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  1. #1

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    I don't seem to see much said about Epiphone Casinos here...

    I know their connections to the ES 330, Epiphone, Korea, Japan, and now China.

    But what are the opinions on them? I know there are many incarnations!

    I need a light guitar, I want a total hollow body, like my Guild Starfire and L5CES. Thinlines are the way I want to go. I have two Chinese Epi's now, but one is heavy (a semi-hollow) and the ES339 is almost ideal. I like the P90's on it. I have no problems with the current Chinese made models.

    Easiest is to buy a new one. Priced reasonably, and returnable. Full size, and the Casino Coupe - seems like great options.

    Any experiences?


    Epiphone Casino-epiphone-casino-jpg

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I just got rid of the one I had...I just didn't bond with it, but no fault of the guitar. It seems my preference is for semi-hollow over fully hollow...at least in 335-sized guitars.

  4. #3

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    I have an older Korean model and a 330 (a CS) , playability on both is identical. One of the pups on the Casino was weak but considering the price differential its a great git.

  5. #4

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    I have not played a Casino or Casino Coupe--they seem like nice guitars, but not really configured for jazz, especially with the P90's. I know there's a lot of affection for the 335-styled guitars around here--I could be wrong.



    Perfect for alt country.

    Personally I think a thinline modeled after a real jazzbox is ideal. The new Gibson 275 for instance. Or, the Peerless Sunset--super light, mellow, great ergonomics. And can be got without breaking the bank.

    Peerless Sunset | Guitars 'n Jazz

  6. #5

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    P90's are great jazz pickups.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    P90's are great jazz pickups.
    I concur! Grant Green certainly achieved a stunning tone from his ES330.

  8. #7

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    Hi,

    I have had many semi-acoustic and fully acoustic thinline guitars through the many years that I have played. (I started playing guitar as a pre-teen 50 years ago).

    I played a Gibson ES-335 for close to 20 years. I also played a Gibson 125T and a couple of Gretsch CA6120 Nashville guitars for about a 20 year period. In between, I played different thinline guitars, including the Ibanez GB-10 and Ibanez AS200 that Sco used to play. I have also played many Matsumoku-made copies of Gibson 335 guitars, including some Epiphones.

    Overall, I would say that I developed a marked preference for fully hollow thinline guitars, relative to guitars with a center block, or relative to guitars with chambered-out bodies. (I played a Telecaster Thinline for a while.) Don't get me wrong, my 335 was a marvelous guitar, capable of covering any scene--much the way my Telecasters could.

    In terms of pure soul-satisfying tone, however, my 335 could not compare favorably with even the much less expensive ES-125T. Those hollow body guitars are real winners. Either the Gibson ES-330 (that Grant Green favored) or the Epiphone Casino are super guitars for covering rock, blues, country, and--of course--jazz.

    I like the old ones the best and the ones made in Japan next best. Still, the Korean and Chinese guitars are well made and are fun to play.

  9. #8

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    This Epi is after some mods and sounds very interesting.


  10. #9

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    I hear a lot about what's "good for jazz," or "appropriate for jazz" Lately. Silliness. I could get you a good jazz tone out of a Casino, I guarantee it.

  11. #10

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    Guild Guitars | T-50 Slim

    Twice the price & likely twice the guitar of a Casino Coupe; I own it's cousin, a modern Savoy A-150
    and I'm very happy with its neck & frets. The T-50 does not have the solid pressed top of my Savoy.

    Needless to say I am interested in this Guild which I Can Not Buy (reminder to Self.)
    If you've got the resources the T-50 is half-way to the price of an ES-125T, an ES-120T or similar.
    Remember, this Great Nation is built on Debt!

    I agree with Greentone & the others here who like a thin line, fully hollow (and good P90's don't hurt.)

    I've been thru many of the type and own an excellent ES-125T today. It is very important to me.

    I held a Casino Coupe in a store can't remember exactly why I was not excited.
    A bad sign since I really like the type. Sorry I can't do better. Good luck with your pursuit!


    Epiphone Casino-guild-t-50-jpg

  12. #11

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    Here's the Gibson es390 with p90 pups through a Roland cube 60. This guitar is the same size as the es339 but fully hollow like the es330
    It can do jazz if you want it to.

  13. #12

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    I'm not saying the Casino or baby Casino can't do jazz, or that P90's are not a good pickup--I had one in my Godin Kingpin, which was a great guitar for jazz. (I used to have an Epi Dot too, but that's another story.)

