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This guitar set is the PERFECT set up for the beginner. The guitar itself costs $169 on Amazon. This set comes with a small practice amp, cable to attach guitar to amp, nylon guitar strap, a few pics, a guitar tuner, and a gig bag, which by itself sells for $19. The great thing about this is it is specificlly aimed at the beginner, and comes with everything you need to start playing right away, without having to do homework and figure out the accessories you want/need when as a beginner you don't really know and aren't that interested in, you just want to start playing! Well not only is the guitar in this set a really good quality guitar, you get the periphery items that will definitely work for you as you're just starting out, that you will very much most likely upgrade after you figure out what you want. The amp is a really nice amp. It is small and louder than you'd imagine. It has bass and treble settings, a headphone out jack, and an input that you can plug a standard ipod headphone cable into so you can play your ipod out the amp speaker and "jam" along. The cable that attaches to the guitar and to the amp is about ten feet long, one end is right angled. The amp runs off regular US 120V power. The guitar is much more beautiful in person than you can tell from the picture. It is very well made. Mine had a couple of very very small cosmetic blemishes that are hardly noticible. The sound of the guitar is good as well. It does indeed sound different than my Fender Squire Stratocaster, but not in a bad way at all. It has a "warm" tone to it. It has some heft to it, but is not what I would consider "heavy." Epiphone is owned by Gibson, and the Epiphone line is much like the Squire line of Fender products; a beginner and cost friendly alternitive while having similar apperance to their much much more expensive brethern. The included tuner didn't have instructions, and took me messing with it for quite some time to figure out what it wanted, and is quite finnicky. It includes battery. It works fine. The nylon strap that connects to the guitar that you wear over your shoulder is highly adjustable, and could probably be adjusted down or up to fit a small child or a very large adult. The "gig bag" guitar case has a big pocket that you can use to store a couple song books or whatever. It too has a sling strap you can tote over your shoulder, or you can use its handle. The pics it comes with are just as good as any other pics. Mine was shipped in the box shown with a plain brown box with padding surrounding it, so you can order this as a gift and not worry about it being not wrapped.

So why order this set for $30 more than just the guitar? Well, as a beginner you don't really know what you want yet. It's better to start out with decent, cheaper items and go up from there. Here you have a base to build upon. Since purchasing this set, I've upgraded the case to a hard case for travel, bought some new pics, and bought a Snark tuner,(<$15) and bought a nicer, stylish and more comfortable guitar strap. So for $30, I figured out what works and what doesn't. The amp and cable and guitar are great, and in no way are needing upgrades for the beginner. The bag, guitar strap, and tuner work, and are fine, but I quickly grew out of them. All in all, this is very much worth $199!!!

-As a side note for any future players interested in self paced guitar instruction, the set I chose after hours of research and is VERY highly reguarded as being excellent for beginners, is called "Learn and Master Guitar." by Gibson. They have a website and the more complete set which I got is right around $200. They also have it here on Amazon, but I'm not sure if you get all the extra "bonus dics." Anyway, the instruction is terrific and I never thought I'd be able to play guitar!

-As far as the included online instruction that is included with this set, I never used it so I can't comment on that.

Have a great time learning guitar!! :-)

-Shane

****-UPDATE-**** July 29, 2014
Well, since purchasing this as my first guitar, I've since bought a few other guitars, most recently a Epiphone Les Paul Plustop PRO, $499. Well, build wise, the Plustop PRO is much fancier and stylish, heavier, and just way nicer to look at. Aesthetically terrific. HOWEVER, even tho the Plustop PRO has different pickups, different tone selectors, has a glued on neck, better workmanship, quite honestly the sound of this budget Epiphone LP guitar is really not worth the extra $330. For the looks, yes, but actual SOUND, not too much of a discernible difference. I wish it were a huge difference in sound, but in all reality, not so much. I get a few more sounds from the Plustop due to the coil tapping feature and the slightly better pickups, but, again, not a crazy noticeable difference. I notice after messing around for a bit with the Plustop, I grab this one,(its WAY lighter) and rip on it. Just as easy to play. I contend this Epiphone is still a GREAT buy! Also, if you want a little bit more fancier looking guitar, the next step up from this one is the Epiphone LP-100,($249), which has a some better color options and also has second set of tone and volume knobs, and is a bit beefier physically than this model. The pickups however are EXACTLY the same, so most likely you'll get the same sound as this one. So spending the extra $80 may be worth it to you if you want a bit better looking guitar.

