Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Just got first electric - Epiphone Les Paul Special II "value pack"


Recommended Posts

So I've had an acoustic for about ten years now and play it off and on, but only recently have I been getting a little more serious about it. I decided to switch over from my started acoustic to a starter electric and after tons of research I went with the Les Paul Special 2. It arrived today and I was understandably excited (although I started running a fever today so that ticked me off a bit) so I waited until my two baby Boys were down for their afternoon naps and I fired it up! I'll get to the point in a second, don't worry... Here's my guitar package for reference...

My link


First thing I noticed was that the finish was botched and down on the actual wood (I have the vintage sunburst model) there was black fingerprints and some paint drops as well! I also noticed that the fret board was really badly finished, not sanded enough and has no apparent finisher on it...it has a very dull just sanded and not wiped down look to it. On top of that a few of the frets had really sharp edges. First question...


1 - I know that it's a cheap beginner guitar so I shouldn't expect top tier craftsmanship, but is all of what I described normal or is it something I should do something about? I mean should I check out my local guitar stores to see if they're dealers, or is that stuff I should just live with?


I get a lot of hum, sounds like examples of 60cycle hum I've listed to. However, my amp hums even when it's not plugged into the guitar, it starts as soon as I plug in the jack to the amp. It goes away completely if I turn the gain to 0 and while the actual hum doesn't seem to change much it does crackle on the way up and that definitely gets louder. When I plug the guitar in it doesn't really change, same hum...however whenever I touch anything metal on the guitar (strings, bridge, etc) the hum goes down to being barely noticeable. I opened the guitar anyway and I don't see any loose wires and I separated anything that was touching, same with the input jack. I opened up the back of the amp too and again, no loose wires but some of the metal seemed almost corroded. The male part on the input wire is also really dirty and cannot be cleaned.


2 - From research online it seems it's either my plug isn't grounded correctly, the amp itself is faulty, or maybe the input wire is just crap. Besides just replacing the wire (may not be able to for a few days so that's why I'm posting in the mean time) what other steps should I take? I tried two different plugs and they both produce the same hum so I can try more tomorrow.


3- What basic steps do I need to "set it up"? I keep seeing "if it's set up correctly it's a great starter guitar". It has the tune-o-matic's on it and obviously I've never dealt with those before, all of them are positioned away from the next expect for the B and G strings which are almost right up against the side towards the neck.


Thanks in advance for help I'll post more if I think of it, like I said running a fever so I'm a little doozy at the moment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum!

Congrats on the LP Special II.

Ok, there's a "Do It Yourself" Section that Animalfarm has set up for all of us here at the Epiphone forum to make use of :




If you scroll down a little you'll come across guitar setup and right after it is a section on guitar hum/scratchy pots etc.

(But don't stop there, you'll find a whole lot of great info in that thread!)

If the issues you have aren't bad enough to keep you from playing the axe, and you have some mechanical ability & some tools,

I'd say tweak it a little and make it how you like it. You could go through the hassle of sending it back and waiting etc,etc,etc. or you can take care of it yourself.

It's pretty much expected that on a lower end guitar like the LP Special II, you will probably find a few imperfections, but I think if

you take the time, you can fix / adjust it to your liking. Trust me, it's REALLY good to learn how to fix and adjust your own guitars.

It'll save you some cash and I think you'll find it's good to be able to do all the basic stuff yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


First thing I noticed was that the finish was botched and down on the actual wood (I have the vintage sunburst model) there was black fingerprints and some paint drops as well! I also noticed that the fret board was really badly finished, not sanded enough and has no apparent finisher on it...it has a very dull just sanded and not wiped down look to it. On top of that a few of the frets had really sharp edges. First question...



Your description sounds like the seller may have sent you a defective amp and a damaged/defective guitar. I only own 3 Epiphone guitars and none of them have any signs of a messed-up paint job or sharp ends on the frets.

It appears to me that the guitar was defective or damaged (possibly returned previously), and some amateur may have tried to cover up some defects.

It seems unlikely that Epiphone would pass a guitar with the quality issues of the guitar you received, but I suppose it's possible.


It's likely that the appearance and feel of a guitar would be fairly important priorities for a manufacturer.. bad finishes and flesh-snagging frets are relatively serious defects, especially to have both on a single instrument.


The rosewood fretboards typically don't have the appearance of a piece of finely finished furniture.. instead, there is generally no glossy finish applied, only a stain and a little wax. The necks I have, which are also low-cost models, have very fine gaps in the grain, which appears to be normal for rosewood fretboards.


Just because you purchased a lower-cost/entry level product, doesn't mean you should accept poor quality, or outright faulty workmanship, IMO.


An established US music instrument retailer was selling the Les Paul Special II models recently, for $165 with free shipping, just as a price point. Some of the retailers offer discount coupons fairly regularly, so even lower prices may be possible.

