Epiphone Casino Guitar – 2020 Review

Vlad
| Last Updated: March 12, 2021

In case you have wondered what guitar John Lennon and George Harrison played, the answer is Epiphone Casino.

That’s why a Reissue model is available even these days.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Built with the thin line hollow construction
  • A limited lifetime warranty is included
  • A laminated Maple body for durability
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Epiphone CASINO Thin-Line Hollow Body Electric Guitar, Vintage Sunburst

PROS

  • Ideal for jazz musicians
  • Large body size creates extra sustain
  • The best bang for buck Archtop guitar on the market
  • Hollow body design generates enough output to play acoustically

CONS

  • Limited practical use

Epiphone Casino Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Archtop Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Double cutaway hollow thinline body

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Basswood braced top with Laminated Maple sides and back

  • Orientation: Available only for right-hand players

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany Slimtaper D neck profile with 1.68 inches wide nut

  • Fretboard: Rosewood fretboard with 22 Medium jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: Locktone Tune-o-matic

  • Color: Natural, Turquoise, Vintage Sunburst

  • Pickup Type: Dogear Classics pickups with P-90R on the bridge and P-90T on the neck

  • Weight: 6.5 lbs approx

Pros

Below are the primary pros and cons of this guitar:

Hollow Body Design Generates Enough Output to Play Acoustically

While we have acoustic guitars with electric preamp, Epiphone Casino could be considered to be the opposite - due to its hollow body electric guitar that has enough acoustic sound so it could perform without using a real amp. This will come especially handy for those people who don’t like or don’t have an amp in their room all the time. 

And anytime you want, thanks to the dual P-90 pickup configuration, you can plug it in and play in a way it was intended originally.

Large Body Size Creates Extra Sustain

While the body size may not please all the players, especially if you like to play leads and themes, we can’t hide the fact that its size resonates additional sustain and resonance which sounds marvelous in both unplugged and plugged state. After all, it was originally made to be a rhythm guitar and for those purposes, it does the job quite well.

Ideal for Jazz Musicians

One of the biggest traits of this specific model is how warm its sound can be. With a single turn on the volume knob, the sound gets either full or thin, but without compromising the initial sound quality or tone clarity. Such traits seem to be natural for jazz music and it’s no wonder that many jazz musicians are in love with its clean tone

The Best Bang for Buck Archtop Guitar on the Market

What’s Les Paul to the Gibson or Strat to the Fender, that’s Casino to the Epiphone brand. 

We believe that’s exactly why Epiphone decided to deliver you the exceptional build quality at such a low price. They have to be aware of the Casino legacy so the best way to promote how good Epiphone guitars can be is to make your iconic model the best you can.  

Cons

Here are the primary positives of this product.

Limited Practical Use

Unless you’re a hardcore power pop fan or you’re all about jazz music, Epiphone Casino has a sort of limited use beyond those genres due to its hollow body type. If you’re looking to buy your first guitar you should know that this might be an odd choice.

Modern music requires a lot of effect processing and the nature of the hollow body guitar types prevents you from stacking pedals such as distortion as they are very prone to generate unnecessary feedback. Also, single-coil pickups are known to be really noisy when they are cranked to the top.

What Recent Buyers Report

First of all, most Epiphone Casino buyers were experienced players who knew what they should expect from this model. But, despite the fact it’s being made in China, users are frankly really surprised with the build quality of this instrument. 

They tend to use it as a good example that “made in China” doesn’t have to mean bad quality and when compared to USA models they can’t find anything significantly bad. Even the frets were polished to perfection, an issue that many imported guitars have a struggle with.

People also find this model to be a true instrument for a jazz player. While hollow body models are prone to feedback issues, they don’t report having such problems in real-life situations. It’s not so rare that this model is also a favorite Epiphone among those who have more than one guitar.

There are some reports that even when played against the legendary Gibson ES-330, it didn’t find any significant tone difference, so it’s often praised as the best-buy hollow body guitar and they recommend investing in a pickup booster and f-hole covers if you’re looking to use it in modern rock music as well.

What Are the Components of the Epiphone Casino? 

Epiphone Casino is an archtop guitar with 5-ply layered Maple along with Basswood bracing. Like most other hollow-body guitars, it also comes with the regular f-holes on the arched top.

The neck is made of Mahogany and it’s a Slimtaper D-profile type while the 12” radius fingerboard is made from Pau Ferro. It contains Pearloid parallelogram inlays on 22 medium jumbo frets at 1.68” nut width. The neck joint is made on the 16th fret. 

Hardware-wise, it has a standard Locktone Tune-o-matic but with a Trapeze tailpiece. Hardware is nickel-based and the tuners are Epiphone vintage-style stock models.

What Pickups Does an Epiphone Casino Have?

