Epiphone SG Special (HH)


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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.


  • 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


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.


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.


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

Joyo JF-15 California Sound Effects Pedal with Modern Ultra-High Gain Amp Simulator and Unique Voice Control


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

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Achieve the tone of the lead channel on “Rectifier” series amps

6 Controls for complete sound manipulation, unique crunch

Quality components, true-bypass wiring means no signal loss

Cool style from white and black shell-casing, reflection       

Image Voice control allows midrange sound shaping between guitars

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.

Cheap Overdrive Pedals

Cheap Overdrive Pedals


Okay, you may be asking yourself, ‘What in the world is a “cheap overdrive pedal”?’ Well, I’ll try to answer that as best I can.

If you have an electric guitar and plug it into a small (emphasis on “small”) tube amplifier (as opposed to a solid-state amplifier), and turn the volume waaay up, the output of the guitar is going to be distorted. “Well, that’s bad, isn’t it?” Not necessarily. The amplifier’s preamp is being overdriven by the high-volume setting, and depending on the amplifier, this distorted output can be a very aesthetically pleasing sound. Distortion, or overdrive pedals, (also known as “stomp boxes”, because they are commonly a small metal box that sits on the floor with a button or pedal that you stomp on) emulate the sound of an overdriven amplifier. This desirable overdriven sound, which really is just a form of distortion, is what makes rock ‘n roll guitars sound like they do- Really Groovy. The perfect example of an overdriven electric guitar is the opening lick of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. Or, how about the intro to “Smoke on the Water”? Many guitarists spend many dollars in the quest for a perfect overdrive pedal. I should know. I am one of them. I am a gear head.

What do they cost?

However, there are a gabillion overdrive pedals available on the market and many of them are very expensive. Many hundreds of dollars can be spent for a good overdrive pedal. But wait! The good news is, a great overdrive pedal does not have to be expensive. It can be affordable, inexpensive, or even cheap and still sound great.


Behringer Overdrive

If you’re going to look for a good overdrive pedal, start cheap. A good place to start looking is Amazon. Just search “overdrive pedal” and you’ll come up with a slew of them. There is a company called Behringer that makes inexpensive effects pedals that are very reasonably priced and sound quite good. They make a couple of different overdrive pedals. What I mean by reasonably priced is between $25 and $45. There are other brands of cheap overdrive pedals, most of them made in China, that are priced similarly. “Why Amazon?” you may ask. Because you

have a 30 day return policy if you don’t like the product. So, at the low prices Amazon offers you can buy a couple or even three different pedals and see which one you like the best and return the other two. You don’t need to have a reason. There is a brand name called Arion which makes an overdrive pedal called a “Tubulator”. If you can find one expect to pay about $30. This is a terrific cheap pedal. You may find one in a retail store, but you can for sure find one on eBay. I have two of them. If you can find one, get two. I also have another boutique overdrive pedal that I paid $425 for that can’t stand up to my Tubulators. Yup. True story. Other brand names to look out for are Zoom, Daphon, and Johnson.

Word of warning

Of course, the words “cheap, inexpensive, affordable” are all relative. What’s inexpensive to one person may be expensive to another.

So, play it safe and start cheap.

Who wants to waste money?



Buying An Inexpensive New Guitar


So you want to buy a new guitar, but you don’t want to spend very much. For purposes of this article, we will define inexpensive as something between $100 and $200. We’re going to limit our choices to new guitars to keep things more simple, and because we have a greater chance of being able to return the guitar if we don’t like it.

In buying an affordable (cheap, inexpensive) new guitar we have a few different choices of what to do. The first place to look is online. There’s eBay, and music stores that not only are brick-and-mortar stores, but sell online as well. The first thing you want to check for is whether the seller accepts returns. You don’t want to get stuck with a crummy guitar and have to resell it. Ideally, the seller will pay for return shipping, but that’s not a given, that’s just a bonus.


Of course, buying online does not allow you to see the guitar in person. So you’re taking a greater chance that you end up with something you’re not happy with. If you want to buy a new inexpensive guitar locally, the best place to start is with a relatively small retail music store. Larger stores like Guitar Center are less likely to carry many of the less expensive brands. The best place to start looking is the Yellow Pages. Call the small local stores, and ask them what brands of electric guitars they sell. If they only carry the expensive brands, just keep looking. While you’re at it, ask them what price range of cheap guitars they offer. A small music store is more likely to be willing to dicker about price if the guitar is a little more expensive than you want to spend.


