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I got the 'inspired by' Casino in sunburst :)


ataylor

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4086798487_5d4624afa6_b.jpg

 

Here is a link to a few more pics on flickr -- keep in mind that they were taken in kind of low lighting conditions with no flash. Everything is a bit richer in real life -- the sunburst is brighter and deeper, and the stained wood on the sides and back is slightly lighter, although not as reddish as the Sweetwater pics would have you believe.

 

Anyway, on to my review.

 

My general thought is that these new 'inspired by' Casinos are what we thought they would be: a guitar that sits in the middle between the standard model and the limited-edition Lennon models. Since I have never even seen one of the limited-edition models in person, let alone played one, my comparisons will be based on what I've read and heard online.

 

Finish:

The gloss finish is nice. It doesn't feel like a super-thin layer of nitro, but it doesn't feel like the guitar was dipped in a bath of plastic coating. It's very even and well-applied. The sunburst is very nice. It doesn't quite have the vintage look of the Lennon models (less of that reddish tone between the orange/yellow and dark edges), but feels a little deeper and richer than most of the standard models I've seen. Although to be fair, some of the recent standard sunbursts I've seen are really quite nice. The dark-stained back and sides are great, probably a tad darker than what I've seen on the limited-edition models -- almost has the same hue as rosewood or the dark stain on a Gibson J-45. The burst neck is great, it blends with the body color much better than the Sweetwater pics show, and the grain on the mahogany neck is very nice.

 

Construction/appointments:

The nickel hardware is a big upgrade from the standard models. It feels more substantial and I haven't noticed any of the notorious bridge rattling that the standard models are known for. The guitar feels balanced, not neck-heavy at all. The 5-ply construction is nice, although maybe adds a slight amount of weight to the guitar. Probably adds a little more sustain though too. The body binding looks great. The neck binding is nice -- although a little bit sloppy at the base, it's good overall. The setup seems pretty good and the action seems to be fine as well. I may tweak it as needed. Tuners are fine -- good not great. The neck plays well. It doesn't seem super thin, nor is it super fat, it's just right. The body shape isn't quite the same as the limited-edition Lennon models -- it seems to be slightly thinner up in the cutaways/horns -- although this has always been an area of inconsistency on the Casinos as they have always vary from one year to another since the guitar debuted in the early 60s. I would have preferred the slightly fuller shape of the limited-edition Lennon models, but don't get me wrong -- the guitar looks great.

 

Sound/electronics:

This is where the guitar really shines. The switches and knobs work great and the wiring looks great -- like what you'd expect on a higher-end guitar. The pickups are the highlight of the guitar. Warm P-90 goodness. They seem cleaner and quieter (less hum) than other Casino models I've played. I can't imagine the Elitist or limited-edition Lennon models sounding much better. The neck pickup is very full and warm and the bridge pickup has a little more bite. The middle position sounds nice and full and is a perfect blend of the two. My amp is a little Vox Pathfinder 15R (these are amazing, but I'll save that for another review) and the combination is classic rock and indie rock heaven. Open chords sound great, riffs sound great, and I am actually loving folk/fingerstyle type stuff with capo anywhere on the neck. I think the guitar will be more versatile than one might expect.

 

Other:

The case is pretty nice. Not the sweet case that comes with the Elitist or limited-edition guitars, but fairly nice.

 

Changes:

At some point I'd like to swap out the cheap nut for tusq. I think I'd also like to swap out the saddles on the bridge with tusq as well, partly to add to the guitar's acoustic tone and partly to reference the nylon saddles in Lennon's guitar (sadly not featured on this guitar) and early Casinos. Maybe I would swap out the tuners for something with higher gear ratio, but aside from these minor changes, this guitar can't get any better.

 

Summary:

Awesome guitar. Perfect middle ground between the standard Casino and the limited-edition Lennon model. The big question that many will have is, "is it $400 better than a standard Casino?" I think that really depends. The standard models are great. For me, the pickups, the vintage styling, and the case were enough to justify the extra money. I think for anyone that wants a Casino that's has vintage vibe and is worthy of being their main electric guitar, these new 'inspired by' versions are perfect. I've always wanted a Casino and I'm very happy with this one.

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Well I certainly think that the extra coin for this over the standard one is unwarranted. I have a Standard one, and it is absolutely gorgeous and I probably wouldn't trade it for any of the supposedly better ones. And I personally prefer the burst finish all over, rather than the dark grain. Although when I think about it, I'd like a burst neck and woody grained headstock, that would really complete it. Dark all over the back doesn't look quite right to me. But hey, that's just my opinion.

