Gibson Guitar Board: Real Difference Between the Dot, Sheraton, Casino & Riviera - Gibson Guitar Board

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Real Difference Between the Dot, Sheraton, Casino & Riviera

#1 User is offline   GolfingPlowboy 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:34 AM

New to guitar and new to this forum. I have 3 Epiphones, a Les Paul Studio, a Hummingbird and an EL-00 which my wife plays. We are learning guitar together which is fun.

I am looking hard at an archtop but, other than the price which really isn't an issue, I wonder what the real difference is between the Dot, Sheraton II, Casino & the Riviera. Being a big Beatles fan I naturally lean towards the Casino but, except for the IBJL versions, the price range of the Sheraton, Casino & Riviera are pretty close. The Dot's are noticeably cheaper but I'm not sure why. My guess is the electronics, i.e. pick-ups & humbuckers.

So I have 2 questions for you more experienced folks: 1) What are the real differences in the above mentioned guitars and 2) I have noticed on ebay and other similar sites that many used guitars I've looked at (mostly of the above mentioned models) are selling for not a whole lot less than what you could get a brand new one for. As an example I have been following used Casinos pretty closely and they tend to go for around $500 when I could get a brand new one for $600! Same goes for Sheratons and Dots, most of them selling for only $50-100 less than the cost of a brand new one. It doesn't make sense to me but, like I said I'm new to guitars and guitar stuff. So what's up with that? Why would a 5-10 year old guitar still be worth so close to a new one? I wish my cars would hold their value like that!

#2 User is offline   weslee_1990 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:39 AM

Well I just bought my Sheraton and I was really close to buying the dot and the real diffrence to me was the neck on the sheraton seems to be thiner and and the Sheraton just killed the dot as far a feel went.
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#3 User is offline   bloozeguy 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 11:18 AM

Quote

New to guitar and new to this forum. I have 3 Epiphones, a Les Paul Studio, a Hummingbird and an EL-00 which my wife plays. We are learning guitar together which is fun.

I am looking hard at an archtop but, other than the price which really isn't an issue, I wonder what the real difference is between the Dot, Sheraton II, Casino & the Riviera. Being a big Beatles fan I naturally lean towards the Casino but, except for the IBJL versions, the price range of the Sheraton, Casino & Riviera are pretty close. The Dot's are noticeably cheaper but I'm not sure why. My guess is the electronics, i.e. pick-ups & humbuckers.

So I have 2 questions for you more experienced folks: 1) What are the real differences in the above mentioned guitars and 2) I have noticed on ebay and other similar sites that many used guitars I've looked at (mostly of the above mentioned models) are selling for not a whole lot less than what you could get a brand new one for. As an example I have been following used Casinos pretty closely and they tend to go for around $500 when I could get a brand new one for $600! Same goes for Sheratons and Dots, most of them selling for only $50-100 less than the cost of a brand new one. It doesn't make sense to me but, like I said I'm new to guitars and guitar stuff. So what's up with that? Why would a 5-10 year old guitar still be worth so close to a new one? I wish my cars would hold their value like that!
Remember that the Casino is full-hollow-bodied, the others semi. That is to say the others have a big piece of wood down thru the middle of the body--cuts down on feedback. Agree with Weslee about the neck on the Sheraton vs. Dot; otherwise, the difference is bling, as far as I can see (and I may be wrong). Never could quite figure out how the Riv figures into this, except the original Riv had mini-humbuckers (right?); now there are models out with P94s and P93s, various tailpieces, etc. hard to keep the riv models straight, IMO.

#4 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 11:28 AM

The Casino is full hollow and has P90s; the others are semi-hollow and have Humbuckers (except the Nick Valensi Riviera which has Gibson P94s, a P90 variant, and the current P93 which is a Riviera with 3 P90s).

All four have inexpensive asian-made pots, jacks, switch, wiring and pickups. The IBJL has US-made electronics and wiring and period correct neck/body joint. All four have the same neck width and string spacing. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong here, all mine do.) All are laminated (plywood) top, sides and back with various top woods, see dealer sites.

Dot has a chunky (front to back) neck, Grover tuners, stop tailpiece.

Riviera has trapezoid inlays, Kluson-style tuners, frequensator tailpiece. (Or gold hardware and Bigsby on the P93.)