Now let’s fast-forward to finding a small music store that handles some less expensive brands. For purposes of discussion, let’s assume that you’re interested in a Telecaster-style guitar, and you see a nice looking one hanging on the wall that happens to be in your price range. What’s your overall impression of the guitar? It’s basically as simple as whether it looks cheap, or whether it’s nice-looking. If it’s a nice-looking guitar, then you want to examine it more closely. Start at the top (the headpiece). Look at the tuners- are they cheap looking? If they are, that alone is going to tell you a lot about the guitar. Assume the tuners look halfway decent. Now look at the nut. Is the nut slotted correctly for the strings? Look at the fret ends- have the fret ends been dressed, or could you cut your hand on the fret ends if you are running your hand up and down the neck? Look at the finish on the neck of the guitar- is it smooth to the touch or lumpy? Are there imperfections in the finish? Do you see sanding scratches? If the finish and the neck are poor you can bet that the rest of the guitar is going to follow suit. Let’s assume the guitar has passed the tests so far. Check the fit of the neck in the neck pocket. Are there gaps? Has any filler been used? If so, at this point it’s time to move along to another store. Now we’ll look at the body. What’s your general impression of the finish? Is the finish even? Are there any bubbles, scratch marks, or buffing marks in the body? If so, once again it’s time to put the guitar down and try someplace else. Do the pickups sit squarely under the strings or are they not centered completely? You’d be surprised at how many costly guitars don’t have the pickups aligned to the strings. Look at the hardware- the bridge, the tailpiece if there is one… are they cheap pot metal castings, or are they decent looking? We’ll assume the guitar has volume and tone controls- are they loose or are they nice and snug in the body? Pick up the guitar, and sight line it to see if it’s straight vertically. If the guitar has been set up halfway properly there should be just a very slight outward bow to the neck- away from the strings just a bit. If the neck is bowed the other way, towards the strings, that tells you that the truss rod has not been adjusted correctly. If the neck is not straight horizontally, run away. Time to put the guitar down and move along. The point I’m trying to make here to know when to stop looking at the guitar. If the guitar has passed muster so far, generally looks good and doesn’t look cheap, then it’s time to plug it in and play it. Check every string on every fret to see if there are any dead spots or buzzing. Ask the store owner if a setup is included in the price or not. If not, you’re either going to pass up the guitar or you have some work to do. Do you know to set a guitar up yourself? If that’s the risk you’re willing to take, there might just be some simple adjustments needed like saddle and intonation set up or there could be something more serious going on.


Now we come to the last part- tone. It’s as simple as this- do you like the way the guitar sounds? This is a very subjective topic. Tone depends on the guitar, the amp that it’s being played through, the strings, and your touch, so we’re not going to go into all of that if the guitar has passed muster so far, and it sounds pretty good. If you think you want to buy it, ask if you can talk the owner down if not in you’re comfortable with the price. Is there a case or gig bag included? If not, at least ask for a cheap gig bag. All he can say is “no”. So maybe you’ve just bought yourself a guitar! Once again, make sure that you can return it if you’re not happy with it. After you get the guitar home, go over it with a fine toothed comb for any flaws or defects etc., and determine whether it’s something you can live with or not. After living with the guitar a while, you may decide there are parts of the guitar you like and parts that you don’t. You might decide to part-out the guitar. Maybe you like the neck and the pickups, but you’re not crazy about the body. Keep the parts that you like and consider selling the parts that you don’t like on eBay. I’ve done this with several guitars and ended up with enough parts to put a whole guitar together that was to my liking.


So those are the basics of buying an inexpensive guitar. But, guess what? The same routine applies to ANY axe that you’re considering. Be smart, and go with your gut. The guitar may be screaming “NO!” at you- make sure you’re listening. I hope you find your dream machine.

Good luck, I hope this has helped. In any case, Rock On.






My Story- How did I get here..?

About William..

The Beginning

I was about 12 when my parents bought me my first guitar. Oh boy! It was a Harmony acoustic with F-holes, and action about a mile high. I plugged away at it, learning folk songs, and developing calluses. I mostly played chords, and tried to play a little lead, but the action was so high it was difficult. I joined a folk group, playing and singing.


Then my life changed. When I was about 15 I heard Mike Bloomfield, on the first Paul Butterfield album. Wow. My first Guitar Hero. I wanted to play like Mike. So, I bugged my folks to the point where they bought me a Carvin electric guitar, and a Magnatone amp. The action on the Carvin was too high, so I still had trouble playing leads. But, at least I had an amp (I wish I still had that one), and I could play LOUD.






The College Years

I studied classical organ and piano in college (“Classical Organ Performance and Choir Direction” major), played a Hammond organ in a band, starting teaching music when I was 16, and played organ in churches. The guitar idn’t get much attention.


It was stolen when I was about 18. The Magnatone was used as a preamp for  my electric piano, but it was stolen, too.                                                                            Oh well.

Back to Basics

Life changed again. When I was 50 years old, I said to myself, I’m still gonna play like Mike Bloomfield, no matter what. So, I bought a cheap electric guitar, a solid state amp, and proceeded to learn every guitar part on that first Butterfield album.





And then..

Fast forward- in short time I became a “gearhead”. I built my own electric guitars and went through a LOT of pedals and amps. Equipment stacked all over the place. I wasted a lot of money on expensive gear that I didn’t keep. That led me to the quest for value-based equipment.. good quality guitars and other gear that sounded good and was affordable.

So, here we are now

I want to share the bargains I find with others; I have some inexpensive pedals that I will never get rid of.

I have guitars that I bought on closeout that are gems. China is now turning out some fine equipment.

I want to help you find those bargain-based deals,                                                  too. It’s all about VALUE.


If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

William Wetherby