***UPDATE FEB.2015*** Well, I've since progressed quite a bit in my playing, and I've acquired many more guitars. This one has now been assigned duty as my primary Slide Guitar, as I use an open tuning on it. So, if you're thinking about buying this and wondering about progressing, you can still find a use for it! Still sounds great, and I think this is one outstanding purchase for a first guitar!

*********UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2015***********
I recently took a break from playin' the blues and picked up my AC/DC guitar play along book. "Dirty Deeds" looked fairly "easy" to learn the first few measures, so I went about trying to get the sound of Angus Young on my Fender Stratocaster and Mustang III amp. I just could NOT get that thick, whole, bass'y sound I was looking for, no matter how much I messed about with the knobs. This Epiphone Les Paul Special II, my first 'baby', was sitting right in my closet, and I remembered how nice and full she sounded, so I plugged her in and found a good setting on my amp and bingo, PERFECT MATCH!! This guitar, while kinda plain looking, produces a really full, thick sound. Great guitar. Still!
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on October 4, 2010
The Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul Collection Electric Guitar is a GREAT GUITAR for $169.00 (The average selling price at the time of this review). The pickups, tune-o-matic bridge and stop piece are the same ones used in Epiphone's more expensive guitars, and are similar to what's used in much more expensive Gibsons. Although the tone adjustments have been simplified to a toggle between the three pickup combinations and an overall tone control for both pickups, this is not as big a deal as many might make of it. Given the vast array of other things that influence electric guitar sound -- strings, amp choice and settings, effects pedals and so forth -- the guitar sounds great as is.

The finish and general fit and balance of the guitar are great. There was a time when budget guitars screamed cheap and were quite obviously low class in a lot of areas. Those days are past with the Epiphone LP Special II.

All that said, there a few things to remember.

* The guitar comes with very light bendy strings. This is probably due to market data that tells Epiphone that the bulk of buyers for this guitar are teen Guitar Heros who think that string bending every note is an essential aspect of shredding and wailing. If you plan to put heavier strings on the guitar (like 12-51s for example) for jazz or other styles of music then you will probably need a truss rod adjustment to compensate for the added tension. If you don't know how to do this, ask someone who does. You can ruin a guitar, permanently, by being too aggressive with a truss rod adjustment.

* The guitar has a mahogany neck, but a basswood body. Do not let anyone tell you this is a bad thing. Basswood is a completely acceptable wood for musical instruments. It is not worse or better than mahogany or maple. It is just different. Once again, the differences involved will probably be irrelevant when added into all the other things that players do with amps, strings and pedals to create tone and sound from an electric guitar.

* Epiphone has more than one factory making these guitars. One is in China, the other in is Indonesia. The guitars made by each are very close in every detail, but not exactly, perfectly the same.

* The Chinese examples of the sunburst model that I have seen have a slightly golden-orange tone to the sunburst pattern, more like the traditional sunburst color in American guitars. The Indonesian examples I have seen have a much more over all orange look. Basswood does not have a lot of visible grain. The example guitar shown in the official Epiphone product photos, the photos you see on most web sites like Amazon and Musician's Friend and so forth, are probably a little optimistic when it comes to visible grain and the golden hued quality of the sunburst finish.

* The Chinese examples I have seen tend to weigh more. One Indonesian model I saw weighed a full pound and half less than the Chinese model right next to it. There is not, unfortunately, any way to tell from the box or from the barcode or SKU number on the box what factory a given example inisde the box came from. The system will deal out whatever is in stock at the moment.

The world is full of guys who will zero in on all the details they find inferior about this guitar by noting the rather obvious fact that this is not a Gibson Les Paul Standard costing $3,000.00. There are some people who will complain that this guitar has a bolt on neck. True, the set necks of the more expensive Epiphones and Gibsons are nicer. But, considering the fact that every Fender Stratocaster ever made had a bolt on neck, is this really a big deal? Would Jimi Hendrix have played "Purple Haze" better if his Strat had a set in neck? Probably not.

