Epiphone Les Paul Special II (HH)

Best Budget Les Paul

Epiphone Les Paul Special II (HH)

GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 3450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price:

$199

Les Paul created an early solid-body electric guitar in his spare time after work at the Epiphone factory in the early 1940’s famously known as “The Log”. It is believed that this was the first solid-body ‘Spanish guitar’ every built. He went on to develop the idea further until he took it to managers at Gibson sometime in 1945 or 1946 who immediately.. did nothing.

Luckily another guitar innovator, Leo Fender, began having some sales success with his solid-body electric in 1950 (initially named the Esquire, then Broadcaster, and now it’s called the Telecaster), so Gibson about-faced and one of the most iconic instruments in music history went into production.

The Epiphone Les Paul Special II is today’s entry-level version and is itself incredibly popular as evidenced by more than 4,100 reviews, critiques and recommendations. Epiphone says this is their best selling electric guitar.

Specifications

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Finish: Vintage Sunburst (pictured), Ebony or Heritage Cherry Sunburst
  • Bridge: Tune-o-matic
  • Pickups: Bridge – Epiphone 700T Humbucker, Neck – Epiphone 650R Humbucker
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Scale Length: 24.75”
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12”
  • Number of Frets:
  • Nut Width: 1.68”
  • Controls: 1-volume, 1-tone
  • Pickup Selector: 3-way Epiphone toggle

Pros

Many users describe it by phrases like “great value for the money”, “great beginner guitar”, and “great quality for the price”. And while most of the raves are from beginners, there were experienced guitarists who shared their positive sentiments, specifically pointing to its build quality and playability. The Epiphone Les Paul Special II gets a lot of kudos from users who found that it plays nicely right out of the box.

Cons

This guitar would’ve rated better if not for some users who rate it lower because of unfair comparisons to more expensive models. Still, there are valid complaints, including the quality of the tuners and minor cosmetic blemishes.

Overall

The vast majority of people who bought this guitar are very happy with it.

Click here to purchase or learn more:

Epiphone SG Special (HH)

WELCOME!
Welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

We’re here to review, write relevant articles, help you make wise choices, and offer value-based merchandise at low prices.

We cater to hobbyists and pros alike.

VALUE DOESN’T NEED TO BE EXPENSIVE!

Epiphone SG Special (HH)

GEARANK

85 out of 100. Incorporating 2200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price:

$200
Epiphone SG Special (HH)

The SG (Solid Guitar) was originally meant to be a re-design of the Gibson Les Paul and Gibson gave it the same name. Les Paul wasn’t involved in the redesign and asked that his name be removed and so Gibson obliged and renamed it the SG.

The new design was meant to boost sales because the original was fading in the market, and it worked with more than 6,000 units sold during the first 3 years after the 1961 launch – more than 3 times the number of the original Les Paul Standards sold from 1958 to 1960.

Gibson said in 2009 that the SG Standard was their highest selling guitar of all time.

Legendary SG players include Angus Young from AC/DC and Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath.

Specifications

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Finish: Cherry (pictured), also comes in Ebony
  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-O-Matic
  • Pickups: Bridge 700T humbucker, Neck 650R humbucker
  • Neck: Hard maple
  • Scale Length: 24.75”
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12”
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: 1.68″
  • Controls: 1-master volume, 1 master-tone with KillPot
  • Pickup Selector: 3-way

Pros

Students and expert alike describe this guitar as a fun instrument, and goes further by commenting that it has exceeded their expectations. From its fast action playability to the quality of the finish, the Epiphone SGSpecial continues to rake in compliments. Several people even said that it comes surprisingly close to the feel and sound of a Gibson SG.

Cons

There were complaints about the quality and sound of the pickups – generally the same types of complaints found about most types of budget guitars. Some have gotten really good results by merely swapping out the pickups.

Overall

If you’re a fan or classic rock and metal, then this is the budget guitar for you.

$199.oo at Amazon

Click here to purchase or learn more

Epiphone SG Special (HH)

85
GEARANK

85 out of 100. Incorporating 2200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price:

$199
Epiphone SG Special (HH)

The SG (Solid Guitar) was originally meant to be a re-design of the Gibson Les Paul and Gibson gave it the same name. Les Paul wasn’t involved in the redesign and asked that his name be removed and so Gibson obliged and renamed it the SG.

The new design was meant to boost sales because the original was fading in the market, and it worked with more than 6,000 units sold during the first 3 years after the 1961 launch – more than 3 times the number of the original Les Paul Standards sold from 1958 to 1960.

Gibson said in 2009 that the SG Standard was their highest selling guitar of all time.

Legendary SG players include Angus Young from AC/DC and Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath.

