Epiphone Casino Archtop '65 Elitist - Natural

Hollowbody Electric Guitar with Maple Top, Back, and Sides, Mahogany Neck, Rosewood Fingerboard, and 2 Single-coil Pickups - Natural
Epiphone Casino Archtop \'65 Elitist - Natural image 1
Epiphone Casino Archtop \'65 Elitist - Natural image 1
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Epiphone Casino Archtop '65 Elitist - Natural
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Go Epi Like the Beatles Did!

In 1964, The Beatles go Epi when George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney buy Epiphone Casinos (the Epiphone Casino is mostly associated with John Lennon). Paul uses his for the guitar solos on "Ticket To Ride." George's Casino, the only one of the three equipped with a Bigsby vibrato, plays the major-scale runs in "Hello Goodbye." All three Casinos are used on "All You Need Is Love."

The Epiphone Elitist '65 Casino, with its clarity and high level of responsiveness, will satisfy precision players who demand well-defined low and high tones. Designed for the professional musician, the Elitist '65 Casino from Epiphone combines over 125 years of instrument building experience and expertise with the finest materials. The result is an instrument of impeccable quality and beauty.

The Elitist '65 Casino Wood
At the heart of every great instrument is the wood itself. That's why every piece of wood used in the Elitist '65 Casino line is hand-selected. It is then slowly and painstakingly dried to perfection in custom kilns until it is at the ideal moisture content. The Elitist '65 Casino features 5-ply maple top, back, and sides.

The Elitist '65 Casino Neck
All Elitist necks are cut at a 14o grain orientation from one piece of wood for optimum strength, stability and tonal response. As with all great instruments, the necks are then carefully and individually fitted to the body using a hand-glued, dovetail neck joint. The Elitist '65 Casino has a 22 fret, 1-piece mahogany set neck with an rosewood fingerboard, which imparts a warm midrange sound.

The Elitist Pickups
All Elitist instruments are equipped with custom-wound pickups made exclusively for Epiphone by Gibson Musical Instruments and feature such uncompromising features as:

- High Quality Cover Materials - All pickup covers use quality German silver with vintage Nickel

- Vintage Braided, Shielded Wire - For authentic vintage look and tone with no noise.

- Full Wax Potting - Every pickup is potted in a special wax bath to insure that microphonic feedback due to internal vibration is eliminated. All covered models receive a second wax bath to further protect the pickup.

- Specially Made Magnets - All magnets are magnetized by Gibson to ensure the total reliability of each magnet's performance. Critical magnetic flux is maintained for the perfect combination of output without sacrificing tonal characteristics.

The Elitist Hardware
All Elitist instruments feature the finest hardware including precision Grover machine heads for precise tuning accuracy
and stability

The Art is in the Elitist Details
The Epiphone Elitist '65 Casino's appointments are nothing but the finest including real abalone and pearl Inlays, bone nuts and saddles, hand-rubbed finishes, USA strings, and goes through a meticulous adjustment and set-up.

Epiphone Elitist '65 Casino Features:
  • Color: Natural finish
  • Body Wood: 5-ply maple back and sides
  • Top Wood: 5-ply maple
  • Neck Wood: 1-piece mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Joint set, 16th fret, 1-5/8" bone nut
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 24 3/4
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Pickups: 2 PU P90 (USA single-coil)
  • Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone
  • Pickup Switching: 3-way selector
  • Hardware: Nickel
  • Machine Heads: Grover
  • Bridge/Tailpiece: Tune-o-matic Trapeze
  • Case: Hardshell

Why Buy Your Guitar from Sweetwater?

See how Sweetwater goes to great lengths to give you the very best online guitar buying experience. From our online Guitar Gallery that allows you to see and select the exact instrument you want to our 55-point Evaluation process and our in-house guitar techs, we take the guesswork out of buying your next guitar online.

