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Please tell me about the 1960's built Casino's


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Hi Newbie to the Epiphone forum but I have been pretty active over at the sister site (Gibson Forum). I am interested in getting a Casino to play some blues and classic rock stuff with. Trying to decide if it is worth the extra $$$ to try and find a true Kalamazoo Casino.

 

Other than it was the choice of Paul, George and John, what made these guitars special? Is it just the Mojo that makes them wanted by collectors or is the guitar actually worth the kind of money you see them at because they are so much better than say a newer Casino?

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Epiphone Casino was the Epi version of the ES-330. It's really a 330, with the Epiphone headstock. The Beatles

connection is what has sustained their popularity, to the degree it still is. The guitar itself is no better and no

worse (really) than the Gibson version, technically. So the "mojo" is from the Beatles association, really. A 330

will do the same thing, tonally. There will be some variation, as there always is model to model, even guitar

to guitar within the same model. I love Casino's because I bought one, initially because The Beatles used them,

so they MUST be great, right?! LOL! But, I loved it, enough...on it's own, to keep it for 43 years (mine is a 1966).

But, in all honesty, I don't think there's any "secret" or "magic" to it...they're just great playing and sounding

guitars....even the Asian versions. The "Lennon" versions will be so close to the originals, that...beyond the actual

aging of the wood, and the pickup magnets, I doubt you'd know the difference, really. Some will argue the merits of

the older wood, etc...but Casino's and most all Thin-lines are Ply-wood, anyway. So, the best part of an original

even given the "better" wood (if it really is?), would be the aging/drying out.

 

I think you'd be happy, with either..new or old...IF you really like full hollowbody thin-line guitars. The "Elitist" or the

"Lennon" versions would be the best Casino's now produced. The Lennon has the Nitro finish, like the Kalamazoo versions

did...the "Elitist" are Poly finished...BUT, it's really well done, and thin in application. They are NOT "dipped in plastic," as some Poly finishes tend to feel/look. Best advice...try as many versions as you can, until you find the "right" one, for you.

 

Hope this was of some value/use?

 

CB

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Hi Newbie to the Epiphone forum but I have been pretty active over at the sister site (Gibson Forum). I am interested in getting a Casino to play some blues and classic rock stuff with. Trying to decide if it is worth the extra $$$ to try and find a true Kalamazoo Casino.

 

Other than it was the choice of Paul' date=' George and John, what made these guitars special? Is it just the Mojo that makes them wanted by collectors or is the guitar actually worth the kind of money you see them at because they are so much better than say a newer Casino?

 

[/quote']

 

As the owner of both a 1965 Kalamazoo Casino and a 1996 Japanese-made Casino (essentially an Elitist) I'd tell you to find a near to new used Lennon Reissue Casino...the vintage market can be ridiculous with these guitars and you end up paying a premium for something that isn't related to the guitar as a guitar but because of its connection to the Beatles..Korean-made Casino are just OK and I avoid Chinese-made anything. An Elitist might also work for you but they don't really have the vintage vibe of the Lennon reissue but that vibe may or may not be important to you...I just don't think I'd pay what a vintage Casino is going to cost for the reason that it's going to cost that much.

 

As guitars they're pretty simple construction so to re-create them isn't very difficult but Gibson will make money where they can and the authenticity issue is one they capitalize on very often and the minutiae of the vintage models is one area they really focus on...things like the correct number of screw in the truss rod cover and Kluson machines that really have no effect on the guitar as a guitar but are things related to the original. That's why the Lennon Casinos (along with their having a nitro-cellulose finish) are more costly than the standard Elitist model

 

THe Casino started out as the Epiphone version of a Gibson ES-330 which was created to replace the ES-225 which was the next to entry-level full hollow thinline archtop so the guitar has never been a higher-end instrument but does have something...maybe it's the P-90 magic...find a nearly new Lennon Reissue...I wouldn't pay what they're asking for the brand new ones..but be careful because last year Gibson sold a lot of unfinished Lennon Casinos at their annual "yard sale" and a lot of enterprising and often dubious members of the E Bay community have bought these and pieced them together with who knows what kind of crap parts and are now selling them on E Bay as the original, authentic Lennon Casinos...

 

Sonically the Japanese version and the Kalamazoo version both played through a 1966 Fender Deluxe Reverb sound more alike than different. The Kalamazoo version lacks some of the "punch" but is a bit "rounder" (warmer?) sounding than the Japanese version which is a bit more bite-y sounding...I attribute this to the forty four year old magnets in the Kalamazoo pickups losing a bit of ommph with age..and the difference is evident but NOT profound.

 

 

good luck.

 

 

and yeah, pretty much what Charlie said as well.

 

Mr.Nelson

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I have a JL Rev, and it's a great guitar... I've played an Elitist and it's great as well.... I've never played the Gibson equivalent, but I'm sure it's just as good if not better.

 

I've played a few 60's Casino and they do have a different sound to them. There's something in the sound that gives them a more howling/hum tone to them...

