What We like
- Very convenient and great value.
- A stylish looking selection of kit.
- The guitar is reliable and fun to play.
- It comes with free online lessons.
We don’t like
- The accessories will soon need upgrading.
- The case has no padding, so isn’t great for transport.
Gibson subsidiary Epiphone knows a thing or two about making good value guitars, and this combo package – including a practice amp and accessories – at $199, is a great display of what you can find on a tight budget.
In this package you get a Les Paul Special II LE, which is a reliable beginner’s guitar, with classic Les Paul looks. It features a slim single-cutaway solid basswood body with a 24.75” scale length, and this is finished in either glossy Vintage Sunburst or Ebony. There’s a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets.
The sound comes from two open-coil humbuckers at the bridge and neck positions, which will give you a familiar Les Paul tone, with decent clarity and enough aggression for your first rock licks. Elsewhere there’s a single master volume and a master tone control knob, and a three-way pickup selector switch, which is nothing special but do the job.
Finally, for such a cheap guitar, the tuning stability is good, with a LockTone Tune-o-Matic bridge and stop bar tailpiece, along with covered 14:1 machine heads that allow a good degree of tuning precision.
As well as the guitar, you get an Epiphone Electar 10 watt practice amp that’s not overly powerful but is very acceptable. With a sub-$200 package you’re not going to get an epic sound, but for beginners looking for something to practice with there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
It offers two channels (clean and overdrive), as well as volume, bass and treble controls. There’s also a headphone jack – which is essential for practicing into the antisocial hours – and an auxiliary jack so you can plug in an external music player and jam along to your favorite tunes.
Epiphone are clearly very brand proud, and as such the accessories are all stamped with their recognizable ‘E’ logo. This isn’t a bad thing, and at least everything looks uniform!
You get a lead, a strap, plectrums, and a good clip-on digital tuner, which will help get your axe sounding right. As with most value packs, the accessories are all pretty basic, although what you lack in durability you make up for with convenience.
With this pack, you’ll also have access to some free online introductory guitar lessons from eMedia, which covers loads of different styles and is a nice addition to an already good value package.
The guitar is great for the price and offers a solid platform on which to take your first steps. Its humbuckers are good for rock styles, and combined with the amp you can definitely find some good crunch.
The amp isn’t sensational, and if you can stretch your budget another $50 you could get something with more power and even built-in effects (like the Fender Champion 20, which retails at $99). This will last you a lot longer.
Experienced players would be wise to save up a little longer, but if you’re a complete beginner this package from such a reputable guitar brand will have you up and playing in no time.
Our Final Verdict
Whether you’re a complete beginner looking to get playing fast, or just looking for something reliable to bash around on Rocksmith with, Epiphone’s Les Paul Special II combo pack is a good call – convenient, stylish, and very good value.