Additional Media

Electric Guitar Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Body Type Hollowbody
Body Shape Casino
Left-/Right-handed Right-handed
Number of Strings 6
Body Material Laminate Maple
Top Material Laminate Maple
Color Natural
Neck Material Mahogany, Set
Scale Length 24.75"
Fingerboard Material Rosewood
Fingerboard Inlay Parallelograms
Number of Frets 22
Nut Width 1.625"
Bridge/Tailpiece Tune-o-matic, Trapeze
Tuners Grover Tuners
Number of Pickups 2
Neck Pickup Gibson P90R
Bridge Pickup Gibson P90T
Controls 2 x Volume, 2 x Tone, 3-way Switch
Strings (.010-.046)
Case Included Hardshell
Manufacturer Part Number ELCSNANH1

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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Finely Crafted Tone Machine

First, and you probably know this already, the Casino Elitist is made in Japan. If you own a high end Japanese guitar, e.g. a Takamine P5DC or better, you also know the build quality of such guitars rivals the best made in America. This applies to the Casino Elitist although it is a little pricey. Just remember, when purchasing guitars the old adage is painfully accurate: "You get what you pay for." The CE is worth it. In 1999 I purchased the limited edition John Lennon Casino, number 626 of 1,965. It too was made in Japan and it too was perfect in every way. The reason these guitars are of such high quality and true to the original specs as the earliest Casinos is interesting. After Gibson closed the Epiphone plant in Kalamazoo, MI, they shipped all the tooling, forms etc. to a facility in Japan, some say it's the Yamaha plant, don't know that for sure. Ergo, what you get when you buy a new CE is made precisely as were the originals, circa late fifties early to mid sixties. With the exception of more modern and better electronics, you will own the same guitar Paul, George and John owned. Which brings me to this: I'm willing to bet the majority of CE purchasers are big time Beatles fans, which is absolutely fine as I fall (fell) into the same category, but the rest of you potential purchasers would be shortchanging yourselves if you think the CE is simply a self-indulging rush into nostalgia. Take the Beatles factor out of consideration because what you end up with is exactly what John, George and to a lesser extent Paul found so attractive, the tone(s). The CE is not only eminently playable, it sounds beautiful through any decent amp like a Deluxe Reverb or an AC-30. And if you're into looks as well as sound, she's Sophia Loren, timelessly elegant with a bit of naughtiness. I received my newest CE the other day, thanks to Stephen Oppenheimer and the crew at Sweetwater. It had one irritating flaw, the "E" on the pick guard (a stick-on affair) was a bit crumpled and coming off. I called Gibson, no problem, sending me a new one no charge. The fit and finish were otherwise flawless, the tone...well you can't say much about Gibson P90s except that they are unique, rich, powerful and as sassy as you want. I have the aforementioned Deluxe Reverb and an AC30 with two Celestion Blue speakers. The CE through either one is great, meaty, solid and ready to brawl. Now you might be asking what happened to my limited edition Casino, one word: divorce. Yep, I should have made her sell her diamonds. The cost of freedom is exceptionally high. Some guy in Japan bought it. It took me six years to finally buy a replacement and though it's not as whimsical as the limited edition 1965, it's the same guitar and the sound as they say, is still music to my ears, yours too if you get one.

Stunningly awesome

I love this guitar. The neck shape is perfect for my medium-sized hands. Others claim to have the slim-taper, but the shape of this is unlike any of those, and I mean that in the best way possible. The action right of the box was spot on perfect. It did have a tiny buzz in the bridge, but a gentle nudge to the lifters fixed that in less time than it took to write that. The pups are pure P90's gold. The neck pup has a little more volume, likely due to its location on the body, but that's what volume pots are for. The bridge has a perfect bite to it. All in all, this thing sounds fantastic, and I've owned tons of high-end Strats, Teles, and Les Pauls. I've not experienced any feedback issues, even with tons of gain. Also, I practice late at night, and the acoustic tone is not only plenty loud enough, but very sweet as well, which is something no other Casino, even the Gary Clark Jr. and "Inspired by Lennon" versions capture... not even close. Plugged in, those previously mentioned are very close in tone, but unplugged, this is hands down the winner, if that matters to you. The other difference is that even though those have USA Gibson P90s, too, they are not double wax potted like these, which may be part of the reason I haven't experienced much feedback from this hollow body. That said, I've played those and not had much feedback either.I've played a lot of Casinos, hoping to save a little dough, but I just knew I wanted an Elitist, because every time I compared them, it was just no contest, but there are some very nice versions out there. For me, the neck shape, overall feel, unplugged tone, and slightly clearer plugged tone were the selling points. The natural and sunburst are identical, the natural isn't a thin-skin lacquer like Lennon and Harrison made theirs, so plugged or not, there is no difference, except for them just being different guitars and thus unique in their own way. I actually wanted a sunburst, but I was 49% leaning natural. My wife actually said something that swayed me, she said, "Sunburst is just so overdone, I like that the natural is unique." I only wish they used an aged tint, but it will age. I was picky when choosing, and Sweetwater had several, so I looked for a grain pattern I liked; some are just too pale, in my opinion. I'm also fortunate enough to live a few miles from Sweetwater. Long story short, if you're reading this, you must be serious about getting one... do it! You won't regret it. I will say, if you have big hands with sausage fingers, it may feel a bit small for you, but you'll just have to play one. For me, however, it doesn't get any better than this. I even played an nice Gibson Memphis ES-335, which was like $3,500, but seriously, the quality of Gibson has gone way downhill. In every measurable aspect, every single one, this guitar killed it.

