In conversation with Beatles Gear author, Andy Babuik, on the subject of his famous Epiphone Casino, Paul McCartney stated, “If I had to choose (just) one electric guitar, it would be this.” Further placing the Casino in the hierarchy of Beatles instruments, it wasn’t just McCartney that played one – John Lennon and George Harrison also owned and revered the Casino, to the point that virtually all of the electric guitar parts on Sgt Pepper’s were realised on Casinos.
Pure Casino magic!
Another McCartney/Beatles/Casino highlight is Paul’s incredible solo on ‘Taxman’. The Rolling Stones were also firmly in the Casino camp – check out Keith Richards’ magnificent work on ‘Satisfaction’ – pure Casino magic!
Vintage Epiphone cool
In pairing this all original 1964 Beatles model with our recently listed 1961 Keith Richards/Rolling Stones model, Just Guitars is beyond stoked in offering Australian musos not one, but two of the most collectible and prized of all vintage guitars! Our cup truly runneth over with vintage Epiphone cool!
Fully hand built
Fully hand built at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Casino was a variation on Gibson’s own ES-330. Unlike their ES-335 cousin, the ES-330 and the Casino have no Maple centre-block, making them fully hollow – brilliantly suited to studio work, or as live instruments where you might want to indulge in a bit of feedback. The Casino is famous for its ability to go dark and dirty with a set of 11 gauge strings. Coupled with a pair of P-90s, the Casino bark is unmistakable – as twangy and lively as you want at the bridge, deliciously warm & woody at the neck.
Sunburst on top, (nitro, of course), the paintwork on the back and sides is Walnut-stained Maple. Body construction is five-ply Maple and Birch, making the Casino one of the last vintage American guitars to make use of Birch, before original stocks were depleted. Birch plantations have only recently reached harvest age again, with limited supplies once more making their way to select manufacturers. The bell-like tones of Birch (and Hickory) seem to become fully developed after thirty to fifty years of ageing, so it’s no stretch of the imagination to suggest that this Casino sounds significantly better now than it did when new.
More playing time
As befits a great guitar, this one has seen a lot more playing time than our 1961 model, but it’s just play wear and certainly nothing bad or damaging: a few tiny dinglets on the top, (one match head size below the jack, shown in pics 1 & 7); some light buckle-rash on the back; capo marks and a few patches of worn finish on the back of the neck, (pic # 6); and a chip in the finish on the back of the headstock, right at the stamped serial number, which remains visible, though we have over-printed it in the close-up photo, (also pic # 6). NOTE: The walnut finish is considerably darker than as shown on the back of the neck and headstock. What wear there is is mostly slight and hard to see, forcing us to enhance the brightness of the images.
Listen to our soundfile
The original medium-jumbo frets are in perfect shape, with the guitar playing very smooth and easy – just listen to our soundfile! The action is currently set medium-low, with acres of room for adjustment in either direction. The Brazilian Rosewood board exquisitely offsets the gorgeous mother-of-pearl inlays, which have an almost smoky glow to them. And check out that diamond-shaped CASINO headstock badge – this is only the second Casino we’ve ever seen with this, the other also being a UK/Selmer/Beatles model. Also observe the cool St Christopher medallion on the bass-side horn. The medallion is solid SILVER, (stamped on the back), and appears to have been on the guitar since new.
As with many of these old Epi’s, the silver foil ‘E’ logo is missing from the pickguard, (though you can still make out its ghost), however replacements can be found on eBay for around twenty dollars. Also not uncommon to see on early sixties produced Gibson and Epiphone models, the bridge has been moved back slightly to ensure correct intonation, (pic # 4).
The height of Beatlemania
The Casino is often hailed as the most desirable – and collectible – of all vintage Epiphone models, and, with its killer appearance, striking tone and premium appointments, it’s easy to see why. Reflector knobs, ABR-1 bridge, (retaining-wire version), Kluson Deluxe tuners, nickel-plated hardware and original Bigsby all combine to make for one very classy and famous vintage guitar. Extra appeal with this Casino can be noted in the ‘US’ inserted on the face of the Bigsby. This identifies the guitar as having been a model exported to the UK, at the height of Beatlemania, where Selmer, the British distributors, manufactured the Bigsby units under license.
Free courier delivery
Our 1964/Beatles model Casino is in overall Very Good+ condition, losing a point or two for a modern replacement Epiphone hard case, (above right and pic # 8), and is 100% ready to plug in and play, straight out of the case, and as with all Just Guitars instruments, FREE COURIER DELIVERY is included to any address in Australia. ($100 airfreight to New Zealand, $175 to the US, Canada, UK and mainstream European countries)
Weight: 6lb 13oz / 3.1kg