The Epiphone made-in-USA Casino is now shipping – would you pay the up-charge?
This premium USA-made Epiphone Casino will set you back $2.6k
Gibson’s revamping of the Epiphone brand continues. The Nashville-based guitar brand has started shipping USA-built Epiphone models that first showed up last year, making quite a stir. This P90-loaded hollow-body Casino is certainly going to turn heads, but it’s priced in a premium segment that’s been off-limits to Epiphone-branded guitars for many years. How do the specifications stack up against the new pricing?
Epiphone Made-in-USA Casino
Epiphone has finally unveiled the new made-in-USA version of the Casino. This hollow-bodied guitar is synonymous with The Beatles and hasn’t been available for quite some time, excepting instruments at a much lower price point built in east Asia. This new American-made version, of course, has some feature and material upgrades compared to the more wallet-friendly models we are used to seeing from Epiphone. Do they justify the price tag? Let’s take a closer look.
Made In America
The pair of Gibson USA dogear P-90 pickups use vintage, braided two-conductor wiring and wax potting to cut down on feedback. The wiring looms are hand-wired and use Orange Drop capacitors. This is nice upgrade, but it doesn’t really add that much to the overall cost, so where else is your money going?
A lot of that extra money will probably go on the three-ply maple and poplar body with quarter-sawn spruce bracing and cream binding, finished in nitrocellulose lacquer. This guitar has a solid mahogany neck with a rounded C profile and a 12”-radius Indian rosewood fingerboard housing 22 medium jumbo frets and a Graph Tech nut. You can opt for one of two finishes, either Vintage Sunburst with black P-90s or a Royal Tan with nickel covered P-90s. Hardware consists of a Thinline Trapeze tailpiece, an ABR-1 bridge and set of Vintage Deluxe tuners.
Will you pay the extra?
Let’s be clear: this looks like a great guitar. But I’m sure a lot of players will do a double take when they see the price tag. Epiphone has now published detailed specifications on the official product page.
Does the feature set correspond to the pricing on this model? Will this model be a success for Gibson/Epiphone? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
- Epiphone USA Casino in Royal Tan €2,699
- Epiphone USA Casino in Vintage Sunburst €2,699
- Epiphone Casino Vintage Sunburst (launched in 2004) €564
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- Epiphone made-in-USA Casino in Royal Tan: Epiphone
- Epiphone made-in-USA Casino in Vintage Sunburst: Epiphone
Obviously the better wood grades, finish, and build is significant but $2000 significant? I just dont see it. You can buy a casino for under $500 that will sound and play relatively the same. Upgrade the tuners, electronics, and bridge/nut for less than $500 and you’ve got a very good casino for under a grand. As it is the Epiphone quality has been better than the Gibson quality for a few years or more now. Its hit and miss with Gibson and at their prices it should almost never miss. I think that this is an over priced guitar for people with money to burn who refuse to buy a guitar not “made in the usa”. For those of us without burning money, the indonesia casino with upgrades is the real deal.
I’m not sure about your assessment Stephen. You’re essentially buying a Gibson 330 so you have to look at the purchase through that prism. Secondly, and this is somewhat germane, the Casino Elitist was made in Japan using all the same parts the American made Casino will be using with perhaps the exception of the woods (there may be some differences, but not any better or worse one way or the other), but I’m not sure about that. I own one of those and I can tell you the fit and finish alone speaks for itself as a superior instrument. At the time it was offered, the Japanese Elitist was going for around $2,000+. I bought mine for less, but not by much and if you asked me, was it worth it? I would absolutely say, yes.
I pre-ordered the USA Casino back on February 8th and it still hasn’t shipped. I paid less than the street price so it’s the cost for a lesson in patience I suppose. When it arrives, I will do a side by side with the Elitist. If there is a significant fit and finish or tone difference, I will report, but I do not expect either one.
Now to the question of value for the dollar. I guess we have to ask ourselves, are any of the high end guitars worth what the manufacturers are asking? I’ve seen some pretty good stuff out of Korea and Indonesia, not so much out of China, so what’s the response supposed to be?
By and large the more expensive guitars are worth the money in my opinion. In some cases worth more than the money I’ve spent on them, the Casino Elitist is among those. But, if you cannot afford them, there are very good quality guitars on the next levels down although you have to be far more careful when choosing one.
Thanks for your thoughts. I am considering a USA Epi Casino. Own two Elitist Casinos. Have you received your yet? I’m very interested in your experience with it, similarities and differences. Thanks.
I haven’t played on a USA model,
yet…. But I do own a standard
$500 casino and to celebrate a record I spent $1800 (used) on the poorly named Elitist (I’ll refer to as just ‘65 model). Not to be confused with the John Lennon casino which also used the casino made in 1965 as their production point of reference. My ‘65 Reissue is my favorite guitar to play. The similarity between the two Casinos stop at aesthetics. I still remember how taken back I was when I picked up the ‘65 for the first time, there was such an immediately noticable difference in feel. Even my girlfriend at the time who is musically (and morally) challenged could feel it was lighter but sturdier. I have yet to see a video on a comparison between the ‘65 reiusse and the USA. But if I had the dough I’d definitely pick one up.
I have both. I’m a lefty. I bought a 2014 Reissue and have loved it. Just got the USA by Gibson in Royal Tan and love it more. It’s basically a Gibson 330, which is not offered to lefty’s. So there is that.
Side by side you can see, feel and hear the difference. I must agree the USA made is a luxury not all can or wish to afford, but if you love playing hollowbody electrics like I do, it’s worth it.