Plays like butter...

Fit and Finish: It is difficult to describe just how well made a guitar this is. The fit and finish is so good it is difficult to believe that this instrument was actually crafted from separate pieces of wood. The neck joint in particularly is amazingly smooth with a seamless transition between the body and neck heel. Sometimes I just have to sit and look at this guitar in wonder. I did replace the stock Epiphone bridge with a Gotoh from stewmac. Drop in replacement with no buzzing retaining wire and a wider range of intonation.Playability and Tone: This is the most playable guitar I have ever owned. I play primarily rhythm, and the chords just sort of grab themselves. The neck profile is perfect for my medium sized hands. The acoustic tone is acceptable for unplugged practicing. It's when you plug in that the tone really comes to life. I play through a Fender Mustang III v2 and the various amp simulations really make a difference. My current favorite is the "British 60's (Vox)" simulation. The amp's gain control in conjunction with the guitar's tone and volume controls allows me to achieve almost any of the British Invasion tones that I want. The amp's gain, volume, and tone controls are much more effective at producing tone variations then you'll find with a humbucker. If you haven't played with P90 pickups then it is hard to describe. The natural sound of a high energy strum is more of a thump than a crunch. The rapid decay of the initial attack leads to a more "rounded" sound. And yes, there is less sustain on this guitar than you will find on a solid body, but the difference in note shape is the main reason to play a hollow-body like this one. I re-adjusted intonation after putting on a new set of 10's and lowered the action slightly. Intonation is excellent even up around the 17th fret.Service and Support: The crew at sweetwater were very helpful in resolving the ONLY issue I had with the guitar. The bridge pickup had a very pronounced mechanical buzz that I quickly determined was caused by a broken solder connection used to physically connect the pickup body to the nickel pickup covers. It was most likely broken in transit. I contacted Sweetwater sales and they immediately offered to repair or replace the guitar but I decided that I would rather just make the repair myself. My Sweetwater rep got me the information that I needed to make the repair myself with complete confidence. I very much appreciate the level of support that I received. Other Guitars: I currently own and play a MIM Deluxe Players Strat, an Epiphone SG, and a 40 year old Epiphone flattop bought new in 1972. This instrument has a distinct "voice" that complements the other guitars.
Music background: A child of the sixties...

Best Electric Guitar I've Ever Played

I already own an American Standard Fender Stratocaster, but I decided to purchase an Epiphone Elitist Casino because I've always loved its sound on Beatles/McCartney records. The second I plugged in the Epiphone, I suddenly realized that I'm not really a "Fender guy" after all. Everything about this guitar is better than I ever imagined. It has all the sounds I've always wanted -- but never got -- from my Strat. The construction is also top-notch, but it's much less heavy than a Strat (which I like). I'm currently recording an album with Logic Studio, and the owner of a guitar shop once told me that I shouldn't get a Casino because it buzzes a lot around computer monitors. Maybe he was talking about the cheaper models that are made in Korea, because the Elitist doesn't have any noise. On the other hand, my Strat will buzz near the computer depending on the position of the pickups. I've never written a Sweetwater review before, but I felt obligated to put down my Epiphone Elitist Casino for a few minutes to let others know about this outstanding guitar. Now, back to the music...

One Great Guitar

I just got my Casino Elitist the other day in the mail. I must say I've owned quite a few guitars in my lifetime Fenders, Grestch, and Gibsons. The price I paid for this guitar is really worth it. The action is close just like I like it. And I have just put a set of Elixir 10gauge lites. The tone quality of this guitar is outstanding I can go from a mild Jazz, to heavy metal and the sound I want is there. The guitar is light weight which is great for playing out. And with the P90's the tone is beautiful. I would highly recommend people to try this guitar.
See also: Hollowbodies, Epiphone, Epiphone Hollowbody Guitars