Epiphone Casino comes with double single-coil Dogear Classic pickups, P90T at the bridge, and P-90R at the neck position. a 3-way toggle pickup selector is provided and it's placed on the pickguard.

What Strings Does Epiphone Put on Epiphone Casino?

All Epiphone Archtops come with the same string set as Gibson models, D’Addario .010-.046 string gauge.

What Are the Knobs for on an Epiphone Casino?

There are four knobs on Epiphone Casino, a pair of volume and tone control for every pickup. Knobs are vintage-styled with pointers and metal inserts while the finish is Gold.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Epiphone Casino Suitable For?

There is no age limitation for the Epiphone Casino guitar, but due to its body size, it will be hard to perform by kids. Regarding skill level, besides individual volume and tone control per pickup, there is nothing that prevents newbies to play on it. 

The neck is Slimtaper D-profile so they will enjoy the playability and the hollow body will allow them to play even without using a real amp. It will be loud enough so you can exercise without plugging it in.

Why is the Epiphone Casino So Popular?

Epiphone Casino is a hollow body model that has been played by both John Lennon and George Harrison from The Beatles. So, by purchasing this specific guitar you’re getting a bit of history along as you’ll be in possession of that exact instrument type that created some of the most iconic power-pop songs ever made. 

The fact it can work great for jazz music because of its clean sound doesn’t harm it either.

Also, the price factor can’t be denied. For an instrument of such quality, the number seems to be more than fine and it makes people go for Epiphone Casino so easily.

Where is the Epiphone Casino Made?

All Epiphone guitars are made in Epiphone's factory in Qingdao, China.

Where is the Epiphone Elitist Casino Made?

Epiphone Elitist Casino was made in Japan. It’s no longer being produced.

Epiphone Casino Tone Tips

Here are some tone tips:

Buy a Proper Set of Strings

While there is nothing wrong with factory strings, many guitars shine when you invest a little bit more and buy a premium set of strings. You may be surprised how different your guitar can sound with simple strings change.

Don’t Crank the Volume All the Way Up

Single coil pickups are not the best choice if you need a loud signal. That’s why we would strongly advise you to stay away from playing all the way to the max. It will generate a lot of unwanted noise along, so approach such situations carefully.

How to Get a Thicker Tone Out of Epiphone Casino

This guitar is not made to be loud at first. But if you need such a setup, might be a way.

It may be counterintuitive at first, but turn down the amp volume all the way down at first. Then, dial the volume knobs to the max and start adding up a volume to your amp back. This way you’re using the maximum output of your guitar first. Pickups will be much hotter at this stage so the overall sound will be a bit more modern. But, be careful, as feedback is prone to happen in such settings.

Comparison Overview 

Let’s break down some most typical differences between Epiphone models and also compare it with similar models from other brands:

Epiphone Casino vs Dot

Epiphone Dot or also known as Epiphone ES-335 is a kind of same but different “beast”. It’s a semi-hollow body model equipped with the HH pickup configuration. So, while the look might be similar, those two factors generate quite a different sound output. 

That being said, Epiphone Dot seems to be a much better option if you’re looking for an all-around instrument as it will allow you to stack a bit of guitar pedal effects and because of humbuckers, the sound will be much more appropriate for modern music requirements so you can play more than just a rockabilly on it.

Epiphone Casino doesn’t have such a reputation. It’s strictly made for power pop and jazz and the rest is possible only if you want to experiment.

Epiphone Casino vs Sheraton

Another semi-hollow body model Sheraton is a much better solution if you’re looking for a guitar able to pull off the heavier sound. It will combine the best of both worlds with its thinline design, but it will have a much better sustain than Casino. But, with such features, the price goes up as well and with the sound heaviness, body weight goes up with Sheraton, too.

Anyway, just like with Epiphone Dot, the main difference lies in PAF-style humbuckers Sheraton has. They will generate a bit more grit and punch that might be useful for modern genres. 

Epiphone Casino definitely sounds warmer and in case you find Sheraton trebles harsh and unpleasant you will be glad to know that Casino is free of such tone traits.

Gibson ES-330 vs Epiphone Casino

Both of these guitars belong to the hollow-body type and come with the P-90 pickup. But, if you check the price range, the only fair comparison would be between the Epiphone Elitist Casino model and ES-330. It seems to us that ES-330 has a bit more tone quality of the original 1960s Casino. And based on the price difference, it doesn’t surprise us.

However, bear in mind that ES-330 just like Elitist Casino is available only on the used market. So, if you’re looking for a hollow body of similar quality, the only option is to try Epiphone USA Casino models instead.

Epiphone Casino vs Casino Coupe

As you can guess just by looking at the names of those two guitars, most features are about the same.

