Guitars - Epiphone Special
I had posted a review to Musicians Friend but they appear to not have chose it as worthy to place on their site so I will try to reproduce it here although with different wording.
I purchased my Epiphone Les Paul Special (probably a "Special II") in about 1999. I stopped playing while in college and just this last summer, of 2007, I started to play again. I was pretty unhappy with my sound so I upgraded the pickups to a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge and a '59 in the neck. This is a common config so I won't post any links. I did this at the same time as picking up an Ibanez RGT42 DXFX, which supposedly was on sale but in reality was just a fair price. The Epiphone now sounds great, the sound has really grown on me. It is a perfect clean with the '59 and with the JB does blues/rock just great. The Epi Special held up decent over the years, good enough for new pickups ;-) and now has a great sound. I definitely recommend the guitar, especially once you upgrade the pickups. From what is out on the internet I don't think their quality has slipped much - all while keeping the price low.
Here's where I want to go farther: the Ibanez does a better 'Metal' sound. I have a Boss Metal Zone MT-2 and a Marshall MG50DFX. The Ibanez sounds awesome through the Metal Zone and with mids 'scooped' sounds better than the JB. The JB still sounds good but as a comparison I thought people should know. I think my next guitar will be something cheap so I can put in a Seymour Duncan Dimebucker and see how that fairs. To be fair the JB is more of a Rock or Hard Rock pickup and not really a Metal pickup; they claim it has that versatility but it depends on your sound.