    However...I will say that the Casino and its partners are not made and marketed for jazzers, and versatile as the P90 is, it's main distinction is (IMO) not mellowness but growliness and bite. Moreover, a lot of people seem to think they can get a 330 or 335-style guitar and sound like Grant Green, but he and his guitar were something special, and it's hard to replicate. That's why you see a lot of 335's etc. in alt-rock and alt-country bands, but not too many in jazz groups.

    Anyway, like I said, it's always your preference, but from my perspective if you want a traditional jazz sound in an ergonomic package a fully hollow (or certain semis) thinline single cutaway with humbuckers is the *easiest* way to get there. Among guitars I have experience with, the top contenders would be the Peerless Sunset, Gibson ES-135 (heavy) and Godin Premiere, all without mods or much fiddling around.
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 05-31-2016 at 12:09 PM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    .... Moreover, a lot of people seem to think they can get a 330 or 335-style guitar and sound like Grant Green, but he and his guitar were something special, and it's hard to replicate.
    This made me think a bit OT. Green was a married man with kids and in addition at times also had a drug habit to support. Considering the income of a profesional jazz player, he most likely couldn't choose freely as far as instrument goes. He would likely have to get the best he could for his money, (from a friend, from a pawn shop, who knows) when he needed it and then make the best out of it. And maybe the rest of us should do the same. After all, it's us playing the guitar, not the opposite.

    From the photography world, the late Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt said: "Good photos are not about fancy gear but about seeing as a photographer and being ressourceful with whatvever gear you have." Than can be applied to music as well.



    Sendt fra min SM-T810 med Tapatalk
    Last edited by oldane; 05-31-2016 at 04:54 AM.

  15. #14

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    When I hear recordings of myself I am always surprised how remarkably similar I sound on all my guitars, be it my ES-333, ES-125 or even my thinline Tele....

    Wouldn't mind owning a nice 330 or Casino though......

  16. #15

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    Little Jay, I think it is because we all have an idea of how we want our sound to be, thus we make everything sound that way. That is probably why I will sometimes use a Strat on the neck or middle pup with the tone just slightly rolled down to about 7 for my jazz sound, just to be different from my 335 or Wildkat.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldane
    This made me think a bit OT. Green was a married man with kids and in addition at times also had a drug habit to support. Considering the income of a profesional jazz player, he most likely couldn't choose freely as far as instrument goes. He would likely have to get the best he could for his money, (from a friend, from a pawn shop, who knows) when he needed it and then make the best out of it. And maybe the rest of us should do the same. After all, it's us playing the guitar, not the opposite.

    From the photography world, the late Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt said: "Good photos are not about fancy gear but about seeing as a photographer and being ressourceful with whatvever gear you have." Than can be applied to music as well.

    Sendt fra min SM-T810 med Tapatalk
    That may be, but I think the 330 was designed to appeal to a different group than the 335--its construction, neck joint, and trapeze all create a different sound than the 335. I imagine Grant was as keen as any of us to play the latest cool thing. He did have access to quite a few guitars in his career, including full-size archtops, but he made the 330 his own. Like Carlton and Scofield did with their guitars.

  18. #17

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    I quite like mine and feel that it can be successfully appropriated for jazz noises, amongst other things. I did swap out a bunch of crap though, as is my wont.

    In fact, I often contemplate picking up a second (or one of the new baby ones) and putting some filters in there. Or mini humbuckers. Or just regular humbuckers. It's a neat platform.

  19. #18

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    For you Epi Casino specialists, this one puzzles me a bit.

    I recently purchased what I thought was a 2006 Casino Natural. The pups were changed to Fralins (-15 % neck) by a previous owner, no pickguard but it does have the screw holes.

    The knobs, tuners(marked "E"), and tailpiece look stock for a Std Casino. I'm not sure how to tell the dif between a std. TOM bridge and a LockTone TOM if there is one.

    Here's the rub: The nut width is NOT 1.68" but 1.625 (1 5/8") and the neck IS one piece except for a small 1/4" cap on the heel, no wing pieces no other pieces near the heel.

    The neck also meets the body at the 17th fret NOT the 16th fret as mentioned on a number of sites. The S/N starts I06 (back of the headstock) which means it should be a 2006 but the nut width and neck joining the body don't match up to that date. The sites I've read say the 17th fret neck joint went from '95-2004. No markings on the headstock other than "Epiphone" and "E" truss rod cover.

    Also, is it possible to tell the difference between a "set neck" and "dove tail" by just looking at the guitar?

