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I bought a 2021 MIC Casino. Wondering what will need tending to outside of a typical “new guitar set-up.” I’ve read where the fretwork was rough in the past. Not sure if the pickups, bridge or tuners need any attention. I own a custom shop Fender and Martin and while I appreciate to build quality those guitars, I wanted a hollow-body for rhythm playing that wouldn’t give me anxiety just for bringing to a gig. Not expecting it to play like a dream directly out of it’s cardboard box, but I’m hoping if give attention to the right places, it’ll be a nice little instrument. 

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They’re actually pretty decent Guitars.. You could sink many hundreds of dollars trying to make really great.. But, you’d be better off buying an IBJL or Elitist.. Both have Gibson USA P90’s, Switchcraft components & basically better everything...

For your Guitar the most I’d invest would be a set of Fralin, Lollar or Duncan P90’s & a really good Set Up.. It will sound as good as just about any Casino.. I’d suggest Thro Bak P90’s but they’re pretty pricey...

Congrats on your NGD! Casino’s are really great versatile Guitars! I own 3 & have the new made in USA on Order...

Edited by Larsongs
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On 6/14/2021 at 10:12 PM, Larsongs said:

They’re actually pretty decent Guitars.. You could sink many hundreds of dollars trying to make really great.. But, you’d be better off buying an IBJL or Elitist.. Both have Gibson USA P90’s, Switchcraft components & basically better everything...

For your Guitar the most I’d invest would be a set of Fralin, Lollar or Duncan P90’s & a really good Set Up.. It will sound as good as just about any Casino.. I’d suggest Thro Bak P90’s but they’re pretty pricey...

Congrats on your NGD! Casino’s are really great versatile Guitars! I own 3 & have the new made in USA on Order...

If the pickups are super hot then that may be a necessary swap. I almost went for the USA but again, the goal was to get something up a little cheaper (<$1k) to gig with. Hoping they continue to manufacture (what is frankly a model that deserve a permanent place in the Custom Shop) in the USA. As for the rest... I don’t doubt they’re worth it, but the price tags on the MIJ guitars seems a little inflated to me. I’m guessing because there just hasn’t been any options in the past (MIC, MIJ or Vintage). Good luck with the wait, I hate buying something sight unseen but there’s not much of a choice these days...

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18 hours ago, Larsongs said:

It’s not that their too Hot. The ones in my MIC Casino are harsher sounding than my Casinos with Gibson USA P90’s which sound beautiful! 

I was just watching a video on installing aftermarket P90s in a MIC Casino. It looks like the stock pickups are curved to match the contour of the body but most aftermarket pickups are flat and come with shims. Is that a huge deal?

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3 hours ago, its98tonight said:

I was just watching a video on installing aftermarket P90s in a MIC Casino. It looks like the stock pickups are curved to match the contour of the body but most aftermarket pickups are flat and come with shims. Is that a huge deal?

That’s why I’d go with Makers like Fralin, Lollar or Duncan…. Or if I wanted to spend the money Thro-Bak’s which are arguably the best.. The Neck Pickup & the Bridge Pickups are sized different.

Here’s a link to Fralin website.. They will be my choice for my MIC Casino… I just discovered they have Chrome Dogears back in Stock!

https://www.fralinpickups.com/product/p90/

Edited by Larsongs
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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Larsongs said:

That’s why I’d go with Makers like Fralin, Lollar or Duncan…. Or if I wanted to spend the money Thro-Bak’s which are arguably the best.. The Neck Pickup & the Bridge Pickups are sized different.

Here’s a link to Fralin website.. They will be my choice for my MIC Casino… I just discovered they have Chrome Dogears back in Stock!

https://www.fralinpickups.com/product/p90/

I was reading this blog post on Lollar’s website. I didn’t realize there was minute differences in the spacing, depending on the Casino. Was surprised to read that they’ll wind new P90s and install them in the old chrome dogears. I think that might be easiest...

https://www.lollarguitars.com/dogear-and-casino-model-page

Edited by its98tonight
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1 hour ago, its98tonight said:

I was reading this blog post on Lollar’s website. I didn’t realize there was minute differences in the spacing, depending on the Casino. Was surprised to read that they’ll wind new P90s and install them in the old chrome dogears. I think that might be easiest...

https://www.lollarguitars.com/dogear-and-casino-model-page

I called Fralin a while back & Lindy happened to answer the phone.. What a cool Guy he was.. I got an education! In addition to sound quality there are many differences between Asian Pickups & USA Pickups.. Among other things, Asian are Metric while USA’s are standard. They will wind new Pickups & install them in your Covers.. That is probably a good way to go if you want to upgrade…  

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There are 3 different MIC Casino's in production now, the Casino Coupe, Casino Worn and the Casino, each are slightly different with slightly different hardware and in the past more MIC model variations.

Need to define which model you are talking about as the MIC Casino's use different pickups and whether you like sound of them is purely personal taste.

Whether your MIC Casino has the P-90 Classic™or the Epiphone PRO P-90..