Sheraton has 5-piece neck, Grover tuners, gold hardware, fancy inlays, stop tailpiece.

None come with a case except the IBJL.

There are other minor differences.

The Elitist models and 1965 JL Casinos are a whole other level of quality...

BTW, the older Korean-made Epis are more sought after and therefore more "valuable".
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#5 User is offline   TWANG 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:34 PM

I can still remember arguing these models from back in the sixties. the sheri and the casino, anyway.

I went with the sheri.. the neck was a big part of that.. the access to upper frets and the thin neck.
but I put in p90s.

today. I'd grab that riviera p93 in a heartbeat.
great price great features..

the casino it has to be said. is another animal.
you might compare the dot or riv or sheri.. but the casinos body and deeper set neck make for real tonal difference out of the guitar.. no matter what pups are in it.
to me anyway.

#6 User is offline   bkrejcik 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:22 PM

I had a Korean Sheraton that was real nice, but I personally don't like thin necks and ended up selling it. The Dot I have now is also Korean-made, and is more comfortable to me. I would actually prefer a guitar with the neck set deeper into the body, as I don't spend that much time up high on the neck and it would be more comfortable down by the nut. It's all what's best for the individual player.

#7 User is offline   Sjael 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:26 PM

The Sheri also has a much cooler headstock, imo. [biggrin]
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#8 User is offline   weslee_1990 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 04:46 PM

Yeah the only way to really know is playing them thats what sold me on the sheraton when i compared it to the dot. And i agree with Sjael the head stock is pretty!
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#9 User is offline   Mr. Bill 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 12:34 AM

Does anyone have the newer Chinese Casino?

I have not played one, but thought someone mentioned it had a thicker or wider neck than the skinny MIK models.

#10 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 01:08 AM

The IBJL Casino neck is about the same as a Korean standard Casino I played recently - same thickness, width and string spacing.

IBJL Casino:

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Standard Korean:

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#11 User is offline   GolfingPlowboy 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 03:07 PM

I thank everyone for all their inputs.

I have been to the Epiphone website (obviously) and have looked at the specs of each guitar but, other than the pickups/humbuckers the only big difference I see is the tailpiece and the so-called "bling". Does the type of tailpiece really matter when it comes to sound (no Bigsby involved)?

Also what I am getting from you folks is the later models of all the guitars are made in China and the internal electronics are not necessarily of the highest quality. I was an aviation electronics tech for 20 years in the US Navy and a qualified micro-miniature component repair tech (solder tech) as well so I would think it would be easy enough to get the Gibson pots & switches and replace the stock ones. True or no?

Also I get that the Dot & Sheraton are semi-hollow while the Casino is a full hollow construction. What would be the pros and cons of each type?

The price difference between the Sheraton & regular Casino is negligible but the Dot is $200 cheaper which is significant. That's the new price by the way. Once again I am befuddled by 3-5 year old similar guitars selling on auction sites for near new prices. I can't understand why anyone would spend $500 on a used, made in China Casino when they could get a brand new one for $600 and know they could always return it without any problems and not worry about transferring a warranty or anything.

Anyway, thanks again for all your inputs, I do appreciate them all.

#12 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 03:23 PM

Plow, the auction sites are a rip, they have to pay eBay and Paypal fees, plus you can't play it and return it, so not a good way to go as you have already surmised. You might try your local Craigslist, I've generally had success there. Also the used rack at your local music store.

With your tech background it would be a snap to upgrade the electronics on any guitar, so best advice is to go to the local GC and play everything that fits your needs. Take home the one you like the feel of, give it a few weeks, and then use the SEARCH feature here to find the upgrades that make the most sense.

Gibson uses Switchcraft jacks and switch, CTS pots and better wire and caps. Pickups are a matter of taste and pocketbook, here's a link to every mfr. out there: http://www.pickupedi...r_pickup_makers

All we ask is that you post pics of your selection and the upgrades as you go so's we can learn from your efforts.

Good luck!

PS: Full hollow are more susceptible to acoustic feedback, so semis can venture into hgh volume territory more easily. If you're not into LOUD, then a full hollow is kinda nice, you can sit on the couch, no amp, and get some good tone out of it.
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#13 User is offline   smips65 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 02:03 AM

Quote

All we ask is that you post pics of your selection and the upgrades as you go so's we can learn from your efforts.