    The "F" holes are painted Black.

    Yes the nut is a bit narrow. I removed spacers from under the Fralins because the pups were too close to the strings and after a quick setup (I'll do another after it settles in) the guitar plays very well, sounds great clean and dirty, and is in excellent shape.

    Any ideas other than a possible 2006 model made with 2004 or older parts?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Naquat; 09-04-2016 at 11:37 AM.

  20. #19

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    It's not uncommon for Fender, Gibson, Ibanez and other companies to use up NOS parts and necks and bodies when making something with a more current date. They're sure not gonna throw out those perfectly good parts. I've seen some pretty neat guitars where a factory used up inventory to do a build. Why not ??

    Hope you enjoy the heck out of it and play it in good health.

    Big

  21. #20

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    Yes, but what are you looking for?

    I looked inside the guitar. There's a neck block, looks like maple, about 4" wide and top to bottom with a cutout at the top and mahogany rectangle I'd say 3/4" X 1 1/2" set it about a 1/2" or so.

  22. #21

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    Thanks Mike. We'll see. I haven't played it at length or with a band yet. I'm more partial to 1 11/16" nut widths. They seem to fit my playing best. 1 3/4" it usually too wide and depending on chording 1 5/8" can be tight and I haven't played this one enough yet to make a determination.

  23. #22

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    OK, if I did this correctly here are some pics of the guitar.



    Epiphone Casino-img_0699-jpgEpiphone Casino-img_0701-jpgEpiphone Casino-img_0692-jpgEpiphone Casino-img_0700-jpgEpiphone Casino-img_0702-jpg

  24. #23

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    nice lookin casino..and the fralins are huge improvement over the stock epi metal covered p90's (they are wound wrong!)


    full hollow casinos are tone machines... with a few tweaks

    enjoy


    cheers

  25. #24

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    Yes, the Fralins do sound great. I have his humbuckers in another guitar.

    The thing that puzzles me the most is the 1.625" nut as the Elitist, Revolution, and JL 1965 all have the 1.625" or 1.62" nut and a 1 piece neck, but do not join the body at the 17th fret like mine. But the Korean make Casino std's are supposed to have the wider nut, so then one would ask what was a 1.625" nut width doing at a factory where the Casinos were built with a 1.68" nut? Special order? I know, strange. I sometimes focus too much on the details. LOL
    Last edited by Naquat; 09-04-2016 at 08:13 PM.

  26. #25

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    can't go for certain with what epi wiki says..epi was/is all over the place..that's a saein korea 2006...most of the korean mades were 17 fret joins..they also had slim necks...a friend had one and then got the inspired by lennon...it joined at the 16th fret and had a wider neck...

    just enjoy!

    cheers

  27. #26

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    ps- interestingly enough the korean saein factory (who put out well rated epi's) later put out their own line of guitars--shine...some nice lookers


    Epiphone Casino-sno685-jpg
    Epiphone Casino-wno640-jpg

    cheers

  28. #27

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    For your more detailed questions, you might want to look up the moderator Paruwi on MyLesPaul. He knows quite a bit about Epis -- more on the solid-body side, but he might be able to help.

  29. #28

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    My cherry Casino is pretty much like to OP git except the nut at its narrowest point is 1.675" fully hollow with post support, 17th fret joined neck, heel joint on the neck.

    It plays like a dream, and stands shoulder to shoulder with my CS ES-330. They are probably the best deal on the planet.

  30. #29

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    Gnappi: Yes, mine has the post support under the bridge as well. Looks to be a bit over 1/2" square.

    I've measured the nut on my Casino with a SS 6" machinist ruler and it's no more than 1 5/8" so I guess others are correct and these neck widths are all over the planet. LOL

  31. #30

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    It's rare to find hollowbodies with 1 5/8 necks, unfortunately, so it could be a good thing, I'd love it. Enjoy, looks like a great guitar!

  32. #31

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    I think Epiphone only recently started making Casino's with the 'correct' neck joint at the 16th fret. All older Asian-made models have a neck joint at the 17th fret. I don't know exactly when they switched, but it can't be much longer ago than a couple of years. I don't know if that causes a difference in string tension and feel. Theoretically a the 17th-fret neck joint leaves a little more 'afterlength' for the strings between bridge and tailpiece, which should feel a little looser, but I don't think it would be that noticable.

    Where the older US-made Epiphone Casino's were exact copies of Gibson's ES-330 - except for the headstock - the Asian (including Japanese) models differ slightly in body shape, position of the f-holes, shape of the horns, etc. One would only notice seeing the Casino and ES-330 side by side, but they do differ.