Also note that the earlier Korean P-90's, I think, were wound like the P-90 Classic, possibly and not to forget the Indonesian P-90's. Also the Epiphone USA P-90 supposedly wound like the Gibson P-90.

So basically I am proposing that there were more Epiphone P-90 types at different times. I have Pro's, Classics and Indonesian that sound different and measure differently.

Edited by mihcmac
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Maybe try playing the guitar for a while and see what YOU like and what YOU don't before you go changing out random parts because you heard about others doing so. 

I don't mean that in a bad way, I've been guilty of that too. But you said something like 'fretwork was rough in the past'. Yeah that can be true for every guitar manufacturer that's ever existed ever. They're all different. 

You might be surprised to find that you like some things better than you thought you would. The quality of Epi parts, hardware  and electronics today are miles better than they were years ago. 

I know people that love the stock Casino P90s and I know others that thought they were too hot and they remedied that by changing the metal covers out for plastic ones (quite a bit cheaper than a new set of high end pups). 

All I'm saying is go into it with an open mind and you could save yourself some money. 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, mihcmac said:

There are 3 different MIC Casino's in production now, the Casino Coupe, Casino Worn and the Casino, each are slightly different with slightly different hardware and in the past more MIC model variations.

Need to define which model you are talking about as the MIC Casino's use different pickups and whether you like sound of them is purely personal taste.

Whether your MIC Casino has the P-90 Classic™or the Epiphone PRO P-90..

Also note that the earlier Korean P-90's, I think, were wound like the P-90 Classic, possibly and not to forget the Indonesian P-90's. Also the Epiphone USA P-90 supposedly wound like the Gibson P-90.

So basically I am proposing that there were more Epiphone P-90 types at different times. I have Pro's, Classics and Indonesian that sound different and measure differently.

I don’t know what you’re on about with the mention of worn, coupe, Korean and Indonesian... The original post says 2021 MIC Epiphone Casino...

Here’s a link if any further clarification is needed: 

https://www.epiphone.com/Guitar/EPIBDM867/Casino/Natural

 

Edited by its98tonight
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(This is just about standard sized Casinos)

 There have been all kinds of Casino models. MIC, MIK, MIJ & Made in the USA... All kinds of Pickups & all the other components..  Most of the MIC  & MIK have all Asian Pickups & components.. IMO the Asian P90’s sound harsh at higher volume.

A few models like the, IBJL, 60th Anniv 1961 & Gary Clark Jr Series had Gibson USA P90’s & Swtchcraft components.. Excellent Guitars & medium price range..

Then there were MIJ Series.. Elite, Elitist & 65 RI models.. All are Top of the line & built at the Terada factory.. Pricey but worth it.

Now there is the newly released USA Casino…

Many can’t hear the difference or the Asian Pickups are good enough. But, If you want  your MIC Casino to sound like the Casinos with Gibson USA P90’s you need to upgrade to comparable P90 Pickups. Like Fralin, Lollar, Duncan & Tho Bak… 

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Casinos are tone machines, that respond very well to using the tone control. I am kind of a P90 maniac having 11 guitars with different types of them. In general P90's are raw brutal pickups with an extreme range of tone that sometimes need to be rained in, wide open they can be a lot to handle. There are a lot of Casino people reading this with many variations of Casinos, some not aware of the different Epiphone P90's that are used over the years or how earlier versions could sound different. The current Epiphone P90 Pro is nice loud and fat sounding, where the P90 Classic can sound thinner and sometimes brittle, but in my opinion is easily tamed by using the tone control, to clean them up just turn down the volume control. My 2011 Epiphone 50th Anniversary 61 SG Special has P90 Classics intended to give it the unique 61 sound, which is very Strat like and I wouldn't change it. The point is that P90's were intended to used with tone controls and provide a very wide usable range. By comparison Humbuckings don't respond well to tone adjustments.

Edited by mihcmac
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5 hours ago, Larsongs said:

(This is just about standard sized Casinos)

 There have been all kinds of Casino models. MIC, MIK, MIJ & Made in the USA... All kinds of Pickups & all the other components..  Most of the MIC  & MIK have all Asian Pickups & components.. IMO the Asian P90’s sound harsh at higher volume.

A few models like the, IBJL, 60th Anniv 1961 & Gary Clark Jr Series had Gibson USA P90’s & Swtchcraft components.. Excellent Guitars & medium price range..

Then there were MIJ Series.. Elite, Elitist & 65 RI models.. All are Top of the line & built at the Terada factory.. Pricey but worth it.

Now there is the newly released USA Casino…

Many can’t hear the difference or the Asian Pickups are good enough. But, If you want  your MIC Casino to sound like the Casinos with Gibson USA P90’s you need to upgrade to comparable P90 Pickups. Like Fralin, Lollar, Duncan & Tho Bak… 

The $2k price difference between the MIC and USA Casinos had me taking a hard look at what the differences were, some being changeable (electronics, hardware) and others being more permanent fixtures (fretboard material, finish). Obviously, there are an array of differences but my main concern was what makes a Casino sound like a Casino...