Good luck!

PS: Full hollow are more susceptible to acoustic feedback, so semis can venture into hgh volume territory more easily. If you're not into LOUD, then a full hollow is kinda nice, you can sit on the couch, no amp, and get some good tone out of it.




I'll second this thought...

Plow, you mentioned in the beggining that your looking for an archtop, are you set on the skinnier models, such as the dot sheri, casino?

There is also the Joe Pass, Broadway, ES-175 reissue, and of course others with fuller bodies, that most certainly play well unplugged....


As Brain suggested, there are gems to be found on the local Craigslist.
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#14 User is offline   GolfingPlowboy 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 04:04 AM

Thanks for your input Brian. Unfortunately I live out in the sticks of west Texas and a real city of any size is 2-3 hours drive so I don't have a "local" guitar center which is why I do LOTS of research on the net. Also, as I mentioned, I am new to guitar, literally a beginner so I would feel a little uncomfortable in a guitar shop trying out guitars with the 2 whole chords that I know...lol! Well, it's not quite that bad but I just don't know enough about guitars or amps to ask the right questions let alone judge them by anything I can play at the level I am at right now.

As far as my playing environment, I have no plans for anything more than playing for personal pleasure. Hopefully the wife will progress along with me and we can have fun strumming together for the next 50 years, assuming we live to be 100!

It does sound like making upgrades to the electronics will be a snap so it seems a fellow could buy a Dot or Sheraton, upgrade the electronics, maybe the tuners as well and end up with a guitar that has the guts of a Gibson for the price of an Epiphone + the cost of the upgraded parts.

It looks to me like the Sheraton is just a glorified Dot with gold hardware and a fancy headstock and neck. I can't tell them apart otherwise. I guess the bottom line of all this is I don't want to buy a Dot and then wish I had bought a Sheraton or Casino. Or buy a Casino and find that a Dot would have been just as good. BUT I guess I'll never know unless I actually pick one up and play it! I was just wanting a little insight from more experienced folks like yourself such as if there was anything inherently wrong with the Dot or Sheraton, etc.

#15 User is offline   smips65 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 05:20 AM

Quote

Thanks for your input Brian. Unfortunately I live out in the sticks of west Texas and a real city of any size is 2-3 hours drive so I don't have a "local" guitar center which is why I do LOTS of research on the net. Also, as I mentioned, I am new to guitar, literally a beginner so I would feel a little uncomfortable in a guitar shop trying out guitars with the 2 whole chords that I know...lol! Well, it's not quite that bad but I just don't know enough about guitars or amps to ask the right questions let alone judge them by anything I can play at the level I am at right now.

As far as my playing environment, I have no plans for anything more than playing for personal pleasure. Hopefully the wife will progress along with me and we can have fun strumming together for the next 50 years, assuming we live to be 100!

It does sound like making upgrades to the electronics will be a snap so it seems a fellow could buy a Dot or Sheraton, upgrade the electronics, maybe the tuners as well and end up with a guitar that has the guts of a Gibson for the price of an Epiphone + the cost of the upgraded parts.

It looks to me like the Sheraton is just a glorified Dot with gold hardware and a fancy headstock and neck. I can't tell them apart otherwise. I guess the bottom line of all this is I don't want to buy a Dot and then wish I had bought a Sheraton or Casino. Or buy a Casino and find that a Dot would have been just as good. BUT I guess I'll never know unless I actually pick one up and play it! I was just wanting a little insight from more experienced folks like yourself such as if there was anything inherently wrong with the Dot or Sheraton, etc.



There are some differences as has been stated. The necks are significantly different. It really comes down to what feels more comfortable to you. With that said, the acoustics that you have as compared to the Lester, which neck feels better to you? This could help with your choice.

The Sheri has a three piece neck, and is generally thinner, than the one piece neck on a dot. If your planning on changing the electronics anyway, then discussing the differences between the two is mute.

A Casino is a full hollowbody with P-90 pups, and wouldn't require much modding.
Others here could chime in, but in my experience the neck on a Casino is similar to the Sheri.