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I have a JL Rev' date=' and it's a great guitar... I've played an Elitist and it's great as well.... I've never played the Gibson equivalent, but I'm sure it's just as good if not better.

 

I've played a few 60's Casino and they do have a different sound to them. There's something in the sound that gives them a more howling/hum tone to them...[/quote']

 

Yeah, that's (probably) a combination of aged wood, aged (weakening) pickup magnets, and possibly over (or under) wound pickups, as well. They weren't as automated in the winding, back then. My '66 has a bit more "growl/gravel"

to it, than the newer ones. But the new ones sound "pretty durn good," too!

 

 

CB

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Yeah' date=' that's (probably) a combination of aged wood, aged (weakening) pickup magnets, and possibly over (or under) wound pickups, as well. They weren't as automated in the winding, back then. My '66 has a bit more "growl/gravel"

to it, than the newer ones. But the new ones sound "pretty durn good," too!

 

 

CB[/quote']

 

That's strange because my experience is the other way around...I find the newer Casino to have the grit, punch and growl and my older guitar to sound smoother and warmer but maybe a bit noisier in the quieter moments....the differences and inconsistencies in windings was true in the mid/late 50's but they had it pretty consistent by the mid 60's..I seem to recall reading that Gibson automated their winding processes at the same time they changed from patent applied for stickers to patent number stickers (about 1961) and the change created pickups that sounded different from the 50's PAFs and that became why the PAF sticker-ed pickups became more desirable.. now...something I'm going to check out on the Kalamazoo the next time I change strings is if the neck and bridge pickups' polarities are reversed creating noise cancellation in the center pup switch position...the Terada Casino does seem to cancel 60hz hum a bit more than the Kalamazoo in the middle position..I don't believe the polarity is reversed on the Kalamazoo but I'm almost certain it is on the Terada..it would explain some of the differences in sound which as I said before are apparent but not profound..I'll bet Frenchie knows about the polarity thing and he'll probably read this... sooo Frenchie..what say you?

 

 

Mr.Nelson

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Other than it was the choice of Paul, George and John, what made these guitars special? Is it just the Mojo that makes them wanted by collectors or is the guitar actually worth the kind of money you see them at because they are so much better than say a newer Casino?

 

 

Take a caliper and measure the neck of a Casino...! You will not find a slimmer neck in a semi hollow/hollow body guitar anywhere as best as I know...!

 

A 1.62 width at the nut makes the Casino a dream to play for me...grabbing another axe feels like grabbing a 4x4 now in my hands...!

 

Gotta love the neck on a Casino...

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That's strange because my experience is the other way around...I find the newer Casino to have the grit' date=' punch and growl and my older guitar to sound smoother and warmer but maybe a bit noisier in the quieter moments....the differences and inconsistencies in windings was true in the mid/late 50's but they had it pretty consistent by the mid 60's..I seem to recall reading that Gibson automated their winding processes at the same time they changed from patent applied for stickers to patent number stickers (about 1961) and the change created pickups that sounded different from the 50's PAFs and that became why the PAF sticker-ed pickups became more desirable.. now...something I'm going to check out on the Kalamazoo the next time I change strings is if the neck and bridge pickups' polarities are reversed creating noise cancellation in the center pup switch position...the Terada Casino does seem to cancel 60hz hum a bit more than the Kalamazoo in the middle position..I don't believe the polarity is reversed on the Kalamazoo but I'm almost certain it is on the Terada..it would explain some of the differences in sound which as I said before are apparent but not profound..I'll bet Frenchie knows about the polarity thing and he'll probably read this... sooo Frenchie..what say you?

 

 

Mr.Nelson[/quote']

 

No I don`t know and I hadn`t given it much thought before today, but an interesting point. Nelson your description of how your Terada sounds compared to your Kalamazoo 65, is more or less the same as how I would describe my Matsumoku (down to one now!) compared to my Lennon 65, infact I am 99.9% sure that the Pre-Elitist Terada Casino`s and the 76-86 Matsumoku ones share the same pickups. As for the polarity thing I will find out and get back to you.

 

I also think you and Charlie are right about which model Taylor Player should go for, the Lennon Reissues certainly get you close enough.

 

P.S.Nelson, any chance of seeing some photos of your Kalamazoo 65?

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Yeah' date=' that's (probably) a combination of aged wood, aged (weakening) pickup magnets, and possibly over (or under) wound pickups, as well. They weren't as automated in the winding, back then. My '66 has a bit more "growl/gravel"

to it, than the newer ones. But the new ones sound "pretty durn good," too!

 

 

CB[/quote']

 

The Revs do sound good, but I still haven't solved the balance issue in regards to the neck pup... The neck pup is very strong, in some cases a bit too pronounced in comparison to the bridge. I didn't notice the exaggerated imbalance between both pups on the 60's style Casino when I was playing it.... A pal that has one (JL Rev) and noticed the same thing with the pup imbalance.

