going the direction I want to go, (if the direction I want to go is tightening).

I also removed the strings and oiled the fingerboard with mineral oil a few times. I let it soak in over night, apply again, let it sit an hour, etc. Finally buff clean. I felt like my fingerboard was *bone dry*. That's why I gave it time and multiple applications. Then I applied "Howard Feed-n-Wax" (Home Depot). I applied that a couple times too, and let it sit overnight before wiping off the excess, buffing clean. (Use a fingernail to get the patch of cloth into the area where fretboard & fret wire meet. You might get more dirt/residue there.). Don't forget the fingerboard is exposed on the sides, up and down the neck. I apply a little oil/polish to that. (Before doing all this, I cleaned the fretboard with naptha. Other solvents may damage the finish. Naptha seems to be what everyone uses.).

I saw a video professing to disclose a "luthier trick." With the strings tuned (under tension), loosen the 4 screws holding the neck to the body. The string tension will seat the neck more firmly against the body, more potential contact area, causing more sustain. Don't loosen the screws too much. I did no more than 2 full turns. Then re-tighten them. I thought I could hear a difference in sustain. If your tuning is flat after re-tightening, it did something.

(Regarding those screws, they may be tight. Use a hollow-ground bit that fits the best. Lean into it. I've found *all* the screws are tight. I've been applying pure silicone grease to any screw I remove. It's sold at the hardware store's plumbing aisle. Paraffin wax, or bee's wax will work too. (Woodworkers use bees wax. That's probably better. But, I think you have to heat/melt it to use it. Mine's hard as a rock. I find the silicone easier to use. I wouldn't use lubricating/petroleum grease.). Once you lubricate your screws it will be much more pleasurable to work on. (However, it may be easier to strip a screw hole. Be more aware of the screw tightening. I rock the screw tight/loose to sense how tight it is. And a bit more snug from there. If you strip a hole, it's not bad. Wood-glue and toothpick, drill it again. If you strip the philips head, that's not bad either. You can but new screws.).

Also, everyone complains about the Special-II's neck tuners. I removed mine and tightened the screw in the center of the gear (underneath the cover). Mine felt like they could really be "leaned into" (tightening them) without risk of stripping the screw, within the limits of the philip's head -- how well the bit fits. I also tightened the screw at the end of the knob. Some of those were loose. But, don't tighten that too hard. The shaft has some small nylon shim washers stacked between knob and collar. They'll deform if you crank down on that screw. (I had one split and squeeze out.) I also brushed a light coating of synthetic silicone-based Super-Lube on the gear cogs. There was some dried/brown grease residue there. (I don't know if any grease is ok.).

All of that made the tuners feel better. But, I think what people notice more is the strings binding in the nut (and blame the tuner). My nut still pings when tuning. I've added some pencil/graphite to the slots, but still seems tight. (I want to replace it with a Tusq XL.).

Eventually I'd like to replace the tuners with Grover Rotomatic 102. They seem to have the same post height as the stock tuners (maybe 0.008" shorter). Or, perhaps the 102v milkbottles. They're a little taller (maybe 0.012") and could make the strings feel a little more slinky(?).

Finally, I replaced my Special-II's pots/wiring with "dual-concentric" pots to get dedicated volume/tone for each pickup. You might be interested in that if you play with your pickup selector in the middle (both pickups). You'll notice much more variety of tones are available. (Shielding, new wiring, cap, pot seemed to make the individual pickups sound slightly clearer. Just a subtle difference. But, being able to adjust both when both are engaged makes a big difference, to me.).

 
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Pierre008

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Wow. Exhaustive and helpful advice.

I will do off of that and get back to you.

Thank you!
 

az2000

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I'm not too far past your new-player status. One thing I found confusing: there's a lot of different measurements for setup, or measured at different frets (meaning it might be the same measurement if measured at the same fret). I went with:

- Neck relief: 0.012" at 7th and 8th fret. One video said this measurement is the factory spec.
- Action (measured at the 12th fret: Treble (smallest) string: 4/64 or 0.063". Bass (thickest): 6/64 or 0.098. (Hint: a US penny is 0.058." A nickle: 0.073". I used those with another starter guitar I had. Harbor Frieght has an inexpensive set of feeler guages.). I read somewhere that Dan Erlewine had seen many artists' guitars. It listed 4/64 and 6/64 as the average those artists used. (But, the indiviual artists used much higher/lower too. So, don't be afraid to experiment and see what feels better to you.).

- Pickup height. I used the video's specs (4.64 at the high-e, thin string, 6/64 at the thick). The idea is to adjust both sides to get the right tone and balance. However, I recently read this article. It talks about adjusting the pole pieces for even more balance. I want to try that soon. You might put that off until you've gotten through a setup once, develop more of an ear for your guitar.

- Nut-height measurement. (Capo the strings at the third fret; measure the distance between string and 1st fret.). I think 0.012" (treble) and 0.024" (bass) were the typical values I saw. Just a hair or two distance. Unless someone's worked on your nut, it will probably be too high. (From what I've read, they tend to be too high from the factory.). If so, that's not as easy as relief/action/intonation. You'll have to spend some time reading about how to do it, or pay a luthier to do it for you (at which point, consider replacing it with a Tusq XL).

- Tailpiece height. I haven't seen this talked about as a "setup." But, I found a seeming "setup" step for it (step 10). That might be informative. If the angle of the bridge-saddle to tailpiece is too much, the strings will feel stiff/hard. If the angle is too low, too slinky. A common thing people do is drop the tailpiece all the way down, and wrap the strings over the top of the tailpiece. That creates more sustain (due to the contact of the tailpiece to the body). That's not a sharp angle (like it would be if the strings weren't wrapped over the top). So, the strings feel slinky. You could try it sometime (but, be aware it can scuff your tailpiece. I tell myself it's "vintage."). For me, it feels a little too much that way. I plan to go back to standard tailpiece string orientation, and raise the tailpiece 1/4" (something *a little* more angled than the bottomed-out tailpiece with strings over the top). If I like how the strings feel, I'll use washers or a spacer to lock the tailpiece down at that height. Maybe that would return some sustain. (At that time, I'll try the article's "tailpiece setup" to see how it compares.).

Sorry if that's a lot of info. There are lots of different ways to do things. It can be time-consuming googling and trying to distill everyone's thoughts. The measurements aren't precise. Some people like very low action, others very high. Some like zero neck relief. (Same thing for the neck oiling: there are other recommendations, often involving special potions. I went with mineral oil and Howard's Feed-n-Wax. A bottle of each will last a lifetime, and costs $10.).

You'll learn a lot by googling those topics. (Intonation too.).
 
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