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.