 

Still, really nice guitar. I know what you mean about the neck being just right too, that's exactly how I feel about mine. Fast becoming my favourite neck. And I wish they would use whatever wood it is they used for the fretboard on these things on all Epiphones. It's just really nice and smooth and tight grained, and looks so much better than the porous stuff they seem to use on SG's etc.

 

Mmmm, I think I'll go play some Beatles on mine now... 'She's a Day Tripper...'

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Thanks for the review and the pictures. I played a Chinese Casino in a shop the other day and so if this is an improvement, and obviously I prefer all the vintage style specs (including finish) then I can't wait to try one of these out and hopefully add it to my collection.

 

I'd probably go for the revolution one though beause of the already upgraded tuners and the fact I already have plenty of sunburst.

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Thanks for the comprehensive review, ataylor.

 

One quick question: what's the neck like? Is it nice and slim as per a vintage Casino? I bought a new standard MIC Casino this summer, but let it go because I just couldn't get to grips with the neck (it felt like '59 Les Paul neck on steroids). A shame, because the guitar was nice otherwise.

 

Anyway, congrats on your new guitar. It looks great.

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Well I certainly think that the extra coin for this over the standard one is unwarranted. I have a Standard one' date=' and it is absolutely gorgeous and I probably wouldn't trade it for any of the supposedly better ones. And I personally prefer the burst finish all over, rather than the dark grain. Although when I think about it, I'd like a burst neck and woody grained headstock, that would really complete it. Dark all over the back doesn't look quite right to me. But hey, that's just my opinion.[/quote']

 

Like I said in my review, I think the standard models are great. That's what I was set on getting until these were announced. I mainly play acoustic and can really only justify one electric guitar and I decided that I wanted something I wouldn't be tempted to add to (upgrade) or replace down the line. I would have had to add a case for the standard model, and a lot of people end up swapping out the pickups for Gibson P-90s or Lollars or whatever, replace the switching and/or the pots, etc, and people sometimes upgrade to the nickel hardware as well. I liked the fact that all these things were standard on the 'inspired by' model and that's why I felt it was worth the extra money. That and the fact that it has a bit more of a vintage vibe than the standard model.

 

As far as the back and sides, I believe some of the earlier 60s models did have sunburst back and sides. But most of the vintage Casinos I've seen have the dark stained back and sides, which I personally prefer. I think it goes back to my love for slope-shoulder Gibson dreadnoughts. The same goes for the necks, some of the early casinos had the burst/fade necks like these, others had solid dark necks like yours has. I like the natural wood on the neck.

 

I'll be honest, when I was debating whether or not to get my guitar, yours was one of the ones I looked at and it made me seriously consider sticking with the standard! I probably would have been content with one actually. They're awesome guitars. That's the great thing about the Casinos, you really can't go wrong with any model.

 

 

How "limited" are they? Are limited run' date=' and will stop being made after a while or will they still be around ina few years?[/quote']

 

I don't know that these are "limited" in any way. You might have confused my references to the more expensive Lennon models -- when I refer to the "limited-edition" Lennon model I'm talking about the Japan-USA made "1965" and "Revolution" models that are way out of my price range.

 

As far as how long they'll be around, I'm not sure. My guess is for a while. For as long as they make money off of these, and from what I can tell, they're going to be pretty popular.

 

 

One quick question: what's the neck like? Is it nice and slim as per a vintage Casino? I bought a new standard MIC Casino this summer' date=' but let it go because I just couldn't get to grips with the neck (it felt like '59 Les Paul neck on steroids). A shame, because the guitar was nice otherwise.[/quote']

 

Unfortunately I've never had the opportunity to play a vintage Casino. If i were rich I'd love to invest in one someday. All I know is that it has a slimmer neck than the Baja Telecaster I let go in order to get this one. But about anything would seem slim compared to the Baja neck! It's probably a little thicker than my Taylor acoustic neck, but not by a lot. Although as you can imagine I haven't played the Taylor much in recent days. [biggrin] Sorry I can't be more helpful!

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Thanks for the comprehensive review' date=' ataylor.

 

One quick question: what's the neck like? Is it nice and slim as per a vintage Casino? I bought a new standard MIC Casino this summer, but let it go because I just couldn't get to grips with the neck (it felt like '59 Les Paul neck on steroids). A shame, because the guitar was nice otherwise.

 

Anyway, congrats on your new guitar. It looks great.

 

[/quote']

 

The neck on my IBJL Revolution is definitely on the nice and slim side. Extremely comfortable to play.