Specifications

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Finish: Cherry (pictured), also comes in Ebony
  • Bridge: LockTone Tune-O-Matic
  • Pickups: Bridge 700T humbucker, Neck 650R humbucker
  • Neck: Hard maple
  • Scale Length: 24.75”
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12”
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: 1.68″
  • Controls: 1-master volume, 1 master-tone with KillPot
  • Pickup Selector: 3-way

Pros

Students and expert alike describe this guitar as a fun instrument, and goes further by commenting that it has exceeded their expectations. From its fast action playability to the quality of the finish, the Epiphone SGSpecial continues to rake in compliments. Several people even said that it comes surprisingly close to the feel and sound of a Gibson SG.

Cons

There were complaints about the quality and sound of the pickups – generally the same types of complaints found about most types of budget guitars. Some have gotten really good results by merely swapping out the pickups.

Overall

If you’re a fan or classic rock and metal, then this is the budget guitar for you.

Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Review – An Affordable Spider

WELCOME!

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

We’re here to review, write relevant articles, help you make wise choices, and offer value-based merchandise at low prices.

We cater to hobbyists and pros alike.

VALUE DOESN’T NEED TO BE EXPENSIVE!

Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Review – An Affordable Spider with Good Bite!

Many beginner amps can be very basic in terms of controls and effects, but Line 6 is taking a different approach. We’re looking at the reinvention of an old favorite, the Spider Classic 15, which proves to be one off the most versatile budget amps on the market.

 

Controls

At first glance, the controls of the Spider Classic 15 may look confusing, but as you get used to them, they are actually pretty simple to understand.

On a the control panel, working from left to right, we find rotary controls for drive, bass, middle, treble and volume, before two Smart FX dials and a master volume on the right-hand side. The Smart FX controls are the highlight of this amp, w, giving you options for six of the best-known guitar effects including reverb, tape or sweep echo, and tremolo.

 

Features

The amp is an all-black, well-built, rugged little box that retains the modern style that all Spiders feature. It has a single 8” speaker that offers 15 watts of power, with four amp models ranging from an ultra-clear clean mode to a heavily distorted model that’s perfect for the heaviest rock and even djent styles.

You can also create, save and then recall four of your own unique user-created amp settings, which is handy for finding your favorite tones at the push of a button. The Spider Classic 15 also comes with a built-in digital tuner and a headphone jack. It’s worth noting that the Spider Classic 15 is compatible with both FBV Express MkII and FBV2 foot controllers, although these aren’t included.

Performance

For stock tones, the sound is fantastic – the high-gain model in particular is very gnarly for the size of this amp. The controls are simple to use, while the inclusion of two Smart FX controls allows you to use two different effects at once (for example, tremolo and reverb). The main flaw is the responsiveness of the controls, which are a little too sensitive – even a small touch can change the volume from low to incredibly loud.

Conclusion

While it won’t blow you away with power, the Line 6 Spider Classic 15 is a great little amp. For both beginners and experienced players who fancy a smaller amp with plenty of flexibility in tone, this is a very good call.

$99.99 at Amazon
Click below to purchase or learn more..

Squier Affinity Series Telecaster (SS) GEARANK 91 out of 100.

WELCOME!

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

We’re here to review, write relevant articles, help you make wise choices, and offer value-based merchandise at low prices.

We cater to hobbyists and pros alike.

VALUE DOESN’T NEED TO BE EXPENSIVE!

BEST BUDGET TELECASTER

Squier Affinity Series Telecaster (SS)

GEARANK:   91 out of 100. Incorporating 1650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: $200

Manufacturer: Fender

 

The Telecaster is the guitar that effectively started the solid-body electric guitar revolution.

During the 1930s and 1940s several companies tried to produce a solid-body electric but none of them were commercially successful. Then Leo Fender released his design in 1950 with a single pickup under the name Esquire, then added a second pickup and sold it under the name Broadcaster but soon had to change it due to a lawsuit from Gretsch who were already selling a drum kit using that name. Thus the “Tele” as we know it today was born.

Its popularity continues and as of today the Squier Affinity Series Telecaster is the highest rated solid-body electric guitar that sells for less than $200.

Specifications:
  • Body: Alder
  • Finish: Lake Placid Blue / Polyurethane (pictured), also comes in Brown Sunburst, Gun Metal Gray, 2-Color Sunburst, Black and Arctic White
  • Bridge: 6-Saddle Top-Load Tele
  • Pickups: 2 x Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25.5″ (648 mm)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″ (241 mm)
  • Number of Frets: 21
  • Nut Width: 1.6” (40.6 mm)
  • Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 3-Position Blade: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups, Position 3. Neck Pickup
Pros

It’s hard to overstate how well liked this version of the Tele is by people who have bought and played it – something which is evidenced by its very high Gearank score. Most commendations point to its playability, tone and overall build quality.