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Well, two things you can do. Put a spacer under the bridge pickup, to raise it a bit, and/or raise up,

the pole piece screws, and/or lower the ones on the neck pickup, some. The bridge pickup pole piece screws on

my '66 are considerably higher, than the neck pickup ones. And, it's reasonably well balanced, now.

The neck pickup, quite often, sounds louder even with all things being equal, because of the string

vibration (distance) at that point, compared to at the point right off the bridge. So...some adjustments

are, quite often, recquired. But...don't give up, one way or the other, should get you there.

 

CB

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That's strange because my experience is the other way around...I find the newer Casino to have the grit' date=' punch and growl and my older guitar to sound smoother and warmer but maybe a bit noisier in the quieter moments....the differences and inconsistencies in windings was true in the mid/late 50's but they had it pretty consistent by the mid 60's..I seem to recall reading that Gibson automated their winding processes at the same time they changed from patent applied for stickers to patent number stickers (about 1961) and the change created pickups that sounded different from the 50's PAFs and that became why the PAF sticker-ed pickups became more desirable.. now...something I'm going to check out on the Kalamazoo the next time I change strings is if the neck and bridge pickups' polarities are reversed creating noise cancellation in the center pup switch position...the Terada Casino does seem to cancel 60hz hum a bit more than the Kalamazoo in the middle position..I don't believe the polarity is reversed on the Kalamazoo but I'm almost certain it is on the Terada..it would explain some of the differences in sound which as I said before are apparent but not profound..I'll bet Frenchie knows about the polarity thing and he'll probably read this... sooo Frenchie..what say you?

 

 

Mr.Nelson[/quote']

 

Not to doubt you, Nelson..at all, but my friend's Korean Casino, is less "Gritty," smoother sounding than mine.

Which was the only thing I based my (limited) experience on. So, you may be quite correct...and mine is the exception, rather than the rule, there. That wouldn't surprise me, as mine had been through a LOT, before I had it restored...so, there's no telling what was done (or not) to the pickups, etc. As to windings, you're quite correct. I only suggested there might be some differences. I think they're less likely to be, nowadays, but who knows? Anyway, Casino's are great guitars, new or old. Just depends on what you prefer, or can afford, I guess?

 

CB

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Well' date=' two things you can do. Put a spacer under the bridge pickup, to raise it a bit, and/or raise up,

the pole piece screws, and/or lower the ones on the neck pickup, some. The bridge pickup pole piece screws on

my '66 are considerably higher, than the neck pickup ones. And, it's reasonably well balanced, now.

The neck pickup, quite often, sounds louder even with all things being equal, because of the string

vibration (distance) at that point, compared to at the point right off the bridge. So...some adjustments

are, quite often, recquired. But...don't give up, one way or the other, should get you there.

 

CB[/quote']

 

I've been messing with the poles over the last few weeks.... What I need to do is get to the rehearsal studio a couple of hours earlier and play with it at rehearsal volume. That's where the imbalance rears it's ugly head.... I'll also order some spacers to elevate the bridge pup... I think that will be the ticket=d> ..... thanx CB

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If you're going for sound only, and want a Kalamazoo model, buy a Gibson. They're about $1000 cheaper than an Epiphone from the same year, due, I'm sure, to the Beatle connection.

 

If you're playing in a Beatle tribute band, you'll need the Epiphone.

 

The same goes for a Lennon model today - you can pay $2600 for a Lennon, but you should also look into the ES-330 - made in USA, $100 cheaper, and comes in two colours that the Lennon doesn't. If I was given $2500, I'd buy the Beale St. Blue in an instant.

 

I will admit, though, that there's a draw to the Lennon model. If someone handed me $2600, I'd buy a 1965 just as quick.

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If you're going for sound only' date=' and want a Kalamazoo model, buy a Gibson. They're about $1000 cheaper than an Epiphone from the same year, due, I'm sure, to the Beatle connection.

 

If you're playing in a Beatle tribute band, you'll need the Epiphone.

 

The same goes for a Lennon model today - you can pay $2600 for a Lennon, but you should also look into the ES-330 - made in USA, $100 cheaper, and comes in two colours that the Lennon doesn't. If I was given $2500, I'd buy the Beale St. Blue in an instant.

 

I will admit, though, that there's a draw to the Lennon model. If someone handed me $2600, I'd buy a 1965 just as quick.[/quote']

 

Great point Pohatu771

:D

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I just found an Epi Casino from 1966 available near me. I have been doing some research on these 1960's Kalamazoo Epi's and realize they get a fair amount of $$ today. The ones I saw on Ebay ranged from sligly over $1000 to over $3800 for a mint condition one.

 

My question now is, how much does a professionally repaired headstock crack devalue the guitar? I am certainly not a "Collector" and am mostly interested in getting one to play at home in my music room and out with friends occasionally. I know in the acoustic world, a good headstock repair can actually be stronger than the original. Looking at "Vintage" collectable guitars, I would assume that a headstock repair could devalue the guitar by 50% or so? Does that seem reasonable for when I go in with an offer?

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