I’ve previously complained about cheap hardware, horrendous setups and generally poor quality control on Epiphone Specials, including Special I and Special II models.
Well, in case you needed it, here’s more proof. The strings have cut deeply into this soft-metal wraparound bridge. So much so that it was difficult extracting b & e strings! And this guitar has barely been played! There is absolutely no visible fret wear.
Not that it matters, because I’m obviously going to replace the bridge anyway, AND file the nut slots low enough to allow proper intonation, AND adjust the truss rod AND set the saddle heights so this guitar will finally be able to be played comfortably.
Epiphone Special bodies are made of very soft basswood and the bridge posts and saddle buttons often work their way loose. Ibanez and Indio make their bodies out of poplar. Per woodweb.com – “Basswood has a hardness of 410 pounds, while yellow poplar (tulip poplar) is 540 pounds. Basswood is about 75% of the hardness of y-p (or y-p is 30% harder than basswood).”
You gotta wonder how much more popular guitar playing might be if companies stopped producing unplayable junk that turns people away from guitar!
Friends don’t let friends buy Epiphone Specials! For the same price, you can buy a decent Ibanez Gio, or Squier Bullet Strat. For much less money, you can buy an Indio guitar by Monoprice that will be much better made than this Epiphone Special!
After filing nut slots, leveling frets, new strings, truss rod adjustment, bridge height adjustment, and adjusting intonation, I must admit the guitar really plays and sounds great.
I got a comment on Facebook saying, “It only cost a couple hundred bucks and a new bridge is only $25.” Well, I’d like to respond to that here:
First, as shown above, you have better options (IMHO) in that price range. But secondly, let’s try that line of thinking –
So who buys an Epiphone Special? Usually a beginner, right? And you expect him to know to measure post to post and measure fretboard radius to buy the correct replacement bridge?
Now, let me say that the replacement bridge actually fit the posts better than the Epiphone bridge which was so tight it was hard to force it in place. However, the new bridge needed to be set lower (the original one did also), but the bridge was already sitting on the stud and I needed to come down another fifteen thousandths of an inch on high side and twenty thousandths on the low side. That took some doing!
Finally, I used my 2.5mm Allen wrench to set intonation.
Would you really expect a newbie to know how to do all that and to have the right tools?
I think not.