Cons

For something that’s continues to sell well, there are relatively very few complaints. Most of which are from people who encountered setup and cosmetic issues out of the box.

Overall

You can’t go far wrong with the highest rated guitar under $200.

$199.99 at Amazon

Click here to purchase or learn more..

Blackstar ID: Core 10 V2 – Versatility? You Bet

 

Blackstar has been really pushing the envelope when it comes to affordable state of the art amps. Blackstar ID: Core 10 V2 is by far one of the most versatile budget amps you can get your hands on, but also among the best sounding ones.

Controls

The control cluster of the Blackstar ID: Core 10 V2 can be a bit overwhelming. You have six different channels to work with, including various types of overdrive and fuzz. On top of that, you have reverb, delay and a full range of modulation effects to chose from. All of that is then shaped by a gain knob, volume knob, and Blackstar’s trademark ISF single-band EQ. The idea here is that you can layer the tone with various presets, allowing you to dial in a rather complex sound for your guitar.

Features

This is a versatile modeling amp. It delivers 10 Watts of power divided into two sections, 5 Watts each. Blackstar also delivers this model with a hefty software suite. In other words, upload and download various patches to the amp, and pretty much play with the tone in any way you want to. The connection between the amp and your computer is established using an USB 2.0 port. There are numerous models on the market that offer similar capabilities, but you will rarely find a package such as this one in this price range.

Performance

When you get a budget practice amp, you usually don’t expect it to sound extraordinary. Thanks to their stereo technology, ID: Core 10 V2 offers enough output as well as quality to deliver a tone that hits far out of its price range. In all seriousness, this thing sounds good. Going through various voices and effects, you will find that some are better than the other. However, once you add the software side of the package, you get one highly flexible platform for practice and recording.

Conclusion

Modeling amps are still being developed, but Blackstar ID: Core 10 V2 perfectly represents just how far this technology has evolved. It is the Swiss army knife of guitar practice sessions and home recording studios. The value you get for the money doesn’t really get better than this. It is one of the cheapest amps of this type on the market.

$99.99 at Amazon

Click here to purchase or learn more..

Review: the Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J 

WELCOME!

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

We’re here to review, write relevant articles, help you make wise choices, and offer value-based merchandise at low prices.

We cater to hobbyists and pros alike.

VALUE DOESN’T NEED TO BE EXPENSIVE!

88

GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: $200

Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J

The Pacifica series was designed during the 1990’s in California and manufactured in Japan as Yamaha’s take on two of Fender’s main designs – the Telecaster and the Stratocaster. The Pacifica PAC112J is a “superstrat”.

The Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J is their highest rated electric guitar under $200 .

Specifications

  • Body: Alder
  • Finish: Black (pictured), also comes in Lake Blue, Natural, Old Violin Sunburst
  • Bridge: Vintage Tremolo
  • Pickups: Bridge Humbucking, Middle Single coil, Neck Single coil
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 25 1/2″ (648 mm)
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 13 3/4″ (350 mm)
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Nut Width: Not specified
  • Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
  • Pickup Selector: 5-Position

Pros

Many guitarists favored the Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J over the budget Squire HSS strats in their reviews. They commend its build quality and its tone. Value for money got repeated mentions, with some going as far as claiming that this guitar plays as well as those priced twice more.

Cons

There were no consistent complaints about this guitar in customer reviews – just a few of the same negatives about quality and tuning stability that most guitars in this price range get.

Overall

With its high rating, and Yamaha’s reputation for student friendly quality, you can’t go far wrong with the Pacifica PAC112J.

One of The Best Cheap Electric Guitars Under $200

WELCOME!

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

We’re here to review, write relevant articles, help you make wise choices, and offer value-based merchandise at low prices.

We cater to hobbyists and pros alike.

VALUE DOESN’T NEED TO BE EXPENSIVE!

One of The Best Cheap Electric Guitars Under $200

Yes, it’s the good old Epiphone Les Paul Special II with 2 open humbuckers.
Who’d have thunk it?
The Epiphone Les Paul Special II is today’s entry-level version of it’s big brother and is still very popular as evidenced by more than 4,000 reviews and recommendations. Of course, it’s currently on the internet, along with the fact that Epiphone says this is their highest selling electric guitar. Really.