I realize your purchase was a value pack with numerous accessories, but the actual dollar value of those extra items is fairly low.


The amp shouldn't hum without a cable plugged into it's input jack.. and it definitely shouldn't hum with a guitar connected. After all, that's why the pickups are referred to as humbuckers,

It's normal for an amp to produce hum when a cable is plugged into it's input jack, and someone touches just the tip of the input cable plug, but otherwise the amp should remain quiet at low settings.


Amps can be very sensitive to nearby sources of hum, such as fluorescent light ballasts and other electronic equipment, so it may be worthwhile to try using the amp in other locations to see if the hum was due to the initial location.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have just a brief amount of time, but... Welcome to the Forum!!!

(@ Gearhead - thanks for the DIY mention!)


Ok, AR:

When you received your guitar, you also received the THIN guitar cord that comes with it,

and that's what you're currently using to plug in to the AMP? 90% or greater chance THAT is

the source of your hum/buzz issue. The factory cable is Un-Shielded, or basically an ANTENNA

for unwanted external noise signals. Replace it with a good, SHIELDED cable, but don't throw it

away - works great for plugging in to a small Korg guitar tuner.


Regarding the Fret Edges - I've owned a few of the Special II guitars, mostly as Refinishing/Project

guitars. Most won't have issues like that, but it's not unheard of - usually caused by the fretboard wood

"shrinking" due to dry/hot conditions. Only fix is to gently file sharp edges off. Even Cleaning and treating

fretboard won't make wood expand THAT much!

I'm curious what year the guitar was made. There is a serial number stamped on the neckplate on the

back of the guitar - IF you could post the number, just turn the last 4 digits into "XXXX" so the

"Makee-Fakee" folks don't have access to a real number (like they couldn't just make something up).


Should you decide to keep the git, rather than return to Amazon (not sure how their return policy works),

WE should be able to assist you. If you've NEVER set up an Electric Before, I would highly

recommend getting it into the hands of a Local Tech for the initial set-up (maybe he/She will allow you to

watch them?), and get them to set the Action (string height) to Factory specs or even slightly lower, and

change the strings and set intonation, clean fretboard, file fret edges.


Your git comes from the factory with .046 -.010 strings, I use .042 - .009 myself, but I like to bend 'em.

It's unusual for a git to escape the factory in unsat condition like you describe.


Just post back any thoughts - lots of competent folks here. [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]


One of my Special II projects - First pic WAS shot in mirror, it's a Right-handed Git, just

didn't want to post same pix over again... Started out as Alpine White with "supposed" cracked neck...





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the quick replies, sorry took a while for me to get back but I was down and out all day yesterday.


Anyway after reading your comments I decided to contact Amazon to see what they had to say and they just went ahead and processed the return and my replacement should be here later today! Free return shipping on the first one too, and 30 days to return it. Gotta love Amazon...some of the best policies and customer service I've encountered.


I'll probably go get a shielded wire no matter what, and if the new guitar/amp has the same humming I'll check my plugs as well...chances are I won't get two badly wired/faulty amps and/or guitars in a row but who knows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well the second one came and the finishing is much better all around, no fingerprints, no razor blade frets, fretboard doesn't look like it was just sanded and sent out etc. Also the buzzing is almost nonexistent, it's still there but only a tiny bit and from what I've heard it's normal.


Not sure if I'm unlucky over exaggerating things, or what...but I still have some issues with this one. Problem now is that the E and A strings (and to a lesser degree all the strings) rattle quite a bit when played open or not. The action was set really low (raised it up a bit already, but I think if I go high enough to fix the rattle it'll be too high on the higher frets) and it was set unevenly too. In fact already just from raising it the higher frets are much higher than the ones on my other guitar.


Also, the strings are barely sitting in the head nut. Looking at my other guitar for comparison (and my acoustic for that matter), the strings are set in the nut pretty deeply, but on this one they are almost sitting out. I mean on my other ones I can look parallel down it and the strings disappear, but with this one they don't. As far as I can tell the neck isn't warped or anything like that, it has a very slight inward bow but that's it. From what I've read it seems like I'd have to adjust the truss rod or something? And most people recommend taking it to a dealer? The point of getting a cheaper starter guitar was not to spend much money, my Wife is already griefing about what I've spent, heh.


Odd thing about this guitar too is that instead of being made in China it was made in Indonesia, and instead of having the electronic tuner that came with the first one it has one you blow into.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it has one you blow into.


Yup, "There is no gravity: the world sucks."


Congrats and sounds like a good guitar. (need pics)

To me, one of the most fun parts of owning and playing guitar is to be able to do the basic setup and maintenance.

AF's DIY at the top of the Epiphone lounge is full of good advice.


One of my favorites:



If you try any truss rod adjustments remember: No more than 1/8 turn at a time and no more than 1/4 per day.

(you probably already knew that....and.... it is just my opinion)


Have fun and let us know how things are working out.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...