Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Special 4-String Electric Reviews 4

Primarily a singer, I've been playing guitar for about 10 years, been in a band (drummer!), and have continued to record and play with other musicians on a non-professional basis. My styles range from folk to hard rock, with heavy power-pop leanings -- Big Star, not Green Day.

Bought at Guitar Center in Hollywood for $249. I have been playing an OLP StingRay copy which has good sounds, but it's heavy and has a massive neck. An hour of playing a bass hook on an R&B song and I felt like my left wrist was about to fall off, even though the part was high up the neck.

The Les Paul Special bass has a slim neck that's much more friendly towards guitar players. Comfortable string spacing and scale length. Considerable tonal variety with the two pickups and tone control. And for a $249 bass, it looks great with its transparent red finish and flame veneer. Despite being a single-cutaway shape, its upper-fret access was better than the StingRay copy's thanks to the slim neck, and I feel more comfortable playiing it, possibly also thanks to the rosewood fingerboard.

This is one heavy mutha. While not as neck-heavy as the StingRay copy, the body of this bass harkens to its Les Paul roots. The added mass may have some benefit on the tone, though, because though the body on this bass is smaller than the StingRay copy's, the tone is just as solid. The smaller body is a double-edged sword -- there's less to lug around, but also less for the forearm to lean on if you're playing with fingers. And I worry about the slim neck; looks like it's a little more fragile.

Acceptable. The bass looks good, but at the same time, there's a lot of excess glue where the neck meets the body, so messy that it looks like a home job. And again, the slim neck is something to worry about.

For its price, the Les Paul bass is a pretty good instrument. I don't think it's a better instrument than my OLP StingRay copy, but it is more comfortable to play, and it's easier to change your tone than with the OLP because of the position of the two pickups, compared with the split-coil humbucker on the OLP. The weight of the Les Paul bass makes it not quite ideal for beginners -- I played the Epiphone Allen Woody semi-hollow bass and it feels more comfortable overall, though its tone is airier and not as shapeable. However, the Les Paul definitely looks stylish, sounds good, and is a good choice for players with smaller hands or guitarists who need to play bass.

Derek Mok rated this unit 4 on 2007-02-14.

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