From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Period: 1961 — present
Body type: hollow
Neck joint: Set
Scale: 24.75″ with 14″ fretboard radius
Body: maple (laminated)
Neck: mahogany on most models in most periods; sometimes maple
Fretboard: rosewood on most models, ebony on some
The Epiphone Casino is a thinline hollow body electric guitar manufactured by Epiphone, a branch of Gibson. It is essentially Epiphone’s version of the Gibson ES-330. The guitar has been associated with such guitarists as George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Dave Davies, Noel Gallagher, The Edge, Dave Grohl and Gary Clark, Jr.
The Casino, also designated by Epiphone as model E230TD, is a thinline hollow-bodied guitar with two Gibson P-90 pick-ups, or only one. Although generally fitted with a trapeze-type tailpiece, often a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece is used in its place (either as a factory direct feature or as an aftermarket upgrade). Unlike semi-hollow body guitars such as the Gibson ES-335, which have a center block to promote sustain and reduce feedback, the Casino and its cousin, the Gibson ES-330 are true hollow-bodied guitars. This makes it lighter, and louder when played without an amplifier, but much more prone to feedback than semi-hollow or solid-body electrics.
Early versions of the Casino had a spruce top. Through 1970, the Casino headstock was set at a 17-degree angle and the top was made of five laminated layers of maple, birch, maple, birch, and maple. With the exception of the John Lennon models, subsequent Casinos have been made with 14-degree headstock angle with five layer all maple laminated tops. Current versions have a laminated maple top, sides, and back, and a mahogany neck.
Factory String Gauge Guide for Casino
Per the Epiphone String Gauge Guide, the Casino comes with these string sizes from high to low: 10 13 17 26 36 46.
Used by the Beatles
In 1965, Paul McCartney, The Beatles’ bass player, was the first Beatle to acquire a Casino (a 1962 model), using it for his studio forays into guitar work, including his guitar solos on “Ticket to Ride” (1965), “Drive My Car” (1965) and “Taxman” (1966). In 1966 John Lennon and George Harrison bought 1965 Casinos, which are clearly seen in photos of Japan concerts (last World Tour, 1966). John Lennon used the Epiphone Casino as his main instrument during the remainder of his time with the Beatles. In 1968 when the Beatles were making the White Album, Lennon had the pick guard removed from his Casino and professionally sanded to bare wood and lightly lacquered with two thin coats of nitro-cellulose. In the early seventies, the original tuners were replaced with a set of gold Grover tuners or machine heads. His stripped guitar, (but still with the original nickel tuners), is first seen in the “Revolution” promo film. The guitar was used at The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus in December 1968, the Apple rooftop concert on January 30, 1969, and the concert of Live Peace in Toronto 1969 with the Plastic Ono Band on September 13, 1969. It can also be seen in the Let It Be film, and most other pictures of John playing guitar after that time. George had his fitted with a Bigsby trem, removed the pickguard (it can be seen in this state in the “Hello Goodbye” and “Penny Lane” videos, and in pictures of the final Beatles show in San Francisco, 1966). He also had it sanded down in 1968.
Epiphone currently builds several versions of the Casino. These include:
- Regular “Archtop-Series” Casino made in China and uses non-American made parts (Korea until 2007)
- Revolution John Lennon 1965 Casino. This “Inspired by John Lennon” version is made in China with American-made “Tribute” P-90 pickups and a five-ply maple-birch body and is a less expensive version of the now defunct USA Collection John Lennon Revolution Casino which was made in Japan and assembled in America. It was based on the modifications Lennon made to his 1965 Casino during the recording of the White Album, which include a “stripped” (natural) satin finish, gold Grover tuners, no pickguard, a deeper set-in neck, and Lennon’s signature on the back of the headstock
- Elitist Casino. Made in Japan and set-up in America, and contains American made parts such as the pickups. Body is 5-ply maple, Gibson P-90 pickups, and nickel hardware.
- Limited Edition 1961 Casino. This limited version is offered in Royal Tan and Vintage Sunburst, with either a trapeze tailpiece or a tremotone tremolo. It sports a 5 layer maple-birch body, Gibson P-90 pickups, “short” headstock, bullet trussrod cover, tortoiseshell pickguard, and pre-Gibson era Epiphone badge.