The fuller bodied archtops I mentioned would be enjoyable plugged or unplugged, if you have no amp, or don't know yet what your looking for.

However, they usually have a thicker chunkier neck.

So in the end, since electronics are not an issue, playability and comfort is the key concern here. Since you have a solidbody electric, and a couple of acoustics... your hands should be able to guide you in the right direction.

If you like the Les Paul Studio better, then a Sheri might be the one

If you like the thicker wider neck on the acoustics, then the Dot might be a better fit.
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#16 User is offline   cunningham26 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 07:22 AM

I recently did a test on all three at my local (less than 2-3 hours!) GC. The casino is great, really lightweight, has a lot of shine to the sound, and the neck was really comfortable. everything seemed put together really well, but like others said with your background it'd be a snap to replace electronics.

The Sheraton was my personal bread and butter because i liked the heft and prefer a bound neck (there's plastic or some other binding around the rosewood rather than on the dot where the RW is just glued right on top of the neck. The pickups sounded great, it was really well constructed, played a huge range of sounds, and will be the next guitar I buy.

The dot was a budget guitar. I would only buy it if I absolutely needed that 335 look on a bare bones, shoestring budget. It felt really cheap, the components didn't feel flush or tight, and the fingerboard seemed like a huge step down in quality. Keep in mind this was in a GC room, where i'm probably person #4000 to play it, so YMMV.

Riverea's aren't sold at GC but from what I understand they're essentially sheratons with a frequensator tailpiece. it allows for longer string lengths on bass strings, shorter on treble strings, and some say better tone from that? the Mini-HBs as far as I can tell are 99% aesthetic.

It really comes down to Casino or Sheraton. Riviera if you like the look. If you want a bright sounding electric, you cannot be a casino. if you want a HB, you can't beat the sheraton. For a compromise, check out the riviera p93.

The reason used ones sell at such a high price is that the ones that have been made since about 1986 are still really great quality guitars, and meet or exceed the quality being turned out today.

Good luck in your search! post pictures when you get one!

#17 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 07:46 AM

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It looks to me like the Sheraton is just a glorified Dot with gold hardware and a fancy headstock and neck. I can't tell them apart otherwise.

Well, they may look similar on the web, but they're worlds apart in your hands. Dots are good guitars for the money, but I sold the one I had, will never sell the Sherry until arthritis makes it impossible to play. Even then, I'll hand it off to my son or daughter if they're interested. Those Korean Sherris are too nice not to keep in the family.

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#18 User is offline   GolfingPlowboy 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 09:29 AM

Wow! You guys have just been great with all the info you've come forward with for a newbie like me and I truly appreciate it.

Not understanding about the neck is a prime example of how little I know about guitars but I'm willing to learn! I have noticed that it's easier to play my LS Studio or my wifes EL-00 than my Hummingbird. On the website I notice the neck width (nut width actually, is there a difference between the two?) is the same for the Studio and H'bird (1.68") while the EL-00 is 1.65" so it must be the thickness of the neck itself which makes the difference (might be a fancy guitar lingo name for that, I don't know). So a neck has length, obviously, and width and thickness. What you guys are saying is the Sheraton (and Casino?) has a thinner neck which makes it easier to reach around to fret the strings, right?

Brian, those are some nice guitars you got there, nice amps too!

Smips, I do appreciate what you're saying about the other semi and full hollow bodies and I have looked at them but they seem geared more towards blues & jazz, which I love, but I want to get rock & roll down first. Don't be surprised if, in 3 or 4 years you see me on here bragging about my new Regent or Swingster!

Thanks again for all the patience you've shown me and sorry for my ignorance but ya gotta start somewhere, right?

#19 User is offline   eggs 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 09:59 AM

Great thread guys... but it raises a nagging question I've always been a bit too scared to pose to the Epi-head Fraternity:

There are loads of posts on this forum re Sheraton II, but was there ever &/or what constitutes a Sheraton I?

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#20 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 11:28 AM

The original Sheratons had a Frequensator tailpiece instead of the current stopbar. I don't ever remember seeing one, but I'll look around and see if I can find a photo. Here's the history: http://en.wikipedia....iphone_Sheraton

OK, found a couple (thanks to Mr. Z.):

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