    I never looked inside a Casino, but I am curious how the top is braced. I know the ES-330 has the kerfed spruce 'spacer' that in the ES-335 connects the centre block to the top and back:



    What does the Casino have? I am curious because in my Epiphone Sheraton the top and back are glued directly to the centre block, without the kerfed spruce spacer (the centre block is roughly shaped to follow the contours, but it's far from perfect showing some gaps).
    Last edited by Little Jay; 09-07-2016 at 05:17 PM.

  33. #32

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    LittleJay: From what I can tell it looks like there's a block about 1/2" thick and about 5/8" wider on each side than the pickups that runs down the center of the top with cutouts for the pups. There's also a block at the neck and one at the rear top to bottom plus the side kerfing.

    Except for the blocks, center post, and kerfing there are no bottom braces.

    The top looks slightly lighter than the pic posted but both top and bottom look good, it's not plain grain.
    Last edited by Naquat; 09-06-2016 at 10:18 AM.

  34. #33

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    Here are some gut shots of my 1981 Matsumoku made Casino. No bridge support post but a preferably well contoured centre block beneath the top:


  35. #34

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    Duotone: Unlike yours mine has a bit of a gap in spots

  36. #35

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    Thanks guys, I always wondered! So it's actually kind of like a 'floating centre block' and no braces nor the kerfed spacer (more like a series of parallel bracings) of the ES-330. The Casino has substantially more mass attached to the top than the 330. Is the tone also more that of a semi then? I don't have a lot a experience playing Casinos and 330s, but I remember a 60ies 330 I once tried being lighter and 'airier' than a Casino I tried in a store. The latter sounded very mellow and dark (but rather pleasing and in a good way), although the Henriksen amp I played it through probably contributed to that.

  37. #36

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    Christmas gift! Not that I was surprised


    I had a serious itch for a thinline guitar, cherry red or bust, and budget. I liked the 1966 Century but zeroed in pretty early on standard Casinos, did my homework about them, how post-2018s have lower wound P90s, etc… This little gal was the first I tried, and it was the best no matter how many I tried. So it has been bought before anyone else could get their paws on her, taken to my tech for inspection and a pro set-up, played just a little, then on injunction from my daughter (“it’s your Xmas gift! Can’t touch it now!”) put in the case to wait for Xmas.


    I’m thrilled. It’s a great little guitar. It plays very nice, looks spectacular (fit & finish are top, the pics don’t do it justice), tuning is stable, it’s light as a feather and comfy, and most importantly it’s got plenty of great sounds that I did not have in my stable – blues and bop are the genres it evokes for now. I also like it that it’s its own thing, with its own character – not a “copy” of something else. Yes of course it was the budget version of a 330 in the beginning, yes of course it’s made in China and not a 1960s vintage Casino, but in some way it’s still the “real thing” and iconic in its own right. It’s a Casino dammit


    I’d prefer it if the board was a nice smooth dark rosewood, the switch is a bit noisy at times, and there is some fine-tuning I have to do about string balance. And I don’t care… It’s a fine addition to the collection, a kind of guitar I never had, and I like it a LOT. Thank you wife, thank you kids, for feeding the addiction ;D

    Epiphone Casino-img_6922-jpgEpiphone Casino-img_6919-jpgEpiphone Casino-img_6921-jpg

  38. #37

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    Congrats!

    So 2018 and older have lower output P90s? Do you know what the ballpark resistance is?

  39. #38

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    Nice guitar. I had a Casino Coupe for a while. Great guitars. You can darken the fretboard with one very light coat of Tru Oil. Very easy to do, but you will waste 99.9% of the bottle if that is all you need it for.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by blille
    Congrats!

    So 2018 and older have lower output P90s? Do you know what the ballpark resistance is?
    June 2018 and newer. They call them the "new vintage voiced Dogear P-90T Classic single coil pickups” and they are significantly less hot than the previous ones. There is a woeful lack of technical info on them, and I don’t have an Ohm reading (I seem to remember something around 8.0? But I might be all wrong).

    They do sound better than the old ones to my ears (I made quite a few comparative test) and the neck pickup, with volume rolled back a bit, is a very good jazz sound to me!

  41. #40

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    A best buy!

    Here's what I'd do. I wouldn't worry too much about the toggle switch. Find a position you like and leave it. It may break in over time. Really, how often do you toggle it anyway?

