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Epiphone Casino Archtop '65 Elitist - Natural Reviews

5.0 stars based on 4 customer reviews
Questions about the Epiphone Casino Archtop '65 Elitist - Natural?

Questions about the Epiphone Casino Archtop '65 Elitist - Natural?

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  • from Fort Wayne July 23, 2015

    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.

  • from Oakhurst, CA November 26, 2013Music Background:
    A child of the sixties...

    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.

  • from Milwaukee, WI February 2, 2009

    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...

  • from West Valley, NY USA April 2, 2008

    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.

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