Epiphone Les Paul Special Review & Prices

Epiphone Les Paul Special Review
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  • From Epiphone's 2020 Original Collection series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany single neck
  • Indian Laurel fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: P-90 PRO Soap Bar (P90/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Lightning Bar Wrap Around bridge
  • Vintage 50s Set neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Vintage style Deluxe Tuners with Ivory Buttons tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 73
Sound 65
Build quality 54
Value for money 79
Overall Score 64
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Epiphone Les Paul Special
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Top Brand Pickups
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $400, which means that the Epiphone Les Paul Special is around 50% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Neck speed (thickness)

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Pickups noise

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Pickups power

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Epiphone Les Paul Special meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Epiphone Les Paul Special
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Epiphone Les Paul Special's construction favors people with relatively big hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Epiphone Les Paul Special's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Epiphone Les Paul Special Scale Length Comparison
Epiphone Les Paul Special's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Epiphone Les Paul Special Neck Profile
Epiphone Les Paul Special's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Epiphone Les Paul Special's neck thickness is approximately 0.88'' (22.4mm) at the first fret, and 0.96'' (24.4mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Epiphone website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a V type neck. This is a vintage type of neck that is not so common nowadays. Some people like it because they can rest their hand easily while letting their thumb hang over the edge of the fretboard. It's thicker than most modern necks, so it's great for playing chords but not so much for shredding.

However, Epiphone tends to be inconsistent with the shape and thickness of their necks. So two instruments, even if they're the same model, might have necks that feel different. It's been like this for a long time, and other brands don't have this problem.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Epiphone Les Paul Special has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Epiphone Les Paul Special Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Epiphone Les Paul Special's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Epiphone Les Paul Special has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
V Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
Asymmetrical Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.6'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.685'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Epiphone Les Paul Special Nut Width
Epiphone Les Paul Special Nut Width

The Epiphone Les Paul Special has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Epiphone Les Paul Special has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Epiphone Les Paul Special Fret Size Comparison
Epiphone Les Paul Special's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Epiphone Les Paul Special's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 75
Solo Playability 60
Playability 73

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body, Neck
Laurel wood pattern used for guitar building
Laurel Fretboard

Mahogany Body and Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Laurel Fretboard: There are many types of Laurel, but East Indian is the most common for guitar building. Its color can vary from dark to light brown with black lines. Many people find its tonality similar to Rosewood, which favors the warmer frequencies.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with pickups from one of the top brands. This doesn't mean you will get bad pickups, but you might want to consider a pickup upgrade after some time.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Epiphone Les Paul Special's configuration is P90P90. P90s are single-coil pickups (even though they look like Humbuckers), and they have a very particularly gritty sound that's used today to achieve a ''vintage'' tone. They produce a warmer tone than the typical single-coil, but they're not quite as warm as Humbuckers, and the same thing could be said about their output.

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Epiphone Les Paul Special pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Epiphone Les Paul Special's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with P90P90 configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Blues or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 70
Sustain 65
Versatility 53
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 65

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Epiphone Les Paul Special is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Lightning Bar Wrap Around: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Epiphone Les Paul Special has a Ivory Tusq nut. This material is made to look, feel and sound like Ivory. It's made of organic polymers and doesn't contain oil or animal products. This is probably the highest quality nut you can get, so you can expect good tune stability and more clear tones when playing open strings. Most people seem to agree that it looks nicer than any plastic and even some bone nuts.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 50
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 54

All Specs

Epiphone Les Paul Special
General
Brand: Epiphone
Year: 2020
Configuration: P90P90
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Original Collection
Colors: Yellow
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: Lightning Bar Wrap Around
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Vintage style Deluxe Tuners with Ivory Buttons
Fretboard: Indian Laurel
Neck Material: Mahogany single
Decoration: Pearloid Dot
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: Vintage 50s
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.88'' (22.4mm) - 12th Fret: 0.96'' (24.4mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Ivory Tusq
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Bell
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 2
Bridge Pickup: P-90 PRO Soap Bar (P90 / Passive)
Neck Pickup: P-90 PRO Soap Bar (P90 / Passive)

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User Reviews

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Your Rating:

1 user reviews:

pspamme profile picture
pspamme
22/01/24 07:12:43

A budget guitar with some special personality. It sounds well, it looks yellow and the neck is as big as a full tree. This is not my favorite but I changed the pickups for better P90 and the terrible wraparound tailpiece (the string spacing always changes if you keep the original one, and that is a problem if you want to play some arpeggios without looking your right hand).
So, it's cheap and sounds well, vintage style, but it needs some upgrade to be really well. I wouldn't use it for a beginner without changing the tailpiece. If you have many guitars, it could add something to your sound.