    The chrome pickup covers purportedly compress the sound a bit by shaving off some high frequencies. They are cosmetic only yet they smudge up. I'd put black plastic ones on.

    P-90 Pickup Cover | stewmac.com

    While I'm doing that, I'd check whether I'd desire any shims for height adjustment.

    Shim Pack for Dogear: Lollar Pickups

    Since you have your strings off, or nearly so, you could darken the rosewood.

    Darkening My Fretboard

    If I didn't like the toggle switch that much, I'd pull it out and solder in a Switchcraft or comparable.

    3-Way Switch for Gibson/Les Paul: Lollar Pickups




    Then it will be your customized guitar!

  42. #41

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    I just got my 4th Chinese Epiphone semi hollow, a bright see thru Cherry 335 Pro that is beautiful. Yes, a few tweaks and we're off and jamming!
    The newer P90's are nice, had a free set of (some boutique builder's) Upgrade p/ups given to me to try, and I decided that it was not worth the effort because I am so happy with what came stock in the 339 Pro P90. Really. My Casino came with Gibson P90's, so no thought there. I thought about a Casino Coupe, but lusted after some hum bucker tones this time, since the P90's don't work so well at my gig.

  43. #42

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    OK here goes. Two very rough takes just to give you an impression of how the casino sounds as a jazz guitar. I just placed a cheap USB mike in the middle of the room between a bluetooth loudspeaker playing the backing tracks and another recent acquisition – an Acoustic Image Clarus amp through a 12” speaker (my treasured Tremolux had been stored away for when I’m not at home…).


    The amp is set super clean with a bit of mid scoop. Guitar volume between 7 and 8 on neck pickup.


    The clams are free of charge



    https://soundcloud.com/user-249413257/satin-casino

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by radiofm74
    OK here goes. Two very rough takes just to give you an impression of how the casino sounds as a jazz guitar. I just placed a cheap USB mike in the middle of the room between a bluetooth loudspeaker playing the backing tracks and another recent acquisition – an Acoustic Image Clarus amp through a 12” speaker (my treasured Tremolux had been stored away for when I’m not at home…).


    The amp is set super clean with a bit of mid scoop. Guitar volume between 7 and 8 on neck pickup.


    The clams are free of charge
    i love it! I came so close to buying a blond Casino Coupe before I got the Godin 5th Avenue. I might still get one.

  45. #44

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    Nice guitar, I have always wanted a ES330/Casino type guitar. I will bet it sounds great through that Tremolux, I was just playing mine. Have fun!
    Thanks John

  46. #45

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    Talk to me about vintage late 60s Epi Casinos. One is for sale locally that I’m considering taking a look at. It’s not 100% original, has a factory second stamp on the headstock, is missing some parts, but the original goodies that I care about are there and in tact. It has the “long neck”—what does likely mean? I’ve read a bit about the neck join of 330s but not quite sure what the ramifications of long vs short neck would be.

  47. #46

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    Late 60's Casino had a 19 fret neck to body joint, unusually long for a Casino which has been mainly a 16 or 17 fret joint. Pretty much the same as an es335 or long neck es330. I don't like the longer necks, too much reach to first position for my tastes. Each to their own.


  48. #47

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    Late 60's Epiphones, like Gibsons, had many a small neck. They were narrow at the nut, and thin at the first fret. That may be to your liking, but be aware. I sold a beautiful '63 Epi Riviera because I had real trouble navigating its smallish neck. It was a real shame, I loved that guitar.
    And with those thin necks, they were easily broken at the headstock. So you must check for evidence of a neck repair.
    Otherwise, it may be a wonderful guitar, a favorite of many, capable in jazz, rock and blues.

  49. #48

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    Thanks Jimmy. The seller has remarked the neck is not one of the terribly skinny ones.

  50. #49

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    It was one of my first electrics bought new in about 70. I liked it, but it was a bit feedback prone for what I was doing back then, which was fusion. Somebody saw me playing it and offered a straight trade for a 61 LP SG. Nice deal for me.

    What they're saying about the neck is true as far as I can remember. Since then, and now that I'm playing carved archtops I've often thought of it and wondered what kind of jazz sound I'd be getting. My guess is that it'd be pretty decent.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    The seller has remarked the neck is not one of the terribly skinny ones.
    One person's"terribly skinny" is another's "sleek and speedy." (Not necessarily mine but to each their own.)

    If you're comfortable with a vintage-spec Telecaster neck you probably would get along with the late-60s Gibson carve.