The guitar this model is probably closest to, in spirit and purpose, is not the Gibson Les Pauls but, rather, to the old Gibson Melody Maker guitars from the 60s. That said, this is a hell of lot more guitar for the money than any Melody Maker ever was, and adjusted for inflation, relative to what a Melody Maker would have cost you in 1968, for example, it is almost like Epiphone paying you to play it.

People listen to music, not guitars. Music is made by players, not by pickups and electronics. If you're on a budget, this is an outstanding choice. If you're not on a budget, it's still a very good basic instrument. RECOMMENDED.
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on January 6, 2018
First guitar I buy. Out of the box, this guitar gets one star. The 1/4 input port was defective. I took it into Guitar Center and they repaired it for free. One of the cables had come lose. They had to reattach the cable. Fret buzz was very bad. The strings were pretty much impossible to play. Since I was already at guitar center they recommended a setup. The guitar was restrung with Ernie Ball strings, the neck was completely turned, and had a sticky substance on it. They polished and straightened the neck and setup the action. Now the guitar plays great, better than a squier I also own and also had setup. If Epiphone QA did a better job this guitar would get 5 stars but I. Had to pay 50 dollars to get it playable.
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on November 23, 2015
This is my first purchase electric guitar. I had been using a Strat, on loan, for the last year which I found not easy to play. Technically there is nothing wrong with it but I wanted a little thicker neck like my acoustics. This Epiphone LP special really impressed me. The sound coming from my Peavey Viper 3 blew me away when I played it! I'm not a professional and only started playing electric guitars for the past two years, but I have to say that this guitar is way better than the Strat.
The setup was supposedly done in the USA and the intonation was spot on! The frets are a little rough and need a sanding on the edges but it is very playable. It is a very heavy guitar and I would recommend a strap with locks so you don't damage it if it slips the strap holes. I haven't jammed with it yet and will probably update my review later after a field test with my buddies. For $100 this guitar rocks!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon January 13, 2015
My wife and I purchased this kit for our 14-year-old son as a Christmas present. He had been playing on acoustic guitar for several months, but we could tell that he wanted to try electric from the music he listens to. And we were right. He is still a beginner, but took to it right away and loves it.

It has just about everything you need to start playing and the included chromatic tuner that allows my son to tune the guitar easily. The little amp puts out more sounds than you might expect it too. The quality of the instrument and general build seems to be up to Les Paul standards and should last him through high school at the very least. Hopefully he'll keep playing for the rest of his life. It is beautifully finished and doesn't look, feel or sound like a budget rate kit guitar.

~ Kort
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on April 15, 2016
I got everything I read about in the description. The amp is terrific for a noon like myself. If you're looking to play this with Rocksmith, get the "Rocksmith 2014" version instead of the original game.
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on November 23, 2016
Just started learning guitar a couple months ago. Started with an acoustic. Liked it but was starting to loose interest. Bought this electric kit from Amazon. It arrived earlier than expected and in great shape. This kit gives you everything you need and sounds great.
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on March 9, 2017
This is absolute a great starter kit for anyone looking to get everything needed to begin jamming away on a electric guitar. I am used to acoustics and wanted to try an electric because they are easier for my carpeltunnel wrists being that it has a slimmer neck and it requires less stretching of my fingers. I enjoy it and it has a beautiful look and sound. You get a lot for a great price
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on October 14, 2017
The guitar sounds and feels beautiful, especially for it's price. I've been jammin out with it alot lately and trying to learn to play more. Felt nice to buy this as my first guitar. As a beginner, I can safely say it's great for beginners, but also great for just anyone in general.
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on February 25, 2015
I picked this up to get back into rock guitar after many years off. For a good-to-go starter pack it is awesome. The guitar is a good weight, stays in tune no problem. Amp is decent for what it is. Yes there is a little noise in electronics (either guitar or amp or both) but for rock simple practice who cares. For $50 or so you can pick up a cheap FX machine/pedal that will give you myriad of ways to get the tone you want through the amp clean. My last beginner guitar was a Fender Squire, and I would never recommend one of those (heavy, cheap plastic).

UPDATE: Since writing this review I've had the opportunity to handle other brand low-end guitars and also become more knowledgeable about guitar construction... I'm all the more impressed with the LP II: fit and finish of the frets, precision of neck/fret/body system that allows for low string action without fret buzz, strings stay in tune, etc. No it is not fancy but good solid basic craftsmanship. If/when I ever decide to upgrade, Epiphone will definitely get my consideration.
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