What it came down to was 5-ply layered maple with brass wood bracing construction in the MIC vs. 3-ply maple/poplar/maple construction in the USA. This information is from the Epiphone site (the same site that reserves the right to change specifications at any time) so take it for what it’s worth. That being said, I’m interested to see if the MIC scratches the itch as they seem to have generally favorable reviews. As for the USA model, I’m sure it’s fantastic but I’m just not a fan of the “Open Book,” look.

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I own 3 Casinos. 2 with Gibson USA 090’s & Swtchcraft components. One MIC Casino with Bigsby & Asian P90’s.

P90’s are extremely versatile & in a class by themselves.. My favorite Pickup… That said, there is a definite difference in the Sound.. Just about any pickup can sound good at low volume.. The truth is when you crank it up! The Asian P90’s sound good at low volume but get harsh when played at higher levels.. The Gibson USA’s do all the things P90’s are supposed to do but sound very pleasant at all levels…

I’m not convinced that whether it’s 3 ply or 5 that there’s a noticeable difference in Sound.. Although, you can hear the difference between the USA & Asian P90’s…. That said, I’m sure to many the Asian Pups are good enough…

Edited by Larsongs
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I think all of the current MIC Epiphone Archtops are 5-ply, semi hollow and hollow. On my modified 339 the top sides and back are 5-ply they are slightly over a 1/4" thick, this may also make them slightly heavier than their Gibson built counterparts.

UcqGuWz.jpg

Edited by mihcmac
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In 2017, I bought a MIC Casino because I didn’t want to gig anymore with my ES-125TDC, as it was getting fragile. I didn’t expect the Casino to be the equal of that (amazing) guitar, but I figured it would be good enough. 
 

It ended up being an insane modding journey, which I did mainly for the fun of it, but the out-of-the-box setup was quite good, actually, with perfectly acceptable fretwork and good action. The only things I did immediately were replacing the pickups with Fralins (and the pots, switch, etc. as long as I was in there), because the originals were too hot, middy,  and muddy for my taste; and replacing the tuners. Over the next couple years I replaced everything that could be replaced, and I thinned down the thick poly finish, but all that was just me being OC. 
 

The new worn Casinos look good on paper -  the newer pickups, and a thin finish, but I haven’t had one in my hands yet. 
 

The MIC standard doesn’t feel like my 125, or my 2015 335 for that matter, but it’s a good, stable, well-made instrument.

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Yep, 600 wet sand and patience. As long as the run-off is milky white, you are removing poly clear coat. Once the color changes, you’ve gone too far. 
 

I removed the finish completely from the neck. There was a rock-hard clear undercoat which I decided to leave as is. My original plan was to oil it.  The undercoat actually feels fine. 

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The coil chassis is supposed to be securely soldered to the cover and usually the top of the coil is very close to the top of the cover, with the adjustable pole screws coming through the cover..  Like Larsongs said you may want to exchange it.

QY1Umlo.jpeg

Edited by mihcmac
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21 hours ago, mihcmac said:

The coil chassis is supposed to be securely soldered to the cover and usually the top of the coil is very close to the top of the cover, with the adjustable pole screws coming through the cover..  Like Larsongs said you may want to exchange it.

Exchange is already underway. I did enjoy the way it played underneath all the horrible buzzing. Unfortunate about the solder but I image the QC sticker is worth about as much as the paper it’s printed on. I’m curious what the differences in tuners, bridge, tailpiece are between the MIC and USA Casinos. Regardless, I doubt upgrading is as easy as I’m imagining (imperial vs metric). Other than that, maybe a bone nut? Great guitar for the price. Hoping this incoming replacement is the ONE.

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Posted (edited)

Replacement Casino is here and everything seems okay. Visually, the body’s wood grain has a bit more character and the Pau Ferro neck is much darker than the first. The pick guards were  haphazardly cut out on both guitars but I doubt I’ll be playing with one anyway. There is some buzzing happening but if I don’t play heavy handed, the buzzing completely disappears. The frets are very gritty. I need to get some synthetic steel wool and polish them. Overall, the guitar is good but it is much darker than I’m used to.

I’ve been playing a Telecaster through an original 68 Princeton for the past 10 years or so. With the Tele, treble and bass knobs were usually sat around 4-5 and 3-4, respectively. With the Casino and it’s metal pickup covers, I’m having to almost dime my treble and completely cut the bass. When I do that, the guitar sounds amazing. Not really an issue, but a little concerning if I were to ever get stuck with a backline amp that’s not a bright as a Fender. Amps aside, I probably just need time to get acclimated to P90s.

Little side note, I have average sized hands and after playing a tele for the past decade, this scale length is much more comfortable. Chord shapes that were difficult before are now played with ease. Also, (stop me if this is all in my head but) my tele has 6105 narrow tall fret wire and the combination of the scale length and string tension causes me to press significantly hard with certain chord shapes. This can sometimes lead to pitchy notes. With the 6130 medium jumbo frets and smaller scale length, I haven’t encountered those problems.

Edited by its98tonight
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