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Ataylor, great review! I have the exact same feelings about my IBJL casino.

 

One additional comment about the Revolution model: The finish might not be lacquer but is done very well and extremely thin. Definitely not as yellowish as the USA model! It really looks "stripped" if you know what I mean. Check out the videos of the Beatles rooftop concert - that`s the look.

 

IBJL Revolution Casino

 

 

Funny thing: First time I pulled the guitar out of the case, I thought they left the guitar unfinished.

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Ataylor' date=' great review! I have the exact same feelings about my IBJL casino.

 

One additional comment about the Revolution model: The finish might not be lacquer but is done very well and extremely thin. Definitely not as yellowish as the USA model! It really looks "stripped" if you know what I mean. Check out the videos of the Beatles rooftop concert - that`s the look.

 

IBJL Revolution Casino

 

 

Funny thing: First time I pulled the guitar out of the case, I thought they left the guitar unfinished.

 

I'm glad they didn't have the natural model in stock when I got mine -- it would have been too tough to choose! I love vintage sunbursts but I also love thin satin finishes (that's what I have on my Taylor 210 and I love it!) so it would have been a really tough decision. If I was playing in a band and playing lots of shows I might be able to justify getting both at some point... (sigh.)

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I have the 65 John Lennon Casino and also use a Vox Pathfinder 15r as a practice amp,they sound sweet together.The JL Casino is the easiest guitar on the hands that I own,it's neck is more comfortable than the standard Casino and I imagine the IBJL is the same.If you think the Casino sounds great through a Pathfinder you'd be amazed to hear it through an AC15 or 30 or one of the Vox modeling amps(ad 120 or 60 vt)set on AC15 or 30.

-----------------------------------------------

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Guest icantbuyafender

The Natural finish standard I played at a sam ash store nearly came home with me.

 

I liked the poly finish, cause It was overdone, yet it could still take ding and not show it. Plus, Id replace the chrome with gold. (I love the look of tarnished gold)

 

It may have only been the $600 model, but damn, that thing has BEAUTIFUL acoustic sounds that resonate sooooo well.

 

Im torn between the upgrade friendly natural finish standard, and the Inspired by John Lennon Revolution.

 

I may just go with the Standard in natural since I REALLLY would prefer a nice tarnished gold set of parts (bridge, tailpiece, tuners etc.)

 

 

Im an odd one....

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Thanks for the review! I'm looking at an IBJL now as well. I've looked at a couple already and have tried to enter the serial numbers in the Guitar Dater Project serial number utility and it comes up with no listing for any of the 090.... series IBJL's. Have you tried yours or are these non-standard serials. Or is it the utility doesn't have these particular ones in it's database...if they're fairly new maybe not...

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Well....I finally got to a guitar shop (in Wichita..."E.M. Shorts"), and got to see/play

an "Inspired by John Lennon" Casino, (Awesome!), and a Inspried by "Texan," acoustic,

as well. It was quite nice, too...although needed a "set up," for the action to be "Awesome,"

...IMHO. But, both were nicely made, and nicely finished. The Texan had a really sweet "warm"

tone, too. I played both a '65 (Sunburst) IBJL Casino, and the "Revolution" version, as well.

Same basic tone, but the "Revolution" version, seemed just a bit more "open," as one might

expect, with the very light matte finish. The necks ARE 3-piece, but the ones I saw/played, were

very well matched, in color and grain, so you really had to look for the seams. In fact, at first,

I thought it was a single piece neck, but upon (very) close inspection, I found the seams. No biggie,

really. So...based on those 3 guitars, I think Epi's done well! They were priced about 200 bucks less,

than MF, too! Which, is pretty "standard," for these folks. I did well, to get out of there, without a new

guitar! LOL! But, this was a "reconnaissance mission," mostly. I'll (no doubt) go back, when I have

some "Funds," for such things.

 

Cheers,

CB

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Thanks for the review CB! Your opinion and sight for epi casinos are Top notch..made me feel a bit better getting the revolution IBJL #-o

 

 

Well, I did the "Short" version, as Ataylor had already done a good, comprehensive, review.

They're wonderful guitars, no doubt! I can definitely see one, in my future. Problem is,

there was my "Dream" (OK...another "dream") guitar, right next to it...a Gibson ES-345!!

Whewwwweeee!! I could spend a small fortune, in that store, alone...IF, I had it! LOL!

Too many great guitars, too little money (at this point)! But, it's nice to have "wishes"

and/or goals, huh? ;>)

 

CB

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