-Finish: Vintage Sunburst (pictured), Ebony or                        Heritage Cherry Sunburst
-Bridge: Tune-o-matic
-Pickups: Bridge – Epiphone 700T Humbucker,                              Neck – Epiphone 650R Humbucker
-Neck: Mahogany
-Scale Length: 24.75”
-Fingerboard: Rosewood
-Fingerboard Radius: 12”
-Number of Frets: 22
-Nut Width: 1.68”
-Controls: 1-volume, 1-tone
-Pickup Selector: 3-way Epiphone toggle

Pros 

Many users describe it as a great value for the money, a great beginner’s guitar, and great quality for the price. And while most of the praise is from beginners, there are experienced guitarists who also like the Special, specifically pointing to its build quality and playability. While many cheap guitars are plagued with mass production setup inconsistencies, the Epiphone Les Paul Special II has been around awhile and gets a lot of praise from users who found that it plays nicely right out of the box.

Cons

This guitar would’ve rated better if not for some users who compare it to more expensive models.

There are some valid complaints, though, including the quality of the tuners and minor cosmetic blemishes.

Overall

The vast majority of people who bought this guitar are very happy with it.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a good cheap guitar, the Les Paul Special II is a great value and might fit your bill.

Check it out at Amazon.com

Mooer Slow Engine Review

Mooer Slow Engine Review

First of all, let me say that I own this pedal, and I love it.   

The Mooer Slow Engine is a clone of the classic Boss Slow Gear SG-1 from the 80s. Hah. Very expensive.

What this pedal did was help guitarists get the volume swell effect by silencing the attack of the guitar signal. Guitarists usually did this by hitting the string with the volume off on their guitar, then rolling it up immediately to get a violin type effect. Think of Jeff beck and Jimmy Page. Very simple and sure to make your audience wonder how in the world that sound is produced..

This was also hard to pull off effectively and took a lot of coordination to get consistently live. Then Boss stopped producing them and now the old ones cost $350-500 on Ebay! Go figure. Then Mooer comes in and recreates it faithfully and perfectly.

You can tell it’s a faithful re-creation of the original down to the black outer casing, to the same naming of the knobs “sens” and “attack”, and even the naming is obvious “Slow Engine”… So save your $300, for a new, modern, lighter way to volume swell. Volume Swells are back!

Boss Slow Gear clone except way cheaper and lighter.

  • Sens (sensitivity) and Attack controls
  • True Bypass Mini Pedal Size Saves Space on Pedalboard
  • Solid Built Metal Casing Uses Standard Boss Style DC 9
  • Brand: Mooer Weight: 0.44 lb Mooer Slow Engine Volume Swell (Slow Gear Clone SG-1)

Pedal has a rating of 4.6 stars based on 14 reviews.  Available at Amazon.com

Should You Ever Buy a Used Guitar from a Pawn Shop?


You’re not going to like the answer- it depends.

I live in the Detroit, Michigan area. Where I live, pawn shops do not operate like the TV show “Pawn Stars”. Oh, that they did. At least in the TV show, the employees had a fair idea about the value of the merchandise. If they weren’t sure, they would bring in an expert who did, and the expert could give a fair evaluation of the item. Not so, here in Motown.

You are looking for value. The fair value of an item is the price at which you are willing to pay no more and the seller is willing to take no less. This assumes that both parties already have a fair idea about the underlying value of the object in question. Not so in Motown.

Certainly, there are bargains to be had in a pawn shop. The pawn shop owner or employee is not about to fork over a bargain to you. He assumes you are a rube, and he wants every penny he can get.

If you still insist upon buying a guitar at “Wonderpawn”, you had better know what you’re doing. Read the other article on this website about how to buy an inexpensive guitar. It will give you a lot of pointers. The guy behind the counter probably doesn’t know a whole lot about guitars in general, and is not willing to give you a deal. He is accountable to his boss who wants top dollar for everything.

If you choose to look at a guitar (and maybe it’s a brand you’re familiar with) and you know something about guitars, you should have an idea of what fair value is. Ask the guy behind the counter how much he wants. When he tells you, either laugh out loud or chuckle. Counteroffer him with what you think to be the fair value minus about 40%. He will then laugh at you. Now you play the game of you slowly coming up on your offering price and he will slowly come down, or maybe he won’t, to his real asking price. By all means-don’t get angry.

This is a game. Work your way up to the maximum price you are willing to pay, and if he won’t accept it there’s only one thing left to do. Turn on your heel and walk out. One of two things will happen. You will either just leave the store without anyone saying a word, or a he’ll ask you to come back and try to negotiate a little more. Here is the objective: know the value ahead of time and stick to it. Period. If it’s something you’re on the fence about, go home, and do some research on that particular brand and model of guitar and try to form an opinion about fair price. A good website for this purpose is harmony-central.com. Now you can return to Pawn Heaven and resume dickering.

After having written this, I realize what a pain in the rear end it really all is. So, I guess I would have to say probably NOT- don’t buy from a pawn shop, unless you’re pretty knowledgeable. Remember- your time is worth your money, and this whole rigamarole is generally not worth your time.