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Epiphone Casino Pre-Elitist Question


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Hi everyone


I just scored what I think is a pretty solid deal ($575) on a Japanese made pre-elitist Natural Casino. I believe it is a Terada made 1997 model (orange label, 5 digit serial starting 7, looks like 3pc Maple neck, 17th fret neck joint, no serial number on headstock, tuner holes for Kluson Deluxe size tuners).


I took a bit of a risk and bought online without playing. It had poor photos, almost no description, and It was just listed as a Casino, without any indication that it was Japanese made. I got lucky when the guitar arrived in that it is in 9.9/10 type physical shape - no bent neck, no dings or scratches, really pretty wood grain and excellent craftsmanship on the trim and finish.


So.... I am now getting it cleaned up, set-up and ready to play, and there are a couple of odd things that raise some questions for anyone out there familiar with the 90s Japanese Casino's. I've read a bunch of threads on here and there's definitely a lot of knowledge, but I haven't found answers to these questions.


Some background on what showed up.


The guitar is not 100% stock. It had changed tuners - it showed up with a set of 1964-69 set of Nickel Kluson Deluxe Double Lines which was a nice surprise. They are a bit rusty, but still super functional. I think I am actually going to pull them off the Casino for another guitar since all the other hardware on the Casino is so clean, and replace them with a new set of Kluson Deluxe. When I bought the guitar, I didn't expect the pickups or electronics to be changed, but when I got it, the wiring in the f-hole was really sloppy, and the position of the volume and tone knobs were all moved around. That combined with the fact that someone had put an expensive set of tuners on the guitar made me wonder if the pickups and electronics are original or not. There are no markings at all on the underside of the pickups. Can anyone out there with a Terade Casino confirm for me what the underside of the P90s look like


As for the wiring the controls showed up as follows

- The neck volume is where the bridge volume should be.

- The bridge volume is where the bridge tone should be.

- The bridge tone where the neck tone should be

- The neck tone where the neck volume should be.


This made me think someone just rotated all the pots clockwise by one hole, and the reason the wiring looks so sloppy is it just got pushed around. I'm not sure why someone would want to do this but it was clearly done on purpose.



I was planning on leaving the guitar stock, but now that it is in my hands, the strangeness of the wiring along with the more expensive than expected replacement tuners make me question if the pickups are stock.

I'm wondering if I might be better off doing some sort of 50s wound Lollar upgrade with new electronics (I've use the Tone Man pre-made boards before and have always been very satisfied).


So I guess my questions are:


1. Is there any sort of marking on the P90s that came with this guitar?


2. Does anyone know anything about the pickups and electronics used in Japan pre-elitist? I know the elitist uses Gibson USA stuff, but I am assuming this pre-Elitist guitar used regular Epiphone Asia parts? Am I looking at the equivalent of quality USA pickups and electronics, low-end Chinese made stuff, or somewhere in between?


3. If anyone owns one of the pre-Elitist Casinos, what do you think of the pick-ups? Particularly good? Particularly bad? Somewhere in the middle? Anything stand out about them to you?


4. I am sure my guitar was one of the Terada models. it has all the proper markings (labels, hardware, serial, etc), but I have a slight question on the year. Am I correct that a five digit number starting 7 must be 97 and not 87? I believe I am reading that Terada production started in 88. Can anyone confirm?



Thanks ahead of time for the advice and knowledge. I will post some pics once I get the new tuners on it and the guitar set-up.

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Some pictures would be helpful. If you're certain it's Japanese made, it could also be a Matsumoku-built one from 1987. The body shape and finishes on those are distinctive, so pictures could help clarify that.


here you go

reason I thought Terada and not Matsumoku is because of orange label instead of brown, and tuner holes being klusson deluxe size and not grover size.


when i ordered it, i just assumed pickups and wiring were stock. the only reason i am questioning the pickups and wiring now is that the wiring was a mess (I've gathered things tighter to make them neater now) and the volume and tones were all in the wrong place. plus whoever upgraded the tuners put a vintage set that is quite expensive instead of getting a $50 new set


still hoping someone could give me some background on what sort of pickups were coming out of japan pre-elitist. I am assuming some sort of low or mid-level and not gibson stuff like the elitist uses.


pics below - i have tailpiece and tuners off - waiting for a new set of klussons to arrive. i put a couple of shots of the vintage ones that were on the guitar - i really lucked out with that - it's like a little bonus on top of getting the guitar for what i think is a pretty great price. It was sold online by a pawn shop and i don't think they had any idea it was a japanese higher end model and not one of the current chinese guitars.



sorry about the low-lighting, old=phone camera quality shots


















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also, I found this page from the store Sharpened Flat who has sold a Terada Pre-Elitist Casino


It does not show the label so I can't get an exact year. But the store guesses around 1991.


If you look at the picture of the back of the P90 a few things look different

- There is a solid rectangle tab on the guitar found on the sharpened-flat store. My P-90 has two tab pieces

- There is a solid gray wire running from the P90 on the sharpened-flat store photo. My guitar has a black wire with a grey braid



Does anyone out there have some photos of their Terada Casino's stock P90s?






Here is a pic from the sharpened-flat store site to save you having to click over

again - this is not my guitar - mine is on the previous post - this is a guitar from the sharpened flat store that I am using as a comparison




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