But, the difference is also visible by the naked eye. It starts already if you try to compare the body size. Guys from Epiphone made Casino Coupe to have a much better ergonomic shape and by making it smaller in size so that overall it will be considered as more comfortable by many users. But, such body size also reflects in the acoustic loudness and sustain length.

So, to conclude, consider Casino Couple a Standard Casino guitar with the ES-339 body size approach.

Epiphone Casino Elitist vs Standard

Another comparison of the guitars from the same series. Elitist Casino was made in Korea and Japan. It got famous because of its unprecedented build quality and the best quality control Epiphone ever achieved. That’s why the Elitist model generates even more resonance when played acoustically. 

But, even if the significantly higher price won’t turn you away from the Elitist model, bear in mind that it is only available on the used market at the moment.

If you’re looking for a brand new Casino that can resemble the quality of the original instrument your only option will be Epiphone USA Casino.

Conclusion 

Epiphone Casino might be an interesting spin-off from your everyday solid body guitars. It may also be the one you will use for quick practicing because of its body design. 

And if you’re thinking of going deeper into the jazz genre, rest assured that this guitar will be both worthy and an affordable companion down that road.

People Also Ask

As Epiphone Casino is a really legendary instrument, the trivia list is endless. That’s why we have decided to reveal some mysteries around John Lennon guitar current location and also name the most iconic guitar players who have been using this guitar on a daily basis.

What Types of Music is the Epiphone Casino Best For?

Because of its hollow body design that generates clean sound, Epiphone Casino is best for jazz music and the vintage genre known as power pop. Bands like The Beatles or The Who might be the best showcase of such music.

Who Used an Epiphone Casino?

The list of Epiphone Casino guitar players is incredibly long so let’s just name a few most famous musicians:

  • John Lennon
  • George Harrison
  • Paul McCartney
  • Pete Townshend (The Who)
  • Keith Richards
  • Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones)
  • The Edge (U2)
  • Glenn Frey (Eagles)
  • Noel Gallagher (Oasis)
  • Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)

How to Make an Epiphone Casino Sound Like Jazz

Jazz sound is all about being subtle, mellow, and warm. Such sound can be created only on lower volume settings on both Epiphone Casino volume knobs and amp settings.

Always remember that the guitar is one part of the sound equation, the other comes from the amp you’re using.

How Do You Keep an Epiphone Casino From Feeding Back?

Avoiding dialing volume output at high levels will be the best solution to prevent Epiphone Casino from creating feedback noise. Turning down the amp volume will also work. And if that doesn’t work, there are noise gate pedals available which may do wonders for your Epiphone Casino.

Which Epiphone Casino Did John Lennon Play?

John Lennon performed on a 1965 Epiphone Casino guitar with a trapeze tailpiece. It was the only guitar he played throughout the whole The Beatles era. A year later Harrison decided to enroll with the Casinos as well with the only difference his model had a Bigsby vibrato. 

Where is John Lennon's Epiphone Casino?

After John Lennon got murdered back in 1980, his Epiphone Casino was displayed in The John Lennon Museum in Saitama, Japan by his wife Yoko Ono, It stayed there for almost 10 years when they had to close it down in 2010.

Nowadays it’s being displayed in Guitar Gallery since 2017.

How to Change the Action on an Epiphone Casino

First, check the amount of relief the neck already has and then lower the bridge height first. The rest can be applied by re-adjusting the truss rod. Such adjustments can be performed with the strings set on, just make sure you have loosened the string before adjusting.

What is the Cost of the Epiphone Casino?

Depending on the fact if it’s the USA or import-made Epiphone Casino may cost you from $500 for Casino Couple models up to $2,700 for Epiphone USA Casino models. 

Of course, some older used models will cost even more as this guitar has a nice resale value, especially Elitist models.

Why is the Epiphone Casino So Expensive?

It depends on which Casino you’re referring to. Epiphone USA Casino or Elitist Casino seems to be quite expensive because of the enhanced build quality and overall better hand-picked parts when compared to China models. 

But, we must say that the current models from China are both affordable and well-made, too.

What is an Epiphone 61 Casino Reissue?

Epiphone 61 Casino Reissue is a special limited edition model made to glorify the original model made in 1961. It has been recreated to the tiniest details and it comes with Gibson USA P-90 dog-ear pickups and to pay a complete tribute to this instrument, Epiphone has created only 1,961 units for this production line. 

How to Polish Epiphone Casino

Any cleaner except for household material will be fine. This includes even car polishing material. But if you’re looking for a real guitar-made product, consider Gibson Pump Polish or Virtuoso Polish and Cleaner. 

Gerlitz Smudge Off may also do wonders to maintaining your Epiphone Casino properly.

Vlad

I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.